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The 11 best restaurants in the Texas Hill Country to visit now

The hills are calling. And when hunger calls too, you’re in luck. In these bucolic parts of Texas, there is no shortage of fun things to do and amazing restaurants, offering a wide variety of cuisines. In addition to the spectacular food, the unique restaurant settings include a historic post office, former flour mill, working ranch and the second oldest continuously operating restaurant in Texas that was once used by the conquistadors.

Ahead, a look at 11 of the best Texas Hill Country restaurants to check out on your next visit to the Edwards Plateau region of the south central part of the Lone Star State.

Compare Hill Country Cuisine

Looking for a Hill Country BBQ? Take that concept a step further at Compadres Hill Country Cocina, which bills itself as a Tex-Mex, fusion barbecue restaurant and doles out winners like smoked beef tacos, pulled pork tacos with raspberry chipotle, and Rio Grande Valley-style Fideo, a kind of traditional Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s worth showing up early to this veteran owned-and-operated eatery because it often runs out of popular items back in the day, so if you sleep in, you lose. If you can swing it, try stopping by for lunch on Fridays, as the entire restaurant shuts down at noon every Friday for a trumpet rendition of the national anthem.

Find him: 209 Lohmann Street, Boerne, TX 78006; 830-331-2198

Shrimp cocktail, a margarita and a happy hour mini-boil with shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes at McAdoo’s Seafood Co. & Oyster Bar in New Braunfels, TX.

Mike Sutter /San Antonio Express-News

McAdoo’s Seafood Co. & Oyster Bar

Lobster and prawn étoufée? Pontchartrain Redfish (Blackened Tenderloin, Sauteed Shrimp, Crab, Madeira Sauce & Dirty Rice)? An oyster bar dishing out some of New England’s best bivalves in south/central Texas? If all of this sounds good to you, McAdoo’s Seafood Co. & Oyster Bar is well worth a visit on your next trip to New Braunfels. Along with Texas Creole delights and time-tested Cajun recipes, expect your fresh catch to be served with Southern hospitality in downtown New Braunfels’ historic post office or fully covered courtyard.

Find him: 196 N. Castell Ave., New Braunfels, TX 78130; 830-629-3474

Tejas Steakhouse & Saloon

Craving for steak? Tejas Steakhouse & Saloon is known for its Kansas City-style steaks. Order the Texas Black Angus beef served in two-ounce medallions with options ranging from 10-ounce to 56-ounce servings, the latter of which is a family-style large portion. While sipping a refreshing beverage and enjoying the outdoor entertainment, you might also want to try the Chicken Fried Steak, Tejas Burger made with a mixture of brisket and chuck patty, and Grilled Tejas Salad, loaded with tomato, onion red, egg, avocado, croutons and bacon.

Find him: 401 Obst Road, Bulverde, TX 78163; 830-980-2226

Gristmill Riverside Restaurant and Bar

If you want to dine in another unique setting, try Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar, unsurprisingly located inside the original mill in the historic cotton-growing town of Gruene. As you dine along the banks of the Guadalupe River, enjoy such hits as Texas catfish (hand-wrapped deep-fried jalapeños stuffed with cheddar, jack, and cream cheese and served with chipotle ranch dressing), chicken fried steak (hand – breaded and deep-fried covered in creamy salsa with mashed potatoes and Gruene beans) and the Guadalupe Minced Steak (a 12-ounce minced steak topped with spicy queso, red onions, fresh avocado, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños).

Bonus: You can catch an epic Texas sunset and savor live music and a brewski in the beer garden.

Find him: 1287 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, TX 78130; 830-625-0684

Southold Farm + Cellar

Southold Farm + Cellar family-owned winery is well worth a stop on your next trip to the Texas Hill Country. Culinary direction is under the thoughtful helm of Chef Sable-Tanya Wentwoord. Here you can try “The Prologue,” a $60 guided group tasting experience with a four-course menu that changes weekly and showcases hyper-local, ingredient-driven dishes accompanied by four Southold wines. Choose from seats at noon, 2pm and 4pm; open only to 15 people per seat (reservations required).

