Texas restaurants are well-represented on Bon Appetit’s list of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants for 2022. Seven Lone Star State establishments earn the magazine's approval.
- Birdie’s, a counter service restaurant in Austin known for its seasonal menu and well-chosen list of natural wines
- Canje, the Caribbean restaurant in Austin from star chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph
- El Rincon del Maiz, a taqueria in Garland that serves vegan tacos on seven different types of corn tortillas
- La Onda, chef Victor Villarreal’s Latin-inspired seafood restaurant in Fort Worth that includes dry-aged fish among its offerings
- March, the Houston fine dining restaurant dedicated to tasting menus inspired by different regions of the Mediterranean
- The Nicolett, a Lubbock restaurant that serves “High Plains Cuisine” in the form of dishes such as elk tartare and house-made pappardelle stuffed with avocado
- Reese Bros. Barbecue, a San Antonio food truck that pairs classic Texas barbecue with Mexican-inspired sides
The strong showing represents an improvement over 2019, when only four Texas restaurants made the list. The magazine skipped a Best New Restaurants list in 2021, instead recognizing restaurants that showed leadership during the pandemic with its Head of the Table awards.
The magazine's editors express optimism about the state of dining in America. They note that a broader range of immigrant culinary traditions has spread across the country, writing that it means "more Guyanese and South Indian and Palestinian and Indigenous Mexican food for all of us." They also praise restaurants that are putting their staff first by offering improved working environments.
"I hope this list, divided by region and filled with our thoughts on what to order and what to know, acts as an invitation to shake off any skepticism as to whether going out is 'worth it' these days," writes restaurant editor Elazar Sontag.
Each restaurant on the list receives a brief profile along with a list of recommended dishes.
For La Onda, the unique take on Mexican and South American cuisine from Victor and Misty Villarreal, the magazine places a rather large focus on Victor's occasional experiments dry-aging seafood, which they say is rare in the U.S., although "Japanese chefs have been dry-aging seafood for a long time."
They also say:
Here, you might find locally caught, dry-aged, golden-seared wahoo bathed in smoky salsa, or Villareal’s signature "shark-cuterie" board, which features no actual shark but plenty of his creamy smoked fish dip, salt-cured gravlax, and a little jar of seafood and pickled veggies floating in chili oil. Oysters are served with mezcal-infused mignonette and ceviche features Ora King salmon and watermelon. Villarreal’s wife Misty runs front of house and cocktails, which deserve an entry of their own, and the whole place is suffused with the kind of when-you're-here-you're-family vibes that make us wish this little blue house was our little blue house, so we could eat here every day.
Recommended dishes include fish of the day, the above-mentioned Shark-cuterie Board, and ceviche of the day.
La Onda received a nomination in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards for Best New Restaurant in 2021, a category that it won. It also made a 2022 year-end list in Texas Monthly magazine, for its Salty Ginger cocktail.
From this list of 50 restaurants, Bon Appetit will reveal its ranked top 10 list on September 14.