It’s no one’s favorite topic, but every once in a while death tweaks us by the ear and whispers, “Listen man, before you and I play chess, or battleships, or Mario Kart, or whatever for your soul, you have some serious living to do.” Well, to help you with that, we’ve put together a bucket list of the 50 greatest foods in Austin to eat before you die...
VOX TableAddress and Info
VOX Table is not only home to the best cocktail program in Austin, the menu is equally playful and the hamachi pipettes are no exception. Tiny plastic pipettes are filled with a coconut vinaigrette, then the smoked hamachi and tomato are skewered onto the stem. As you eat the bite, you simultaneously SQUEEEEEZE the liquid into your mouth, and it basically becomes a flavor party. Also entertaining: watching your date/parents/co-workers try to figure out how to eat it.
Smoked brisket tacos
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQAddress and Info
It’s a known fact that James Beard Award winner, Aaron Franklin, loves Valentina’s moist brisket and homemade tortillas. And so will you. The smoky brisket is cooked over mesquite, and the tortillas are freshly-made, thick, soft, and buttery. The tacos are topped with sea salt, lime, guacamole, tomato, and serrano salsa.
Dewberry Hills Farm chicken
OlamaieAddress and Info
B&B potato salad, chips, Olamaie BBQ Olamaie serves a modern interpretation of traditional Southern classics. Our cuisine respects the ideas of seasonality and locality inherent in the vintage cookbooks used for inspiration. In honor of the past, we serve produce from growers no farther than 200 miles away. Texas beef and pork, sustainable seafood, as well as the finest artisan products grace these tables.
KoméAddress and Info
It’s known throughout the land that Komé has badass fresh sushi and authentic Japanese fare but what is not common knowledge is that they also have tempura-fried Camembert cheese! The French cheese is battered, fried, and served with a honey dipping sauce. Now, how does THAT sound?
Off menu apple pie
Odd DuckAddress and Info
Odd Duck’s pastry chef, Susana Querejazu’s off-the-menu apple pie can be shared amongst three-four people. The apple pie is served in a small cast iron and topped with chamomile ice cream. The pie is made with Eagle Mountain Apache blue cheese -- a cheddar-style blue cheese -- crumbled on the bottom as well as in the pie dough, and some fresh blue cheese is sprinkled on top of the pie. The pies are baked to order with only ten pies made per night. Treat yo’ self!
Beef panang curry
Thai-KunAddress and Info
Chef Thai Changthong refuses to Americanize his food. His beef panang curry is a homage to the cuisine he grew up eating. The beef is simmered for hours in super-spicy curry and served over jasmine rice and topped with kaffir lime leaf and holy basil. We’ll refrain from any “fire-in-the-hole” jokes here, but know that you will need lots and lots of water.
Franklin BBQAddress and Info
Do we really need to explain? Forget the hype, forget the line drama, Aaron Franklin is a BBQ genius. His brisket is juicy and tender and, well... kind of sexy to be honest. Need a plan? Wake up early, email your boss and tell him/her know that you have strep throat, get in your car, get in line, and then eat all the brisket. The next day show up bright and early to work, smile, and blame it on allergies.
LaunderetteAddress and Info
It’s fun-sized. It doesn’t come with lettuce, or tomatoes, or fancy cheese. And, guess what? We could care less. It’s a perfect beef patty (with a bit of bacon mixed in) on a challah bun with American cheese, special sauce, and a side of pickles.
Chicken fried beef ribs
Jack Allen’s KitchenAddress and Info
Nothing says “‘MURICA!” quite like a menu section dedicated to “Chicken Fried Anything.” Patrons of Jack Allen’s kitchen love the chicken fried beef ribs served with green chile gravy, chunky red smashers, and Chef’s veggies.
“The Perfect Ten” steak
Vince Young SteakhouseAddress and Info
This is not just any steak: this is a Texas-raised, Akaushi beef cooked to juicy perfection. It will be the best thing you have ever put in your mouth. It will bring you to tears. Nothing will be the same. Don’t even get us started on the bacon mac and cheese.
