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“Best restaurant in Austin”
Review of Barley Swine

Barley Swine
Ranked #137 of 3,849 Restaurants in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Zilker Park
Cross street: Between Mary and Oltorf on Lamar
Reviewed May 22, 2013

This is small, loud, packed elbow-to-elbow foodie joint serves what is easily some of the best food in Texas. It also is aggressively post-modern. A pea soup included fresh pea pods and tendrils, but also cubes of gelatinized bacon and grilled lamb bologna. Tiny halibut cheeks were served with square dumplings, cubes of pork belly, and some sort of foam. Best of all, slow scrambled eggs were infused with uni (sea urchin) and toped with shitake mushrooms.

Portions are small, but prices are low. So it makes sense to get at least 3 plates. The wine selection is intelligent and food-friendly, but the beer list is even better. A Left Hand Milk Stout was a fantastic pairing with chocolate soup with little spheres of intense raspberry jelly.

If you like chefs who play with their food -- and especially if you like beer -- you will love this.

1  Thank sunra7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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143 - 147 of 189 reviews

Reviewed April 17, 2013

and weird. This should be labeled a snack shop because you really don't go here to eat and have a meal. Makes me wonder if they are just trying to impress someone from one of the 1000's of kitchen/cooking shows on TV. I don't understand this fad of small portions, big plates and super weird food.

The place is quite small so at least they always appear to be packed. I had a much better time next door at the Horseshoe Lounge.

Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

Great little restaurant in a hidden away strip mall of restaurants. Was lucky to go here on a business trip on a recommendation from a friend. The place is always packed and not that large to begin with; luckily, we found a seat outside (first come basis) and it was nice night anyway. Service was great and the food just explodes with flavor. Be prepared to spend some cash as each plate is probably 2-3 bites worth of food and it's easy to order the entire menu if you're with 2 other people. I love the farm to table concept and this little restaurant does it exceptionally well. My only complaint would be the presentation, but with this much flavor, who cares about its artistic value?

You will not be disappointed.

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Thank Faisel A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2013

My foodie friend and I did our annual getaway to Austin this year and the Barley and Swine was on the top of our list to try. The menu is filled with very interesting and delectable tasting selections that are perfect for sharing. Sitting at a communal table, we sampled several plates of amazing food combinations designed by the staff. We went on a Thursday night to avoid a long wait and arrived just before 6pm...we were immediately seated once the doors opened. This is definitely a 'must do' place to eat if you are in Austin.

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Thank Floydova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I loved my experience at Barley Swine.

(1) The food is good. The menu is VERY different. If you aren't adventurous or enjoy very very complex tastes then this isn't the place for you. Some of the food will blow your mind. For instance, the Pig, crispy trotter, grilled face, loin, beans, sauerkraut combo was great, but may have liked the Hay roasted beets, mole, crispy rice, goat cheese combo better.

(2) There is a line out the door before the doors open at 6pm. I got there at 5:45 and was probably #20 in line. There are only 42 seats in the restaurant. Some would see this as problematic, but it was different and new. Austin can be like that sometimes.

(3) You are always seated with other people. It is close quarters (bumping shoulders close) and at times you catch yourself eaves dropping on the person next to you even if they aren't in your party. Not a problem if you are a people person and the person next to you is as well. I enjoyed it as we all eventually shared in conversation half way through the meal.

Good times!

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Thank ny2texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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