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Austin restaurants earn multiple national accolades this week

The Capital City earned six recognitions in Food & Wine’s Global Tastemakers Awards, plus a James Beard finalist spot.

A close-up photo of pasta on a white plate, sprinkled with green leaves and lemon zest.

Birdie’s earned nods from both the Global Tastemakers Awards + the James Beard Awards this week.

Photo by @mksrn

Between global food rankings and the “Oscars of Food,” Austin restaurants raked in more than half a dozen major food and beverage awards this week.

But enough with the appetizers — time for the main course.

Global Tastemakers Awards

Food & Wine Magazine’s Global Tastemakers Awards is an annual ranking of the top food and beverage talent in the world, curated and voted on by a panel of 180+ food and travel journalists.

With six recognitions, Austin was by far the most represented Texas city on the list, followed by Houston, which earned two accolades.

Starting with the big one, Austin ranked the No. 4 overall best US city for food and drinks.

That is six spots higher than last year’s No. 10 ranking, driven in part by local restaurants taking home 2023 awards for Restaurant of the Year (Birdie’s) and Best New Chef (Edgar Rico).

A close-up image of a taco.

Nixta Taqueria is known for authentically made corn tortillas and seriously delicious tacos — Chef Edgar Rico says the restaurant is “the culmination of who he is.”

Photo via @whatnugeeats

Speaking of Birdie’s and Rico, Austin spots included on Food & Wine’s list of Top 20 Restaurants in the US were:

  • Birdie’s | No. 4
  • Nixta Taqueria | No. 17

Watertrade — the Japanese-style cocktail bar attached to OTOKO — also earned a No. 16 ranking on Food & Wine’s list of top US bars.

Houston eatery March was also featured in the list of top restaurants at No. 14, and the city’s popular cocktail bar Julep ranked No. 11 in the list of top bars.

A cocktail next to a menu on the table at Watertrade.

Watertrade’s Japanese-inspired cocktails are both creative + delicious.

Photo by ATXtoday

James Beard Awards

It’s been a big week for Birdie’s in more ways than one.

The restaurant’s chef, Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, was also the sole Austinite to make it to the finalists round of this year’s James Beard Awards, with a nomination for Best Chef: Texas. Lockhart’s Barbs-B-Q also moved forward in the Best New Restaurant category.

Winners for the awards will be announced Monday, June 10 at a celebration in Chicago. Until then, check out our guide to every James Beard winner + semifinalist in Austin.

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