Food & Drink

The Very Best Brunches in Austin Right Now

Updated On 02/07/2018 at 05:01PM EST
Chez Zee

Chez Zee

Allandale

Family-friendly joint with live music and Benedicts for days
This quirky Allandale bistro frequently has wall-to-wall crowds for its famous weekend brunch, which boasts live piano music and a high ceilinged, atmospheric space perfect for crowds. The menu is heavy on Southern classics like shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, and an out-of-this-world fried chicken served on a fluffy pile of waffles. They also have a full menu of eggs Benedict of all stripes, from traditional Canadian bacon with hollandaise sauce, to innovative spins featuring baked polenta, lobster, and fried avocado. Follow up the decadence with a slice of one of their famous cakes.

Laura Hajar

Pitchfork Pretty

East Austin

Cozy den serving decadent breakfast
More than just an impossibly well decorated, Instagram-friendly backdrop (nestled in the world’s cutest A-frame, to boot), this Eastside fave also serves stylishly delicious Sunday brunch. Have a pecan scone with maple bacon glaze with your Flat Truck coffee, or go big with one of their decadent sandwiches, a sweet grain bowl, or an order of crab toast, the poached egg yolk melting rich over the grilled blue crab and potato bread, warmed with the nutty taste of browned butter hollandaise. You can even chase away your hangover with an aromatic bowl of caldo de pollo, with red chillies, nopales, and crisp fried slabs of chicken.  

Robert Lerma

Holy Roller

Downtown

Comfort food served with punk rock flair
Mixing punk rock swagger with a sprinkle of Grandma’s-house-style religious kitsch, Holy Roller is the best place in town for Sunday brunch, whether you’re heading over after church or just pulling your hungover carcass out of bed.  The menu is loaded with greasily sin-absorbing gut bombs, like the Casbah, crispy fried chicken and an egg served over flaky biscuits and doused in syrup and a mysterious concoction called comeback sauce. It’s gonna be hard to save room for their homemade Choco Taco or the butter thick banana pudding, but hey, you gotta at least try.

Courtesy of Cane Rosso

Cane Rosso

Sunset Valley

Wood-fired breakfast pizzas, Tex-Mex style
This well-loved, wood-fired oven pizzeria does brunch both Saturday and Sunday, and for those of us long enamored by their crispy crusted pies, it’s worth checking out on either day. There’s a breakfast taco pizza on the menu, of course, which just happens to be topped with a Tex-Mex mix of chorizo, potatoes, and serrano peppers alongside a few whole-cracked eggs. They also put that oven to use throughout the whole menu, with dishes like a breakfast skillet hash and a wood-fired Benedict casserole, with biscuit crumbles, crispy pancetta, and hollandaise.

Citizen Eatery

Rosedale

Healthy spins on breakfast classics
For wholesome, feel good, environmentally friendly brunch options without the sanctimonious restraint, head to Citizen Eatery, where the cuisine is local, organic when possible, and 100% meat-free. Their always breakfast menu is served seven days a week and features treats like gluten-free pancakes, a not too sweet house-made granola, and eggs (or egg alternatives for the vegans in the house) scrambled with mushrooms and kale, stuffed with vegan chorizo, and even nestled into cute little veggie baskets.

Jessica Fardoni

Ah Sing Den

East Austin

Dim sum brunch with Eastside flare
Those in the know come to brunch at Ah Sing Den for one of the best Bloody Marys in town, featuring heirloom tomatoes, lemon, ponzu, and a powerful dose of kimchi in all its spicy, garlicky, slightly stinky fermented glory. It’s perfectly suited for a bowl of their night market style congee, a blandly sticky rice porridge with the texture of soft cooked polenta, enlivened with savory mushroom gravy, crispy fried garlic chips, and a sunny-side-up egg. It helps that the decor is stunning, resembling the famous Victorian opium den it’s named after, with dark wood paneling and a lush peacock feather theme.