Triple fried duck fat fries
Salty SowAddress and Info
A huge portion of house-made fries triple fried in duck fat served with an egg that has been cooked for 110 minutes at a low temperature and cold béarnaise sauce for dipping. During happy hour (4:30pm-6:30pm everyday), the fries are only $5.50. Holla!
PéchéAddress and Info
Escargot (my car go?) with a garlic herb butter -- so classic, so Freeeench! It goes great with literally any spirit, as Péché is known for their insane selection of pre-Prohibition cocktails. And speaking of spirits, there’s absinthe in the dish!
Korean flank steak
Swift’s AtticAddress and Info
Sometimes, the obvious brunch options become a little dull -- thankfully, Swift’s Attic has this Korean-inspired savory dish. Tender, juicy Korean barbecue flank steak is served on top of crispy, fried rice balls, aka “jumeok bap cakes.”
ThunderCloud SubsAddress and Info
Thundercloud is an Austin institution and nobody’s life would be complete without sampling their best sandwich. The California club is turkey, bacon, and a generous swipe of guac -- we like to request swiss, lots of lettuce, tomato, salt, pepper, and of course Thunder Sauce.
LenoirAddress and Info
Your aunt Helen never made deviled eggs like these. Lenoir has elevated the Southern classic by topping them with bowfin caviar and a sprinkle of seaweed. Order them in Lenoir’s new wine garden for only $6!
Famous Southern fried chicken and waffles
MAX’s Wine DiveAddress and Info
Max’s is famous for their famous jalapeño-buttermilk fried chicken. Deep-fried, “slow and low,” in order to maintain its savory juiciness and rosy color, their famous Southern fried chicken comes with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and a slide of Texas toast -- and you can even request the gluten-free version!
UchiAddress and Info
From the James Beard Award-Winning Chef Tyson Cole, Uchi, and sister restaurant Uchiko are in a class all their own. Favorite dishes from Uchi include the machi cure, often called the Japanese nachos pairing smoked baby yellowtail, with yucca crisps, marcona almond, Asian pear, and garlic brittle.
Chicken fried steak biscuit and gravy
Salt & TimeAddress and Info
You know when a chicken fried steak is so large that it curls up? This dish, available on Salt & Time’s Sunday brunch menu, involves a huge, curly, crispy chicken fried steak on a thick biscuit, and topped with gravy, AND a fried egg. It’s life changing.
FixeAddress and Info
Fixe packs the house every night, and in addition to being known for delicious, modern takes on Southern classics and fantastic hospitality, they are also known for their biscuits! They sell more than 360 of the “three fat biscuits” every night. The Southern starter is served with house-made spicy 'nduja sausage spread and house-made seasonal preserves.
Pork belly yakitori
FukumotoAddress and Info
When visiting new spot, Fukumoto, be sure to order the pork belly yakitori -- it comes three pieces per skewer. The marinated pork belly is charred so that the fat becomes slightly crispy yet very juicy. Scratch that, order several.
Ng BMTAddress and Info
Ng BMT is a total hidden gem, quietly tucked in the back of the Hong Kong Supermarket. They bake their own baguettes daily and make their own tofu. The bread is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, the meat is flavorful, and the pickles veggies are crisp and fresh. And, they are only $5, including tax. You’re welcome.
El Sancho Loco
La BarbecueAddress and Info
East Cesar Chavez
Everything they smoke is juicy and just as good as Franklin, but we’ve got a soft spot for the hilariously-named, “El Sancho Loco”. A sandwich piled high with sausage, pulled pork, chopped beef, and pickled red onions, because YOLO.
Via 313Address and Info
East 6th Street
Via 313 makes pizza like pizza is probably made in heaven. The Detroiter is the be-all and end-all of pizzas; thick pan crust with crispy cheese edge, double layer of cheese, and double layer of pepperoni.
