Austin's in no way short on brunch options. Tex-Mex? Classic? Boozy?! And there are different reasons for choosing your destination AND your particular dish. So, we compiled eight common brunch situations (brunch-tuations?) and recommendations for each. Have another rec? Let us know in the comments. Note: we didn't include any buffet options, because that is a whole 'nother enchilada. Mmm… enchiladas.
The Scenario: You are riding solo, and just want to reward yourself for a productive week with a great meal at a chill spot where you can also read on your iPad while enjoying a top-rated brew.
The Pick: The Full English, which consists of eggs, farmhouse bacon, house-made sausage, tomato, beans, and toast. This plate is like being in England but costs waaay less. Hopfields also has 40-ish rotating beers on tap which have been carefully curated to be the best of the best in currently available brews. The environment here is always relaxed and pleasant and, if you have headphones on, but with the volume turned off, you can do some quality eavesdropping.
Chicken and Waffles
The Scenario: You wake up after a long night that involved some ill-advised picklebacks, and you resemble Nick Nolte in his famous Hawaiian shirt mugshot.
The Pick: Carbs. Fried Items. Strong drinks. In other words, head downtown to Frank. Order the chicken and waffles -- the chicken is crispy and the waffle tastes like bacon for some heavenly reason. Pair that bad boy with a Red Headed Stranger -- we're referring to Frank's masterpiece of a Bloody Mary, not your Tinder date from last night -- and you're set for the best kind of recovery, because tomatoes and maple syrup have vitamins, duh.
South Congress Cafe, South Congress
The Scenario: The 'rents are in town and you need to take them somewhere that's nice (and that serves mimosas because, yea… parents), but said place needs to be in a 'hood with lots of post-brunch diversions because when Mom is bored she tends to bring up the fact that you're 30 and still on their mobile family plan.
The Pick: A choice that says, "I don't eat Cocoa Pebbles anymore, I'm a grown up", while satisfying your hollandaise habit: eggs Benedict. The perfect bread/ham/egg/sauce ratio. Feeling adventurous? South Congress Cafe also has a crab cake Benedict and a steak & migas Benedict. BOOM!
Migas & Chilaquiles
Tamale House East, East Central
The Scenario: You are very hungry and you have about 10 bucks in your brunch budget.
The Pick: There's much debate about the difference between migas and chilaquiles, and which is better, but let's be clear here: we will eat almost any tortilla/egg/cheese/salsa creation -- and you should too. Our recommendation? Order Mama's Migas with a horchata iced coffee.
Brie, Walnut, and Jam Tartine
Blue Dahlia, East Central
The Scenario: Brunch with females.
The Pick: Blue Dahlia is a European bistro. Females like European bistros. Women like Europe. Women like the word "bistro". Order the Brie, walnut, and jam tartine. Tartine translates to "sandwich missing one side of the bread", essentially. These fancy little open-faced 'wiches are topped with a thick slice of Brie, a dollop of jam, and walnuts. Add a glass of Champagne, because ladies love bubbly and -- OMIGOD. THIS. IS. LIKE. SO. GOOD.
La Condesa, Downtown
The Scenario: You are entertaining out-of-town guests who actually expect you to do a good job of entertaining.
The Pick: Take them downtown to La Condesa so they can get a taste of how Austin does high-end Mexican. The Chilangos plate is a perfect example of how a hairy, pig-like creature can become elevated cuisine -- we're talking wild boar chorizo, poached eggs, quinoa croquette, arugula, and salsa verde. Go ahead and pair that with a Spicy Paloma while you're at it. Bonus: the place is bright, spacious, and modern, plus you can do some window shopping while you walk off your meal.
Lobster Roll and Raw Oysters
Clark’s Oyster Bar, Clarksville
The Scenario: You have a date you REALLY want to impress with your discriminating taste.
The Pick: Nothing says, "I'm a class act", like balancing the creaminess of overflowing-with-succulent-meat lobster roll and the brininess of oysters with the perfect white wine. Clark's is bright and charming with a modern-yet-classic beach-y aesthetic. If you sit at the bar and the conversation has a lull, you can always dish on how dangerous shucking oysters looks.
Beef Tongue Hash
Contigo, East Austin
The Scenario: Brunch with four of your closest friends sounded like a great idea, but you've been waiting since 10am for everyone to get on the same page and meet up and now you're violently ravenous.
The Pick: Beef tongue hash at Contigo -- the accoutrements include russet potatoes, Japanese scallions, a farm egg, and hollandaise. The portion is satisfying, the flavors are out of this world, and you can order cocktails and snacks even before you're seated. Score! Also, Contigo's patrons have some of the cutest and most well-behaved dogs, so you can pet a few fur-babies while you wait for a table.
1. Hopfields3110 Guadalupe St, Austin
2. Frank407 Colorado St, Austin
3. South Congress Cafe1600 S Congress Ave, Austin
4. Tamale House East1707 E 6th St, Austin
5. Blue Dahlia Bistro1115 E 11th St, Austin
6. La Condesa400 W 2nd St, Austin
7. Clark's Oyster Bar1200 W 6th St, Austin
8. Contigo Austin2027 Anchor Ln, Austin
A cathedral-inspired gastropub, Hopfields creates an upscale atmosphere where locals can enjoy craft beer, French wine, and a menu filled with French cuisine (or, at least, French-inspired takes on American classics). You can opt of a low key night of cheese plates and Pinot Grigio, or chow down on the colossal Pascal Burger and a nice craft beer.
Although Frank is known for its creative hot dogs and sausage sandwiches made with nontraditional meats like antelope, venison, and kangaroo, it also boasts an extensive selection of fries, including chili cheese and Reuben waffle fries. Its cold beer menu includes gluten-free ales, rare craft beers, and ciders.
The South Congress Cafe has you covered, offering everything from venison meatloaf to duck sopes to crab cake Benedict. Show up whenever you want for its daily brunch and enjoy a drink while you wait. We recommend the Bloody Mary, which happens to be one of Austin's most beloved: tall glass filled to the rim with spicy mix, Tito’s vodka (infused with bell peppers, onions, celery, lemons, limes, garlic, and jalapeños), and served with celery, olives, and a pickled banana pepper.
If you have less than 10 dollars in your pocket but still want to pig out on tacos, Tamale House East is the place to go. The original location shuttered when owner Moses Vasquez died in 2014, but his granddaughters brought it back to life at this counter-serve location on East Sixth Street. The massive dog-friendly patio provides ample room to enjoy a few breakfast tacos and an agua fresca.
French-inspired eats like brie and walnut tartines and beef bourguignon made with organic ingredients are served up fresh in this East Austin eatery.
La Condesa is the place to go if you're looking for traditional Mexican flavor with modern Austin flair. The menu, offering up handfuls of tortas, taquitos, combos, and a few other staples, is shorter than most, but there's an obvious preference for quality over quantity at this Downtown restaurant. Tacos strewn with red pickled onion, cilantro, and guacamole make the ideal warm-up round before hitting the bar, where tequila and mezcal reign supreme in customizable flights.
A small neighborhood seafood joint, Clark's Oyster Bar, prides itself on simple, sustainable seafood with a cozy ambiance. This maritime cache also has house-made breads, burgers, and an extensive brunch menu.
Contigo Austin strives to bring the ranch to the people, having patrons sit down at large wooden tables on an equally expansive patio to chow down on flawless BBQ, other seasonally diverse menu items, and a long list of craft beer. Open for dinner and brunch, you can enjoy outdoor or indoor seating, as well as some great happy hour specials. Contigo is the perfect place to catch up with friends or bring a more casual date.