Courtesy of Forthright

Forthright

Downtown

Instagrammable goodies served in a minimalist style
Sitting right in the middle of downtown, just a few blocks from the Colorado, Forthright might be the ultimate hip Austin brunch destination. There’s the cold brew coffee (served in ice cube form in a glass of almond milk), the requisite avocado toast (smashed, with pepitas and fried eggs), and the chia seed pudding (rich with coconut milk and a maple syrup drizzle). But nothing here is familiar or stale. The kitchen has a way of taking familiar ingredients and making you understand why they got so popular in the first place. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it all looks so darn cute!

Courtesy of The Whistler & the Well

Paperboy

East Eleventh

Breakfast sandwiches served from a food truck
Paperboy is the newest addition to the East Eleventh corridor that is also home to Hillside Farmacy and Quickie Pickie. The trailer serves a small menu of tried-and-true breakfast/brunch sandwiches, bowls, and open-faced (sweet and savory!) toast, with ingredients sourced from local farms and bakeries, and coffee from Austin’s Tweed Coffee Roasters. You can’t go wrong with the hash, made with roasted sweet potatoes, poached egg, braised pork belly, grilled onions, and coffee mayo. Best yet? They serve it all up on weekdays, too.

Lambert's

Downtown Austin

Slow smoked BBQ and modern Texas cooking in historic surroundings
Tucked away in the gorgeously restored, high-beamed Schneider Brothers Building, Lambert's is as eclectic as the dry goods store the space used to house, featuring brunch by day, and live music and classic cocktails by night. The menu is full of fresh takes on Texas classics, like spicy deviled eggs with trout roe, fried green tomatoes served atop lump crab meat and spicy greens, and even Frito pie, taken to the next level with their house smoked, slow-cooked chopped beef and homemade queso.  Kick back on the patio, sip on a Western Sour with bourbon and grapefruit juice, and watch the second street parade go by. 

Vox Table

VOX Table

South Lamar

Small plates and bites in an airy downtown space
VOX Table’s brunch menu is full of classic brunch dishes, each executed with a New American twist and surprisingly large portions. Menu standouts include, well... everything. We recommend the crab Benedict, mouthwatering butter-poached crab in a popover, topped with a soft-boiled egg, hollandaise, and proscuitto; the olive oil pancakes topped with fig & walnut butter and maple syrup (ADD BACON, it’s amazing); and the Bloody Mary, classic flavor served with a pipette of hot sauce and, in true Austin fashion, a Lone Star chaser. One more thing we love about VOX Table's brunch: you can order plump East Coast oysters served on the half shell with their house-made cucumber vinaigrette.

Amira Jensen

Sway

South First

Thai street food takes on American breakfast classics
Sway’s just introduced a brunch menu -- much to the delight of anyone who has dined with them -- that incorporates traditional Thai flavors done in Sway’s modern style. Its take on brunch classics include unexpected combinations, as in the Thai basil waffle & chicken (chicken wing lollipop, pickled fresno, green nahm jihm, maple-lemon butter, togarashi) and the mapow biscuit & gravy (goat cheese-thai herb biscuit, minced pork gravy, bacon powder, egg, crispy basil leaf). Order this spicy brunch drink: cucumber & tomatillo michelada (singha beer, pineapple, cilantro, kaffir lime, serrano, lemongrass, and mint salt). YASSSS.

Wu Chow

Wu Chow

Downtown

Stylish and perennially popular dim sum brunch service
This is not your basic brunch, this is Wu Chow’s Sunday dim sum brunch. The bright and busy space is perfect for meeting up with your whole crew and sharing like a million Chinese dumplings and small bites. Try the savory bean curd with oyster sauce, pork & shrimp shumai, scallion pancake, and everyone’s favorite, the Shanghai pork soup dumplings -- eaten by gently lifting with your soup spoon, puncturing and slurping the broth out, then eating the pork-filled dumpling in one bite. Wu Chow’s dim sum menu also includes sweet treats like egg custard tarts and pineapple puffs.

