Since its opening in 1989, Chez Zee American Bistro has been one of the most charming and whimsical restaurants in Austin. Run by former advertising executive Sharon Watkins, it’s a positive presence and a certified Austin landmark. Guests are welcomed by an arched walkway of lights that leads to the restaurant’s patio, where they’re encouraged to play board games like Connect Four. White Christmas lights are strung up throughout the dining room and local art hangs on the walls, rotated throughout the year.
The menu skews Southern and is also whimsical and fun; popular dishes include fried dill pickles, chicken beignets, chicken-fried steak, jalapeño cornbread-stuffed chicken, and smoked pork tenderloin. There’s also a wide selection of grilled meats, pasta and pizza, salads, burgers, and gluten-free items.
But if you go to Chez Zee for one meal, make it brunch. Their crème brûlée French toast is legendary, as are their pancakes, omelettes, egg dishes (beef tenderloin Benedict!), and Tex-Mex fare like migas and huevos rancheros.