This one… was hard. Going from $2 tacos to $150 plates made it hard to narrow down to my top 25… I know travelers are coming in with limited time and need a shorter, more concise list of where they should go… so ask and you shall receive! These are in no particular order and offer a good mix for everyone’s taste buds.
WARNING: This post of delicious food might make you hungry. Please no hangry comments on the blog. Respond after you eat, please and thank you.
PSA: This list started as a spreadsheet on my computer and has somehow found its way to evolve into a blog. (I will add more pictures as I go back and eat more.)
Here’s my TOP 40-ish Restaurants in town:
Mexican / Tex-Mex
Sushi / Asian
Emmer and Rye $$$ American
Location: SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St UNIT 110, Austin, TX 78701
What to Try: As random as it is, my favorite dish is the Cacio e Pepe (and I still order it as a side dish to share every single time.) The Corn Cakes are a great shareable bite along with the Blue Crab. For dinner, I suggest you opt-in for the $75 tasting menu. Not only is it delicious but it is so.much.fun. The servers are wonderful and ensure your experience was beyond your expectations.
Things to Know: It’s on Rainey Street so this is a good date night place to eat at before you explore the rest of what Rainey has to offer.
Jacoby’s $$$ American / Southern
Location: 3235 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: To start, get the Deviled Eggs and Brisket Yeast Rolls. For dinner, the Chicken Fried Steak is delightful and the Brussel Sprouts were great. I’ve even had a bite of the burger and it was so juicy. They proudly advertise that the beef is family-raised on the Jacoby Range, and it’s hormone and antibiotic free (which I LOVE.) For dessert, you have to seal the deal with Strawberry Cake.
Things to Know: They’re Closed Monday & Tuesdays. They consider themselves a ranch-to-table dining experience with wonderful views (that, I can attest to.)
Odd Duck $$$ American
Location: 1201 S Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: Appetizers: Cornbread (with beer cheese), Roasted Beets, the Pork Belly, Burger and the Redfish Ceviche. All of the dishes are plated beautifully and rotated out often (so the next time you go, look for what’s new!) To make it better, all of the cocktails are delicious and you can’t go wrong with their mixology.
Things to Know: You will need reservations at least a few days in advance! The story behind this restaurant is worth the read here. Eating local and supporting local starts here with Odd Duck. You can even see where they source their produce locally here.
Happy Hour: 5-6PM Daily (even on weekends!)
Launderette $$ American
Location: 2115 Holly St Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: Brunch!! I loved the zucchini bread and pork shoulder hash were wonderful. I haven’t been for dinner quite yet, but I’ve heard it’s just as great as the brunch.
Things to Know: This whole restaurant is Insta-worthy. From the plating to the drinks, you will NOT be disappointed here. You will need reservations as this popular brunch-spot books up fast.
Happy Hour: MON-FRI 5PM-6PM
Salt & Time $$ American / Butcher
Location: 1912 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: Yes, it is a butcher, and yes you should try the beef. I’ve tried the Butcher’s Burger and the Roast Beef sandwich (and was happy with both!)
Things to Know: If you need to make a charcuterie board, this is the place to go and grab some delicious meats. The staff is very helpful and they have a lot of local grocery style foods and wines for sale (which is so fun to look through!)
Foreign & Domestic $$ American
Location: 306 E 53rd St Austin, TX 78751
What to Try: To start, try the Heirloom Panzanella and some Gruyere Popovers. For your meal, I’d suggest Fried Chicken Biscuit or the Wagyu Flank Steak. Want dessert? Get the Blueberry pie with a creamy, soft blueberry filling with thyme and a perfect crust. This is also a great brunch spot!
Things to Know: The menu is always changing and the daily specials are always something new so you’ll never know what you’re in for each time you go!
Happy Hour: Tue-Sat. 5:00-6:30PM (50% off Austin Beers and Wine by the Glass & $4-$8 snacks and dishes.)
Jack Allen’s Kitchen $$ American / Southern
Southwest: 7720 Highway 71 West Austin, TX 78735
Northwest: 3600 North Capital of Texas Highway, Building D Austin, TX 78746
Round Rock: 2500 Hoppe Trail Round Rock, TX 78681
North: 3010 W Anderson Lane, Suite D Austin, TX 78757
*Coming Soon* Cedar Park
What to Try: To Start: The Crunchy Catfish & Slaw, the House-made Pimento Cheese or the Nachos. For Dinner: The Slow-Braised Beef Barbacoa Enchiladas or the Chicken Fried Chicken. To Drink: Tom’s Favorite Margarita. When it comes to dessert, I haven’t met one I didn’t like.