The “All The Way Burger”
TRACEAddress and Info
The restaurant also offers an off-menu, mega burger called the "All The Way Burger. It is an 8oz Niman ranch burger, comes with Tillamook cheddar, butter lettuce, beefsteak tomatoes, and house pickles on a brioche roll. You also have the option to add house-cured maple pork belly, fried organic egg, lump crab cake, avocado, Gonzales mushrooms, and crisp bacon.
East Side KingAddress and Info
East Cesar Chavez
East Side King has managed to make beets more addictive as French fries. The beets are fire-roasted then fried, which gives them a thin crispy skin, and served with Kewpie mayo. They’ll make a believer out of anyone who has ever had an aversion to the red root.
Freedman’sAddress and Info
Here’s drink that qualifies as an entire meal. The Holy Mary is a liter of Forty Creek Barrel Select whisky, smoked cherry tomato Bloody mix, house-made two-day BBQ sauce, lime juice, and Fire and Damnation bitters that's topped with, wait for it… a half pound of brisket, sausage, and spare ribs! It’s available during brunch on Sundays.
Black and Bleu pizza
Second Bar + KitchenAddress and Info
Pizza isn’t necessarily what Second Bar + Kitchen is known for, but this pizza is a total hit. The flavor profile is complex and indulgent: black truffle, bleu cheese, pork belly, medjool dates, and red onion on a perfect crust.
Ramen Tatsu-YaAddress and Info
The gang at Ramen Tatsu-ya have managed to create a cult classic with their ramen. Their signature bowl of ramen is a rich, complex, pork bone broth filled with thin noodles, tender chashu pork (soy braised pork belly), a marinated soft boiled egg, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, and your choice of add-ins. There is often a line but service moves lightning fast!
Kaffir lime fried chicken bun bowl
Elizabeth Street CafeAddress and Info
This Vietnamese cafe and French bakery is not only visually stunning in all of it’s attention to details, but they have a killer bun bowl. It combines rice vermicelli with lettuces, herbs, cucumber, carrot, roasted peanuts, nuoc cham, and is topped with kaffir lime fried chicken. Definitely one of their most popular dishes.
Brisket frito pie
Micklethwait Craft MeatsAddress and Info
Sometimes you want a little something different in your BBQ repertoire, and this is the answer! Micklethwait’s briket frito pie combines Fritos topped with brisket, chili, cheddar, cilantro, escabecha, red onion, and crema.
Popcorn tofu po’boy
WheatsvilleAddress and Info
Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, Wheatsville has really got something special in their popcorn tofu po’boy. The French roll is filled with firm fried tofu, sprouts, veggies, and cashew-tamari dressing that makes this sandwich a perfect lunch option for only $7.
HopfieldsAddress and Info
The French bistro meets craft beer bar makes one stand-out burger. The Pascal burger is a thick beef patty with Camembert cheese, cornichon aka tiny pickles, whole grain mustard, caramelized onions, and their ridiculously good pomme frites.
Due ForniAddress and Info
From their three options of mozzarella for the mozzarella bar, try the stracciatella with red peppers. It’s served with freshly-baked flatbread that is the same as their pizza dough. Cheese and bread FTW!
Son In Law
SwayAddress and Info
This Thai dish brings together all the elements you want in comfort food. Braised pork shoulder, thick soy, nahm prik pla (spicy Thai sauce), and a crispy farm egg on top of rice that soaks up all the sauces.
40 NorthAddress and Info
This little trailer in a South First food park is quietly selling out of dough everyday, and for good reason. Their wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas combine perfect, chewy-yet-crispy crust and unique toppings. Get any pie on the menu, just go now.
Brioche Doughnut Holes
laVAddress and Info
Warm, pillow-y, and so good! Guests of laV love the brioche donut holes as either a dessert or a starter at brunch. Feeling brave? Try spreading laV’s creamy pate on them!
