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.
You can’t get much more Austin than a barbecue trailer started by an ex-rock ‘n’ roller. That's the backstory on Micklethwait's, a friendly place that takes its top-quality brisket, sausage and other meats seriously and doesn't overlook the sides and desserts.
The slow-cooked barbacoa tacos at this truck are so luscious that they’ll ruin you for anyone else's. For breakfast, the migas tacos are justly revered as some of the best breakfast tacos in this breakfast taco-obsessed town.
Is it wrong that I daydream about Thai-Kun moving into my backyard, enabling me to eat the Waterfall Pork or Thai Kun Fried Chicken every day? This truck, located at Whisler's cocktail bar, has to be the most flavor per dollar that you can get in Austin.
The lineup of margaritas (and other cocktails) here is uniformly tasty and affordable. I usually go with the house Mexican martini for $5.50—a worthy companion to satisfying plates like tacos de verduras (only $7 for two veggie tacos and two sides).
It's not technically a margarita, but El Cubico—a cocktail that blends flavors including tobacco, vanilla, pineapple, lemon and saffron—is perhaps the highest and best use of tequila that we have found as humans.
The frozen margaritas here are some of the best for cooling down on a hot Austin day. Crave something different? Enjoy a spicy orange Chilango margarita, with chips and the restaurant's signature smoky salsa. Happy-hour specials add to the Chilango’s allure.
You might not be familiar with the Mexican martini, a generous margarita-style cocktail served around Austin. According to legend, this bar introduced it in the U.S. almost 30 years ago.
The frozen-avocado margarita is the most famous option at this consistently good Interior-Mexican spot in South Austin, but I’m more a fan of the light and refreshing La Currita, served on the rocks in a 16-ounce glass. Pair it with ceviche or the tacos al pastor.
Rainey Street, near downtown, is Austin’s trendiest area for bar-hopping, but once you arrive at Bangers, you might not make it to any more stops. The large, tree-filled outdoor seating area has a stage for live music, plus there's a dog run. Can't decide among the many beers on the menu?
Contigo—the mostly-outdoor East Austin restaurant—is modeled after Contigo, the ranch in South Texas. Contigo describes its fare as “fresh, quality bar food.” That means snacks and small plates to share, like crispy green beans or ox tongue sliders.
The Austin Beer Garden and Brewing Co. has only been around since 2013, but it's already a fixture. They brew their own beers, which you can enjoy outdoors (or in) at a laid-back location.
Long adored by locals who seriously love beer, the Ginger Man in downtown Austin has a wide selection, a pub feel and a cozy patio. Walk over here to talk about the concert that just rocked your world at at ACL Live, or the movie that intrigued you at Violet Crown Cinema.
Pass through this dark, dive-y bar on East Sixth Street to the outdoor picnic tables and you’ll be greeted with a beautiful sight: an East Side King food truck. Co-created by Top Chef winner Paul Qui, ESK offers such delights as pork buns and beet fries, which are just right with beer.
Even the most laid-back of towns needs a certifiably fancy restaurant or two. Since 2010, Congress has been making its mark in Austin thanks to acclaimed Executive Chef David Bull, an atmosphere of understated elegance and impeccable service.
Dinner at the contemporary Mexican restaurant La Condesa feels like a visit to a beautiful, tropical-modern resort—but you’re really in the middle of Austin’s Second Street District.