Things to Know: The locations vary their menus so you might not get the same experience at each.
Happy Hour: Monday–Friday: 3–7PM *featuring 1/2 priced appetizers and $1 off all drinks
JewBoy Burgers $$ Burgers / Diner
Location: 5111 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
What to Try: …The Burgers. I’m just kidding, there’s SO many to choose from. My favorites are the Oy Vay Guey Burger and the Green Chile Burger. As far as sides go, you can’t go wrong with the Potato Latkes.
Things to Know: The staff is SO helpful if you get overwhelmed with the menu. These are the best burgers in town! I hope you enjoy.
Bouldin Creek Cafe $$ American / Vegan / Vegetarian Cafe
Locations: 1900 S 1st St Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: Where do I begin? The tofu scramble, blueberry cornbread, and the veggie burger are all great to try.
Things to Know: It is woman owned and has served Austin for 20+ years. They source food locally from the Bread to desserts, coffee and espresso beans. Support local and support Bouldin Creek Cafe.
Rosewood $$$ Steakhouse / Seafood
Location: 1209 Rosewood Ave Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: To start, the pimento cheese with crackers.The Wagyu Beef Tenderloin is absolutely incredible. For some soul food, get the Fried Chicken. And the side of Carrot Slaw?? Didn’t know I needed carrot slaw in my life but now I do. To drink, the Rosewood (the signature drink.) It’s light and refreshing.
Things to Know: This place is cute and cozy and fancy- it’s a restaurant/bar in an old home in downtown Austin, how can it get any better than that? There’s parking in the back that’s not bad.
Happy Hour: Outdoor Happy Hour all night on Thursdays! Available 5-6:30 every other night.
The Josephine House $$ American
Location: 1601 Waterson Ave Austin, TX 78703
What to Try: Brunch: The Huevos Rancheros, Crab Avocado Toast or the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Their latte’s are instagram worthy and the cold brews are delicious. They have fresh-pressed juice and wonderful mimosas!
Things to Know: Brunch is served every day from 9AM-3PM and is a must! You will need reservations at least a few days in advance!
Happy Hour: Happy Hour from 4-6PM. 25% off a selected menu. $2 off alcoholic beverages.
Dia Due $$ American / Butcher
Location: 2406 Manor Rd Ste A Austin, TX 78722
What to Try: The Wagyu Cheeseburger is delicious and the breakfast sandwiches are delightful. The Quail salad is beautiful and full of flavor. All of the ingredients are fresh – i’ve never tried a dish here I didn’t like! They also have a meat sampler to smart which is so much fun to taste unique meats and flavors.
Things to Know: Closed on Mondays! The waiters are so helpful in suggesting what to try. The menu can be overwhelming but you can’t go wrong here!
Mexican / Tex Mex
Matt’s El Rancho $$ Tex-Mex
Location: 2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: Matt’s is a local staple for scratch-made Tex-Mex (since 1952!) No matter what you do… you. have. to. try. the Bob Armstrong dip! For dinner I would suggest the Asadero Beef (tenderloin) Tacos or the Grilled Fish Tacos. They both come with a guacamole salad which is always a nice touch. The staff is so attentive and very helpful if you can’t decide what to try. When it comes to drinks here, I’d suggest the Knockout Mexican Martinis.
Things to Know: Matt’s is usually a packed house. And I mean a line out of the door, 2 hour wait packed. And no, they don’t take reservations. It is WELL worth your wait so do not fret but be prepared if you’re trying to go to dinner at 6 pm on a Thursday night.
Happy Hour: Mon-Friday 3-5PM
Veracruz All Natural $ Mexican
Locations: TONS. They have 6 locations all over Austin!
What to Try: This taco truck has authentic Mexican food made with fresh ingredients and organic juices and smoothies. My favorite tacos are the Migas, La Reyna and the Chicken Mole. Nothing beats a homemade tortilla and fresh ingredients! If you’re a vegetarian, this is another great spot for ya’!
Things to Know: Order online in advance before you get there and you won’t be sorry! Popular taco times = very long wait times here!
Suerte $$$ Mexican
Location: 1800 E 6th St Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: The best way to describe Suerte is Mexican meets Fine Dining. Every dish you get is plated beautifully and wows me every. single. time. I’d suggest tasting the Suadero Tacos, Fish Tacos, Gnocchi or the Goat Barbacoa. For drinks, I’d suggest the Spicy Marg!
Things to Know: It is more of a *fine dining* experience in comparison to other restaurants on this list. Therefore, it is more pricey. However, the staff, the ambiance, and the experience are well worth the price!
