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. 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. Franklin Barbecue

    $ | East Austin | Barbecue

    If Central Texas is the hub of the state's best barbecue, then this place has become its favorite darling. This food truck-turned-full-fledged...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Sway

    $$ | South Austin | Thai

    Based on a distinctive Australian-style Thai cuisine, Sway has provided Austin with an injection of modern Thai fusion in a chic, sexy setting...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Asia Café

    $$ | Chinese

    This no-frills favorite of off-duty chefs recently changed owners this fall, but the same staff and menu has remained, which has, thus far,...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Casino el Camino

    $ | Sixth Street District | Burger

    Most definitely the best place to chow down on the notorious “Dirty Sixth Street” strip of downtown, Casino El Camino is a longtime favorite...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Chez Nous

    $$ | French

    Austin's first French bistro, owned by Paris natives, manages to maintain its quiet and cozy atmosphere despite its location mere feet from...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Dirty Martin's

    $ | University of Texas Area | Burger

    This greasy spoon just north of UT campus has been satisfying the guilty pleasures of students (and all walks of life) since 1926. There might...Read More

  • 20. 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

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