Summer means something different to everybody. For some, it means an adventure — a international trip or a study abroad experience where you’re exposed to new foods, experiences and cultures. For others, it means summer school — yuck. If you fall into the latter category, chances are you’ve been living vicariously through your international friends. Let’s face it, it’s just not that fun to be home in the summer when you’re constantly bombarded with a social media deluge of friends doing cool things in other countries. Nonetheless, if you are stuck at home for the summer, this list will make you feel like you’re back in one of your favorite international vacation spots.
Escargots de Bourgogne at Péché
Meaning “sin” in French, Péché lives up to its name by serving sinful French fare like this escargot starter. The half dozen portion comes drenched in garlic herb butter alongside toasted French bread — perfect for any international traveler missing France.
Croque Madame at Chez Nous
Chez Nous may have been established in 1982, but its croque madame is still one of the best in the game. With grilled ham and gooey gruyere cheese sandwiched between two pieces of toasted bread and topped with a fried egg, this croque madame will make you feel like you’re sitting in a café back in Paris.
Crepes at Crepe Crazy
This South Austin based food truck will satisfy both your sweet and savory desires. With crepe options like Fiesta (chorizo, scrambled eggs, black beans, corn, Monterey jack, cilantro & salsa), Prosciutto and Apricot Jam (prosciutto, brie, arugula, apricot jam & olive oil), and Dulce de Leche Turtle (caramel spread, chocolate chips, roasted walnuts & chocolate sauce), you can’t go wrong!
Macarons at Baguette et Chocolat
These bite-sized sweets taste just as good as they look. Baguette et Chocolat is the exclusive retailer of Maxim’s de Paris, so you know this French bakery is the real deal. In addition to macarons, the bakery also offers a full espresso bar and an extensive lunch menu. With all the breads and pastries baked in-house, Baguette et Chocolat is your one-stop-shop to pretend you’re back in France.
2. Great Britain
Fish and chips at The Dog and Duck Pub
There’s nothing quite like fish & chips to make you feel like you’re back in the UK. With its puffy, golden-brown exterior, this dish does the Brits justice. In addition to the authentic food, the pub’s atmosphere will mentally transport you to England, with British rock and Motown playing from the pub’s jukebox.
Traditional English breakfast at Full English
By now, you’ve probably heard about Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the EU. What you didn’t know is that Britain left the EU to open this restaurant in Austin. Full English is the most authentic British café in Austin and makes its food in house (even the sausages) with fresh produce. When the owners themselves say they “crossed the pond so you don’t have to,” you know the food’s going to be legit.
English tea at Bundrick’s Traveling Tea Parlor
You can’t have Britain without high tea, but thanks to Bundrick’s Traveling Tea Parlor, you can have high tea without Britain. This adorable food truck specializes in fine teas served alongside scones, petite sweets, finger sandwiches, and other mini delicacies. The international truck is open for afternoon tea service every Wednesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM on East 7th St.
Fondue at Crú Food and Wine Bar
There’s nothing that says Switzerland like a warm cheese fondue on a crisp, cool night. While this dish may have originated in the Alps, it has made its way to Austin via Cru Food and Wine Bar. The fontina and black truffle fondue is served with apple, pear, herb flatbread, roasted shishito peppers and jumbo asparagus.
Raclette at Épicerie
If fondue isn’t enough to satisfy your cheese-loving palate, you can find your second course of melted cheese, or raclette, at Épicerie Café & Grocery. Raclette comes from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape,” which is very appropriate for a dish that consists of literally scraping the melted portion of a cheese wheel from the unmelted part onto a plate. Épicerie likes to serve its raclette with baguette, potato, finocchiona and cornichons.
Meatballs at Ikea
Sure, you’ve heard of IKEA, the Scandinavian powerhouse of ready-to-assemble furniture, but did you know that the IKEA food market is home to some of the best and most authentic Swedish cuisine in Austin? Namely, the meatballs — in addition to the traditional pork-and-beef meatballs, IKEA has also recently unveiled vegetarian and chicken meatballs so people of all dietary restrictions can enjoy a little taste of Sweden while they shop.
Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberries at IHOP
Swedish pancakes are a staple of the region. While the ingredients are the same as those in American pancakes, the portions differ, resulting in a much thinner and almost crepe-like pancake. Of course, you can’t have Swedish pancakes without the famous lingonberry topper. IHOP excels by not only topping their Swedish crepes with lingonberries, but also by whipping their own lingonberry butter. YUM.
5. The Netherlands
Stroopwafels at The Stroop Club
The stroopwafel consists of two crispy waffle-like cookies welded together by a thin layer of sweet caramel. The stroopwafels at The Stroop Club are freshly made by a couple who moved to Austin from the Netherlands. The sweet treats are available in a variety of unique flavors like Strawberry Cream Cheese, Dutch Apple Pie, and Mint & Ginger. Due to the immense popularity of this international product, you can find Stroop Club products at a number of coffee shops around Austin, including Caffe Medici, Bennu, Bouldin Creek Café, Wholy Bagel, Royal Blue Groceries, and more.
Thick cut fries at Prelog’s European Kitchen and Bar
The thick cut fries, or pommes neuf, as they’re referred to on Prelog’s bar menu, are truly reminiscent of the crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside fries frequently featured on @foodintheair. Though served in a bit more sophisticated setting, these fries will make you feel like you’re walking through the streets of Amsterdam.
Brezel at Easy Tiger
The giant soft pretzels at Easy Tiger on East Sixth will make you want to don your Octoberfest attire all year long. The bakery/beer garden serves its freshly baked pretzels with house-made beer cheese, house-made mustard, Dijon mustard, or salted whipped butter. You can’t go wrong with any option, so you’ll just have to come back enough times to try each one.
Schnitzel at Scholz Garten
Scholz Garten is the oldest operating business in Texas and has been in continuous operation since 1866 — clearly it knows what’s up when it comes to good beer and great food. The international beer garden serves four different types of schnitzel — wiener schnitzel, jagerschnitzel, chicken schnitzel, and Scholz schnitzel (pork loin wiener schnitzel with cheese and salsa toppings).
Wurst at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
Banger’s is lauded as one of Austin’s best sausage houses and beer gardens. The menu spans from a classic Bratwurst to a Rabbit & Mushroom hotdog to a Vegan Tempura Eggplant & Red Bell Pepper “sausage.” These international menu options will leave you saying “danke” for all kinds of reasons. 😉
Bucatini all’Amatriciana at Olive and June
One of the most intrinsic Italian dishes, Bucatini all’Amatriciana consists of guanciale pancetta, pecorino cheese, and tomato. Olive and June adheres to this traditional recipe, so you’ll feel like you’re back in Italy when you consume this dish in the restaurant’s cozy outdoor patio.
Spaghetti carbonara at Patrizi’s
There may not be many food trucks in Italy, but Patrizi’s spaghetti carbonara will certainly make you feel like you are. The restaurant started out as a brick-and-mortar establishment in Beaumont, Texas in 1948. Luckily for you, Patrizi’s decided to bring their 50 years of experience to Austin’s Vortex Theater on Manor Road. With fresh pasta pulled to order, homemade sauces, and carefully chosen ingredients, Patrizi’s successfully brings a little piece of Italy to Austin.
Roman-style pizza at Quattro Gatti
You know the old saying, “Smells ring bells”? Well there’s nothing quite like the smell of wood-fired pizza to trigger your memory of an Italian vacation, abounding with candlelit dinners, historic tours, wonderful wines, and endless cones of gelato. One second in Quattro Gatti will make you want to book an international ticket to Italy.
Dessert pizza at Due Forni
If you still aren’t content after these pasta and pizza dishes, you can find a sweeter note of Italy at Due Forni. This dessert pizza consists of Nutella, strawberries, toasted hazelnuts and fior di latte gelato piled up on a Neapolitan crust. Order with a fresh Italian coffee — I’ll be awaiting your grazie!