PieousAddress and Info
This sandwich is hailed as the best Pastrami in Austin. Joshua Kaner starts with whole, untrimmed briskets that are then cured in a wet brine with spices. The brisket is then dried and rubbed, smoked with live oak for about 14 hours, then steamed. The result: thick, juicy, flavorful pastrami that brings all the boys (and girls) to the yard.
Luke’s Inside OutAddress and Info
Luke Bibby, the quirky owner of Luke’s Inside Out makes one of the best tasting burgers we've ever had. It’s an 8oz sirloin patty with bacon, cheddar, and according to his menu, “love”. Amen, Luke, amen.
IslaAddress and Info
Austin’s only dedicated Tiki bar also has a very island-y menu. We love their shrimp and scallop ceviche served with citrus, cucumber, and crispy corn tostadas. It doesn’t hurt that you can have a couple of classic Tiki cocktails with dinner, either!
Mac and cheese
Clark’s Oyster BarAddress and Info
So creamy, so cheesy, and baked to perfection. Clark’s Shells & Cheese is otherworldly AND topped with fresh lump crab. Sign us up!
Jacoby’s Restaurant & MercantileAddress and Info
East Cesar Chavez
Jacoby’s makes a Strawberry Cake you have to try. It’s a family recipe passed down from owner Adam Jacoby’s Grandmother. The flavors and simplicity of the cake evoke a warm sense of a nostalgia.
Gelateria GemelliAddress and Info
In their stylish storefront, the owners of Gelateria Gemelli are taking great care to create authentic Italian gelato and sorbet in uniquely classic flavors. Get a load of these: olive oil, Vietnamese coffee, sesame vanilla, lemon thyme sorbetto. Also, you can have a Negroni or an Italian amaro with your dessert!
QuiAddress and Info
This is a case of “sounds funky, tastes amazing” -- dinuguan is pork blood stew, Paul Qui makes a version of his grandmother’s recipe with crispy gnocchi and black trumpet mushrooms. The flavor is decidedly rich and authentic.
Jeffrey’sAddress and Info
The elegant eatery that set the standard for fine dining in Austin is also home to the fanciest risotto. It’s creamy, perfectly executed, sprinkled with peas and topped with wood roasted lobster, king crab, bay scallop & gulf prawns with butternut squash, lemon & uni butter -- and the portion is perfect for sharing.
Tom kha shrimp and grits
Kin + ComfortAddress and Info
This dish is an unexpected mash-up of cultures and flavors that just works together so magically. The classic coconut lime flavors of thai tom kha soup combine with Southern-style shrimp and grits.
Lemon ricotta pancakes
Josephine HouseAddress and Info
Josephine House whips up a perfect stack of fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes served with strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup, and house-made cultured butter. Who can say no to pancakes? Not us.
Verde chili fries
Casino El CaminoAddress and Info
Although they are known for their burgers and Halloween-ish decor, Casino is also home to a fantastic basket of fries. The verde chili fries are fries topped with garlic-y tomatillo sauce and melted white cheese. And by “garlic-y” we mean, don’t even think about taking a first date -- better yet, go alone so you won’t have to share.
Santorini CafeAddress and Info
Do you have a hankerin’ for a gyro made with soft, warm pita, perfectly seasoned meat, veggies, giant dollop of tzatziki, and a side of fries? Yeah, us too. Head over to Santorini’s for just what we described. Their prices are super cheap, and the owners are great folks.
Joe’s Bakery & Coffee ShopAddress and Info
Joe’s has been around for a long time and has a distinct family feel to it. If you love legit Tex-Mex, you’ll love their breakfast tacos, specifically anything with bacon! They fry the bacon, dredge the bacon in flour, and fry it again, so it’s super crispy, and the flour tortillas are soft, powdery, and the perfect vessel for your b-fast taco creation.
Dart BowlAddress and Info
This ooey-gooey, food-coma inducer has long been an Austin classic. So next time you’re in the mood for bowling, load up on this iconic meal.
