Where To Eat & Drink in Austin

Updated November 11, 2023

You know what they say – everything’s bigger in Texas! And that includes Austin’s food scene. If you’re visiting Austin, be sure to bring your appetite.

With so many delicious restaurants in a city where Keeping Things Weird is encouraged, the possibilities are endless, and the food will sure make it worth your while!

Looking for where to eat and drink while you’re in Austin? I’ve got my favorite places, both high-end and hole-in-the-walls.

Boteca Food Truck

Brazilian | Usually parked on 1200 block of 6th Street

Boteco Food Truck in Austin is a hidden gem that brings authentic Brazilian flavors to the heart of Texas. Known for its vibrant and colorful ambiance, this food truck offers a taste of Brazil’s diverse culinary traditions. Specialties include the “Coxinha,” a popular Brazilian snack made of shredded chicken and cheese encased in dough and fried to golden perfection, and the “Picanha,” a flavorful grilled steak dish that is a staple in Brazilian cuisine. Boteco’s laid-back atmosphere and delicious, hearty fare make it a must-visit spot for both locals and tourists seeking a unique dining experience in Austin.

BarChi

Sushi | Downtown

BarChi Sushi in Austin is a popular spot for sushi and Japanese cuisine, known for its inviting atmosphere and a menu that blends traditional and modern flavors. Located in the heart of downtown Austin, BarChi offers a variety of sushi options, including classic rolls, sashimi, and innovative creations, all prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. The restaurant is also famous for its happy hour deals, making it a favorite among locals who enjoy good food at great prices. The ambiance at BarChi is chic yet casual, ideal for both relaxed dining and special occasions. Whether you’re a sushi connoisseur or trying Japanese cuisine for the first time, BarChi provides a memorable culinary experience.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Established way back in 1967 by brothers Harris J. Pappas and Christopher J. Pappas, Pappadeaux has been beloved among Texans for decades.

It’s known for its delicious Cajun-flavored seafood and a wide variety of cocktails and captivates diners with its warm and inviting atmosphere.

Pappadeaux adds a twist on NOLA’s traditional favorites with delightful appetizers like crispy alligator, crab cakes, and raw oysters.

How to get there:

Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Austin is a renowned culinary destination, especially for those seeking a unique twist on traditional Texas and Western cuisine.

I was in Austin in the middle of an ice storm, and most restaurants were closed. We had various reservations canceled before we succeeded with Lonesome Dove. At first, I was a bit put off by the inventive, gamey fare such as rabbit rattlesnake sausage in a space decked with taxidermied animals.” but ya know, I am not a vegetarian so I figured I’d go for it. Choices were limited.

And it was amazing.

Located in the city’s historic district, the ambiance of Lonesome Dove reflects a fusion of rustic charm and upscale elegance, making it ideal for both casual and special dining experiences. The restaurant’s commitment to using fresh, local ingredients ensures a high-quality dining experience, and its creative dishes provide a modern take on the rich culinary traditions of the American West.

deviled gulf coast blue crabs + lonesome dove hot sauce
deviled gulf coast blue crabs + lonesome dove hot sauce

Suerte

Mexican | East Side

Higher end contemporary restaurant

  • Famous for: Elevated Mexican cuisine
  • Specialty: House-made masa dishes
  • Atmosphere: Trendy, modern

Cedar Door Patio Bar & Grill

one of my favorite Mexican martini joints. Has some good small bites too.

Cedar Door Patio Bar & Grill in Austin is renowned for its lively atmosphere and iconic status as a local watering hole. Situated in the heart of downtown, this venue is particularly famous for inventing the ‘Mexican Martini,’ an Austin cocktail staple. Cedar Door offers a spacious patio area, making it an ideal spot for enjoying sunny days or warm evenings. The menu features a variety of classic American and Tex-Mex dishes, perfect for casual dining. It’s a popular destination for both locals and visitors looking to experience a piece of Austin’s vibrant bar scene. The combination of good food, creative drinks, and a relaxed, friendly environment makes Cedar Door a quintessential Austin experience.

Casino El Camino

Casino El Camino, located on Austin’s famous Sixth Street, is celebrated for its dive bar ambiance and some of the best burgers in town. This iconic spot is known for its dark, eclectic decor and a jukebox that adds to its cool, gritty vibe. The burgers at Casino El Camino are legendary, renowned for being massive, juicy, and cooked to perfection, with a variety of unique toppings to choose from. The bar also offers a good selection of beers and strong cocktails, making it a favorite hangout for locals and a must-visit for tourists seeking an authentic Austin experience. In addition to its great food and drinks, Casino El Camino is also appreciated for its laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff, embodying the city’s slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

This is a grungy hole-in-the-wall bar on 6th Street that has the most amazing burgers and fries. Order your food at the counter and they’ll call out your name. They actually said my name correctly, which almost never happens, so an extra star for that.

Elephant Room

A local favorite. You will always find a table lit by red candlelight with live jazz music playing in the background.

