Austin Restaurants

Though Mexican, Tex-Mex, and barbecue are the default cuisines, everything from Brazilian to Pacific Rim fusion has made headway here, and there are strong vegetarian and natural-food followers.

To find the best barbecue, local consensus tends to be that you've got to head out of town to Lockhart, Luling, or Llano, in the Hill Country. Nevertheless, there are several fine options within the city limits, the bulk of them simple places.

In some venues the music and food share nearly equal billing, like Threadgill's, whose massive chicken-fried steak is as much of a draw as the well-known blues and rock acts on stage. Stubb's Bar-B-Q hosts a popular gospel brunch on Sundays.

Austin is a casual city, and the dress code is almost always "come as you are"; a few restaurants require a jacket for men. Tips are generally 20%. Smoking is prohibited inside restaurants and bars, though some allow smoking on their outdoor patios.

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  • 1. 24 Diner

    $$ | Clarksville | Diner

    The upscale breakfast fare and comfort food of this Clarksville favorite might carry an unconventional price tag for a diner, but the quality...Read More

  • 2. Bouldin Creek Café

    $ | South Austin | Vegetarian

    A vegetarian-only restaurant might sound like a bland option at first, but even devoted carnivores frequent this hip South First neighborhood...Read More

  • 3. Chavez

    $$ | American

    Downtown’s Radisson hotel finally ousted an outdated TGI Fridays location on their ground floor and made way for yet another hit from chef and...Read More

  • 4. Cisco's

    $ | East Austin | Mexican

    The interior of this family-owned eastside bakery and restaurant might be shabby, with worn linoleum floors and various Texas-themed memorabilia...Read More

  • 5. Counter Café

    $$ | East Austin | Diner

    Fans of Austin’s iconic Counter Café got a lot of good news this year, when the beloved (but tragically tiny) diner on North Lamar unveiled...Read More

  • 6. Dai Due

    $$$ | East Austin | American

    This Manor Road newcomer hangs their hat on seasonal local cuisine, with an emphasis on farmers’ markets, Texas beer and wines—even ingredients...Read More

  • 7. Easy Tiger

    $$ | Sixth Street District | German

    This German-style bakery and beer garden, above Waller Creek on the far end of 6th Street, has become the go-to spot for beer and sausage lovers...Read More

  • 8. Elizabeth Street Café

    $$ | South Austin | Vietnamese

    This clever nouveau Vietnamese-French concept from chef-restaurateur Larry McGuire—of Lamberts and Clark's fame—sits on the corner of South...Read More

  • 9. Foreign & Domestic

    $$ | North Austin | Modern American

    It’s been almost five years since chef/owner Ned Elliott opened his upscale, 47-seat North Loop gastropub, deep in the heart of the locavore...Read More

  • 10. Frank

    $ | Hot Dog

    Discerning hipsters, corporate lunch crowds, and late-night barflies frequent this Warehouse District favorite specializing in artisanal hot...Read More

  • 11. Fresa's

    $$ | Clarksville | Mexican

    It’s hard to think a drive-through could have such high-quality fare, but Fresa’s has built a name for its charcoal grilled chicken al carbon...Read More

  • 12. Goodall's Kitchen and Bar

    $$ | University of Texas Area | Modern American

    Reopened after an extensive, well-executed redesign—the former Mansion at Judges’ Hill boutique hotel changed ownership and became the Hotel...Read More

  • 13. Hoover's

    $$ | East Austin | American

    Local chef and native East Austinite Hoover Alexander has created one of the city’s best comfort-food oases, blending mama's home cooking, diner...Read More

  • 14. Juan in a Million

    $ | East Austin | Mexican

    The not-so-secret weapon of this classic East Austin breakfast spot is its owner and namesake, local legend Juan Meza, who has run his modest...Read More

  • 15. Magnolia Café

    $ | West Austin | American

    This local institution serves a full complement of the simple breakfast/brunch foods that Austinites tend to crave at all hours. The typical...Read More

  • 16. Noble Sandwich Co.

    $ | American

    Sandwich lovers once had to trek out to 620 and Anderson Mill Road to experience the blissful creations of chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez...Read More

  • 17. Sawyer & Co.

    $$ | East Austin | Cajun

    This new Cajun diner attracted attention for its stylish, retro interior, complete with vintage booths and an AstroTurf rear patio, before Austinites...Read More

  • 18. Thai Fresh

    $$ | South Austin | Thai

    Laid back and locally sourced, this Bouldin Creek café is a staple for lovers of high quality Thai food in a casual neighborhood setting. Part...Read More

  • 19. The Carillon

    $$$ | University of Texas Area | Modern American

    In 2014, executive Chef Josh Watkins left The Carillon—a stylish New American concept he helped launch in 2008—but the highly regarded fine...Read More

  • 20. TRIO

    $$$ | Modern American

    Steak, seafood, and wine are the three focal points (thus the name) of this sophisticated oasis overlooking downtown’s Lady Bird Lake. Executive...Read More

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