1. VOX Table1100 South Lamar Blvd, 2140, Austin
2. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ7612 Brodie Ln, Austin
3. Olamaie1610 San Antonio St, Austin
4. Kome4917 Airport Blvd, Austin
5. Odd Duck1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin
6. Thai-Kun1104 East Sixth St, Austin
7. Franklin Barbecue900 E 11th St, Austin
8. Launderette2115 Holly St, Austin
9. Jack Allen's Kitchen7720 W Hwy 71, Austin
10. Vince Young Steakhouse301 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin
11. The Salty Sow1917 Manor Rd, Austin
12. Peche208 W 4th St, Austin
13. Thundercloud Subs1608 Lavaca St, Austin
14. Lenoir1807 S 1st St, Austin
15. Max's Wine Dive207 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin
16. Uchi801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin
17. Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria1912 E 7th St, Austin
18. Fixe500 W 5th St, Austin
19. Fukumoto514 Medina St, Austin
20. Ng BMT8557 Research Blvd, Austin
21. La Barbecue1200 E 6th St, Austin
22. Via 31361 Rainey St, Austin
23. Trace200 Lavaca St, Austin
24. East Side King1618 1/2 E 6th St, Austin
25. Freedmen's2402 San Gabriel St, Austin
26. Second Bar + Kitchen200 Congress Ave, Austin
27. Ramen Tatsu-Ya8557 Research Blvd, Austin
28. Elizabeth Street Cafe1501 S 1st St, Austin
29. Micklethwait Craft Meats1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin
30. Wheatsville Co-op3101 Guadalupe St, Austin
31. Hopfields3110 Guadalupe St, Austin
32. Due Forni106 E Sixth St, Austin
33. Sway1417 S 1st St, Austin
34. 40 North1502 S 1st St, Austin
35. laV1501 East 7th St, Austin
36. Pieous12005 HW 290 W, Austin
37. Luke's Inside Out1109 S Lamar Blvd, Austin
38. Isla208 W 4th St, Austin
39. Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile3235 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin
40. Gelateria Gemelli1009 W 6th St, Austin
41. Qui1600 E 6th St, Austin
42. Jeffrey's1204 West Lynn St, Austin
43. Kin & Comfort1700 W Parmer Ln, Austin
44. Josephine House1601 Waterston Ave, Austin
45. Casino El Camino517 E 6th St, Austin
46. Santorini Cafe11800 N Lamar Blvd, Austin
47. Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop2305 E 7th St, Austin
48. Dart Bowl5700 Grover Ave, Austin
49. Swift's Attic315 Congress Ave, Austin
50. Clark's Oyster Bar1200 W 6th St, Austin
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.
This family-run truck in Capital City serves some Tex-Mex, some barbecue, and some plates that combine the two. Expect mesquite-smoked brisket and ribs served three ways: as platters with coleslaw and pickles, loaded into hamburger buns, or folded into tacos house-made flour tortillas and guacamole. Its location right behind Star Bar means it's a great spot for the post-drinking munchies.
Housed in a charming cottage just south of campus, Olamie offers a menu with picks such as skillet cornbread (with stewed okra, fairytale eggplant), sweet tea red wattle pork chop (charred apple, sorrel, pickled red onion), and apple pie with buttermilk ice cream.
Designed by Japanese craftsmen, Kome has a modern atmosphere that compliments its homestyle Japanese comfort food. An extensive menu of Izakaya style meals and sushi rolls have influences from the owners' travels to other parts of Asia, with an added Austin flare.
Communal seating, an expansive patio, and an open kitchen (the view is best from the bar) abet in the casual atmosphere at Odd Duck -- a second concept from the team behind Barley Swine -- on South Lamar Boulevard. Antithetical to its atmosphere, Odd Duck's menu features upscale, intricate dishes inspired by the daily pick at the local farmer's market, and thus the menu shifts with the Texan seasons. Odd Duck features craft cocktails, craft beer, and wine to pair with its flavor- and ingredient-forward dishes. If you happen upon the pimento cheeseburger, get it.
