My Favorite Austin, Texas Restaurants

June 16, 2015

‘Where should I go to eat’ and ‘what are your favorite restaurants in Austin’ are two of the hardest questions I get from potential visitors and other Austinites. Thankfully, I like to eat and am pretty good at it. I’ve compiled my master list of my favorite Austin, TX restaurants for the next time you’re looking for a memorable meal.

Some notes:

-There are always new and great restaurants opening up in Austin, so please understand this is a live list (last updated February 2017) of the restaurants that I think stand out in this town. There are plenty of restaurants I have yet to try, both newly opened and Austin’s staples.

-This list is my opinion. We all have different tastes we enjoy and have different experiences when we visit a restaurant. If you want to get a sense of the “best” in Austin, study several lists (see the end of this post) and gather the similarities.


Baguette House

First Chinese BBQ

  • 10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753;
  • Details: North Austin; Chinatown on Braker
  • Wow Factor(s): variety of Chinese dishes; strong flavors
  • What I Order: Wonton Noodle Soup; barbecue pork, roast pork and roast duck
    (Note: While I do have family relations to this restaurant, I legitimately enjoy the food.)


  • 1417 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: North Austin; community tables; sometimes loud and hard to hear if you have a big party; bar seating is great
  • Wow Factor(s): Consistently excellent; their Thai Tea Affogato dessert
  • What I Order: Son in Law; Tom Kha Gai; Thai Tea Affogato

Szechuan House

  • 11005 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78758;
  • Details: North Austin; strip mall
  • Wow Factor(s): authentic; soup dumplings!
  • What I Order: soup dumplings; beef stew noodles

East Side King

  • Multiple locations;
  • Details: four locations around town – two are brick-and-mortar locations; Asian/Thai-inspired food; I like the Liberty Bar location
  • Wow Factor(s): strong flavors; party in your mouth
  • What I Order: Poor Qui’s Buns; Tori Meshi; Ramen at the Hole-in-the-Wall location


  • 5501 North Lamar Blvd, Ste C101, Austin, TX 78751;
  • Details: Central Austin; Thai food
  • Wow Factor(s): authentic and delicious Thai food
  • What I Order: Gang Garee (yellow curry); sticky rice with mango



  • 5222 Burnet Rd. or 1509 South Lamar Blvd.;
  • Details: two locations; Korean BBQ-inspired eats
  • Wow Factor(s): cute restaurant, tasty menu
  • What I Order: Kimchi Fries; Korean Fried Chicken Wings; Burger

Austin Texas Best Asian Restaurants

Austin Texas Best Noodle Restaurants

Xian Noodles and Sushi

  • Two locations – Mueller or 620;
  • Details: casual restaurant
  • Wow Factor(s): their fresh, hand-pulled noodles
  • What I Order: beef hand-pulled noodles (soup); stir-fried noodles

Michi Ramen

  • 6519 N. Lamar, Austin TX 78752;
  • Details: Central Austin; casual, laid-back restaurant; fast service
  • Wow Factor(s): perfect bowl of ramen – flavorful broth, great noodles
  • What I Order: Sapporo Ramen with light broth with added ajitama

Pho Dan

  • 11220 N Lamar Blvd, Ste 200, Austin, TX 78753;
  • Details: North Austin; close to Chinatown on Braker
  • Wow Factor(s): flavorful pho broth
  • What I Order: Pho with brisket and meatball

Ramen Tatsu-ya

  • Two locations – North and South Austin; 183 and Braker; South Lamar;
  • Details: cool restaurant design
  • Wow Factor(s): RAMEN! and amazing sliders
  • What I Order: Katsu Sliders and #1 Tonkotsu Original

Austin Texas Best Noodle Restaurants
Austin Texas Best Mexican Tacos Restaurants

Matt’s El Rancho

  • 2613 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78704;
  • Details: South Austin; often has a long wait
  • Wow Factor(s): the famous queso is delicious!
  • What I Order: Bob Armstrong Dip and a prickly pear margarita

Juan In a Million

  • 2300 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702;
  • Details: Southeast Austin; long wait on weekends
  • Wow Factor(s): the Don Juan is what they’re known for – a piled, mixed plate of eggs, potato, bacon that can easily be distributed into 3-4 breakfast tacos
  • What I Order: the Don Juan and a horchata


  • Multiple locations;
  • Details: open breakfast and lunch
  • Wow Factor(s): their salsas; wide selection of tacos
  • What I Order: Jess and Otto for breakfast; Frontera Fundido Chicken and Florentino for lunch

La Condesa

  • 400A West 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701;
  • Details: Downtown in 2nd Street District; park in nearby lots; fancy Mexican food
  • Wow Factor(s): great food and very cool restaurant design
  • What I Order: guacamole (comes with multiple kinds); hamachi ceviche; carnitas taquitos; tostadas de atun (tuna torta)

