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A huge part of life’s journey is celebrating all of big moments - from graduations to anniversaries to promotions. The key to a great celebration? Awesome #EEEEEATS, and the perfect restaurant for whatever life event you’re celebrating. We’re no strangers to that quest for quality - this website was started to help people find the ideal restaurant for their particular occasion.
That's why we teamed up with American Express on a series of guides to the Best Restaurants for Celebrations. For our Austin edition, we picked places we think are especially perfect for all those important celebrations in life that you want to do just right. Another way to do those times right? By using the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express – it’s the card to use if you eat out anywhere near as much as we do. Follow this list, use that card, and you’ll be golden.
Here’s to your celebration, and look out for our upcoming Celebrations Guides for our other cities.
There’s no better excuse for going all out on dinner than a significant anniversary, and there are few better places to go all out on dinner as Jeffrey’s. The space feels like the swanky living room you hope you’ll be able to afford someday (maybe by your twentieth anniversary), the service is perfect, and the American and French menu is classic but far from boring. If your idea of a real anniversary celebration is sharing a beautiful piece of meat, Jeffrey’s steaks are not to be missed.
Looking for an anniversary spot that’s a little less traditional? Show your partner in life that you still know the cool spots by taking them to Lenoir. The locally-sourced, always-creative prix fixe menu here is excellent, but more importantly, so is the overall experience: it feels like you’re eating in a fancy farmhouse, and eating in a fancy farmhouse is special. This place is romantic without trying too hard at it, just like the two of you.
If you’ve never been served ten plates, in succession, in one sitting, in the same restaurant, then you’re missing out on one of life’s most joyful and gluttonous opportunities: the over-the-top tasting menu. The ultimate time to take advantage of such an opportunity? A promotion. Go spend that hard-earned money well at Barley Swine, which, in its new location on Burnet Road, continues to serve some of the most inventive food in Austin. And if a ten-course tasting isn’t your thing, you always do a la carte - just bring enough people with you that you can try everything.
Just like your promotion, your next trip to Uchi is long overdue. If you haven’t been in a while, here’s a reminder: Uchi isn’t new news, but that doesn’t stop it from continuing to do seriously impressive things with raw fish - it’s still one of the very best places to throw lots of money at food in this town. And didn’t that promotion did come with a new salary anyway?
Graduations typically ensure one thing: the whole family is getting together. Your grandma’s going to be there, your aunt Judy is going to be there, your parents are going to be there, and your sister and her two kids are going to be there. Olamaie is a restaurant that feels timeless - combining traditional Southern cooking with modern touches, and a seriously comfortable environment, this is a place that will make everyone in your family happy. And that’s critical to keeping Aunt Judy from picking a fight with your mom again over how spoiled she was growing up.
Why is it that graduations happen at 9am? You’re supposed to be celebrating, not still hungover from the night before. We don’t have an answer, but we do know that you’re going to need a place for brunch afterwards with your 20 relatives in town for the occasion. Perla’s is a place you can always count on: the space is light and bright and giant, the patio is awesome, and the seafood is so much better than snotty cousin Olivia who lives in LA will expect. Also, lobster = celebration food.
Emmer & Rye checks off every major birthday restaurant requirement, and then some. A beautiful space big enough for your fifteen closest friends: check. An awesome menu filled with things that are interesting enough to feel festive but not so interesting that your picky friends will be scared: check. Extreme proximity to an excellent post-dinner drinking situation (Rainey St.): check. As for the extras? There’s a dim sum cart of off-menu items that circles the restaurant constantly. Like birthday presents, only for your mouth.
At the risk of sounding like a bad Hallmark card, your birthday is all about who you share it with. Or actually, who you share your birthday food with. So make wise choices about your guest list and plan your dinner at Wu Chow, an awesome new spot downtown for a modern yet authentic family-style Chinese dinner. If you’re able to resist eating everything in sight, you’re in prime position for downtown drinking after dinner.
meeting the parents
You’re meeting the parents for the first time - not fighting a fire or rescuing a kitten from a tree. Don’t try to be a hero. Keep your eyes on the prize: making these people love you. And the way you set yourself up right is to start with a restaurant that serves food you know they’ll like. Even if you’ve never met these people, it’s safe to say that somewhere between the pizza and pastas on Italic’s strong Italian menu, they’ll find more than enough options. Now start rehearsing your answers to their unavoidable questions about your intentions with their child.
This is a big dinner - you’re already going to feel a little on edge. Do yourself a favor and pick somewhere you know you’ll feel welcome - even if your future father-in-law won’t stop looking at you like you’re about as welcome as a cockroach. Odd Duck is comfortable and cozy, but still with a ton of personality. Show them Texas has a lot more to offer than just BBQ and tacos with Odd Duck’s globally-influenced Southern food.
We’ll be the first to admit that “fancy barbecue” is a questionable concept. But if ever there was a time to stuff your face with smoked meats taken up a notch, it’s your bachelor party. Toast to the end of your freedom with things like crispy wild boar ribs - just try not to eat so many of them that you can’t take advantage of all the bars nearby.
More fancy meats - but instead of BBQ, Dai Due’s focus is all about classic, 100% homemade preparations of ingredients that are exclusively from Texas (like the juiciest pork chop you’ve ever eaten, and an excellent roast chicken, and a dinosaur-sized beef rib). Even if you’re not from around here, it’s hard not to appreciate these people’s commitment to all things Lone Star State. The place has a special occasion vibe without feeling overly fancy or stuffy in the slightest.
Launderette is basically a bachelorette party personified in a restaurant. But a good bachelorette party you actually want to be at - not the kind where the bride has enforced some terrible dress code and you’re drinking out of inappropriately-shaped items. The space is beautifully designed, the cocktails taste amazing, and the food is the kind of shareable (but totally satisfying) stuff you want to eat before a night out on the town.
You’re in Austin for your bachelorette, which means you should be eating Mexican food. But you have zero control around enchiladas and you’ve been known to set world records for taco eating. And you’d like to at least attempt a wild night of drinking after dinner. That’s where La Condesa comes in - the Mexican food tends to be lighter than usual, and the space is big enough for even the most unwieldy of bachelorette group sizes. And if you want a little privacy? There’s a downstairs private dining room that seats 20.
friends in town
You’re entertaining your old roommates who still live in NYC. Take them to Jacoby’s, which has everything it’ll take to convince them to start planning their move to Texas - namely, Southern food, tons of charm, and the kind of wide open backyard space they’ve never actually seen in real life. Grab yourselves a picnic table and blow their minds with chicken fried steak.
Your college crew is in town and ready to relive their glory days. Start your night at Sway, which feels really fun, but in a grown-up way (you have the whole night ahead of you to take three too many shots). The modern Thai food is exactly what they’ll want to eat after three straight days of nothing but queso, and the lively, slightly sexy vibe is exactly what they need to feel glad they’re no longer in college.
The post contains paid advertising content from the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Card Members get rewards like 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. restaurants and a $100 airline fee credit on one airline for incidental charges like in-flight food and drink.
This list was selected by The Infatuation.
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