Located at the back of Wonderland, Thai-Kun is a food truck collaboration from chefs Paul Qui and Thai Changthong, offering up Thai-inspired dishes like Beef Panang Curry. Grab a seat at one of their picnic tables.
This lunch-only spot often sees long lines of customers waiting to order pulled pork, brisket and other smoked meats. Chef Aaron Franklin brought quality barbecue to Austin that was excellent enough to earn him the 2015 James Beard Award for "Best Chef: Southwest." His BBQ is so lauded that meat lovers from around the world regulalry make a pit stop at this shack-like locale in East Austin.
Executive Chef Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki are fearless in the kitchen. The flavor combinations on the menu at Launderette are both complex and approachable, featuring favorites like the charred octopus, plancha burger (quite possibly the best burger in Austin), roasted parsnips, birthday cake ice cream sandwich... scratch that. Everything. Try everything on this menu. Stop by for dinner, weekday lunch, weekend brunch, or for their weekly happy hour specials.
Jack Allen's has nightly rotating specials of locally sourced additions to their usual menu, but also make sure you stop by for their brunch, or even just to try a cocktail, like the Cucumber Jalapeño Rita, with Tequila, St. Germain, muddled cucumber, fresh jalapeños, simple syrup, and fresh lime.
Vince Young Steakhouse is a subtly track-lit meat-feasting destination segmented by room-dividing wine racks, brass chain curtains, and snaking brown & dark burnt-orange booths. Along with its melt-in-your-mouth perfect steaks, Vince Young Steakhouse has a killer wagyu brisket burger with cheddar, house-made pickles, and hand-cut fries. With the perfect atmosphere for a romantic evening, this place is only open for dinner and closed on Sundays. We recommend stopping by for their happy hour, where you can get some of their delicious yet pricey entrees for a discount.
The whole hog resto from the Hopdoddy dudes -- who brought in a pair of veteran chefs from ATL and FLA -- is in the former Red House, with a more polished but still inviting vibe marked by an open kitchen, paintings of gigantic porkers, and light fixtures made of cutlery, which has graduated from tongue to tungsten.
Consciously attempting to recreate the European art of mixology that was largely lost in America as a result of Prohibition, Peche is a genuine cocktail paradise, and it's the only place in Austin that you can experience absinthe "in its true form".
Thundercloud is an Austin (and perhaps Texan) institution and nobody’s life would be complete without sampling their best sandwich. Enter the California club, a turkey, bacon, and guac wonder with which we like to request swiss, lots of lettuce, tomato, salt, pepper, and of course Thunder Sauce.
A locavore's haven, Lenoir serves French-inspired cuisine that unites community and fresh ingredients to cultivate a new food experience through a seasonal and prix fixe-style menu. Sample dishes from the sea like snapper ceviche with avocado puree, lime serrano and summer melons or rove the land with roasted guinea hen, kasu noodles, antelope ham broth, string beans, and sprouts. Guests can also dine at Lenoir's wine garden, which offers small plates and shareables alongside a variety of beer, cider, and wine.
Max's Wine Dive offers what 10yr-old you thought rich people have for every meal: Champagne and fried chicken. Max's is a great spot for brunch, head there and enjoy the huge wine selection and legendary mac 'n cheese.
Serving up sushi and Japanese cuisine in South Austin, Uchi does have a larger price tag and you may encounter a wait -- but there's good reason for that in the deliciously fresh ingredients and bold flavors that you'll find inside. Grab a seat and order away, or put your trust in your servers and chefs and let them pick for you.
A butcher shop and bakery, Salt & Time slices up local, sustainable meats from farms around Austin and Central Texas. Tex-Mex (Migas, empanadas) and Southern (biscuits and gravy, pork hash) plates dominate brunch on the weekends, and every day it offers a Butcher’s Cut menu with eight to 10 high-quality offerings -- including Angus and wagyu -- cooked to medium-rare heaven. If you’re ready to up your steak game at home, Salt & Time’s butcher shop has fresh and aged steaks ready to be wrapped and weighed.
