ALC (formerly known as Austin Land & Cattle) is an Austin institution, with a well-deserved reputation for serving up some of the best steaks ever since it opened its doors in 1993. The family-run restaurant on 12th and Lamar is a casual affair, which is just as well because we would recommend going in a pair of jeans at least one size too big to avoid having to pop open a button or two. Start off with the classic escargot cooked in garlic, butter and Madeira wine, then take your pick from a chop board of the highest order. The Porterhouse is a no-brainer to share, with filet mignon on one side and strip steak on the other. Thoroughly recommended are the steak “enhancements” consisting of Oscar-style lump crab or ALC’s own peppercorn and blue cheese crust. The wine list is thirsty work, too, with a well-curated selection of stunning reds from Sonoma County and Napa Valley.
1205 North Lamar Boulevard; alcsteaks.com
Tucked away in Clarksville Historic District, just west of Downtown, people go to Jeffrey’s for one of two reasons: to impress someone, or to be impressed by someone. Jeffrey’s is neighbourhood fine dining at its best. The restaurant has been tastefully designed in that timeless mid-century style, with lots of walnut wood, butterscotch leather booths, sculptural lighting and plush blue velvet banquettes adding to the old-school charm. While the caviar service and foie gras sandies to start are as mouth-watering as they sound, don’t let them distract you from the main event, which for us is the 26oz bone-in natural Wagyu ribeye from the Beeman Family Ranch in Texas. Give yourself ample time to study the wine list, all 55 pages of it. It’s an embarrassment of Dionysian riches (but seriously, oenophiles, you will be wetting yourselves, it’s that good).
1204 West Lynn; jeffreysofaustin.com
Bob’s Steak and Chophouse
The original Bob’s Steak and Chophouse still stands on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas, and while it has expanded to become a chain, Bob’s has not lost any of the mouth-watering quality to economies of scale. The downtown Austin location on Lavaca Street is a favourite among locals, and while the decor and setup in the restaurant might feel a little dated, give that a skip and head right up to the rooftop bar where you can tuck into prime cuts such as Snake River Farms Black Label Wagyu filet, while casting your eye over the Austin skyline. The dress code is business casual, which could mean anything in Austin.
301 Lavaca Street; bobs-steakandchop.com/austin
Chef Jesse Griffiths is a “red-bearded hunter-gatherer” kind of chef, so in butcher shop-cum-restaurant Dai Due he has masterfully created an uncompromisingly seasonal and local eatery with Texan meat at its heart. Virtually every ingredient, from the olive oil to the wine via the incredible steaks, are sourced from within a 200-mile radius, and if it’s not in season, it’s not going on the menu. The requisite dry-aged Wagyu ribeye is always there, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, dishes such as the nilgai antelope leg filet should satiate some gastronomical curiosity. Don’t skip the entrees whatever you do – word has it the wild boar confit in a chile bone broth with watermelon molasses elbows its way onto everyone’s fantasy last supper.
2406 Manor Road; daidue.com
This emporium of meat was founded by Dallas chef Tim Love, whose approach to the grill is quite unlike most other Austin restaurants. While Love doesn’t shy from the classic cuts such as beef tenderloin, Wagyu tomahawk, and Miyazaki ribeye, his real passion is for game meats. Think elk loin with hen of the woods and salsify, or Montana bison ribeye with smoked Gouda gnocchi, or good ol’ wild boar ribs. A menu this creative, imaginative, and well-executed is a must-try whenever you’re next in Austin.
123 West 6th Street; lonesomedoveaustin.com
As accreditation comes, J Carver’s oyster bar and chophouse on Rio Grande Street has never been short of rave reviews, but when bow-hunting, meat-loving podcast patriarch Joe Rogan gives you the thumbs up, you know you’ve made it (Rogan recently commented on his IG, ‘The bone marrow at J Carver’s is off the fucking charts.’). Rogan is right, of course – Carver’s is famous for its 50-day dry-aged cuts cooked on the wood-burning grill, but that’s not even half of it, because the appetisers and sides are where the action is. Take Rogan’s aforementioned wood-roasted Akaushi beef bone marrow, for example, or the Maryland crab-stuffed half Maine lobster (which is served as a steak accompaniment), or the battered fried oysters served with Béarnaise. It’s what a friend once rather coarsely referred to as a “gastrowank”, otherwise known as unapologetic self-indulgence.
509 Rio Grande Street; jcarveratx.com
Ryan Thompson is a UK-based menswear and lifestyle writer, whose work has appeared in, among others, the Financial Times, Mr Porter, The Rake and Ape to Gentleman