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. Clark's Oyster Bar

    $$ | Clarksville | Seafood

    The fifth of local restaurateur Larry McGuire's white-hot portfolio, which includes Jeffrey’s, Lamberts, and Elizabeth Street Café, Clark’s...Read More

  • 2. Contigo

    $$ | East Austin | American

    The predominantly outdoor layout of Texas ranch-inspired Contigo consistently draws a steady evening crowd—even when summer temps are well over...Read More

  • 3. Enoteca Vespaio

    $$ | South Congress District | Italian

    It’s been a while since Vespaio's casual kid sister harnessed the lion's share of popularity on South Congress. Known for its tantalizing deli...Read More

  • 4. Lamberts

    $$ | Barbecue

    Smack in the middle of Second Street, Lamberts draws a broad range of downtown business crowds, local foodies, and tourists, for its stylish...Read More

  • 5. Bess Bistro

    $$ | Modern American

    In the restored cellar of a 1918 brick building on the more sedate end of 6th is this casually chic boîte owned by actress Sandra Bullock (but...Read More

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    Downtown’s Radisson hotel finally ousted an outdated TGI Fridays location on their ground floor and made way for yet another hit from chef and...Read More

  • 7. Curra's Grill

    $$ | South Austin | Mexican

    If you're looking for authentic Mexican food at an affordable price (read: cheaper than Fonda San Miguel), then head to Curra's. Both locations...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. Fonda San Miguel

    $$ | North Austin | Mexican

    This beloved villa-style North Loop spot combines sophisticated ambience with a solid menu of authentic Mexican classics. Start with the ceviche...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. Freedmen's

    $$ | University of Texas Area | Barbecue

    West Campus isn’t exactly known for its cuisine, but this new smokehouse lounge is a breath of fresh air, offering craft cocktails, delicious...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. Gourdough's Public House

    $$ | South Austin | American

    Austin’s favorite over-the-top donut destination recently expanded on its food truck fame with this new bricks-and-mortar café, where diners...Read More

  • 14. Hyde Park Bar and Grill

    $$ | Hyde Park | American

    With its simple, eclectic menu focusing on comfort foods and more than ample portions, it's no wonder that this welcoming neighborhood hangout...Read More

  • 15. Jasper's

    $$ | Modern American

    Business travelers and upscale tourists alike are drawn to this handsome, 9,000-square-foot eatery, in the midst of The Domain shopping district...Read More

  • 16. Josephine House

    $$$ | Clarksville | Modern American

    The adorable little sister of Jeffrey’s occupies a beautifully restored, light-filled bungalow next door to the Clarksville fine dining institution...Read More

  • 17. La Condesa

    $$ | Mexican

    The notoriety of this sleek Second Street eatery has only increased as of late, with founding chef Rene Ortiz, and pastry chef, Laura Sawicki...Read More

  • 18. Odd Duck

    $$$ | South Austin | Modern American

    This food truck turned brick and mortar was an early trailblazer of the city’s farm to table movement, thanks to chef Bryce Gilmore’s inventive...Read More

  • 19. Olivia

    $$$ | South Austin | Modern American

    The menu recently transitioned away from its “hyper-playful” Italian-inspired cuisine and back to its original style of rustic, farm-to-table...Read More

  • 20. Perla's

    $$$ | South Congress District | Seafood

    Seafood, service and panache are pretty as a pearl at this homage to yacht clubs on the Northeast Coast. One of Austin’s original high-end patio...Read More

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