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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Komé

    $$ | Hyde Park | Japanese

    This North Austin sushi joint is the best place to find superior sashimi, sushi rolls, and Japanese cuisine without the daunting prices of Uchi...Read More

  • 4. The Salt Lick

    $$ | Barbecue

    When Texans argue about the relative merits of barbecue joints, the Salt Lick usually winds up at or near the top of the heap. Getting here...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

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    Downtown’s Radisson hotel finally ousted an outdated TGI Fridays location on their ground floor and made way for yet another hit from chef and...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. County Line

    $$ | West Lake | Barbecue

    Part of a local chain, County Line has a few too many amenities to be considered a classic Central Texas barbecue joint. Chairs instead of bargain...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Fork & Vine

    $$$ | North Austin | Modern American

    North Austin’s Anderson Lane and Burnet neighborhood has welcomed several new restaurants over the past few years, with one of the most notable...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 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. Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile

    $$ | East Austin | Modern American

    The “ranch to table” cuisine of this new east side hotspot speaks to Austinite’s southern comfort cravings, with savory classics like stuffed...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. parkside

    $$ | Sixth Street District | Modern American

    A gem in the midst of Dirty Sixth, parkside’s austere interior features exposed brick walls, shotgun bar, and bare light bulbs suspended by...Read More

  • 19. Salt & Time

    $$ | East Austin | Modern American

    Sure, it’s become a hipster-certified option for locally sourced charcuterie, meatball subs and an intimate (and meat-heavy) dinner service...Read More

  • 20. 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

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