Fixe, with its very experienced chef/management team, is doing upscale-Southern with a dedicated grits menu and a barrel-aged craft cocktail program.
This place serves traditional sushi from renowned Chef Kasu Fukumoto. You are going to want to try the Hama Toro.
Situated in the Hong Kong Market, this small sandwich shop is known for French cuisine, banh mi, and other Vietnamese dishes. Try the marinated pork with house mayo, pickled carrots, and jalapeños.
La Barbecue is a permanently placed BBQ trailer serving up delicious brisket, house-made sausages, ribs, and pulled pork in East Austin. A BYOB policy and live music on Saturday and Sunday only sweeten the deal.
This brick-and-mortar trailer boasts Detroit-style pizza (arguably the lovechild of Chicago's deep-dish/casserole pizza and the Big Apple's traditional slice), made fresh by two brothers who visit Motown annually for new ideas.
Trace, located in downtown Austin, is an American resto serving up farm-to-table fare. Get creative and try out some antelope loin or venison sausage.
Some of the finest comfort food Austin has to offer. Be sure to try the fried brussel sprouts.
This is not your average barbecue joint. Freedman's has a patio and outdoor beer garden that offers a variety of brews on tap as well as a retro soda shop-inspired cocktail list. If you're not a fan of the throwbacks, the $3 tacos, tamales and whiskey of the month happy hour should entice you. Check out this vintage-y, saloon style spot near UT for rollicking night out on the town.
Second Bar + Kitchen prides themselves on creating a true farm-to-table experience, offering small plates, pizzas, and various entrees. Our personal favorite is the Congress Burger, which is essentially the Rolls Royce of Austin burgers; ground brisket & chuck, gruyére cheese, shallot confit, and horseradish pickles, with the option to double the meat and cheese, add pork belly, avocado, fried egg, and seared foie gras. There are also a wide variety of wines, beers, and craft cocktails. Stop by Second for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Nothing compares to the lovingly simmered broth made at Ramen Tatsu-ya. The gang here has managed to create a cult classic with their menu. Try their signature bowl of ramen is a rich, complex, pork bone broth filled with thin noodles, tender chashu pork (soy braised pork belly), a marinated soft boiled egg, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, and your choice of add-ins. There is often a line but service moves lightning fast.
The brainchild of barbecue and seafood masters Perla and Lambert, Elizabeth Street Cafe serves up Vietnamese dishes with French accents. Try a "Shaking" Steak & Eggs with Niman Ranch ribeye, sauteed spinach, spicy caramel, and toast, or a peach galette with homemade puff pastry and chia ice cream, slathered in ginger peach compote.
Smoking and barbecuing craft meats, Micklethwait has authentic, Texas country-style BBQ, including specialty homemade sausages that vary daily. This ramshackle, neighborhood spot serves up some of the best meat in the ATX (beef rib, brisket, pulled pork, chops 'n sausage, to name a few offerings), all of which you can enjoy at camp-style outdoor picnic tables with a cold beverage in hand.
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.
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.
Due Forni is a casual pizza and wine spot where you can watch spaghetti Westerns and choose between pies from one of two ovens -- a Roman oven turning out thin and crispy-crusted 'zas, and another Neapolitan oven making a thicker, softer bread.
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.
The only thing better than fresh, wood-fired pizza is fresh, wood-fired pizza and the libation of your choice. At this BYOB trailer, patrons can pair their specialty pies with a glass (let's be real—bottle) of fine wine.
An impressive wine list, intriguing dishes like Wood Oven Bouillabaisse with squid, clams, and blue prawn, and a complimentary valet make laV the ideal spot to go when you want to feel like a celebrity... then treat yourself to a Meyer Lemon Cream and feel like a slightly larger celebrity.