Austin Texas Best American Restaurants

Odd Duck

  • 1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: South Austin; parking lot is valet only; great lunch and dinner
  • Wow Factor(s): impressive, regularly changed menu; very cool space
  • What I Order: specials

Barley Swine

  • 6555 Burnet Rd #400, Austin, TX 78757;
  • Details: sister restaurant to Odd Duck; check out happy hour
  • Wow Factor(s): creative dishes, impressive presentation
  • What I Order: specials

Gus’ Fried Chicken

  • 117 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701;
  • Details: Downtown near the Austin Convention Center; street parking is tricky sometimes
  • Wow Factor(s): the spicy fried chicken – crispy and juicy
  • What I Order: two piece chicken plate, comes with slaw and beans

Salty Sow

  • 1917 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722;
  • Details: Central Austin on the East Side
  • Wow Factor(s): great happy hour
  • What I Order: pork belly taco; fried chicken; DESSERTS

Easy Tiger

  • 709 E. 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701;
  • Details: laid-back bakery and beer garden with tasty snacks; has a patio
  • Wow Factor(s): homemade beer cheese; wide beer selection
  • What I Order: croissant; pretzel with homemade beer cheese; whatever sandwich or sausage I’m feeling


  • Two locations in Austin;
  • Details: most noteworthy burger joint in town; all-natural meats; delicious shakes
  • Wow Factor(s): juicy and creative burgers
  • What I Order: Magic Shroom (burger with mushrooms), Truffle Fries, Oreo Cookie Shake

Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden

  • 79 and 81 Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701;
  • Details: expansive restaurant with lots of outdoor seating and a dog park; 100+ taps; lots of unique sausages
  • Wow Factor(s): great place for day-drinking; lots of good eats and drinks
  • What I Order: beer; bratwurst; Bangers & Mash; Mash Potatoes & Gravy

Swift’s Attic

  • 315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701;
  • Details: downtown parking; pretty restaurant with consistent eats
  • Wow Factor(s): love the food
  • What I Order: Devils on Horseback; Squid Fries; Burger; Korean BBQ Flank Steak


  • 2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723;
  • Details: Great patio, casual yet consistently satisfying
  • Wow Factor(s): That burger!
  • What I Order: Crispy Green Beans, Ox Tongue Slider, Burger and Fries

The Soup Peddler

  • Five different locations in Austin
  • Details: Casual restaurant for soup, sandwiches, salads, juices, and smoothies
  • Wow Factor(s): Healthy eats that make you feel good
  • What I Order: Love Cleanse juice, Nina Simone smoothie, Chicken Soup with Rice, Turkey Sandwich

Austin's Best Mediterranean Restaurants

Shahi Cafe

  • 12410 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753;
  • Details: tucked away behind a gas station but look for the bigs signs; attached to a grocery store
  • Wow Factor(s): simple digs but great eats
  • What I Order: Gyro (it’s loaded with vegetables)

Santorini Cafe

Austin Texas Best Italian Restaurant


  • 2307 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722;
  • Details: food trailer at The Vortex bar
  • Wow Factor(s): fresh pulled noodles
  • What I Order: Cacio e Pepe; Carbonara Alexandra

Austin Texas Best Pizza Restaurants


  • 1519 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702;
  • Details: Southeast Austin; small parking lot; delicious Neopolitan-style pizza; expect a wait
  • Wow Factor(s): thin-crusted pizza goodness
  • What I Order: margherita pizza; fresca pizza

Home Slice

  • 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: South Congress; NY-style pizza; sit-down restaurant or take out a slice or two
  • Wow Factor(s): omgee pizza that you can’t get enough of
  • What I Order: even a “regular” pepperoni slice will do

Via 313

  • Two trailer locations – East 6th Street (at Violet Crown Social Club bar) or Rainey Street (Craft Pride bar);
  • Details: Detroit-style pizza
  • Wow Factor(s): the crispy pan crust
  • What I Order: The Omnivore; The Cadillac

Pinthouse Pizza

  • 4729 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756; 4236 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: counter service restaurant with community seating
  • Wow Factor(s): large beer selection; great pizza
  • What I Order: The Green Belt; The Works


  • 12005 W Hwy 290, Austin, TX 78737;
  • Details: Neopolitan pizza
  • Wow Factor(s): The best pastrami in the world, Margherita pizza
  • What I Order: Pastrami plate

Via 313 Best Pizza Austin Texas
Austin Texas Best Barbecue

Stiles Switch

  • 6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78757;
  • Details: Central Austin; great sit-down place to enjoy barbecue
  • Wow Factor(s): good ole barbecue; potato salad is dill-based
  • What I Order: Two meat plate with brisket, ribs, potato salad and mac and cheese
  • Read my full review here

Franklin Barbecue

  • 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702;
  • Details: Downtown Austin; expect a long wait – at least three hours; easily Austin’s most well-known and talked about barbecue restaurant
  • Wow Factor(s): it’s like meat heaven; worth the hype
  • What I Order: everything I can get; definitely the juicy brisket

La Barbecue Best Barbecue Austin Texas
Austin Texas Best Dessert

Lick Ice Creams

  • 2032 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: South Austin; parking can be tricky in the small lot
  • Wow Factor(s): unique and tasty flavor combinations made with pure ingredients
  • What I Order: Caramel Salt Lick; Hill Country Honey & Vanilla Bean; seasonal flavors

Dolce Neve

  • 1713 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: South 1st Street; authentic and fun Italian gelato shop
  • Wow Factor(s): unique gelato flavors and great quality
  • What I Order: Pistachio – I didn’t think I liked it until I had it here!

