Looking for the best restaurants in Austin? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Sure, the capital of the Lone Star state is in a constant state of flux, but one thing remains the same: Austin, Texas has some pretty damn good eats.
Because we couldn’t possibly list every restaurant worth visiting, we narrowed it down to a handful of cuisines where Austin really shines.
Whether you’re in the mood for tacos, BBQ, ramen, an all-American brunch or something in between, this list of the best restaurants in Austin is sure to tempt your taste buds and satisfy your cravings morning, noon, and night.
From new restaurants to old favorites, read on and get ready to chow down in the ATX.
Best Restaurants for Mexican Food
While there’s plenty of Tex-Mex to go around in Austin, the south-of-the-border victuals include more than tacos. (But don’t worry. There are plenty of those.)
Fonda San Miguel
For a refined take on classic Mexican cuisine, Fonda San Miguel on West North Loop is a go-to. The spacious, gorgeous, and brightly hued hacienda-style eatery is where you’ll find a welcoming vibe and a menu brimming with dishes that range from authentic antojitos and pollo rostizado to calabacitas rellenos. Don’t forget the eye-candy cocktails and weekend brunch.
Pueblo Viejo at The North Door
This under-the-radar East Austin spot is where to grab legit breakfast tacos or any other kind of taco from fish to veggie. Check out the North Door location, a space that also serves as an event and concert venue.
Austinites and visitors alike can’t seem to get enough of Torchy’s Tacos and you probably won’t either once you get your hands on one of their namesake dishes. Just don’t forget the queso. (Seriously, it’s all about the ooey gooey, addictively spicy queso here. Say cheese!)
Veracruz All Natural
This food truck isn’t just where to get tacos on the go — it’s where to get them on handmade tortillas with homemade salsa. Top off your order with migas (literally “crumbs” in Spanish), a smoothie, or a refreshingly sweet agua fresca.
For a high-end Mexican restaurant that’s pretty enough for a date night, you can’t go wrong with La Condesa in downtown Austin. Expect guacamole made with freshly whipped avocado and a selection of salsas, botanas (small plates), and savory entrees, including the vegan-friendly hongos a la parilla — oak-grilled exotic mushrooms served with refried white beans, mint chimichurri, and arbol chili.
Its name means “luck” in Spanish and you’ll have plenty of it at this east side favorite. Suerte offers a creative and skillfully crafted menu that includes wagyu carne asada, fennel masa dumplings with crispy duck skin and tortillas (crafted from housemade masa), and tostadas topped with poached shrimp, octopus and mussels, avocado, and jalapeños.
Best Restaurants for BBQ
From smokey meats to lip-smacking, finger-licking ‘sauces, these are the best restaurants in Austin for the sticky stuff.
This lunch-only spot is on just about every “best restaurants in Austin” list and for good reason. Franklin Barbecue is where you can get expertly smoked meat by the pound or in a deli sandwich. Just remember it’ll cost you — not so much in dollars, but in hours. Even if you snag a spot in line before the doors open, you’ll be waiting a long, long time before you get your paws on this BBQ.
Brisket, pulled pork, housemade sausage, ribs, and so much more await you at La Barbecue. This Austin comfort food staple on the south side is where you can order your meat la carte or in a sammie. Whatever you do, it’ll be worth the wait.
LeRoy and Lewis
This BBQ food truck on South Congress offers new-school style ‘cue including “alternative cuts of meat and creative sides using seasonal ingredients.” Think smoked beef cheek, pulled whole hog, Akaushi brisket, barbacoa, Frito pie, and sides such as kimchi and sambal cucumbers.
Best Restaurants for American
From old-school classics to New American favorites, these can’t-miss eateries earn a spot on the best restaurants in Austin list with delicious dishes that don’t disappoint.
Emmer & Rye
Putting a tasty and unexpected twist on New American cuisine, Emmer & Rye on Rainey Street serves carefully crafted small plates in a traditional dim sum style. Focusing on heirloom grains (used for the homemade pastas), whole animal butchery (done on-site) and garden-fresh produce, the menu features changes daily and highlights local, seasonal ingredients.
