We’re all frequenting restaurants again with great fervor, and there are plenty of new, beautiful spaces to try, according to our savvy eatery devotees, Rob Giardinelli (Austin, Houston and San Antonio and Houston) and Cynthia Smoot (Dallas).
Located inside the Origin Hotel Austin in Mueller, Blue Lacy is an all-day eatery that offers a new take on American classics. Top items on the menu include Chicken N’ Waffle Kabobs, avocado toast bruschetta, and pecan pie. The pet-friendly space even has menu offerings served in dog bowls for your favorite four-legged friends so they can enjoy them too. At BlueLacyAustin.com.
ALWAYS ROOM FOR CHAMPAGNE
The new 7th Floor of the Fairmont Hotel, Room 725, Champagne & Caviar, is the perfect place for a first date or popping the question. The menu features a wide selection of caviar, including a vegan option, and other light bitessuch as Foie Gras, Lobster Claws, and Jamin Iberico. Order champagne by the bottle, by the glass, or as a flight to find your perfect pairing. At Fairmont-Austin.com/Room725.
REST ON YOUR LAUREL
Laurel, located in the new Hotel Viata in Westlake, is Italian with a Texas twist by utilizing ingredients from the Texas Hill Country. The curated menu features something for everyone, with the Impossible Meatballs, gnocchi, Chicken Osso Bucco, and Mediterranean Risotto being must-trys. Cap off the dinner by cozying up to the bar for a nightcap or a glass of wine al fresco on the terrace. At ViataAustin.com.
FOR STEAK’S SAKE
STK Steakhouse recently opened on McKinney Avenue in Uptown, in the former Perry’s Steakhouse location. They promise vibe dining at its finest, with premium dry-aged steak, world-famous cocktails, and music from renowned DJs. For high-end steak aficionados, STK has three Japanese Wagyu options, a variety of oysters, pastas, and various sides. At STKSteakhouse.com.
ALLURING AL FRESCO
Escondido boasts the largest patio in Preston Hollow and a menu that features family-friendly Tex-Mex classic favorites such as nachos, tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Enjoy 12 varieties of margaritas, Mexican-inspired cocktails, select Mexican beers, and a small yet curated wine menu. At EscondidoDallas.com.
HANDCRAFTED & MIGHTY
The keyword at OAK’D BBQ is elevated. The Wagyu and prime beef are the standards, alongside ribs, brisket, smoked turkey and chicken, and a wide variety of side dishes. An in-house pastry chef creates homemade desserts, ice cream, and biscuits. Look for the second OAK’D location in the old Chamberlain’s Seafood space on Beltline Rd. in Addison this February. At OakdBBQ.com.
IN THE NAVY
Newly opened in Rice Village, Navy Blue offers modern American seafood featuring such culinary delights as Blackened Red Snapper with Ahi Amarillo, Linguini Vongole, and Swordfish Au Poivre with Green Peppercorn sauce. The 110-seat dining room includes organic elements, such as a series of long tables separated by white oak partition spines, creating an elegant yet warm dining experience. At NavyBlueRestaurant.com.
READY FOR PRIMETIME
Gatsby’s Prime Seafood is the latest restaurant by the team behind Gatsby’s Prime Steakhouse. The menu features ocean-based dishes that are brought in fresh daily with the New Bedford Scallops, Sea Bass, and an awe-inspiring Seafood Tower among the most popular. Pair any of these with wine from the global yet curated wine list or enjoy a pre-Prohibition style cocktail. At GatsbySeafood.com.
The hottest new night space in Texas is Benjamin Berg’s latest concept, Emilia’s Havana. Inspired by the 1950’s Havana club scene, this reservation-only, 50-seat lounge offers two 2-hour seatings (8:00 PM and 10:30 PM) on Wednesday through Saturday nights. Each seating features bottle service, an elevated wine list, and yummy post-dinner bites with elegant bossa nova music playing in the background. The house DJ spins on Friday and Saturday nights from 12:30 AM-2:00 AM, so you can dance the night away in style. Reservations available at EmiliasHavana.com.
Restaurant Claudine’s recently opened in an incredibly chic, fully renovated classic bungalow in Government Hill, serving delectable Modern Southern cuisine, making it the ideal space for a romantic dinner. Must-try items include Corn Bread with Smoked Wallflower Butter, Heirloom Salad with Seed and Pistachio Crumble, Shrimp Gumbo, and Short Ribs. At RestaurantClaudine.com
Located inside the Hotel Valencia, Naranja Tequila and Mezcal Bar features the only tequila bar on San Antonio’s Riverwalk. Naranja also features a small plates menu, including Mexican Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas and Queso Fundido that perfectly complement their robust tequila offerings. The bar and lounge also feature live music from the Naranja Latin Jazz band for additional ambiance. At HotelValencia-Riverwalk.com.
SHOP ’TIL YOU EAT
Mariposa, located inside the Neiman Marcus store at La Cantera, is the perfect place to have an elegant post-shopping meal. The menu offers a great mix of salads, sandwiches, and classic fare, all of which pair well with a curated wine list. Make sure to start any meal with one of their delicious popovers, which you can also have delivered to your home if you crave one. At NeimanMarcus.com.