Tastemaker Awards 2016 Houston
The Best in Texas

The unequivocal list of the best restaurants and bars in Texas 2016

The unequivocal list of the best restaurants and bars in Texas 2016

San Antonio Restaurant of the Year Mixtli.  Mixtli/Facebook
Fort Worth chef Tim Love
Fort Worth Chef of the Year Tim Love. Photo courtesy of Tim Love
Pax Americana fish dish
Houston Restaurant of the Year Pax Americana. Pax Americana/Facebook
John Tesar
Dallas Chef of the Year John Tesar.  Photo by Kevin Marple
Dai Due beef tartare
Austin Restaurant of the Year Dai Due.   Tiff T./Yelp
Fort Worth chef Tim Love
Pax Americana fish dish
John Tesar
Dai Due beef tartare

Whether at home or traveling, one question we Texans always want answered is where to eat. Our annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards provides plenty of answers. The program started in Austin in 2012, as a way to honor the top talent in the restaurant and bar communities, and has since expanded to include every city we serve: Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

What makes Tastemakers unique is that we not only rely on the intelligence of our staff and contributors on the ground in those cities to help identify the nominees, but we also enlist industry experts to offer advice and, ultimately, decide who wins — except in the category of Best New Restaurant, which is determined by our readers.

The Tastemaker Awards, the largest and most comprehensive culinary tribute of its kind, truly represents the best restaurants, chefs, bars, and bartenders in the state, those who innovate and inspire not only local diners, but also their peers. The 2016 winners represent the best in Texas dining right now.

Below we have listed those who took home prizes in myriad categories, presented during celebratory events May 17-19 in Austin, Houston, and Dallas. If you are hungry to read more about the people and places mentioned here, click on the city name to read why they deserve the Tastemaker title. 


  • Restaurant of the Year: Dai Due
  • Chef of the Year: Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas, Olamaie
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Nicholas Yanes, Juniper
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Janina O'Leary
  • Bar of the Year: The Townsend
  • Bartender of the Year: Justin Elliott, The Townsend
  • Brewery of the Year: Jester King
  • Sommelier of the Year: June Rodil, McGuire Moorman Hospitality
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Evangeline Cafe
  • Best New Restaurant: Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar


  • Restaurant of the Year: Tei-An
  • Chef of the Year: John Tesar, Knife
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Kirstyn Brewer, Victor Tangos
  • Pastry Chef of the Year (tie): Marlene Duke, The Theodore, and Alison Morse, Front Room Tavern
  • Bar of the Year: Midnight Rambler
  • Bartender of the Year: Kyle Hilla, The Theodore
  • Brewery of the Year: On Rotation
  • Sommelier of the Year: Jeff Gregory, FT33
  • Best Sushi Restaurant: Tei Tei Robata Bar
  • Best New Restaurant: Resident Taqueria


  • Restaurant of the Year: Revolver Taco Lounge
  • Chef of the Year: Tim Love, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse
  • Best New Restaurant: The Dive Oyster Bar


  • Restaurant of the Year: Pax Americana
  • Chef of the Year: Adam Dorris, Pax Americana
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Graham Laborde, Bernadine's
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar
  • Bar of the Year: Public Services Wine & Whisky
  • Bartender of the Year: Terry Williams, Anvil Bar & Refuge
  • Brewery of the Year: Saint Arnold Brewing Company
  • Sommelier of the Year: Evan Turner, Helen Greek Food & Wine
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Weights + Measures
  • Best New Restaurant: State of Grace


  • Restaurant of the Year: Mixtli
  • Chef of the Year: Jason Dady, Tre Trattoria and Shuck Shack
  • Best New Restaurant: Mezcaleria Mixtli