Gourmet New American eats served up in a former laundromat? Yes, please. Along with the prime people-watching and cool vibe, Launderette is where to get brunch, lunch, and dinner ranging from fried chicken sammies and fried egg BLTs to whole branzino, brick chicken, and hanger steak. This is one of those quirky Austin restaurants that makes you glad you’re in Austin.
Helmed by celebrated chef Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine features a seasonal menu with ingredients culled from local farmers and ranchers. Think aged beef tartar and shishito pepper mousse to grilled quail, blackened redfish, and shitake dumplings with scrambled egg. If you’re an adventurous eater, this is your jam.
With a “craftsmen’s approach to cooking,” Odd Duck is dedicated to creating dishes using only locally sourced ingredients. Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner on South Lamar in South Austin, the menu is expansive (from smoked pork belly to falafel fritters) and the drinks are some of the best you’ll find in the city. Frozen peach margaritas, anyone?
For a gourmet twist on regional American cuisine, Olamaie does it right. Elevating traditional Southern fare with farm-fresh ingredients and artful presentation, this is where to go for a delicious meal (don’t forget those famous biscuits) in a sophisticated, home-like setting.
Gluten-free fried chicken? Bring it on! Pitchfork Pretty has a little something for everyone including grilled meats and vegetarian options. Stop by for the weekday happy hour and try their Banchan & BBQ on Sunday and Monday nights.
Best Restaurants for Asian
If taking a cross-continental flight isn’t in your itinerary, then let the flavors of Asia come to you deep in the heart of Texas.
It might just look like a charmingly modest house from the outside, but make no mistake, Uchi is a sacred temple to some of the freshest sushi in Texas or any other state (here’s looking at you, New York and LA). Along with the freshly flown-in selections and omakase, the menu offers an array of Japanese delicacies such as yellowtail sashimi, melt-in-your-mouth wagyu carpaccio, sake, and more. Chef and owner Tyson Cole — who also had a hand in Uchiko — has managed to create a place for Japanese fine dining without the attitude … or dinner jackets.
With a self-proclaimed mission to educate people on what ramen really is —”the soul food of Japan” — Ramen Tatsu-ya is a favorite among Austinites who are yearning to slurp their dinner (or lunch.) Oodles of piping hot ramen noodles are on offer here, along with your choice of flavor “bombs” and numerous toppings. Small bites, sides, and sweets are also here for the taking.
Looking for exceptional Izakaya in Austin? Look no further than Kemuri Tatsu-ya. The restaurant offers small dishes that are designed to be shared amongst friends. Start off with tasty munchies like the broccoli cheese tofu and pickle plate and step things up a notch with smoked brisket and beef tongue skewers.
Elizabeth Street Cafe
Austin’s love of weaving weird threads into unique culinary experiences reaches new heights at Elizabeth Street Cafe. The head chef here blends French and Vietnamese inspirations into a special bistro menu featuring everything from banh mi sandwiches to eclairs and croissants. Their lunch and dinner menu also adds touches of Korean and Singaporean influence and offers delights like rice vermicelli bowls and pho. Their brunch menu is also a fantastic choice for special occasions.
Best Restaurants For Italian
Bufalina serves up tasty Italian treats every night from their award-winning kitchen on East Cesar Chavez Street. The restaurant is famous for its Neapolitan pizzas, which are cooked to perfection in the Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven. The pizzas are toasted at 900 degrees for 90 seconds to create a crispy, charred crust while preserving the slightly wet and gooey middle.
Located at 314 Congress Ave, La Traviata offers local, seasonal fare inspired by Italian traditions. It’s the perfect place to head for a romantic date night thanks to its elegant, intimate dining room. The menu features a spread of pasta featuring Italian sausage, chicken, and Atlantic salmon blended with penne, rigatoni, and fettuccine noodles. Don’t forget to try one of the Italian wines from their fine wine list and finish the night off with classic Italian ice cream.
Best Restaurants in Austin: These Destinations Don’t Disappoint
Now that your mouth is legitimately watering, it’s time to get out and get fed. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet dining experience or a more casual (but no less delicious) meal, there are plenty of restaurants in Austin for you to enjoy. So what are you waiting for? The whole city is ready for you.