A classic Austin pizza joint serving up pies from the traditional, to one with BACON MARMALADE. They've also got local brews on tap and WHY HAVEN'T YOU LEFT YET AFTER READING "BACON MARMALADE"?
Though this purveyor of giant sandwiches is in fact a trailer, don't underestimate the life-size flavor of its sandwiches. Serving up sammies like "The Cow" prepared with Brisket Banh Mi smoked brisket, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, jalapeños & siracha aioli, Luke's individual portions pack enough flavor and caloric heft for your entire day's meals.
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.
Boasting a number of Southern-inspired menu items -- such as shrimp and grits, family-style braised greens, and pork confit fritters -- Jacoby's Mercantile is the perfect spot for al fresco with friends, offering a view of the Colorado River most people have never seen. Must-try items include the Muskoka Smash (Bulleit Rye, blackberry, basil, & lemon), and for "supper" a Bone-In Ribeye with a side of Mac-n-Cheese (made with sour cream and Roggenbier).
The flavors at the gelateria include Olive Oil, Valrhona Chocolate, Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Basil & Pine Nut, and Toasted Hazelnut -- among others. The organic small-batch flavors are all made on location. They also serve coffee, sweet pops, and even some cocktails.
The first solo venture of James Beard award-winning Paul Qui, the appropriately named Qui is a minimalist's dream, from the rigid lines of its wood furnishing and rectangular layout, to the bright pops of color provided by the garnishes atop the Japanese fusion fare. The trendy image is only enhanced by the fruity gin-based cocktails and the meals that come to the table in small portions, like crispy pig's head, squid, and seared scallops.
Jeffrey's offers a fine dining experience unrivaled by any other restaurant in Austin. The French-American menu centers around prime beef dishes grilled and roasted over local live oak. Consider going big and fancy with the Texas Wagyu bone-in ribeye, and make sure you top it off with a healthy dose of foie gras butter. Jeffrey's interior is as elegant as the ambience, filled with plush chairs, white tablecloths, and a fireplace.
Kin & Comfort is a rare opportunity to taste what happens when Thai cuisine meets Southern comfort food -- try the Panang Mac & Cheese, Tom Kha Shrimp & Grits, and Thai Meatloaf & Gravy.
Josephine House, located in the Clarksville area, is the sister location of Jeffrey's, another fine dining location in Austin. Here you'll enjoy cozy little nooks to dine in in this little cottage establishment, as well as a patio and lawn on which you are also free to lounge. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus use locally-sourced ingredients to craft their delicious dishes, and if you're around during the weekend, there's also a tasty brunch selection.
The bar known for its punk rock attitude is also known for its Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives-approved burger. Try the famous Amarillo Burger, three-quarters of a pound of Angus Beef, with Serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese, and cilantro mayo. Also stop by for one of its monster Bloody Marys. Choose a spice level (1-10) and watch as they pile on the taquitos, meatballs, sausages, bacon, celery, olives, cucumber, lemon, various pickled items, and cilantro garnishes.
This unassuming house-restaurant is quickly gaining a loyal following. The lamb menu items should definitely be your go-to, and if you're going to make the trek out here you should probably get a glass of sangria for $2.50 and drink it on the patio.
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.
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.
Located the second floor of the historic (and now defunct grocery store) Swift's Premium Food Co. building on Congress Avenue, the appropriately named Swift's Attic serves up eclectic small plates and creative cocktails for hipstered out Austinites. Among a brunch Bloody Mar bar and generous daily happy hour deals, Swift's offers sophisticated meats, seafood, snacks, and cocktails. Must trys are Korean BBQ flank steak, squid "fries," and the Pop Rocks charred edamame.
A small neighborhood seafood joint, Clark's Oyster Bar, prides itself on simple, sustainable seafood with a cozy ambiance. The maritime cache is fully stocked with house-made breads, burgers, and an extensive brunch menu, but the oysters, which come in a breadth of both East and West Coast options that rotate out with availability and season, are an essential order.