The Best Waterfront Restaurants Around Austin

Because nothing pairs better with hot summer days than beer and snacks by the water.

There’s no need to deny it. It’s hot here in Austin. While many folks choose to stick to the comfort of AC, just as many take the opportunity to run out to and soak up Austin’s natural beauty. Oftentimes, this means spending time out in the sun near Lady Bird Lake.

While no one will blame you for wanting to beat the heat, many new arrivals may be unaware that swimming in Lady Bird has been banned since 1964 (it’s especially important to keep your dogs out of the water). So, the best way to enjoy the lake is either up on a boat or a paddleboard—which can still be pretty hot. But there’s another more relaxing option that locals don’t consider enough. It’s possible to enjoy the lake without having to dive in, rent a watercraft, or break any sort of sweat (from exercise, at least). Sometimes, you can even do it in the comfort of AC. This option is, of course, kicking back with a nice plate of food and a cool drink at one of Austin’s top waterfront restaurants.

Alta's

Town Lake

Alta’s kicks off our list with a laid-back vibe that still promises carefully curated flavors and small offerings such as Counter Culture coffee drinks and fresh bagels delivered daily from Austin’s own Rosen’s Bagel Co. The venue lets you enjoy every aspect of the area’s natural beauty, with a wide yet cozy balcony surrounded by trees and overlooking the lake. Plus, they have a refreshing slate of smoothies, perfect for the hot temperatures.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Hula Hut

Westfield

Hula Hut is a classic Austin restaurant operating in town for over 25 years. It is probably best known for its inviting island-themed atmosphere right on the lake. Offering “Mexican food with a surfer twist,” options range from Tubular Tacos to their famous Hawaiian BBQ Pork Sandwich. It’s just a fun time. And it’s hard not to get sucked into the experience when knocking back a Strawberry-coconut mojito or a Blue Hawaii while pretending you’re on some sort of island getaway.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or book an event room online.

Just a few steps away from Hula Hut and operating for just as long, Mozart’s is a well-loved Austin institution. Arguably the most iconic coffee shop in town, Mozart’s has earned every bit of praise. Their pastries, coffee, and lively yet casual atmosphere make for the perfect hangout, date night, or even study spot. With live music almost every night, Mozart’s does its part to stay true to Austin’s roots as a musical hub. And the view is just great.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Nothing caps off a day on the lake better than a full stomach of hearty American fare. Recently reopened with a 70s and 80s lake aesthetic, this classic Austin venue lets diners fill up on a range of burgers, hotdogs, seafood and chicken baskets, and more. Kids can beat the heat with a nice root beer float while parents sip on a tasty frozen pina colada or margarita. And, if you just so happen to have a friend with a boat, y’all can dock it right out front.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or call (512) 572-2997.

If you’re coming to Texas, you’re going to want barbecue. If you’re wanting barbecue overlooking the water, you’re going to want to hurry your way over to The County Line. Their legendary, slow-smoked BBQ is so good you may forget to look up and notice their equally legendary panoramas. There’s not much more to say here. This place has serves great meat and great views.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

A bit farther out from central Austin than most of the entries on this list, this casual seafood joint is well worth the drive. With catfish filets, crab hushpuppy Caesar salads, fried Gulf shrimp baskets, and more, this venue boasts a menu that is as expansive as it is delicious. They also have a full brunch menu on the weekends. You can enjoy all of that with an excellent view of the marina while the kids have fun at the venue’s playground area.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or book a private event online.

Oasis Texas Brewing Company

Comanche Canyon Ranch

Opened in just 2017, Oasis Texas Brewing Co. has established itself as a much-adored location with an incredibly scenic view. There’s a lot to love, from their well-stocked taproom to their regular weekend musical entertainment. It’s an amazing place to relax and enjoy the sunset. In addition to their well-prepared classics like burgers and turkey melts, they also have great shareable plates for groups such as parmesan truffle fries and Mexican shrimp cocktails.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or book a private event online.

 This next spot is probably one of the fancier waterfront restaurants in town. Their menu changes seasonally, but this year’s summer menu is particularly impressive with unique and flavorful options like the Fresno Fig Glazed Chicken Skewer and the Mojito Glazed Seared Salmon. It’s serious stuff that you’d probably enjoy just as much without the view. The Crawfish Mac N Cheese and Strawberry Caprese demand some attention, too. Likewise, their cocktail menu, crafted by executive bartender Karson Skovsgard, also features seasonal updates. So, grab a table overlooking the Colorado and order a Pomegranate Gimlet or a Skinny Sage Margarita and while you still can.
How to book: Reserve

or book private event online.

Available for Reservations
Jade Fabello is a contributor for Thrillist.