Where to Eat in Austin Right Now
The ultimate checklist of the best restaurants in Austin.
Austin has quickly evolved into one of the very best destinations to dine in Texas. Thanks to an ever-diversifying population and tourists coming in from all corners of the world, our appetites and culinary expertise are only getting bigger and more delicious. These days, ATX isn’t just the barbecue and Tex-Mex foodie hot zone. We’re face-deep in big bowls of ramen, delighted by decadent European plates, and nourished by vegan goodness like it's a darn food festival every day of the year. Whether you’re seeking a casual food truck situation or a candlelit dinner with award-winning chefs, we’ve plucked the finest bucket list restaurants of the city, all guaranteed to make those taste buds do cartwheels.
Fil N’ Viet
Arguably the best food truck in Austin right now, Fil N’ Viet is helmed by husband and wife team Kevin and Rosie, who each bring their Vietnamese and Filipino flavors to a single eatery. We love all the creations they lovingly put their spin on, from the Sinigang Wings tossed in tamarind spice and garlic ranch to the Wonton Noodle soup made with pork and shrimp dumplings, Xa Xiu, Bok Choy and their special chili crunch. Every bite will blow your mind—good thing they have Vietnamese iced coffees for the cool down. You’ll get the goodies inside Camp East from Wednesday to Sunday.
How to book: Stop by for counter service, or order takeout online.
Austin rejoiced when the Houston sandwich masters opened shop downtown last summer, and now we finally have a go-to for lunchtime eats. Any of these overstuffed sandwiches are obsession worthy. Take the Crunchy Chicken in sweet pretzel bun or the Borracho Beef in toasted ciabatta, two-handers that you’ll want to finish at home in private away from prying eyes. Trust us when we say you’ll want to dip excess bread in Local Foods’ Classic Chicken Posole, a beautiful broth of poblano, green chiles, cilantro and pumpkin seed garnish. If you’re going easy on the bread, don’t miss their big bowls of salad or fresh poke.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, or order takeout or delivery on Toast.
El Alma Cafe y Cantina
El Alma is a Barton Springs institution, not just because it throws awesome Cinco de Mayo parties on its breezy rooftop, but because the food tastes like mom’s cooking and the cocktails drink like they were spiked by your big bro. Must-eats include the Roasted Duck Rellens with almond and raisin stuffed poblano, tomato salsa, and rice, or any of their Enchiladas—we love the veggie. Always say yes to the tequila-based drink of the month.
How to book: Order takeout from Toast.
Situated on Airport Boulevard, Sazan is Austin’s most popular and beloved ramen outpost. Obviously, it’s all about the noodles. Its signature bowl is the Paitan Ramen, a steaming hot creamy broth bubbling with arugula, umami egg, and chicken or pork—available in vegan and spicy versions. Also on the menu are Indomitable Chicken Wings (seasoned with curry rub and cilantro), Osaka-worthy Takoyaki octopus balls, mochi desserts, and a selection of Japanese-inspired craft cocktails (the Shun-Sational Old Fashioned is perfection), plus sake and beer.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via Uber Eats.
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden
Rainey Street may be torn down and undergoing a cookie-cutter makeover (outrageous!), but Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden is going absolutely nowhere (phew!). The beloved restaurant is, as you’ll guess, dedicated to the almighty sausage, and here you’ll sink your teeth into a jumbo variety of the stuff. There’s the classic Bratwurst, a spicy Italian, a beer-infused Drunk Chicken and even a cheesy Jalapeño Cheddar Brat. Plus all the sides and fixings, and wall after wall of beers on tap. Stop by for brunch, kick back over drinks with your pals, or stuff your face whilst listening to live music.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first-served seating (expect long lines on weekends), or get takeout on Toast.
