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The Austin City Limits Festival returns for its 12th year this October. With the exception of a second weekend added to the schedule, the fest will pretty much look like last year’s. But the city itself is a whole other story. Austin seems to be growing as fast as any city in the country, with an improved infrastructure and unprecedented building of hotels. Leave for a week and a new restaurant opens down the street from your house. Leave for a year and you hardly recognize the drinking and dining landscape when you return. If you haven’t been to Austin since last year’s Austin City Limits, let us give you an update on new places to eat and drink when you’re not enjoying bands in Zilker Park. See photos of all the restuarants here.

Arro
You may not remember Drew Curren from his brief appearance on “Top Chef” the season Paul Qui dominated, but the chef and his restaurant group have a couple of hits on their hands in Austin and Arro looks to make it a trifecta. Following the success of bakery/artisan sausage/beer garden Easy Tiger and upscale diner 24, the ELM Restaurant Group has opened this French-country inspired bistro on West Sixth. The menu at this spot that’s open late on weekends includes croque monsieur, grilled lamb and sweetbreads, lemon goat cheese tart and rosewater profiteroles. 601 W. 6th Street, 512-992-2776, ArroAustin.com

Austin Beer Garden Brewing
Some veterans from Uncle Billy’s on Barton Springs Road headed south down Lamar Boulevard to this massive space and have been jamming the place since they opened. What’s their secret? Craft beer and pizza. ABGB offers five beers on tap, including a Bavarian lager and India pale ale, along with several rotating taps to show off their creativity and seasonality. The pizza roster, including Margherita and white clam pies, is limited, but the real stars here are the beer. The ABGB is a good call for pre or post-fest imbibing. 1305 W. Oltorf Street, 512-298-2242, TheABGB.com

Barlata
San Francisco Bay Area residents may recognize the name of this new tapas bar. It shares a name with chef Daniel Olivella’s Bay Area restaurant. Olivella, who lives in Austin, also owns B44 Catalan Bistro out West. Perfect for large groups looking to share small plates, Barlata serves about two dozen hot tapas plates (try the grilled morcilla sausage); 10 paella (including seafood, chicken, rabbit and vegetarian versions); a variety of “latas,” dishes served inside small tin cans. And, of course, there’s sangria and “calimochos” (a red wine and cola combination) to satiate your thirst for wine. 1500 S. Lamar Blvd, 512-473-2211, BarlataAustin.com

Benji's
This restaurant offers rooftop dining in the bustling West Sixth Street district, just a short cab or pedicab ride from the park. You may have to wade through a lot of clowns in shiny shirts, but where else are you going to get beef fajitas at $40 per pound? 716 W. 6th Street, 512-476-8226, BenjisCantina.com

Jeffrey's
If you really want to impress your weekend date, desire to be treated like a prince or are just hoping to run into some rock stars, this new upscale steakhouse may be the ticket. Bon Appetit recently named it one of the top 50 new restaurants in the country on the strength of its plucked-from-a-Wed-Anderson-movie style and the massive, in-house dry-aged steaks. If you want a more casual time at Jeffrey’s, sit in the bar area and enjoy some wine with a crab cake and steak tartare. They even have a Mercedes on hand for those who need a lift following their big meal. 1204 W Lynn Street, 512-477-5582, JeffreysOfAustin.com

No Va
The Rainey Street district is known for its post-frat bar scene, but No Va is hoping to spiffy up the street’s image a bit. The restaurant is helmed by Next Food Network Star veteran chef Brad Sorenson and is located in a sleek, modern two-story building on the row populated by bungalows. The menu includes corn gnocchi with brown butter, roasted bell pepper and fava beans; Atlantic salmon with beet-radish salad and nicoise olive puree; and a “cheeseburger” tartare on an onion bun. 87 Rainey Street, 512-382-5651, NoVaOnRainey.com

Qui
The most anticipated restaurant opening in recent memory took place in June when Top Chef winner Paul Qui flung open the doors to his flagship restaurant. Found near many of the legendary dives of East Austin bars, smartly designed Qui has one of the most eclectic menus in the city — with influences ranging from the chef's Filipino grandmother to his world travels to his time at Uchiko. The patio makes for a lively scene, and the doors to the glass dining room doors slide all the way open when the weather’s nice. Try the rabbit seven ways and the Bourbon Fancy. 160 E. 6th Street, 512-436-9626, QuiAustin.com

Winflo
This new Italian osteria serves pizzas and pastas and typical entrees you could expect to find at any red-sauce Italian joint, but the real draw here is the wine and the patio. There are dozens of seats shaded by a massive oak tree, and the place makes for great people watching. 1315 W. 6th Street, 512-582-1027, WinfloOsteria.com

Whisler’s
Gregarious Austin bar veteran Scranton Twohey converted old East Austin dive bar Rabbit’s into a cool shabby chic bar with exposed brick walls and a chandelier. The classic cocktails are fantastic and the beer is ice cold at this lively bar that offers multiple seating areas, a large patio and a food truck that slings dumplings. It’s also within stumbling distance of a half dozen other popular bars. 1816 E. 6th Street, 512-480-0781

Wright Bros. Brew & Brew
This modernist warehouse will set you up with arguably the only two things you need to make it through ACL Fest: beer and coffee. Flat Track coffee in the morning (OK, maybe a pastry or two from Easy Tiger, as well), one of 40 beers in the afternoon pre-fest and at night post-fest … what more do you need? How about a large, wrap-around patio that gives you a front-row seat of the downtown skyline. Located directly between downtown and the East Austin bars, this is a great weigh station on your trips back and forth across town. 500 San Marcos Street, 512-493-0963, TheBrewAndBrew.com

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