El Naranjo $$$$ Mexican
Location: 2717 S Lamar Blvd Ste 1085 Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: I’ve only dined in here once, but everything I tried was excellent. The Guacamole and Ahi Tuna Tostadas are great starters followed by Filete de res al Chinextl or the Enchilades Verdes. For cocktails, try La Fresa or the Classic Margarita.
Things to Know: It is very small. Parking is easy and plentiful either to the left of the restaurant or in the parking garage down the sidewalk. The staff is very helpful if you are unsure of what to order!
Fresa’s $$ Mexican
Location: 1703 S 1st St Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: To start, try the Loaded Queso and the Mexican Street Corn. Next, order a Power Bowl or the La Fresa’s Tacos. To drink, try one of their Margaritas! For dessert, they make homemade ice cream that seals the meal.
Things to Know: You’ll likely need reservations but I’ve had luck for same-day reservatiosn and hope you can luck out as well!
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3pm-6pm ($2 off all Aguas Frescas, Botanas, Beer, Wine & Margaritas)
Comedor $$$ Mexican
Location: 501 Colorado St Austin, TX 78701
What to Try: Start with the Shrimp Tostadas (or if you want to be wowed try the Spanish Octopus Pulpo Ensu Tinto.) For dinner, the Mushroom Quesadillas are delicious, the charred cabbage and the Bone Marrow Tacos are out-of-this-world. For dessert, you have to get the Tres Leches cake. No if’s, ands, or buts.
Things to Know: The space is aesthetically beautiful and it’s my go-to restaurant to bring out friends and family from out of town. For an up-scale dining experience, you can’t go wrong. You’ll need reservations a bit in advance to dine for dinner here.
Happy Hour: Monday through Thursday 5:00-6:30pm
Grizzelda’s $$ Mexican / Tex-Mex
Location: 105 Tillery St Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: The Fish Tacos, Queso Fundido and Tres Leches are the perfect dinner trio!
Things to Know: They’re closed Monday and Tuesday. You will most likely need reservations- it fills up quick!
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ $$ BBQ / Tex Mex
Location: 11500 Menchaca Road Austin, Texas 78748
What to Try: You can’t go wrong here! The Beef Ribs are incredible, the Brisket Taco is delicious and the Carnitas Taco is to die for.
Things to Know: They are closed Monday & Tuesday and are open the rest of the week until they sell out. If you’re heading out there late in the day, I’d suggest calling to make sure they still have what you’re craving! During COVID they only offer online ordering. They use Hertley Ranch beef and pork and pride themselves on their all natural grass-fed beef.
Loro $$ Asian-Fusion BBQ
Location: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: For starters, get the Chicken Karaage (best in town) and the Corn Fritters. If you’re looking for some greens, the Tomato & Cucumber Salad is packed with flavor. When it comes to a meal, try the smoked prime Bavette (and if you luck out on timing, get the Brisket or Pork Ribs – served after 4pm.) The Crispy Smoked Chicken sandwich is to-die-for. Finally, if you’re a dessert person… get dessert. The chocolate crème brulee is worth every bite. (P.S. For a boozy drink – try the Vietnamese Coffee or the frozen Slushees!)
Things to Know: Loro is labeled as an Asian smokehouse and is co created by Aaron Franklin of the famous Franklin BBQ & Tyson Cole… so you know it HAS to be good. And it is. The flavors are out.of.this.world. It is a MUST-try in Austin. To top it off, it’s dog friendly on the patio!
Happy Hour: Loro is one of my favorite Happy Hours in town. It is every Weekday from 2-5PM and offers 3 of my favorite entrees on their discounted menu: the Cheeseburger, Chicken Karaage, and Chicken Sandwich. They have a variety of drink specials but my favorite is the Boozy Slushees (Frozen Gin & Tonic, Mango Sake and the Frozen Mojito are all $4.)
Slab BBQ $$ BBQ
North: 9012 Research Blvd C4, Austin, TX 78758
West: 7101 TX-71, Austin, TX 78735
What to Try: The Ribs, Notorious P.I.G., Smoked Gouda Mac N’ Cheese and the Green Bean Casserole are incredible. To wrap it all together, get a southern sweet tea!
Things to Know: The portions are HUGE (even for the price!) And I know what you’re thinking… no. they’re not from Texas BUT they bring some great Tennessee BBQ to Texas let me tell you. Guy Fieri approves.
Franklin’s BBQ $$ BBQ
Location: 900 E 11th St. Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: You REALLY cannot go wrong here. I am a personal fan of the Brisket and Pulled pork, but to each(‘s BBQ) their own. When it comes to dessert, you better not get overstuffed because their Banana & Pecan Pies are grandma-level-good.