Ciclo is modern Texan with a Latin touch. Choose between the indoor dining room or brunch out on the flourishing oak tree-covered patio overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Standout menu items include the Sea Scallop & Pork Belly with mole verde crudo and escabeche baby carrot as well as the classic Flambéed Texas Wagyu Tomahawk. Mains aside, you’ll also need to factor in stomach space for the House Bread; a mini cast iron of four of the most delectable and shiniest Parker House rolls you’ll probably ever taste, complete with pots of local butter and good flow honey. If there’s ever an unforgettable breadbasket, this is it. As for dessert, the Coco Affogato with coconut ice cream, cookie and espresso, should do the trick. Speaking of which, the Sunday Brunch buffet is worth coming to for the dessert station alone.
As far as Austin’s Thai community is concerned, this casual little eatery is number one. Everything, including the sauces, is homemade. Best of all? It’s super affordable considering the excellent quality. For anyone who has ever been to Bangkok, this place will instantly bring back street food memories. Menu items include Pad Thai, Gaeng Keow Wan green curry, and Tamarind Duck. Of course, it wouldn’t be Texas without a Thai Taco (roti wrap with crispy pork belly, yellow onion, and bell pepper tossed in sweet Thai basil sauce). Another thing we love about this place is that a set gratuity is automatically added, meaning no need to fumble with your cell calculator after one too many Singhas.
How to book: Call 512-284-7004 to reserve.
A family-friendly indoor-outdoor space serving coastal Texan fare and over 30 beers on tap, TLC is all the Southern comforts rolled into one restaurant. Expect large portions, great prices, sports on the screens, and patrons in casual attire. Bring your party to TLC’s boil experience, where you’ll choose from fresh catch like Texas Gulf Shrimp or Littleneck Clams, customize it with your choice of flavoring and sauce, and devour it alongside Texas corn and red potatoes. Other menu highlights include Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs, Mac & Cheese and Redfish & Crab. For dessert, sweet spots go to the Giant Milkshakes or their brownie.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order takeout via Toast.
Geraldine’s is classic Austin. Live music, a buzzing bar, and delicious Southern recipes signal: You’re about to have a damn fine time. It is a sharing situation, meaning plates get bigger the further you go down the menu. We suggest Snack Board and the Hamachi Crudo to start, then onto biggies like the Half Roasted Chicken—prepare to fight over the crispy potatoes—and Smoked Short Rib alongside small veg dishes like the sweet fish sauce-laden Brussel Sprouts or Smoked Carrots.
This family-run neighborhood gem on the corner of 12th and Harvey serves a rotating menu of clean American comfort fare inspired by the cooking and eating styles of France and Italy. It all depends on the weather when it comes to the highly seasonal menu, however, sample dishes include Chicken cacciatore with polenta, mushrooms, and guanciale; and their snapper, served with cauliflower, almonds, and brown butter. As for the bar, Birdie’s shops a mix of classic and new winemakers with a focus on mindful farming and minimal intervention in the cellar. Bring your pooch, tuck in on the patio, and call it a night.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.
South Lamar’s sizzling Korean hot spot is KBBQ on a mission. Its specialty is jjim, a method of slow-cooking or braising meats until extremely tender, so expect a fall-off-the-bone situation every time. Try the signature Beef Short Rib Jjim, a pile of soft, meaty chunks cooked on cast iron with vegetables in a sweet soy sauce served alongside steamed white rice plus your choice of add-on (kimchi, mozzarella, egg, or glass noodles). It’s big enough for up to three to share, though two hungry stomachs will suit just fine. The Seafood Pancake Jeon is a lighter, crispier take on the traditional, if you want something smaller, and the Seafood Tofu Soup, is a chilly day hug. Drinks-wise, expect a selection of cocktails, beer, wine, and Korean spirits like soju and makgeolli.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.
The open-concept kitchen helmed by renowned chef Jakub Czyszczon is Austin’s sexiest date spot—dress up and get prepared to be wined and dined. Entrees off the grill include Green Circle Chicken with maitake mushrooms and Whole Grilled Branzino, but it’s the steaks that take center stage (the Eye of Rib, Tomahawk, and Porterhouse are all incredible). Pair anything with a side of Tater Tots, especially if you love cheese and black truffle. The beverage list spans select cocktails, wine, and beer curated to complement the upmarket digs. Book a table, expect to be wowed, and you’ll join Austin’s army of food fanatics who love this place in the process.
