Best Place To Eat In Austin – Written and curated by Visit Austin staff, this blog shares the things visitors love and locals can’t get enough of.
Looking for the hottest places to eat while visiting Austin? We’ve compiled a list of 15 delectable spots, serving everything from Japanese hand rolls to bone marrow tacos, that you can’t leave town without trying.
Best Place To Eat In Austin
1. Try a Japanese hot-pot dining experience at DipDipDip Tatsu-ya. The restaurant’s modern take on shabu-shabu involves cooking a variety of meat, seafood and vegetables in simmering pots of broth at the dinner table, accompanied by a variety of flavorful dipping sauces. Grab dessert at the adjacent DipDipDip Ice Cream, with exotic flavors served in hand-dipped mochiko cones.
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2. Ranch-style Tex-Mex dishes, inspired by the traditional shared foods of Texas vaqueros and cowboys, are on the menu at Vamonos. Dig into the chicken enchiladas or a wood-grilled entree like the Texas Gulf Redfish. Side your meal with a glass of ranch water (tequila mixed with sparkling Topo Chico and lime).
3. Comedor is a stunning modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin serving cutting-edge cuisine. Start with an inventive appetizer like the bone marrow tacos with smoked butter, followed by the Spanish octopus served with black garlic mole and quinoa. A dessert favorite is the bitter chocolate tamale topped with ice cream rolled in sesame seeds and crispy rice.
4. Vaquero Taquero serves up its street-style tacos at a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Order the signature taco al pastor, made with flame-seared pork carved directly from a vertical fire spit and wrapped in a warm homemade tortilla, garnished with a roasted pineapple slice, cilantro, onion, salsa and fresh avocado crema.
5. There are two exciting restaurants to check out at the new ArrIVE East Austin hotel. Lefty’s Brick Bar is a casual all-day spot that mixes Cajun and Asian flavors, as seen in the Banh Boys – sandwiches that are a hybrid of Vietnamese Banh Mi and a Cajun Po’ Boy stuffed with pork, chicken, seafood or vegetables.
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6. Also at ArrIVE, Vixen’s Wedding serves intensely flavorful meals inspired by the foods of Goa, India and Portugal. Try the pork ribs vindaloo with coconut salad and pickled onion or the piri-piri chicken accompanied by new potatoes, wild spinach and peanuts.
7. The boutique Carpenter Hotel, set among a grove of pecan trees at the edge of Zilker Park, is home to the hip Carpenters Hall restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sample comfort foods like the Miga breakfast tacos or order the chicken schnitzel for two for dinner, prepared by James Beard Award-nominated chef Grae Nonas.
8. Homemade Italian is the name of the game at L’Oca d’Oro. Your whole table can do a tasting of the house-made pastas (including chilled buckwheat spaghetti) or opt for an entree like the dry-aged pork chop served with fried okra flowers and pickled peppers. Don’t miss the tiramisu spiked with dark rum for dessert.
9. The casual, counter service Nixta Taqueria specializes in serving handmade corn tortillas. Choose from tacos and tostadas with fillings like marinated yellowfin tuna and roasted sweet potatoes, or seasonal ingredients like smoked Japanese eggplant. For dessert, take an avocado paleta to go.
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10. ATX Cocina is focused on clean, modern Mexican dishes and processes its own masa in house, sourcing its heirloom corn from small family farms in Mexico. Try the duck carnitas with pickled fruit and lemongrass-habanero-avocado salsa. And be sure to order a craft cocktail or hand-shaken margarita, made with organic agaves and curated tequilas.
11. Stop at Nervous Charlie’s for breakfast or lunch, where you’ll find bagels and cream cheese sandwiches made with real-deal ingredients flown in from New York City. Breakfast options include a traditional bagel with Acme salmon, scallion cream cheese, red onions and capers. For lunch, try the big apple sandwich layered with turkey, sliced apple, brie cheese and honey mustard.
12. Stop by the Spicy Boys food truck, parked on the Zilker Brewing Co. patio. Try pan-Asian eats like bowlless wings made with crispy fried chicken thighs (substituted with cauliflower for vegetarians) and choose from sauces like citrus-miso or Thai barbecue. Or sample the Malaysian chicken-yellow curry roti, paired with a Marco IPA.