Jin Chu-Ferrer

Emmer & Rye

Rainey Street

Acclaimed hyperlocal spot where everything’s done in-house
Emmer & Rye is a far cry from the party scene literally one block away. Its executive chef, Kevin Fink, was recently named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, and the creative, forward-thinking Sunday menu reflects his talent and vision. At Emmer & Rye, you can order a la carte from the menu -- the caviar & eggs (with creme fraiche, onion, sourdough toast) and the egg sandwich (tomato, onion, shiitake aioli, half scramble, english muffin) are examples of the hi-low style of the menu. While dining, definitely try the pastries being distributed throughout the restaurant dim sum style via a cart. Also partake in the Bloody Mary, whose flavor is kicked up thanks to fermented tomato, horseradish, Thai chili, and shrimp powder.

Cultivate/Claire Hogan

Juliet Ristorante

Barton Springs

Mediterranean-influenced brunch served al fresco
Juliet’s Italian on Barton Springs Rd is an inviting choice for weekend brunch, with its covered patio and chic vintage Italian interior. The brunch menu stays true to Juliet’s vibe with crave-worthy pasta dishes such as lasagne al forno (spinach pasta, bolognese, besciamella) and Italian twists on classics in the brunch risotto (green peas, pancetta, poached eggs, parmigiana). Juliet’s cocktail program is one of the best in Austin, and consists of eight signature Negronis, mimosas, wine, and classic cocktails.

Geraldine's Austin

Geraldine's

Rainey Street

Jazz brunch and a well-curated cocktail menu
To get to Geraldine’s, enter the lobby of the super-chic Hotel Van Zandt and take the elevator to the fourth floor; what awaits you is badass. The huge and gorgeous dining room boasts an open kitchen, wraparound bar with an insanely good bar program, a stage always occupied by Austin’s best musicians, and a pool patio with views of Downtown. The Sunday brunch has a lot of options ranging from light (salt roasted beets, crab toast) to let’s-do-this (brioche French toast, smoked short rib quesadilla). Cocktails we can’t get enough of: the chocolatey Muddy Waters (Pierre​ Ferrand 1840 cognac, Averna, orgeat, cold-brew coffee, condensed milk, nutmeg) and the tangy Sunday Bloody Sunday (Vida mescal, seasonal sangrita, chili-lime salt rim).

Robert J Lerma

Grizzelda's

Govalle

Sunday brunch buffet with a build-your-own taco bar
The concept of an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet brings to mind images of limp bacon and overcooked eggs in a hotel basement with a bunch of baggy-eyed businessmen. Fortunately for us, beach shack Grizzelda’s is here to change all that with a fresh take on the weekend buffet. Available only on Sunday mornings (for now), the selection features enchiladas, chilaquiles, a taco bar, house-made pastries, eggs cooked to order, and Jacoby’s Butchers Cuts. Plus, there’s a full menu of original cocktails (try the Bad Girl Ri Ri with pisco, mezcal, lime, and passionfruit) and $5 margaritas.

Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile

Jacoby's Restaurant and Mercantile

Govalle

Old-school diner favorites, upgraded
With it’s eclectic, 21 Club-meets-Pinterest decor and expansive backyard patio, Jacoby’s would be a perfect spot to down a couple of late-morning mimosas even if the food wasn’t great. Fortunately, Jacoby’s menu is as much substance as it is style, with a menu of updated American classics like braised beef Benedict topped with horseradish hollandaise and crispy onions, homemade cinnamon rolls studded with local Texas pecans, and buttermilk biscuits with house-made sausage and creamy gravy. An emphasis on shared plates, like Cheddar grits with pickled peppers and spicy butter, or three-cheese mac & cheese with a crispy pistachio crust, makes it an ideal spot for meeting up with your brunch bros.

www.inkedfingers.com/Carli Rene

Patika

South Lamar

Breakfast bowls and sandwiches on a sunny patio
This South Austin favorite has always been a popular meetup spot for book clubs, friends catching up, and Tinder dates. The new all-week brunch menu makes whiling away a Wednesday morning on the sunlit patio even more appealing and is broken into three sections: avocado toasts, breakfast sandwiches, and savory/sweet bowls like the special order Sofrito Bowl (with fingerling potatoes, roasted carrots, crispy shallots, and a fried egg on top). If you’re looking for something substantially lighter, opt for single origin espresso with a freshly baked pastry.