Sushi | Bar ATX
Still the hottest ticket in town when it comes to omakase, that’s largely down to the fact that Sushi | Bar ATX has just ten slots a sitting, and that the rascals who’ve tried it keep on coming back for more. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, you’re in for a treat when you finally get a prized seat. Chef Ambrely Ouimette and her team whip up a beautiful 17-course omakase experience, best paired with sake. Items from the rotating menu have included roasted bone marrow and toro nigiri, but it really all depends on what’s freshest on the night. At the end, they’ll ask you if you’d like to add a course, to which we strongly recommend you say yes.
How to book: Reserve in advance via Tock.
Chef Edgar Rico harnesses Mexican tradition and his culinary know-how to elevate the humble taco, dishing up a bill of heirloom corn tortillas filled with textures and colors you’d expect to see in a fine dining establishment, all served in a neighborhood setting. Tacos and tostadas begin with fresh masa made in-house from heritage corn. The vegan Beet Tartare Tostada is delicious, a crisp shell topped with earthy roasted beets, salsa macha aioli, avocado crema, horseradish, and lime for a one-two punch of flavor and texture. Make the Coco Rico Paleta your dessert—it’s a popsicle made with coconut milk, coconut cream, and toasted coconut chips.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via Favor.
This former gas station finds life as a colorful café complete with a full bar, all-day dining, and a breezy patio filled with brunching patrons sporting band tees and sandals. Those on a health kick can opt for a vegan Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich or saucy Sesame Salad, while their naughtier pals can indulge in a Fried Chicken Sandwich washed down with a frozen cocktail. A Monday through Friday afternoon happy hour with dollar-off brews, $7 cocktails, and $7 food sweetens the deal.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast.
LeRoy & Lewis
With a rotating selection of smoked barbecue by the pound and a focus on alternative cuts and creative sides made with local ingredients, this is food truck gold. Known for his innovative takes on Texas ’cue, pitmaster Evan LeRoy incorporates elements of fine dining and scratch-made cooking into every aspect of his menu-on-wheels. Look forward to brisket, ribs, and sausage, plus flavorful and creative sides like housemade Kimchi and Kale Caesar Slaw alongside a deep yellow Cheddar Cheesecake with apple butter that’s surprisingly good.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.
Walton's Fancy and Staple
Sandra Bullock’s (yes, Sandra Bullock’s!) neighborly cafe is a favorite daytime destination for downtowners, especially come weekend brunch. Step up for counter service, tasty yet affordable food, and a cozy local atmosphere. Breakfast and brunch items include The Staple, its classic consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, or ham, and multigrain toast; and biscuits with pork sausage and country cream gravy. The counter also has a wide selection of baked goods (including cupcakes, brownies, and macarons) as well as organic teas and coffees. Late riser? Lunch is a treat, too. Go for the turkey sandwich, sweetened with caramelized onion-apple chutney on a croissant.
How to book: Stop by for counter service and first come, first served seating.
This eclectic eastside restaurant makes going out for Chinese a real occasion. Team Old Thousand take Chinese American recipes and bring them to life in the company of delicious cocktails and a lively atmosphere. We love General Tso’s Chicken with jasmine rice and the Xiao Mian wheat noodles with peanut, Szechuan peppercorn, and chili oil. The Brisket Fried Rice uses generous helpings of house-smoked beef brisket that marries perfectly with Chinese pork sausage. If that’s all too meaty for you, the place also brings the flavor to tofu on dishes like the Mapo Fried Tofu and the Hot and Sour Soup. Save room for the Five Spice Chinese Churro with Pandan Cream.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, or order takeout and delivery via Toast.