South Austin is one of the most vibrant parts of the city. It’s home to an incredible food scene that covers everything from fast bites from famous food trucks to fine dining and upscale patio experiences. Whether you’re staying in this part of the city and looking for a quick bite or want to have a foodie experience you can’t get anywhere else, South Austin delivers the goods. Here are the best restaurants in South Austin, from fancy fine dining to casual cafes.
The 15 Best Restaurants in South Austin
Finding the best restaurants in South Austin involves a bit of research. Fortunately, we did all the hard work for you. We’ve put together this list of the best restaurants in South Austin. From date-night approved hot spots to casual diners and cafes, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Uchi is an iconic South Austin restaurant. Run by award-winning chef Tyson Cole, Uchi is an ideal spot for date night or treating colleagues and clients to a nice dinner. Uchi means “home” in Japanese and the restaurant is set in a refurbished Austin bungalow. The menu features sushi and sashimi made with fresh fish that’s flown in from a fish market in Japan. The menu is designed around Tyson’s creative streak, making it a great spot for foodies looking to try a new take on sushi.
2. Odd Duck
Like Uchi, Odd Duck is legendary in Austin. It’s a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in American fare with a strong Southern tilt. The food is sourced from local farms and ranchers and the menu changes regularly as they incorporate seasonal ingredients. We’ve had some of our favorite meals here including the dry-aged wagyu burger, roasted beet tostada, bourbon pecan waffle, and cheddar cornbread.
No list of the best restaurants in South Austin is complete without mentioning Perla’s. A true gem, — or pearl! — this restaurant is an oyster and seafood baron South Congress Avenue. They fly in fresh fish and oysters daily from both coasts. These pair perfectly with coastal cocktails and fine wines. It’s a great spot for date night and special occasions.
4. Bouldin Creek Cafe
Looking for a way to support small businesses in Austin? Look no further than Bouldin Creek Cafe. It’s owned by local women who focus on giving back to the ATX community and paying their employees a fair wage. All the food at this cafe is also vegetarian and vegan made using fresh ingredients. Their comfort food menu includes coffees and specialty drinks as well as breakfast tacos and healthy entrees.
Lenoir is named after a grape varietal that grows in the Texas Hill Country. At Lenoir, the chefs make the food with local and seasonal ingredients, highlighting the high-quality growers and producers in the region. Like some of the other best restaurants in South Austin, Lenoir is located in the bones of an old bungalow house. It’s charming and quaint so you’ll need to make a reservation. Once you’re in, you can enjoy a fixe menu designed by the chef or order a la carte.
6. Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ
Located truly far south in South Austin, Valentina’s is worth the trek. It’s owned and operated by the Vidal family and serves up some of the best BBQ and Tex-Mex creations in town. Their menu features favorites like queso and fresh tortilla chips, sliced brisket sandwiches, and the Real Deal Holyfield breakfast tacos.
7. Clark’s Oyster Bar
Clark’s Oyster Bar is an exquisite seafood restaurant offering fresh catches including clams, salmon, lobster, lump crab, and sturgeon. The dining experience here is unparalleled with coastal decor and an upscale ambiance. Don’t miss their brunch and you can pair your seafood meal with something from their wine list or a craft cocktail.
8. Ramen Tatsu-Ya
Also located in South Austin, Ramen Tatsu-Ya is one of the best places in town for ramen and Asain-inspired soups. The Japanese soul food restaurant offers meat and vegetarian broths with spices, noodles, and other toppings. We love the Mi-So-Hot and Ol’ Skool — featuring classic old-school ramen ingredients.
9. Franklin Barbecue
Brought to you by James Beard award-winning chef, Aaron Franklin, Franklin’s BBQ is one of the best BBQ joints in Austin. No visit to Austin — or Texas for that matter! — is complete without a BBQ stop. Here, you can get your hands on mouth-watering pulled pork, slow-smoked brisket, and homemade sausages.
10. Matt’s El Rancho
Matt’s El Rancho is another popular favorite among Tex-Mex lovers. Owner Matt Martinez started his restaurateur career at the age of six when he would sell tamales from a street cart back in 1923. Thirty years later, he opened a Mexican restaurant with his wife Janie and today their daughters run Matt’s El Rancho. They make everything from scratch including the tortillas and margaritas which feature fresh-squeezed lime juice. On the menu, you’ll find enchiladas, burritos, and fajitas in addition to other Mexican fares.
11. Elizabeth Street Cafe
Elizabeth Street Cafe encapsulates everything there is to love about Austin’s food scene. It’s a fusion restaurant blending Vietnamese and French cuisines. Plus, it offers an Instagrammable dining room with turquoise leather booths and animal print chairs. On the menu, you’ll find noodle dishes, Bahn mi, and seafood. They also offer a great happy hour menu.
12. Home Slice Pizza
Home Slice Pizza calls themselves the “Queen of Pies”. They serve up New York-style pizza by the slice as well as by the pie. Each pizza is handmade and hand-tossed and they offer three locations across Austin including one in South Austin on S Congress Ave. They offer both inside dining and outdoor seating where you can grab slices of Margherita, eggplant, pepperoni, and mushroom pies.
13. Juliet Italian Kitchen
This Italian restaurant features a stunning outdoor patio and moody interior that’s perfect for dining on Italian classics like pasta, charcuterie, and saltimbocca. It’s a go-to spot for an evening of fine dining or treating a loved one to something special.
Loro on South Lamar isn’t your average Texan smokehouse. This Asian smokehouse is owned and operated by award-winning chefs Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole. With the combined power of these two James Beard chefs, you won’t be disappointed by anything on this menu. The menu centers on grilled and smoked meats, accented by Asian-inspired sauces and side dishes. Try the wonton chips and dip to start and follow it up with a crispy Szechuan rice bowl and peach yuzu cobbler. We also really love the crispy smoked chicken sandwich with slaw, pickles, honey, and smoked hot sauce.
15. Leroy and Lewis BBQ
Leroy and Lewis BBQ offers some of the best smoked meats in the state. You can also sign up for cooking classes where you can learn how to cook meat like a pitmaster. They source their meat from Texan ranchers and you can dine in or order takeout. We love the Citra hop pork sausage and the Texas red chili Frito pie.
Eat Your Heart Out in Austin
When it comes to dining, Austin has something for everyone. Whether you want to chow down on breakfast tacos from a Mexican food truck in East Austin, sink your paws into fried chicken, or savor Thai specialties, you’re sure to find food you love in ATX. If you’re walking down Rainey St in downtown or exploring the southern reaches of the city, these are some of the best restaurants in South Austin and beyond.
At ATX Guides, we make it easy for you to find your next meal. From American diners that offer all-day breakfast to Indian hotspots and the best spots for ice cream, we’ve got you covered. Check out the Eat+Drink section of our blog to find more incredible restaurants and ways to eat your way through Austin.