Food & Drink

15 of Austin's most iconic dishes

Published On 08/27/2014 Published On 08/27/2014
Iconic Austin Dishes
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1. Ruby's BBQ 512 W 29th St, Austin, TX 78705 (Utwest Campus)

Ruby's has been busting out delicious brisket since 1988, and they don't run out nearly as early as most of the places that start you lining up in the morning-- score!. Stop in at their UT proximate location for fiery, pit-smoked meats, Cajun inspired sides, friendly service, and of course, barbecue galore. This affordable spot offers 1/2 a pound of ribs, pork, or chicken for less than $15.

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2. Dart Bowl 5700 Grover Ave, Austin, TX 78756 (Brentwood)

Ignore the fact that this place is located in a bowling alley (or don't, bowling alleys are pretty sweet), and dive into some of the best damn enchiladas in town -- then strap on a pair of recently disinfected velcro shoes and get those bumpers lowered.

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3. Top Notch 7525 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757 (Allandale)

Home to a classic Dazed and Confused scene, Top Notch delivers in real life as well. Whether you're in it for burgers or fried chicken, you can pull on up outside, roll down the window, and relax while you wait for your order to arrive. The old-school drive-in is known for its distinctly smoky burgers, achieved via charcoal broiling.

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4. Matt's Famous El Rancho 2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Several dining rooms and patios set the stage for you to enjoy quesadillas, some top-shelf queso (try the Bob Armstrong Dip), and strong margaritas.

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5. Dirty Martin's Place 2808 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705 (Utwest Campus)

Dirty Martin’s -- originally named Martin’s Kum-Bak -- got its current moniker on account of the original dirt floors. Since 1926, this casual spot has been a Campus staple, enticing the lives of both hardcore regulars and T-shirt & flip flop-clad students eating one of its legendary burgers. Try the best-selling "O.T. Special", a double-meat bacon cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce, and tomato, served with “mmm”-worthy tots.

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6. Polvos 2004 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Polvos greets you with a sign that says "I love you" and then shows you love on the inside with quality interior Mexican food, big and strong margaritas, and a salsa bar with about 15 different varieties of goodness. We love you too, Polvos.

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7. Cisco's Restaurant & Bakery€Ž 1511 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

Classically delicious Mexican breakfast and lunch (and brunch) is served in this Central East, which is often frequented by the politically inclined. Be sure to stop by and try the legendary migas breakfast plate. Plus, Cisco's Restaurant & Bakery€Ž has an enormous mural depicting the owners' family history in the restaurant business, including human-sized chickens and flying pigs.

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8. The Frisco 6801 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757 (Allandale)

Located on Burnet Rd, The Frisco is the greasy spoon you've dreamed of -- blue plate specials like smothered steak or corned beef and cabbage find themselves alongside some of the best pies in the business. Homestyle goodness aside, this Austin landmark revolutionized the restaurant business in 1953 when Harry Akin (owner of the Night Hawk chain) refused to discriminate against race and gender when hiring employees.

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9. Wheatsville Co-op 3101 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705 (Utwest Campus)

Austin's only natural foods co-op deli & grocery, offering you a chance to buy your own little slice of the store and get sale prices on all their fresh eats.

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10. Billy's on Burnet 2105 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756 (Rosedale)

Billy's is an ATX institution -- this Brentwood dive bar and burger joint is a great example of local bar scene, with its extensive craft beer menu, generous well pours, and friendly neighborhood clientele. You'll find sweet happy hour deals, games like darts and pool, plus bar quality eats like wings, burgers, and nachos.

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11. Trudy's 409 W 30th St, Austin, TX 78705 (Utwest Campus)

There are five Trudy's locations throughout Austin, but this one in the Central part of town is the proud original. Opened in 1977, Trudy's has gone on to become an Austin tradition and with its practically-on-campus location, this spot is sure to be lively as you wolf down one of their signature burritos. We recommend the Ciro's Special Burrito, which is stuffed with chicken fajitas, mushrooms, cilantro, onions, spinach, tomatoes, and peppers and then topped with chile con queso and avocado. We'll give you a minute to stop your mouth watering.

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12. Nau's Enfield Drug 1115 W Lynn St, Austin, TX 78703 (West Austin)

Located in historic Clarksville, Nau’s is a pleasant reminder of bygone days, having maintained the feel of a small-town malt shop. This diner and old-school drugstore hybrid is the perfect place to grab any timeless, American dish. Be sure to try one of the famous burgers (we recommend the classic cheeseburger) or barbecue, and finish with an extra-thick shake or malt.

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13. Hill's Cafe 4700 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78745 (South Austin)

A comfort food palace that slings Mexican-American eats like a Tamale Trinity (brisket, chicken, and sweet potato-apple) and Crispy Catfish and Shrimp.

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14. Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop 2305 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

At its current East Side Austin location since 1969, this family-run Tex-Mex diner serves all-day breakfast and lunch plates like house-made tortillas, thick-cut bacon, breaded pork chops, and refried beans. Don't leave without stopping at the pastry counter for cookies, pan de huevo, and other Mexican baked goods.

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15. Texas Chili Parlor 1409 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Texas Chili Parlor is an Austin staple that's been propping up Austin's Mylanta consumption dishing up delicious and super-spicy chili for over 40 years.