Things to Know: During COVID you will need to order ahead of time… and I mean WAY ahead of time. Give them at least 3 days notice to ensure your Brisket comes out smokin’.
La Barbecue $$ BBQ
Location: 2027 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: Hear me out: The El Chopped Sandwich: (Your choice of pulled pork or chopped beef, topped with chipotle coleslaw, served on a Matin’s potato bun.) As far as the chicken, brisket and ribs are SO good. I swear it’s some special seasoning. You won’t need BBQ sauce here!
Things to Know: They’re closed Monday and Tuesday. This is one of the few restaurants where I can happily say parking has always been a breeze for me! One con for me was that you can’t specify if you want fatty or lean brisket but I have to say it was well-balanced and not overly fatty.
Bufalina Due $$ Italian
North: 6555 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78757
Downtown: 1519 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78702 (temporarily closed)
What to Try: Whatever Pizza suits your fancy! I’m personally a Margarita fan (it’s great here) but I have enjoyed the the Calabrese (salami + basil) as well. For apps, I love the Burrata and their Cesar Salad. To finish it off, try the Brownie with Salted Caramel ice cream.
Things to Know: Get reservations (outdoor only.) It can get quite crowded and wait times can reach well over two hours. They only serve Neapolitan Pizzas (these Pizzas are roughly 12″ in diameter and are cooked in a Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven, which runs north of 900 degrees, for roughly 90 seconds. Pizzas emerge properly charred and slightly wet in the middle, a Neapolitan hallmark.)
Via 313 $$ Pizza
West Downtown: 600 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
East Downtown: 1802 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Rainey: 96 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701
North Campus: 3016 Guadalupe St #100, Austin, TX 78705
West: 6705 E Hwy 290 No. 503, Austin, TX 78735
What to Try: Whatever you love! When it comes to pizza, I feel like everyone has their go-to. Mine at Via 313 has been (and will always be) the Ambassador. It’s made with Sausage, Natural Casing Pepperoni, Fresh Garlic, Italian Oregano and topped with House-Made Ricotta. If you’re feeling frisky (for dessert) try the Boston Cooler- it’s vanilla ice cream blended with Ginger Ale. A taste I didn’t know my taste buds needed to try.
Things to Know: They serve both (normal bar style pizza) but are known for their authentic Detroit Style Square Pizzas. That magical Detroit crunchy exterior and chewy interior can’t be beat.
Patrizi’s $$ Italian
Location: 2307 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
What to Try: The pasta here is just downright incredible. I’d suggest trying the Cacio E Pepe, Carbonara Alexandra or the good ole’ spaghetti & meatballs (formally the Patrizi’s Red Sauce with an added Meatball.) Finally, the Roasted Beats are a great starter to share.
Things to Know: It is a food truck! There is indoor seating (if it isn’t too packed, that is.) They also have gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options!
Home Slice Pizza $$ Pizza
Location: 501 E 53rd St Austin, TX 78751
What to Try: The Margharita Pizza, Calzones, and Tiramisu are wonderful and come out quick. If you ever find yourself looking for a quick bite in a time crunch- Home Slice is perfect.
Things to Know: On South Congress, this is a staple as you are walking and shopping around. Stop for a slice and people-watch on the picnic tables out front.
40 North $$ Pizza
Location: 900 W 10th St AUSTIN, TX 78703
What to Try: 40 North is so great because they have more than just pizza. From salads to chicken parm. or burgers and of course… the pizza! Although I only grab pizza here (yes, it’s that good! I’ve heard the burger is worth a try if you’re not a pizza fan.)
Things to Know: They’re closed Monday and only open for dinner Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Vespaio $$$ Italian
Location: 1610 S Congress Ave Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: The Burrata and Lasagna are delightful and worth the try! Afterwards, the Tiramisu is worth. saving. space. for.
Things to Know: They are only open for dinner at this time. You will need reservations but can luck into same-day reservations on occasion.
Sushi / Asian
Komé $$ Japanese Sushi Bar
Location: 5301 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
What to Try: I am a HUGE Sushi fan so this might get a little lengthy here (I love them all!) The Sunshine Roll (Tuna+Salmon+Mango), Crunchy Dynamite Roll (Spicy Tuna+Avocado), Spooky Roll (Spicy Tuna+Avocado+Topped with Salmon), and the Tonkotsu Ramen.They also have the cutest bento boxes (that are so tasty, too.)
Things to Know: One of my favorite things is their Sushi trays to go. You can get a giant party platter of rolls at a great price and it’s well presented to bring to your next picnic or get-together.
