Welp, we finally had the pleasure of visiting Austin together! When we had two birthdays on the horizon and found United tickets for only $97 each we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate in the Lone Star State. Austin has a really fun and extensive food scene with loads of good restaurants! Aside from seeing some live music, chowing down was the main reason we decided to visit. So here’s our list of 12 Austin restaurants we truly love in 2019!
This list is by no means definitive, we were just some hungry out of towners looking to sample some local favorites like barbeque, Tex-Mex, tacos and burgers, and even some delicious vegan food. Consider hitting up some of these spots on your visit to the capital city of Texas.
We’ll start things off with a first-rate Austin burger joint, Hopdoddy. Inside this modern eatery with a Texas twist you’ll find inventive all-natural handmade burgers in a casual setting. The Primetime Burger is a must-try! Your tongue will dream about this juicy delight long after you leave. It goes perfectly with their parmesan truffle fries that come in a big stainless steel bowl.
It’s smart to plan your visit to coincide with their $5 happy hour Monday- Friday from 3-6:30 pm when it’s $5 for select craft beers, wines, starters, and boozy drinks.
There are several locations around town, but we went to the original one on South Congress. It’s an easy walk from Hopdoddy down to the Congress bridge if you’re going to see the bats at dusk.
1400 S Congress Ave Ste A190. Austin, TX 78704. (512) 243-7505 Visit Website
2. Matt’s Famous El Rancho
This next restaurant is a family-owned and operated Tex-Mex classic. A favorite among locals they’ve been serving up margaritas and enchiladas since 1952. You really can’t go wrong here, but the enchiladas are excellent. Whatever you decide on be sure to start things off with the legendary Bob Armstrong Queso Dip! It’s seriously addicting…
2613 S. Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78704. 512-462-9333 Visit Website
3. Torchy’s Tacos
This is the place to be for imaginative designer tacos. Depending on how hungry you are two should be enough. We tried the Brushfire taco with Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream, cilantro, and a dollop of diablo sauce, a tasty n’ spicy taco indeed!
We also ate the Rebel Yell which was taco of the month. It came with grilled shrimp, chopped bacon, grilled pineapple, cabbage slaw, jack cheese, guajillo chile, garlic fried onion straws, cilantro, plus barbecue and chipotle sauces. Damn good! They have a huge menu and breakfast is served all day. There are several Torchy’s Tacos locations all around town, so take your pick. Easy to see why this chain has exploded and become one of the most famous Austin restaurants.
3005 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704. (512) 614-1832 Visit Website
4. Terry Black’s BBQ
Austin and barbecue go hand in hand. Ask any Austinite where their favorite barbecue is and you’ll probably get a few different answers. Franklin’s has been ranked #1 for several years, but you might wait five hours in line for the pleasure of trying it.
After eating at Terry Black’s we just couldn’t convince ourselves to wait that long. Terry Black’s BBQ is owned and operated by 4th generation pitmasters descending from the famous Black’s BBQ of Lockhart, Texas. This family has been smoking meats since the 1930s. Being from Denver, Terry Black’s is easily the best barbecue we’ve ever had. Nothing in our hometown remotely compares. We loved it so much, we went twice in five days!
Don’t miss the mouthwateringly moist cuts of brisket and the sweet BBQ pork ribs. The jalapeno cheese hot links are also impressive. One more thing that makes this a favorite, the sides are all fantastic, including the banana pudding! Fortunately, the longest we had to wait was 30 minutes (sorry Franklin’s, maybe next time).
1003 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX 78704. (512) 394-5899 Visit Website
5. Texas Chili Parlor
Step into this old school dive for some spicy Texas-style chili and a mad dog margarita. Open since 1976 TCP is immortalized forever in an old country song by Guy Clark entitled Dublin Blues.
“Well, I wished I was in Austin, mm
In the Chili Parlor Bar
Drinkin’ Mad Dog Margaritas
And not carin’ where you are.”
Fun fact for you Tarantino lovers out there, a scene from his 2007 film Death Proof was filmed here!
1409 Lavaca St. Austin, TX 78701. (512) 472-2828 Visit Website
6. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Dining in Austin restaurants might default to barbecue, but this is the place to be if you love crispy fried chicken and southern comfort food. Sure it’s a chain restaurant, but don’t let that put you off.
Sip some sweet tea, pop some fried okra, and bite into a spicy chicken breast. It’s fried in peanut oil and not greasy at all! They’ve even got Louisiana hot sauce on the table. Oooo-weeee!