The Elephant Room in Austin is an iconic jazz club known for its intimate and atmospheric setting, deeply embedded in the city’s vibrant music scene. Located downtown, this subterranean spot has a cozy, speakeasy-like vibe, making it a favorite among jazz enthusiasts and those looking for a laid-back night out. The club features live music nightly, showcasing a mix of local talent and well-known artists, and covers a wide range of jazz styles. Along with great tunes, the Elephant Room offers a solid selection of drinks, including local beers and classic cocktails, adding to the overall experience. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Austin’s rich musical heritage in a setting that feels both nostalgic and timelessly cool.

Franklin’s BBQ

If you’re looking for some delicious BBQ in Austin, look no further than Franklin’s BBQ.

Enjoy tender cuts of brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and juicy turkey grilled to perfection. Get it served by the pound or dressed as a sandwich.

Be sure to end the meal with a slice of the iconic pecan pie. Thank us later.

Warning: You’ll want to make sure that you get here a few minutes before opening. The lines are usually extremely long, and the meals usually sell out within a few hours.

How to get there:

Gloria’s Latin Cuisine

With over 23 locations throughout Texas, Gloria’s offers all of the staple Salvadorian and Tex-Mex favorites. 

The Domain’s location offers the perfect start to kick off the weekend with the best brunch selections like breakfast tacos, Tres leches waffles, and brisket egg scramble from 11am-3pm. Follow up brunch with stroll in the nearby shopping centers or a quick stop at Sprinkles for dessert.

How to get there:

3309 Esperanza Crossing Suite #100 Suite 100, Austin, TX 78758

Tony’s Jamaican Food

Oxtails, plantains, jerk wings, and generous portion sizes! It doesn’t get any better than Tony’s Jamaican Food Restaurant.

With over 500 5-star reviews on Google, this is a hotspot for those in the mood for authentic Jamaican cuisine. Each dish is curated with Jamaican spices and flavors, served with delicious sides like cabbage and seasoned rice. 

Coupled with mesmerizing Caribbean music as you dine, you will leave this place feeling as though you’ve spent an evening in the middle of Montego Bay itself.

How to get there:

Food Truck Parks

Food trucks first started popping up in Austin in the early 1990s. Today, you can find an array of amazing food truck fare all across Austin. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to decide which ones are worth checking out.

The Picnic – Food Truck Park

Looking for a tasty and Instagram-able dining experience? Located less than 2 miles from the infamous Zilker Park. The Picnic offers a variety of cuisines from various food trucks with tons of photo ops!

Staying true to the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, the selections are out of this world, offering everything from Connecticut lobster rolls to chicken cones. With enough options to fuel any type of appetite, this is the perfect way to load up on local Austin food.

How to get there:

Rainey Street | Day & Night – Food Truck Park

Culinary Dropout

Conveniently located in the heart of Austin’s thriving Domain shopping center, this classic bar is top-tier for an after-work happy hour or Sunday football. Each dish is uniquely crafted and presented for an unforgettable experience. Fan favorites include their famous honey fried chicken, 36-hour pork ribs, and fresh pretzel bites served with provolone fondue. 

How to get there:

11721 Rock Rose Ave, Austin, TX 78758

Ramen Tatsuya

Ramen is considered the “Soul Food of Japan,” and there’s no better place to indulge than Ramen Tatsuya. Offering both vegan and vegetarian options along with the customary selections, each bowl is hot, fresh, delicious, flavor-packed awesomeness.

The amazing staff and hostesses are just added bonuses.

How to get there:

1600 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

Steiner Ranch Steakhouse

If there’s one food item that must be experienced in Austin, it’s steak. Steiner Ranch Steakhouse is not only famous for its incredible views overlooking Lake Travis as the restaurant is one of the top steakhouses in the Austin area. Enjoy premium beef cuts of filet mignon, prime rib, ribeye, or New York strip top with a house buttery blend and creamy mashed potatoes, or go for something lighter with some of the endless seafood options like lobster and shrimp.

How to get there:

5424 Steiner Ranch Blvd, Austin, TX 78732

Corrine

Boasting the largest outdoor patio on West Cesar Chavez Street, this oasis has something for everyone for every budget. Handcrafted cocktails and mocktail specials are served Monday-Friday from 3pm-6pm along with a creative collection of modern American dishes made with local ingredients. 

Popular menu items include crab croquettes, scallops, oysters, and bread pudding.

How to get there:

304 E Cesar Chavez St Unit 100, Austin, TX 78701

Irene’s

Enjoy American comfort food and be entertained with live music, trivia nights, and tequila Thursdays at Irene’s. Start off with quirky appetizers like popcorn & pickles or buffalo cauliflower, then finish off with the signature Irene’s burger (wagyu beef) or pulled pork sandwich. This cool spot is also famous for its signature cocktails and beer.

How to get there:

506 West Ave, Austin, TX 78701

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