Updated: Sep 14
These places are serving up adventurous fare from around the globe.
If you've lived in Austin long enough, you've probably heard of most of these places. But did you know they each offer private dining experiences with distinctive menus in elegant settings and even have chef demonstrations?
We chose restaurants that have a real artistic flair in their presentations. Their menus tell stories of where they come from and what influenced the chefs. Those listed here are in or around downtown Austin so you don't have to travel far. Hot tip!: Make reservations as far in advance as possible. Some places need at least a couple months advanced notice.
1914 E 6th Street, STE C; Instagram: @canjeatx
Canje is a fresh take on Caribbean cuisine, highlighted by Guayana. Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph has put together a menu spanning from Puerto Rico to Jamaica. If you book a private space, like the very Instagrammable patio, you can reserve a cooking demonstration from Bristol-Joseph himself. Canje's chefs will hand-select items from the menu and seasonal dishes. Book your private event here.
What to expect: Meals laced with tropical fruits and bright spices. Perfect for summer.
What else?: You can opt for similar treatment at sister restaurants Emmer & Rye focusing on nose-to-tail and heirloom ingredients; Hestia specializing in open hearth cooking; Kalimotxo which celebrates Basque country's social bar culture.
2713 E 2nd St; Insta: @kemuritatsu_ya
If you are looking for an inspired take on barbecue, look no further than Kemuri Tatsu-ya, an Asian smokehouse in East Austin. It's gorgeous patio and cozy indoor space make this perfect for a night out. This is Tatsu-ya's version of an izakaya, a sort of informal sake bar typically adorned with red lanterns. The skewers and delicately smoked meats pack a ton of flavor. Definitely try the smoked brisket, but the Chinmi menu offers an impressive range of more exotic items. Their inventive king salmon crudite and whitefish ceviche from the raw bar are worth checking out as well. Book here.
What to expect: Much like tapas, the small plates come out repeatedly and are shared.
What else?: Tatsu-ya has a number of spirited, playful restaurants around Austin including their first, Ramen Tatsu-ya. Enter the back alleys of Tokyo at Domo Alley Gato or become fully immersed in a South Pacific adventure at Tiki Tatsu-ya.
1603 S Congress Ave (inside South Congress Hotel) Insta: @otokoaustin
L-R: Chef Yoshi Okai preparing a dish; 2 completed dishes | Facebook
Speaking of raw, OTOKO has quickly gained a strong reputation as the top, and most exclusive, omakase in town. Omakase is a meal entirely designed by the chef and team starting with the lightest dishes and ending with the heaviest. It was widely popularized with the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. With only a 12 seat capacity, Chef Yoshi Okai blends tokyo-style sushi and kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique seasonal tasting menu.
What else?: Included in your dining expeerience are drinks at WATERTRADE, the japanese-style cocktail bar, attached to OTOKO. WATERTRADE guests have access to a limited izakaya-style menu featuring bar bites and specialty dishes. Book your private event here.
4710 East 5th Street; Instagram: @justinesbrasserie
Dining at Justine's | Facebook
As one Austin Chronicle reader put it in its Best of Austin 2022 edition, "Even after all this time, its still the sexiest restaurant around." This slice of decadence will probably make many visitors blush with its French Bohemian vibe deep in East Austin. Even their food photography feels naughty. But, if you love to throw a party, there is no cooler place. Come for the French classics like their Poisson Bearnaise or be pleasantly surprised by the Menu du jour.
What to expect: A relaxed atmosphere and a very hip clientele.
What else?: Visit the Parisian Flea Market on the weekends for a rare daytime party at this late night staple.
5. Dai Due
2406 Manor Road; Insta: @daidue
Dai Due takes its name from an Italian proverb translated as: "From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care." Everything here is locally sourced except for maybe the New Mexican pistachios, with a heavy emphasis on wild game and domestic animals including duck, deer, fish, and dove.
Inside their 25 person capacity kitchen, they can sometimes do butchery and cooking demonstrations of fish, lamb or whole wild boar. You can even receive a copy of Chef Jesse Griffiths' wild game and fishery cookbook, Afield. Book your private event here.
What else?: You can go on an epic hunting and culinary journey at the New School of Traditional Cookery based on a ranch in South Texas. New and experienced hunters will learn skills in the woods, at the butchery table, and at the grill. They're already booked up for the year, so get on the waiting list or wait until the summer of 2023 for the new schedule.
615 S Lamar Blvd; Insta: @eberlyatx
For those in the know, Eberly comes with a side of history. It is named for the Austin innkeeper, Angelina Eberly, who preserved Austin as the Texas Capitol by firing a cannon to ward off Texas President Sam Houston and his Texas Rangers. Her deeds are immortalized on Congress Ave with a statue of her mid-fire. Hopefully, no such shenanigans happen during your event, but we wouldn't be surprised if they did.
L-R: Cedar Tavern bar; cool cocktail; spread of offerings Eberly | Facebook
This is a sweeping space, full of eye-catching decor and architectural ingenuity. The dishes range from a soy-sesame glazed short rib bossam to the Arroz Meloso with scallops and wild shrimp.
What else?: If you really want to travel back in time, you'll need to visit Greenwich Village's historic Cedar Tavern. Wait. What? That's right! When the Cedar Tavern permanently closed, the Eberly team bought and transported the entire bar to their Austin restaurant and then rebuilt it. Feel the ghosts of Jimi Hendrix, Jack Kerouac and William de Kooning wash through you as a you sip a cocktail and tell an extraordinary yarn. Book your private event here.
7. Arlo Grey
111 E Cesar Chavez St (Inside the Line Hotel); Insta: @arlogrey
L-R: A burger w/ potato puree!; Chef Kish making pasta; a elegant dish Arlo Grey | Facebook
Chefs use tastes, smells, and textures to tell their stories. We're not sure there is a better storyteller in Austin than Season 10 Top Chef winner Kristen Kish. The wildly inventive menu items are based in French and Italian tradition. But the real fun comes from Kish's own childhood inspiration remixed with fresh, local takes on classic fast food dishes. Book your private event here.
What else ?: Arlo Grey teamed with local street artists SprATX, to create a mural inside the restaurant, bringing one of Kristen's favorite stories, akin to the Korean Cinderella, to life. Set aside a little time to check it out.
Hungry for more?
Coming to Austin or looking for engaging activities for your Austin-based team? We can help you design a food-driven story for your group, full of memorable moments. If you have the type of team that likes to play with your food, try our time travel-themed tasting challenge: Feast to Exist. Since we are knowledgeable about all sorts of private event venues we'll help you find the perfect experiences for your group outing. Looking for more than food? Check out our other team building experiences here.