Eighty miles north of San Antonio, Austin and the surrounding Hill Country keep raising culinary standards. Here, three standout spots.
Apis Restaurant and Apiary
Chef-owner Taylor Hall serves the kind of sophisticated food you wouldn't expect to find out in Texas Hill Country. But dishes like sea scallop crudo with cured and roasted sunchokes validate the 30-mile drive from Austin. Hall also operates an apiary and is opening a pizza place in a nearby stone building that looks like a country chapel. 23526 TX 71, Spicewood; apisrestaurant.com.
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Café No Sé at South Congress Hotel
Back in Austin after making her name in Chicago, pastry chef Amanda Rockman produces exquisite versions of everything from buttery kouign amann to her signature puddingy, golden Basque cake. "Austin has some sort of compass pull on me," Rockman says. "Once a Texan, always a Texan." 1603 S. Congress Ave.; cafenoseaustin.com.