Restaurants in Austin
Austin restaurants sport simple and excellent Tex-Mex and comfort food, as well as new culinary creations and world-renowned chefs. Food trucks are widely popular, and the restaurant scene is equally as vibrant. Congress is being called the best new restaurant in Texas, with a choice of a three or seven-course prix-fixe menu by Chef David Bull. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q is famous not only for its food but also for its history in the music scene. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Cash and countless other blues and country artists would play for their meals there, and the Austin location carries on that spirit with live music almost every night. Not to mention exceptional barbecue.
Kerbey Lane Café is an Austinite favorite. It’s open 24 hours a day, so anyone looking for late night queso dip, afternoon coffee or morning brunch has the perfect place to go. They also emphasize local and sustainable food. For some authentic Tex-Mex, the wildly popular Guero’s Taco Bar offers classic style margaritas and cantina fare. Plan ahead for a line, and don’t miss their chicken tortilla soup.
There’s no better place to go for burgers and shakes, especially since this casual joint with great outdoor seating and a big playground is connected to the Austin-born Amy’s Ice Cream (try the Mexican Vanilla).
Located in Austin’s up-and-coming East Side, Justine’s is a fantastic French bistro that attracts a stylish hipster crew, eager for expertly crafted steak frites and garlicky escargot.
Located in the Warehouse District, Ranch 616 specializes in South Texas cuisine, with an emphasis on Gulf Coast seafood, wild game, and bold spices.
Despite its unassuming strip mall location, this New American restaurant is often lauded as one of the best in the city. The dining room is intimate and understated, with about 15 white-clothed tables and windows screened with Japanese washi (rice paper).
Located off the beaten path in the West Campus neighborhood, this second-story restaurant is known for its Mediterranean small plates and inventive cocktails. The covered patio caters to a 30-something happy hour crowd, while the candlelit dining room is popular with couples.
The postmodern barbecue joint, housed among mid-construction condo buildings in an airy, historic brick warehouse, delivers outstanding barbecued chicken, moist and with a clove-y smoke character. Chase your bbq with a hoppy Lost Gold IPA from Blanco, Texas.
Chefs who try to fancify lowbrow food warrant suspicion but not immediate dismissal. Max’s Wine Dive in Austin is a perfect example of why checking it out is smart. Advertised awkwardly as “upscale comfort food,” its fried chicken is better described as Tex-Mex soul.
Go for some Texas barbecue at the low-key Artz Rib House, where for $16.99 you can get messy with a full rack of baby-back ribs.
The Scene: Despite their demanding day jobs, Hannah Calvert and her business partner, Tasso, opened SUG in 2006 as a way to exorcise their deep desire to cook, entertain, and even matchmake.
El Meson, which serves traditional Mexi
This retro restaurant and bar evokes Rat Pack–era Palm Springs; the
furniture in its Vegas-style space is covered with acres of tufted
leather, and its upstairs terrace has views of the Austin skyline.
From an unassuming, tin-roofed structure on Manor Road, across from Interstate 35 and the University of Texas at Austin campus, El Chile serves Tex-Mex to a mixed crowd of Austin high rollers and hungry undergraduates.
The coffee house is adjacent to the Hotel San José and is perfect for iced coffees and people watching.