Polkadots Cupcake Factory

  • 2826 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705;
  • Details: Central Austin; close to UT; bakery with cupcakes available daily and macarons, cakes and cookies made-to-order
  • Wow Factor(s): fluffy cake and light, whipped-consistency frosting
  • What I Order: strawberry shortcake; tres leches; chocolate salt lick

Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs

  • 808 E 51st St, Austin, TX 78751;
  • Details: Central Austin; closed during the winter months
  • Wow Factor(s): over 60 flavors made in-house
  • What I Order: tiger’s blood; cream topping

Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop

  • Two locations – South Congress or East Manor;
  • Details: Bakeshop selling cupcakes, cookies and bars
  • Wow Factor(s): wide variety of tasty flavors
  • What I Order: Peanut Butter Cupcake


  • Three locations – food trailer and brick-and-mortar in south Austin, brick-and-mortar downtown;
  • Details: most popular donut place in Austin and known for their crazy toppings
  • Wow Factor(s): incredibly fun, large and rich donut creations
  • What I Order: Miss Shortcake (cream cheese icing with fresh strawberries)

Snow Monster

  • 11220 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753;
  • Details: North Austin; snow ice is like eating flavored snow
  • Wow Factor(s): melt in your mouth ice dessert
  • What I Order: Mango or Strawberry Snow Ice with Mango or Strawberry toppings

Tiny Pies

  • 5035 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756;
  • Details: North Austin; sweet and savory pies in small portions
  • Wow Factor(s): three-bite-sized pies with perfect crust
  • What I Order: Bourbon Buttermilk Chess; Texas Two Step

Austin Texas Best Dessert Shops
Austin Texas Best Juice


  • 12 locations around Austin;
  • Details: healthy goodness through a straw
  • Wow Factor(s): fresh ingredients; great juice combinations
  • What I Order: Wundershowzen Smoothie; Originator Smoothie

Juiceland Best Juice Austin Texas
Austin Texas Best Sushi Restaurants


  • 4101 W Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78727;
  • Details: Far North Austin; laid-back restaurant with a great team
  • Wow Factor(s): creativity of dishes; fresh fish; perfect flavors
  • What I Order: chef/server-recommended sashimi; anything with Japanese Madai Snapper
  • Read my full review here


  • 2525 W Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78757;
  • Details: North Austin; casual and approachable sushi
  • Wow Factor(s): fresh fish and great flavors
  • What I Order: Chamdom; Sashimi Sampler; Chili Escolar


  • 801 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: South Austin; one of Austin’s top restaurants; offers sushi/sashimi and Japanese dishes
  • Wow Factor(s): incredible food and attentive service
  • What I Order: uchiviche; hama chili; tako pops; Omakase if my wallet is feeling heavy


  • 4200 North Lamar, Austin, TX  78756;
  • Details: Central Austin; one of Austin’s top restaurants; offers sushi/sashimi and Japanese dishes
  • Wow Factor(s): incredible food and attentive service
  • What I Order: hama chili; Brussels sprouts; gyutan (grilled beef tongue); madai; fried milk

Austin Texas BRUNCH


  • 2307 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756;
  • Details: cute little house in central Austin; very popular brunch; also sells grocery items
  • Wow Factor(s): food and service are consistently good
  • What I Order: quiche


  • 1601 West 38th Street, Austin TX 78731;
  • Details: bistro in central Austin; patio
  • Wow Factor(s): their wide selection of bakery items
  • What I Order: creme brulee french toast; $2 mimosas

Josephine House

  • 1601 Waterston Ave, Austin, TX 78703;
  • Details: Clarksville neighborhood; they serve all meals
  • Wow Factor(s): pastries are always great
  • What I Order: short rib hash

South Congress Café

  • 1600 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704;
  • Details: brunch served daily; get there early on the weekends
  • Wow Factor(s): carrot cake french toast (a must-order! you can order one slice)
  • What I Order: carrot cake french toast; eggs benedict

Austin Texas Best Brunch Restaurants
Austin’s Breweries and Brewpubs are plentiful. Check out this post about planning your own brewery crawl to see some of the options. You can also check my craft beer tag.

Thinking you might need some activities to fill the downtime before your next meal? Check out this post of my recommended Austin sights and activities or this post about planning your Austin bachelorette party.

Want more opinions about Austin’ best food? Check out these resources:

What are your favorite Austin restaurants?

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