The Hill Country Restaurants

The Hill Country is an extension of the great eating opportunities—the amazing Tex-Mex and barbecue—of San Antonio and Austin, with the addition of heavy German influences. Fredericksburg certainly corners the market for relatively authentic German fare, but Boerne, Comfort, New Braunfels, and everywhere in between serve decent schnitzel and wurst. Barbecue bests are spread all over: the Salt Lick in Driftwood, Cooper's in Llano, and Cooper's in Mason (it's not a chain; they just happen to have the same name), and Rudy's Country Store in a number of locations between Austin and San Antonio, and in Leon Springs.

On the Hill Country backroads you're not going to get a whole lot of haute cuisine delivered by celebrity chefs, but you'd be surprised at some of the fine dining experiences you can have here. Two upscale restaurants to try in Fredericksburg are August E's and Rebecca's Table.

Most places are casual in the Hill Country. You may want to don your Sunday best for a few places, but you really don't need to. Boots and jeans are formal enough for the average restaurant, especially for men. You'll see plenty of local women wearing "country-chic" clothing, such as embroidered, tailored blazers, or swishy broomstick skirts—with boots, of course. In the summer heat you'll see many patrons wearing just about anything that keeps them cool.

Don't expect to dine too late into the evenings. With the exception of a few live-music bars and venues, most restaurants and cafés are finished serving by 9 or 10, especially during the week.

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  • 1. High's Cafe

    $ | American

    This country-chic small town café once only had enough room for about 10 people to stand and order at the counter. Today it's expanded into...Read More

  • 2. Huisache Grille

    $ | American

    Hidden near the train tracks off San Antonio Street, the Huisache (pronounced wee-satch) is a must-stop. Consistently delivering fantastic soups...Read More

  • 3. The Salt Lick

    $ | Barbecue

    If you see smoke rising while driving along FM 1826, don't be alarmed. It's just a barbecue beacon calling you to the perpetually smoking pits...Read More

  • 4. Acme Café

    $ | Diner

    If you want to go where the locals go, head over to the town square for lunch at the Acme. The average fare here is just about anything you...Read More

  • 5. Alamo Springs Cafe

    $ | American

    You can dig into one of the best burgers in the region here. The more adventuresome eaters order theirs with the jalepeño-cheese bun—it's really...Read More

  • 6. Altdorf

    $ | German

    Although there's usually a long line for lunch here, it's worth waiting. The food is fantastic, especially the juicy Reuben sandwiches on toasty...Read More

  • 7. Auslander

    $ | German

    With its authentic German architecture, the Auslander draws quite a crowd for lunch and dinner. This popular dining attraction offers more of...Read More

  • 8. Bear Moon Bakery

    $ | American

    On weekends you may find a line out the door at this town favorite serving up an extensive breakfast buffet with eggs, fruit, and fresh-baked...Read More

  • 9. Chrissy's Homestyle Bakery

    $ | American

    At this tiny little bakery housed in an old historic building, the enchanting aroma of fresh-baked pies and pastries envelops you the second...Read More

  • 10. Cooper's BBQ

    $ | Barbecue

    This Texas legend is serious about barbecue, and it expects no less from its clientele. Just look for the smokestacks rising from the tin-roofed...Read More

  • 11. Fredericksburg Brewing Company

    $ | German

    Serving a variety of homemade German-style brews from the large copper beer tanks accenting the far wall, the brewery is a popular nightspot...Read More

  • 12. Gristmill

    $ | American

    Dining at the Gristmill is as mandatory as shuffling your boots along the floors of Gruene Hall when visiting Gruene. On a sunny day, request...Read More

  • 13. Gruene River Grill

    $ | American

    Behind the Gruene Mansion Inn, this riverside grill draws quite a crowd. People seem to frequent this locale for the famed rib eye pan-seared...Read More

  • 14. Hondo's

    $ | American

    Named for John Russell "Hondo" Crouch, self-proclaimed mayor of Luckenbach, this local dive is becoming something of a legend in itself. If...Read More

  • 15. Mamacita's

    $ | American

    In Kerrville, Mamacita's is as much a tradition as Frito pie at a high-school football games. Though billed as "authentic" Mexican food, we...Read More

  • 16. Old German Bakery & Restaurant

    $ | German

    Though it's also open for lunch, most locals flock here for a hearty breakfast where a variety of sweet pastries and potato pancakes with apple...Read More

  • 17. Pedernales Falls State Park

    $ | American

    With cool aquamarine pools created from the picturesque Pedernales River shaded by towering cypress trees, this park brings a respite from the...Read More

  • 18. Po Po Family Restaurant

    $ | American

    You might rub your eyes here; over 21,000 collector plates crowd this country-cooking café. When it first opened in 1929, Prohibition was still...Read More

  • 19. River City Grille

    $ | American

    On a nice evening, dining on the deck is the thing to do here. The views are amazing, and the food holds up its end of the bargain. The house...Read More

  • 20. Rocco's Grill

    $ | Italian

    Pronounced Roh-coh as opposed to Rock-oh, this delightful restaurant owned by the local Piazza family has bright murals depicting family events...Read More

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