Ramen Tatsu-ya $$ Ramen
North: 8557 Research Blvd #126, Austin, TX
Downtown: 1600 E 6th St, Austin, TX
South: 1234 S. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
What to Try: The Tonkotsu Original is full of flavor and is a great bowl of Ramen. If you like spice, try the Miso-Hot (pictured above.) You can customize your bowl by adding/subtracting a variety of toppings and proteins. For apps, the Sweet and Sour Yodas (Brussel Sprouts) and the Spicy Edamame are my go-to’s.
Things to Know: If you want to have fun with it (and you enjoy spice) add in a Fire Bomb to your bowl for some extra flavor! If you like ambiance and a great location, head to Downtown on 6th street for an experience.
Uchiko $$$$ Sushi / Japanese
Location: 4200 N Lamar Blvd Ste 140 Austin, TX 78756
What to Try: It sounds basic, but I always order the omakase. The server will craft up an impeccable and thoughtful meal. He asked us to trust him and I’m glad we did because we were not disappointed.
Things to Know: The menu can be overwhelming but the servers are so helpful. Uchiko is from the same creators/chef of Uchi- award-winning Chef Tyson Cole’s signature non-traditional take on Japanese food makes this restaurant what it is.
Happy Hour: 4pm-6:30 PM Daily. (This might be my favorite sushi happy hour hands-down.)
The Peached Tortilla $$ Asian Fusion + Southern
Location: 5520 Burnet Rd, Suite 100 Austin, TX 78756
What to Try: The Southern Fun (braised brisket, kale, bean sprouts, wide rice noodles), the Malaysian Laksa Bowl and the Thai Chopped Salad are a few of my favorites. To start, the charred brussels are great. To drink- try the Margaritas de Peached with extra habanero/togarashi salt and the blistered shishito peppers.
Things to Know: This is such a great happy hour spot! You will likely need reservations at least a day in advance. Finally, parking can be troublesome close by (they have very limited spots reserved for their restaurant so a parking garage might be your best option if it is full.)
Happy Hour: Tue-Sun. 5-7PM ($5 Beers, $6 Wine/Cocktails, $4 Tacos, $5 Snacks & $9 Burger)
Uchi $$$$ Sushi / Japanese
Location: 801 South Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78704
What to Try: I hate to be this person… but I haven’t had one dish here that didn’t blow my mind. You literally cannot go wrong here and I encourage you to try things that sound crazy. They are, and they are delicious. If you must, I would suggest the Hama Chili, Bluefin Crudo, Kanpachi Carpaccio, and the Negi Toro.
Things to Know: You will need reservations a *while* in advance! It’s founded by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tyson Cole. A delicate balance of elevated food and impeccable service, Uchi offers non traditional Japanese cuisine with signature tastings, sushi, and seasonal omakase.
Oseyo $$ Korean
Location: 1628 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702
What to Try: Don’t miss the fried chicken, bibimbap, or the bulgogi. Every time I go I have to order the kimchi jigae, jajangmyeon, and kimchi bokkeumbap.
Things to Know: Make reservations for a seat on the patio! E. Cesar Chavez is a highly trafficked road but you feel tucked away on their little patio. It’s very relaxing and gives you major *austin* vibes. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by their menu but ask their servers for help (they are so kind and helpful!)
Sway $$ Thai
Locations: (3 Locations) Only 1 Is Currently Open:
3437 Bee Cave Rd West Lake Hills, TX 78746
What to Try: The Pad Thai is wonderful and their signatures- the Tiger Cry and Son In Law are both a must. try. So much so that I don’t branch out to their other dishes. Next time, I will and I will inform you all of my adventure.
Things to Know:
Happy Hour: Daily 4-6PM
Clark’s Oyster Bar $$$ Seafood
Location: 1200 W 6th St Austin, TX 78703
What to Try: The Lobster Roll, New England Clam Chowder, Crab Cakes and the Red Snapper Ceviche are my favorites. If you’re an Oyster Fan, be sure to try the Irish Point oysters- so fresh you won’t be sorry you did.
Things to Know: Make reservations for the patio! It is beautiful on a nice day and makes the experience unlike any other in town.
Happy Hour: Mon-Sun from 3-5 PM
G’Raj Mahal $$ Indian / Vegetarian
What to Try: I’ve only been here once and had the Chicken Korma Masala and let me tell you. It was delicious. The naan was cooked to perfection and oh-so buttery. For an Indian experience, it was true, authentic, and full of flavor.
Things to Know: The ambiance is wonderful and the variety of food is great. The patio is perfect on a beautiful day and the drinks are beautiful! This one is worth a try.