Like their cocktails, the menu here at this eclectic bar rotates seasonally—apart from the daily flavors of house-made Twinkies. On a recent visit, the rich coffee-and-cognac Save Room was the table’s favorite sip, while their creamy risotto with tender rabbit and root vegetables was dubbed a hearty way to stave off winter’s chill. 207 E. 53rd St., 512-614-6683
Tucked away in an area of town synonymous with light beer is an oasis of extensive craft brews (as well as wine and cocktails), and a fantastic French kitchen with none of the pretentiousness. Featuring rich dishes like Osso Buco, marrow bones, and one of the best burgers in town, this campus bistro is definitely a hidden gem. 3110 Guadalupe St., 512-537-0467
The cocktails here range from impossibly complex (the Black Pearl is served in a clove-smoked treasure chest) to devastatingly simple, but the expert execution of each one ensures a truly special experience for the palate. Similarly, the menu offers classic comfort food (grilled cheese and tomato bisque, marinated olives) prepared so perfectly you’ll come to crave it. 307 W. Fifth St., 512-494-4094
The opium-den-inspired revamping of East Side Showroom has kept the intricate cocktails (dodge winter with the Guyanese Sour made with rum, grilled pineapple, and cayenne-chili syrup), but changed the menu to include tasty Asian fare. Watch for lots of vegetarian-friendly options (the soba green tea pad thai is delicious and photogenic), masterful tempura, and killer mussels in a coconut curry broth. 1100 E. Sixth St., 512-467-4280
Known for their prime location on Congress and powerfully strong cocktails, The Townsend takes their food seriously. The rich cacio e pepe pasta shines with the saltiness of squid ink, and of course the "Really Big Board" of charcuterie will please a crowd. 718 Congress Ave., 512-887-8778
A cocktail from the bar and paper boat from Thai Kun is the start of a classically East Austin night. Enjoy the pear-spiked Freya’s Cloak, with sparkling wine and chai, before diving into the famous fried chicken—or brave the ultra-spicy (but utterly delicious) beef panang curry if you dare. 1816 E. Sixth St., 512-480-0781
Though not officially open until later this year, if the national attention and fantastic pop-up dinners from The Brewer’s Table are any indication, Austin beer lovers are in for a treat. With an all-star team (Chef Zach Hunter comes from Fixe, Head Brewer Drew Durish from Live Oak Brewing), the restaurant will focus on pairing beer with elevated cuisine. 4715 E. Fifth St.