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Mattie's | Nick Simonite
Food & Drink

Austin's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T here were plenty of restaurant openings in Austin this year, but the best ones all had a few things in common: comforting, un-gimmicky foods, served in chic surroundings, by (unsurprisingly) the top culinary talent in the city. They may not be the places with 4-dollar-sign price points, or the ones with two-hour weekend waits, but each of the restaurants below quickly earned top spots on Austin’s “You’ve gotta eat here” board. Whether you start with pimento and peacocks on the patio of a historic Victorian home, or by submitting your naughtiest behavior into a confessional box after an order of fries and soft serve, you’ll enjoy eating your way through Austin’s best new restaurants of 2017.
Thomas Allison / Thrillist

Bonhomie

Burnet Avenue

Casual-yet-refined French/American diner with classic cocktails
Chosen as one of Thrillist's Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017, this French bistro/American diner mashup features the tinge of Asian flavors you’d expect from chef Philip Speer, former director of culinary operations at Uchi. Don’t expect to find any pretension here -- Bonhomie is approachable, casual, comforting, and yes, affordable! The double-meat burger is oozing with Dijonnaise and cheese, the pommes rosti are crispy potato birds’ nests with toppings like roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, and spinach (our favorite), and the croque monsieur and French onion soup are so over-the-top-rich that you practically have to share them. There are no literally no wrong choices, except not dining here -- or drinking here, thanks to the full bar and fantastic cocktail list.

Robert Lerma

Holy Roller

Downtown

Comfort food, cocktails, and kitsch from pastry chef Callie Speer
Callie Speer, former pastry chef of Swift’s Attic and Geraldine’s, opened punk rock diner Holy Roller as a labor of love, alongside an all-star team of women including beverage director Jen Keyser. The menu is full of comfort food, and each Texas classic is stamped with Callie Speer’s signature whimsy, like the addictive Trash Fries (gravy, sunny-side egg, sour cream, corn, lime, and cotija cheese) and the migas kolache (stuffed with queso, crispy potatoes, and jalapeño). Better still, Holy Roller caters to Austin’s brunch-obsessed masses by serving it all day on Sundays, including the Sunday School menu of pastries and tasty cocktails based off the Seven Deadly Sins. Drop a confession note in the box by the bathroom, and it might just get chosen as inspiration for Holy Roller’s next special cocktail.

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

East Austin

Mash-up of a Texas smokehouse and a Japanese gastropub
Describing Kemuri Tatsu-ya to the uninitiated gets convoluted: a Japanese izakaya in a former Eastside BBQ joint, with Texas influences and a killer Japanese whisky selection? Sure. The menu starts with bites like the uber-popular, Gouda-and-brisket-stuffed Hot Pocketz, and ends with ramen served with a thick dipping broth and fiery jalapeños, but not without a few twists and turns along the way. The “odd bits” menu offers tiny dishes of the (very) funky squid marinated in its own guts, as well as sweet and sour marinated jellyfish, while the yakitori offerings range from familiar chicken meatballs to challenging chicken hearts. And don’t even get us started on the cocktail program; arguably one of the best in Austin, the menu features fun, shareable portions served in kitschy vessels (like the Matcha Pain Killer, served in a cat-shaped cup). Think of Kemuri Tatsu-ya as a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience; stay in your comfort zone or get weird, it’s all up to you. Whatever you do, though, order a crisp Orion lager: it gives your go-to light beer a run for its money.

Nicolai McCrary

Soursop

South Congress

Pan-Asian fusion served on the patio of a craft brewery
Soursop, the pan-Asian trailer serving bar food on the patio of St. Elmo Brewing Co. is a standout in the neighborhood, the food truck landscape, and Austin in general for a few reasons: inventive flavor profiles, the fact that St. Elmo’s beers magically pair with everything on the menu, and the culinary team’s (possibly tongue-in-cheek?) shrine to Guy Fieri. Menu offerings occasionally change, but our favorites don’t appear to be going anywhere -- namely the Water-Burger (a refreshing burger made with ground chuck and brisket, caramelized onion ranch, lettuce, marinated cucumber, garlic pepper, and toasted rice powder), and the huge, sticky sambal wings (jumbo whole wings, Thai chili, palm sugar, fish sauce, coconut vinegar, peanut, mint).