Recent pairing gems include medium neck clams, green poblano chile and white beans served with a glass of “Cup of Ambition,” Southold’s skin-contact Trebbiano. Or how about a teres major steak, Yukon potatoes and mâitre d’ butter exalted while sipping a glass of “Everything is Under Control”, Southold’s Sangiovese?

Find him: 330 Minor Threat Lane, Fredericksburg, TX 78624; 512-829-1650

Otto’s German bistro

Indulge in German classics in the heart of the Texas Hill Country at this inviting eatery with everything from Flammkuchen (housemade flatbread accompanied by crème fraîche, speck lardons, caramelized onions, cambozola, gruyere, aged balsamic and arugula) to mushroom strudel. Otto’s German bistro focuses on spotlighting seasonal dishes with a menu that rotates weekly; and they always source high quality local meat and produce. As for the booze, expect a nice cocktail menu alongside craft beers and stunning bottles of wine from Europe and the New World. Don’t miss the Sunday brunch, especially if you combine it with the mimosa bottle service.

Find him: 316 E. Austin Street, Fredericksburg, TX 78624; 830-307-3336

Outdoor seating at the JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa in Sonora, Texas.

JL Bar Ranch, resort and spa

The JL Bar Restaurant

Located at the JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa, a 13,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch, diners at The Restaurant at JL Bar can experience a blend of Southern fare with a Tex-Mex twist. On any given day, enjoy chicken-fried quail served with whipped potatoes and sauteed spinach, a chicken and waffles platter, or a mesquite-smoked short rib with whipped garlic potatoes and bacon-wrapped asparagus. Treat yourself to a massage or manicure/pedicure before the banquet.

Find him: 3500 Private Road 2254 (Exit 412), Sonora, TX 76950; 855-414-3337

OST restaurant

File it, history buffs: The OST restaurant was founded in 1921 and used by the conquistadors long ago (the restaurant’s John Wayne Room was formerly a corral for horses). In the 1930s and 1940s it became a popular dance hall, welcoming famous singers and bands from near and far. As you soak up the festive atmosphere, opt for the daily lunch or nightly specials. For lunch, try the fried catfish and your choice of fries or urchins, coleslaw, and Texas toast. For dinner, order pork chops with seasoned potatoes and grilled kale, cornbread, and a side salad.

Find him: 311 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003; 830-796-3836

TJ is at the Old Forge

For a taste of good old cowboy culture, TJ’s at the Old Forge is a solid bet. Owners Arlene and Tammie strive to make guests feel right at home, assuming your abode is a two-story, 5,400-square-foot building in downtown Bandera with many reminders of days gone by. You’ll also enjoy the delicious cuisine, ranging from pecan crusted chicken to chicken fried steak. Save room for the triple chocolate cake and pecan cheesecake for dessert.

Find him: 807 Main Street, Bandera, Texas 78003; 830-796-9990

Guests can enjoy customizable pizzas at Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard in Boerne, Texas.

Courtesy of Visit Bastrop

Neighbor’s kitchen and yard

Live music, a stellar venue on the Colorado River, epic meals, and a welcoming atmosphere. What do you dislike about Bastrop and Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard? You must try their customizable pizzas (gluten-free options are available), and the Greek salad and classic Caesar are also stellar choices. Watch the river flow under a covered patio, play a game of laundry in the backyard, or cheer on a sports match on the TV. Beer aficionados, be sure to order one or more of the many craft beers on tap.

Find him: 601 Chestnut St., Building C, Bastrop, TX 78602; 512-988-7036

Boerne Taco House

Texas and tacos go hand in hand and are truly seamlessly intertwined at the Boerne Taco House. Beloved orders include street tacos with beef, al pastor, chicken and shrimp on homemade tortilla chips and the enchiladas verdes, doused in a snappy tomatillo salsa, Oaxaca cheese and Mexican cream. Follow your meal with a cold beer from the rotating selection of beers on tap, and top it all off with flan or tres leches. You can thank us later.

Find him: 470 S. Main Street, Suite 200, Boerne, TX 78006; 830-331-2874

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