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Diners, Drive-ins and… Donuts?: Austin’s best, worst local eats

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Diners, Drive-ins and… Donuts?: Austin’s best, worst local eats

There is a Hopdoddy location just down South Congress Avenue.

There is a Hopdoddy location just down South Congress Avenue.

Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

There is a Hopdoddy location just down South Congress Avenue.

Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

There is a Hopdoddy location just down South Congress Avenue.

Reilly Cardillo, Staff Writer

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Austin is a foodie city— a haven for the Instagram photographers, thrillist-devotees and a Yelp mecca. While the city boasts an incredible array of dining options, it can be hard to parse the hype and buzz to find those restaurants truly deserving of your dollars. Here are my favorites and least favorites.

Burgers

Overrated: Hopdoddy

This restaurant is not worth the price tag or the obscene line that snakes down South Congress Avenue. While there are some menu standouts, there’s nothing that warrants the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for these burgers. Plus, their options for sides are simply fries, sweet potato fries and salad. I personally prefer more options if I’m going to have to stand in line just to sit down.

Underrated: P Terry’s

An Austin staple, this is one of my favorite places to bring visitors from out of state. I feel good about the quality of beef in their patties, (never-ever, fresh, all-natural) and I feel great about the uber-affordable price tag. The only line you’ll wait in here is the often lengthy drive-thru line. But in this case, the line is worth it. P Terry’s is respectable because they never claim to be more than simply the best burger stand around.

 

Asian

Overrated: 888 Pan Asian

This is probably going to be an unpopular statement, but 888 is greasy, overpriced and all-around pretty low caliber food. I understand the allure of their product, but for me, it doesn’t hit the mark. For their extreme portion sizes, the food doesn’t keep well in the fridge, and their protein quality is unpredictable. Sure, accessibility and proximity can be important factors to a college student, but I argue that your dollars would be better spent elsewhere.

Underrated: Uchi

When it comes to pricey restaurants, this one might just actually be worth it. Barring the more expensive menu items (sashimi and sake), the small plates and sushi are actually pretty reasonable. And while the bill might be relatively high, the caliber of service and quality of ingredients are right on par. While some might be quick to write Uchi off as overpriced and pretentious, upon actually dining there you’d find that the atmosphere, though definitely highly-curated, is not snobbish, but simply passionate.

 

Bonus Overrated

Voodoo Donuts

The iconic sign on Sixth Street, the perfectly photogenic pink boxes, the constant local buzz— voodoo donuts seems to have it all– except really great donuts, that is. While their pastries aren’t radically overpriced, the effort needed to pick them up (parking on Sixth, making sure you have cash, waiting in line amongst the drunks) far outweigh the payoff. I’d say you’re better off at Krispy Kreme.

Torchy’s Tacos

Why am I paying more than three dollars for a taco? Why did I brave the back-in-only parking on South Congress? Why did I wait in a line that ran out the door behind a group of tourists from North Dakota that pronounced “queso” as “kay-so”? The answers to these questions? I won’t, I didn’t and I shouldn’t have to hear that ever again.

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Diners, Drive-ins and… Donuts?: Austin’s best, worst local eats