Charles Reagan

Native Hostel

East Austin

Upscale hostel and bar serving modern diner classics
Hip digs and a kitchen with generous hours add up to Austin’s newest hotspot for sleeping, eating, drinking, and checking out live music and DJs. The kitchen has everything an Austin guest (or resident) could want, comforting diner food, brunch and lots of vegetarian options. With picks like the fried chicken sandwich (pickle brined chicken, dill pickles, pickled peppers, mayo) and the meatless chilaquiles (veggie chorizo, corn tortilla chips, pickled peppers, tomato, avocado, queso and sunny-side-up egg), this is the sort of food that late dinners and (ahem, challenging) breakfasts require. Pro tip: Native serves brunch until 3pm on weekends.

El Chipirón

South Lamar

Spanish tapas and cocktails found on first floor of residential building
A new kid on the block, El Chipirón earns its stripes with Spanish tapas and pintxos in a modern Euro setting alongside a lovely cocktail menu with an emphasis on gin and tonics (like The Tejano, which involves lots of smoke and herbs). The menu is decked out with meat and cheese boards, small plates, and a couple of large options like the juicy lomo de vaca (44 Farms strip steak, Padrón pepper, LaFou demi-glace, tomato, potato); standouts include the squid ink (colored and flavored) black rice with squid, mussels and scallops and tabla de ibéricos loaded with Spanish chorizo, Iberian ham, salchichón, and accoutrements.

Laura Hajar

Pitchfork Pretty

East Cesar Chavez

Stylish eatery taking a chef-forward approach to modern Southern fare
Helmed by executive chef Max Snyder, Pitchfork Pretty appeared seemingly out of nowhere -- before anyone realized what happened, East Cesar Chavez was home to a design-forward, A-frame building with a mix of chef-y small plates and hearty fried chicken, and cocktails that satisfy both the cucumber margarita and whiskey crowds. The concept is hard to pin down but easy to fall in love with. Critics are rightly swooning over the pickled quail egg on crispy leeks -- a perfect bite consumed like you would an oyster -- and the gluten-free, chickpea flour-breaded fried chicken brined in a habanero vinegar.

bao'd up

Bao'd Up

Mueller

Fast casual joint for steamed buns and bubble tea
Bao’d Up, Mueller’s new steamed-bun-dedicated restaurant from chef Ting Li, is making waves with its bite-size offerings made with the sticky, steamed bread in multiple forms: baozi, mantou, gua bao, and bao fries. We like the simple BBQ pork bao and Szechuan fries topped with spicy mayo, sesame, and green onion, and no trip to Bao’d Up is complete without a build-your-own bubble drink; the matcha and taro are favorites.

Nick Simonite

Mattie's

Bouldin Creek

Elevated Southern cuisine served among live oaks and peacocks
The former Green Pastures (which now refers solely to the event space), Mattie’s is the revamped new concept from Austin developer Greg Porter and La Corsha Hospitality -- which operates Second Bar + Kitchen and Boiler Nine. With its marble countertops, exquisite light fixtures, copper hardware, and textured wallpaper that begs to be touched, the new skin applied to the home’s old bones is incredibly gorgeous to behold. The menu is also just as impressive, whether you’re having dinner in one of the many dining rooms or on the lawn alongside the resident peacocks. Southern dishes sprinkled with French and Asian influence as well as untouched classics like pimento cheese and fried chicken eggs Benedict sparkle at Mattie’s... just as much as the dreamy surroundings.

Taras Zaluzhny
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A City-Dweller’s Guide to Exploration

Published On 10/15/2018
Courtesy of Hank's
Food & Drink

The Best Places to Eat in Austin Right Now

Updated On 07/17/2018 at 03:19PM EST