13. Il Brutto is a neighborhood spot that serves Italian classics with a twist. Start with the crostini topped with buffalo mozzarella cheese, then move on to a pasta like the squid ink tagliolini with fresh clams and mussels, or try the lamb with fried artichokes, raspberry coulis and salsa verde. Be sure to order a glass of the house-made limoncello.
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14. Grab a spot at the counter at the Uroko storefront. The new quick-service Japanese restaurant focuses on temaki (hand rolls) and omakase. Uroko offers hand rolls with fillings like tuna and grilled salmon during select hours, a reservation-only omakase sushi menu with creative nigiri pieces like sea urchin served on Friday and Saturday nights, and sushi classes on Thursday evenings.
15. Swedish Hill is a combination cafe, bakery and deli that offers an all-day menu, along with a Friday evening market dinner menu that changes weekly. Try the Italian-spiced rotisserie chicken or house pastrami sandwich on rye bread. A Fresh Market dinner featured Wagyu New York strip steak with roasted pear for dessert. Living in Austin, we are often asked for our favorite places to eat around town. Our most common response is to close your eyes and point, because there are so many amazing restaurants here. But that’s not all that useful, really. Here’s a running list of our favorite Austin, Texas restaurants and places you have to try on your next visit.
Before you get to the list, we would like to point out that we have a strong appreciation for the value scale and casual gems. Austin has some great fine dining options, but we’ll go for taco trucks, barbecue, takeaway pizza, and Tex-Mex 9.5 times out of 10. For more fine dining recommendations, check out the Female Foodie Austin Top 25.
We first tried Bird Bird on one of our trips to visit Austin to see if we wanted to move here. I’m not saying it was our decision, but it was a factor. Northeast of downtown Austin on Manor Rd sits this tiny little biscuit factory with some of the best breakfast sandwiches you’ll find.
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They have a simple menu but recently added new items like the Spicy Firebird Chicken Biscuit and Fries for their dinner service. There is also a second location to North Austin this summer.
Tucked between two buildings on North Lamar, you’ll find a red truck serving up some of the best tacos we’ve ever had. You can’t go wrong with the selection on the menu, but if you can catch them on a Saturday, they bust the trump card for a pastor.
Having a truck, I would check their Instagram before I go to make sure they weren’t sold out for the day. And they do not open on Monday or Sunday to prepare for each week. For more food truck tips, check out our Austin food trucks guide.
If you’re around the Domain in North Austin, this is our favorite place to grab a bite between Vanessa’s shopping sprints. The atmosphere is great, with a huge outdoor patio, fire pits and an indoor/outdoor bar. We do our best to try something new every visit, and we have yet to order something we don’t like.
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Menu selection is easy at Discada because they serve one thing – Tacos Discada. If you are not familiar with this style of cooking, here is a description straight from their menu: “24 hour marinade of beef, pork, bell peppers and onions slowly cooked for 6 hours in a tractor acre disc – topped with onion, cilantro, Pineapple and served with a side of salsa and lime.
Word on the street is that these are the best birria tacos in Austin, and I think I’d agree. The meat is unbelievably flavorful and tender, and I love how they toss the cheese for their quesotacos. So much so, I modeled my Chicken Birria Quesotacos after theirs.
Funny (or maybe sad) story: Vanessa and I lived right down the street from this unassuming taco stand for a whole year and only discovered it after moving across town. It’s definitely a hidden gem, but one that’s catching on. I would definitely check their Instagram if you go later in the day to make sure they aren’t sold out.
How can you not include a restaurant named after a young King Charles Cavalier? Besides Doggo Loyalty, Nervous Charlie’s serves up some of the best bagels you’ll find in Austin right down the street from one of our other favorites, Paprika.
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As you’ll see with the next restaurant on the list, bigger doesn’t always mean better. But in the case of CC Donuts, their Texas-sized donut holes are some of the best donut holes I’ve ever had. They are somehow amazing both fresh and leftover. So don’t stress to be there when the doors open.
For some variety, throw in some old-fashioned donuts and the cake donut holes. Although they always throw in a few bonus items for us. And we love them for it.
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