Jamón ibérico at Barlata
It’s difficult to be a vegetarian in Spain when nearly every dish contains at least a trace of jamón ibérico. While great in other dishes, this Spanish ham is just as delicious on its own. One plate of this ham with a side of bread (and manchego if you’re up to it) will undoubtedly make you feel like you’re back in Spain. Just beware the urge to take a siesta upon consumption.
Assorted tapas at Bullfight
The assorted tapas at Bullfight are perfect for entertaining a group of friends with different tastes and meal preferences because they allow you to mix and match from an extensive list.
#SpoonTip: While the tapas may not be free like they are in Spain, the restaurant hosts a happy hour Monday through Friday from 5-6:30 PM with half-off all beer, cocktails and tapas.
Paella at Malaga
Paella is probably one of the most iconic dishes in Spain. Though it may have seemed like a breeze for your international host mom to make, the dish can very challenging and time-consuming to cook on your own. Thanks to Malaga, though, you’ll never have to. This restaurant comprises its version of the classic meal with bomba rice, chorizo, gulf shrimp, mussels, and aioli.
Churros con chocolate at Churro Company
When it comes to Spain, you can’t end…or begin…or really even divvy up your day without churros. Fortunately, Churro Co. in Austin allows you to do so with a multitude of flavors that can range from traditional all the way to the unique El Piñata — churros tossed in Oreo sugar and topped with marshmallow ambrosia made with pineapple, mandarin, and pecan bits, with a cherry on top.
Corned beef at B.D. Riley’s
B.D. Riley’s is the REAL DEAL. Literally. The pub may have been established in 2000, but the Hannig building it resides in dates back to 1875. As a matter of fact, the pub’s western wall is original 1875 stonework, and everything else was imported from Ireland and built in place. That being said, when you enjoy the award-winning corned beef and cabbage, you will feel EXACTLY like you are in Ireland. End of story.
Fish and chips at Sean Patrick’s
I know fish and chips has already been cited as a British dish but let’s be honest, it’s pretty Irish too, and now you have two options to get your fish & chips fix. For example, if it’s March 17th and everyone is decked out in green and shamrocks, you’re going to want to go to Sean Patrick’s.
Shepherd’s pie at Fadó
Loaded with ground beef and vegetables and topped with colcannon, this iconic Irish dish is the ultimate comfort food. Moreover, Fadó believes that when it comes to pubs, food is just as important as the drink and implements this ideal by crafting every recipe in house, as well as adjusting the menu seasonally to ensure maximum freshness and quality. Of course, to really feel like you’re back in Ireland, you need more than just good food — you need a fun, lively atmosphere. Luckily Fadó is no stranger to Irish culture and houses live bands every Friday and Saturday night.
Provoleta at Buenos Aires Café
Provoleta is Argentina’s own version of melted cheese. This particular cheesy dish consists of barbecued provolone topped with chili and oregano and is served with toasted bread. You can’t find a better version of this outside of Buenos Aires Café, where a commitment to fresh and locally sourced ingredients ensures a consistently high quality of food.
Empanadas at Mmmpanadas
Mmmpanadas bakes every empanada from scratch to create an explosion of flavors waiting to be unleashed from a flaky pastry crust. Though many people are familiar with the bright red food truck, Mmmpanadas can be found in a multitude of Austin-based grocery stores, bars, and coffee shops. This convenience of availability makes it easy to revisit the wonderful taste of Argentina.
Steak & chimichurri at The Rotten Bunch
Don’t let the unappetizing name fool you — “The Rotten Bunch” simply refers to the lowly beginnings of one of everyone’s favorite splurges: wine. Moreover, the hanger steak with chimichurri is anything but unappetizing. Blended with the perfect combination of herbs, oils, vinegars, and spices, the chimichurri sauce enhances the natural robust flavor of the hanger cut to produce a dish that abounds with succulence.
Alfajores at Latin Bakery
Alfojores are comprised of two shortbread-like cookies stuffed with a thick layer of creamy dulce de leche and topped with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The result is a sweet (but not-too-sweet) concoction that is perfect for any time of day. The alfajores at the Latin Bakery in Austin are truly the real deal — made fresh daily, with ingredients shipped from Argentina. Get ‘em while they last.