117 San Jacinto Blvd. Austin, TX 78701. (512) 474-4877 Visit Website
7. Bouldin Creek Cafe Austin
Stop by this hip and eco-friendly cafe for a creative selection of vegetarian and vegan delights. The flavors here will convince even the most committed carnivores. Try the award-winning Veggie Royale burger or if you go for breakfast their tofu scramble is bomb! Wash it all down with a lavender mate sour lemonade, super refreshing on those hot Austin days. Plus they donate to local non-profits, pay a liveable wage to their employees, and compost their food waste. Ethical and delicious, what’s not to love?
1900 S 1st St. Austin, TX 78704. (512) 416-1601 Visit Website
8. Magnolia Cafe
Admittedly we love the nostalgia and cozy vibe of an old greasy spoon diner. Open 24 hours a day and 8 days a week, it’s one of the quintessential late-night Austin restaurants. After being downtown, we stumbled in with the munchies for some breakfast tacos and they definitely hit the spot. Sip a hot cup of coffee and eavesdrop on some drunk conversations. Everybody knows, everybody goes.
1920 S Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78704. (512) 445-0000 Visit Website
9. Hideaway Kitchen & Bar
Located in South Austin this all-day cafe serving Texas comfort food is inside of the Ramada by Wyndham hotel. Surprisingly it was packed on Saturday morning, but it’s not hard to see why. The food is super good!
I enjoyed a huge biscuit sandwich with roasted potatoes and Sindhya had the migas breakfast tacos. Popular in Austin, migas are a scramble of eggs, peppers, and tortilla chips. Both were superb alongside our self serve coffee. The nice casual setting with live acoustic music makes it a great start to your day.
4323 S IH 35 Frontage Rd. Austin, TX 78744. (512) 527-3007 Visit Website
10. P. Terry’s Burger Stand
This old school Austin original fast food restaurant is unmissable on any visit to the capital. It even won Austin Monthly’s Burger Brawl vs. In-N-Out and Fatburger. They have a solid double cheeseburger meal, fresh-cut fries, creamy hand-spun shakes, and heavenly veggie burgers too. Worth hitting the drive-thru after a night out (they’re open til 3am) or you can order it from doordash.com to be delivered to your room.
5900 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78751. (512) 814-0129 Visit Website
11. Lick Honest Ice Creams
What’s a compilation of places to eat without a dessert option? On our way to the airport we had to stop and try some local ice cream. Lick Honest is essentially handmade farm-to-table ice cream that uses fresh ingredients (73% sourced from local farmers).
With flavors like sweet persimmon and sage, melon margarita, roasted beets & fresh mint, and sweet grits, this isn’t your typical ice cream parlor. Luckily the friendly staff will let you try as many as you wish before you choose!
We had black sesame black rice which is made with a coconut milk base and is 100% vegan. It was so fluffy and delicious! Sindhya had shishito pepper and plum which is a perfect combo of sweet and spicy and caramel salt lick. Flavors change seasonally, depending on what’s available.
1100 S Lamar Blvd #1135. Austin, TX 78704. (512) 363-5622 Visit Website
12. Holy Roller
Punk rock inspired bar without the grime, offering craft cocktails, quality eats, and southern hospitality. Solid bloody marys and religious art make it a nice place to land after a fun Saturday night out, but sit at the bar or expect a wait if you go late in the morning.
This place was recently featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives so yes it’s become popular. Who doesn’t love brunch all day? Try the brisket fries or the biscuits and pimiento cheese with bacon jam, holy f*ck they are to die for! We also enjoyed the brussels sprouts with apple butter. Certainly one of our favorite Austin restaurants!
509 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78701 (512)-502-5119 Visit Website
Have you ever traveled to a destination for the food? If you like to chow down, Austin is a great getaway. Writing this post made me hungry! As the saying goes, “everything is bigger in Texas”. When you go out to eat that’s definitely true of the portion sizes, so keep that in mind. We found ourselves sharing one entree and an appetizer at several restaurants.
An honorable mention would be Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. It may not be the best barbeque in the city, but it doubles as a live music venue. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to sample any Asian food in Austin this time around either, but we had our sights on Loro and Ramen Tatsu-ya. They’ll just have to wait until our next trip. So many Austin restaurants, so little time…
Did we miss a place in Austin that you really love? Let us know in the comments…