Austinites take brunch very seriously, and our best restaurants are up for the challenge. Forget white toast and greasy hash browns; these best-of-the-best brunch menus are incorporating new and exciting flavors and techniques into our favorite meal of the week. Oh yeah, and cocktails! We’ve got those too. Happy brunching, Austin.
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.
Next door to sister restaurant Péché, Isla delivers bright, tropical flavors via new brunch options and tiki cocktails. Favorite picks include dishes like Johnny cakes & shrimp, sweet potato biscuits with chorizo gravy, and the indulgent bananas Foster French toast. Known for its fantastic island-vibe bar program, Isla offers passion fruit, prickly pear, and traditional mimosas in addition to the playful Goodie Goodie Rumdrop (rum, blood orange, ginger) during brunch.
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.
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.
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.
East Cesar Chavez
Juniper, which took off as a favorite as soon as it opened, is also hosting weekend brunch with the same Northern Italy meets Texas cuisine. Brunch in the modern space, with its soaring ceilings and moody dark interior, includes carbonara (pancetta, thin pasta, parmesan, and please add the egg) and an indulgent wagyu rib eye (tender beef served on top of arugula, ciabatta bread, and horseradish cream) among many other delectable dishes. Pair that with their Sonny Mimo (bubbles, orange juice, peach liqueur) or an Italian wine from their carefully curated selection.
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.
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.
Cantine is the third project from the duo who brought Austin Fino (now shuttered) and neighborhood gem, Asti. The Italian cafe serves a brunch just as elegant as its regular menu; offerings include sticky bun with Texas pecans, breakfast pizza, mushroom frittata, and the rustic shakshuka (baked farm eggs in a fragrant harissa tomato sauce). No ATX brunch is complete without mimosas and cocktails, so check out the Breakfast Bloody Mary (which comes with a pickled quail egg!) and the boozy Corpse Reviver No. 2 (gin, Luxardo Triplum, Cocchi Americano, lemon, and absinthe). Cantine is easy to find; it’s next door to the bustling Shake Shack at the Lamar Union complex.
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 (gristmill oatmeal, breakfast quiche) to let’s-do-this (brioche French toast, smoked short rib tacos). 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).
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1. Paperboy1203 E 11th St, Austin
2. Isla208 W 4th St, Austin
3. VOX Table1100 South Lamar Blvd, 2140, Austin
4. Sway1417 S 1st St, Austin
5. Wu Chow500 W 5th St, Austin
6. Juniper2400 E Cesar Chavez St Ste 304, Austin
7. Emmer & Rye51 Rainey St, Ste 110, Austin
8. Juliet Ristorante1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
9. Cantine1100 S Lamar Blvd #2115, Austin
10. Geraldine's605 Davis St Ste 400, Austin
A food truck on the hip East Eleventh that specializes in breakfast, Paperboy is the ideal go-to for coffee and a bite on your way to work, or on a lazy Saturday for brunch with friends. Your stop here isn't complete without the savory simplicity of the B.E.C. -- a bacon, egg, and pimento cheese sandwich on brioche -- or the “sweet” toast, topped with ricotta, tangerine marmalade, granola, and honey.
From the team behind the city's beloved Péché, Isla -- conveniently located right next door -- brings a taste of the islands to the Warehouse District from its colorful, breezy post on West 4th Street. Dishes are inflected by Peruvian and Caribbean tradition, with menu items like anticuchos and jerk pork chops. Cocktails are tiki-inspired (the mai tai is a must-have), and the rum selection is extensive; enjoy it in cocktail form or by the flight from your post in the tropics of Austin's Isla.
Vox Table is known around Austin for their killer New-American style small plates and lively craft cocktail bar, but this South Lamar restaurant serves up a serious brunch on the weekends. The must try of the menu is Olive Oil Pancakes with fig/walnut butter and maple syrup. If brunch isn't your thing, stop by and try dinner menu, featuring a wide variety of meat and fish entrees, or happy hour specials.
Sway, a modern mini-chain, serves up Thai cuisine in a chic space, with refined versions of traditional Thai dishes like pad thai, and kicked-up, more eccentric dishes like jungle curry. Moo Sway -- which sounds vaguely like a new-fangled dance move -- is offered twice daily, and is actually a large-format, family-style feast. A reservation must be made in advance for the feast, but the foresight is worth it for Thai-style pork shoulder and bivalves by the dozen alone.
From the owner and business partner of Swift’s Attic, Wu Chow features eight styles of Chinese cuisine -- including a lengthy dim sum menu available on weekends. Popular menu items include soup dumplings, which are eaten by poking a hole in the dumpling and slurping the broth out first, and the spicy Chinese classic mapo tofu with a chili and bean based sauce. The bar also serves fresh, Asian-inspired Tiki cocktails, and Wu Chow stays open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
With Chef Nicolas Yanes (Uchi) at the helm, this East Austin restaurant serves cuisines native to that of Piedmont, Lombardi, Emilia Romagna, and even Central Texas. Classic cocktails are offered alongside entrees such as blistered burrata and oxtail and rosemary lasagna.
Named after two grains, Emmer & Rye is a contemporary American restaurant that, unsurprisingly, serves a grain-heavy menu in a dining room where bundles of wheat are on full display. More than 15 heirloom grains, including White Sonora, Blue Beard Durum, and Red Fife, are house-milled and used in baguette sandwiches, pastries, and pastas like the creamy, slightly nutty cacio e pepe with Challerhocker cheese. The menu also emphasizes fermented vegetables and meat-centric plates (the fermenting and butchering are also done in-house). In addition to à la carte service, Emmer & Rye has a food cart that circles the dining room during brunch and dinner with dim sum-style small plates. Offerings change daily but you’ll always find innovative compositions with unusual ingredients -- how often do you see Blue Beard Durum wheat on a menu, after all?
Juliet combines modern and classic Italian influence to deliver unique, rustic dishes with seasonal ingredients. Boasting an expansive outdoor dining area and an airy interior with a marble bar, this place has an elegant, joyful and comfortable vibe.
Cantine Italian Café & Bar in South Lamar keeps it all in the Mediterranean family by incorporating Greek tastes like Muhammara housemade pita and whipped feta into a heavily Italian menu of starters, salads, meats, house-made pastas, and pizzas. Opt for the crunchy, warm fried goat cheese with honey or the spaghetti Neopolitano while you’re dining al fresco, or choose a table inside. The dining room and kitchen are decidedly industrial, with clean, geometric lines that will remind you to maintain your decorum as you breathlessly slurp your spaghetti.
Geraldine’s -- located on the fourth floor of the swanky Hotel Van Zandt -- offers up elevated American cuisine, craft cocktails, and live music in a chic, massive space. The menu features dishes inflected by local Austin flavors, like fermented chile hush puppies with pickled fennel ranch, cornmeal-fried oyster mushrooms, and local goat tartare. Head to the rooftop bar and enjoy unparalleled views of Lady Bird Lake as you sip cocktails poolside.