Just in time for the South by Southwest festival next month, Zagat has released its first-ever Flavor of Austin guide, designed to showcase the best of SXSW dining and give festivalgoers an edge in finding the hottest spots from top BBQ joints to bar scenes, food trucks, and beyond.
The new digital guide covers a selection of the 377 Austin/Hill Country restaurants now available on zagat.com and downloadable for free at http://www.zagat.com/SXSW.
The complete 2012 Texas Restaurants Survey will be released March 7 on zagat.com, via Zagat's mobile apps and in bookstores and will include over 1,100 additional restaurants in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas.
SXSW: In addition to helping festivalgoers make informed decisions about where to dine this year, Zagat will also be sponsoring two events during SXSW. On March 11, pass-holders are invited to join Zagat in the Google Village for a happy hour at Clive Bar (609 Davis Street) featuring live music, unique beer cocktails, and small bites from artisan purveyors.
Also, from March 14 –17, Zagat will be a sponsor of the KGSR Live Broadcasts from the W Hotel Downtown, featuring some of the biggest acts of the festival playing acoustic sets for early morning crowds of thousands.
Zagat will be providing breakfast, and guests are encouraged to stop by the Zagat mini-lounge, located in the lobby of the Grand Ballroom, between sets to register to win a Platinum Badge to next year's SXSW Festival. Information on both events can be found by visiting http://www.zagat.com/SXSW.
Stats: According to the Survey, Austin diners are eating out 3.5 times per week on average, which is above the national average of 3.1.
As elsewhere, the food-truck industry is growing, with 32% of Texas surveyors reportedly patronizing them. In fact, some areas of the city have introduced food-truck parks (e.g., South First Trailer Park and East Side Drive-In) where mobile eateries congregate and serve their menu items to hungry diners willing to wait in line.
Austin continues to be one of the most affordable cities that Zagat surveys, as the average meal cost has dropped slightly, from $30.76 in the last Survey to $29.80 this year, coming in way below the U.S. average of $35.62.
Winners: The list for Top Food in Austin has been swarmed by a crop of barbecue restaurants, including Louie Mueller, Snow's BBQ and Franklin BBQ, all earning outstanding Food scores, but it is Japanese restaurant Uchi that takes home top honors this year for Food with a near-perfect 29 out of 30 rating, also tying Eddie V's for the Most Popular title.
The award for Service goes to Congress, located Downtown, while Bouldin Creek's Green Pastures takes the top Decor score. The list of winners in Austin includes:
2) Louie Mueller BBQ
3) Barley Swine
4) Snow's BBQ
6) Franklin BBQ*
1) Green Pastures
3) Trattoria Lisina
4) Fonda San Miguel
5) Judges' Hill
6) Driskill Grill
1) Eddie V's
3) Salt Lick
(* Represents a tie with restaurant above)
New and Trendy: SXSW festivalgoers can welcome plenty of newcomers popping up on South First Street in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood, such as Elizabeth Street Cafe, featuring French-Vietnamese cuisine and Lenoir, known for inventive, eclectic, fare.
Those searching for some of Austin's newest food trucks can check out JMueller, a Bouldin Creek mobile smoker, or Three Little Pigs, which serves "Asian-inflected dishes out of an East Austin trailer." Small plates are another inexpensive option, with Swift's Attic or Eleven Plates proving popular among diners, as well as comfort food like fried chicken and pies at Lucy's and BC Tavern.
Survey Details: The Flavor of Austin guide and results for Austin restaurants were edited by Michelle Golden and Claudia Alarcon, and are available for free on zagat.com. The full 2012 Texas Restaurants Survey will be available March 7 on zagat.com, via Zagat for Mobile and in local bookstores. For more news and updates follow @Zagat on Twitter and add Zagat to your circles on Google+.
Known as the "burgundy bible," Zagat Survey is the world's most trusted source for consumer-generated survey information. Zagat content is available to consumers wherever and whenever they need it: on zagat.com, ZAGAT.mobi, ZAGAT TO GO for smartphones and in book form. In September of 2011, Zagat was acquired by Google Inc.