Visit the Tropics by way of posh West Austin
Popular plate: The jerk pork has an intense kick balanced by pineapple pico de gallo and rum glaze.
Housed in a 100 year old building with tall ceilings and exposed beams, Cafe Josie has the relaxed feel of a neighborhood hangout. Before starting the cafe, named after his daughter, in 1997, chef Charles Mayes worked at vegetarian, Southwestern, and seafood restaurants.
His love of spicy heat was a recurring theme in his previous efforts, so when designing his own menu, he decided to focus on spices from countries around the equator. The pan-fried redfish, for example, combines the flavors of the Caribbean and Mexico, with a crust of pumpkin seeds, an ancho chile sauce, and a side of black beans.