What’s so great about dining in Central Austin is that there’s range. From classic American to fusion to haute cuisine, the central part of the city has long attracted high quality restaurants that stay the course. If you’re staying in or visiting Central Austin, you can just look around the neighborhood for great spots with excellent food.
Fonda San Miguel. Credit Ashlyn Allison.
Ablaze with blue and white lights, and set back from Burnet Road, Fonda San Miguel is one of our favorite haunts. They’ve cornered the market on interior Mexican for years. Their colorful dining room, giant frescos, saltillo tile, and stiff margaritas make it fun to belly up to the bar before dinner. Specialties de la casa include their Angels on Horseback (grilled shrimp, white cheese, jalapeno wrapped in bacon), the Relleno de Picadillo (poblano, shredded pork, almonds, raisins) and their huachinango veracruzana. It's a beautiful place for a beautiful meal.
For something funkier, Vamanos hits all the high points of Tex-Mex. String lights, Frida-blue tables, and a solid tequila selection add to its charm. Come here for steaming enchiladas, tacos al pastor, skirt steak with rajas hot off the grill and handmade puffy tacos on Tuesdays.
Courtesy of Olive & June.
Olive and June is a gorgeous Italian restaurant shaded by a huge tree, string lights, and a patio that’s perfect for the times in Austin when you want to sit outside. The wine list is set out by flavors (cherry and oregano, tar and roses) and like in any good Italian spot, the servers are experts at pairing. Their dishes are seasonal and locally-sourced with a menu that changes accordingly.
Tucked in at The VORTEX theater is Patrizi’s, handmade Italian from a charming food truck strung with lights. Owner Nic Patrizi uses his grandmother’s recipes to wow bar patrons with cacio e pepe, pomodoro, and red sauce and meatballs. Order at the truck and settle in with a cocktail from Butterfly Bar while you wait.
Courtesy of Foreign & Domestic.
Head to North Loop to dine at Foreign & Domestic, one of the best nose-to-tail dining experiences for those who appreciate the unusual cuts. They also emphasize seasonal and local and the place is intimate so best to make a reservation. And if you can make it, stop in for excellent deals during their happy hour and for dollar oysters on Tuesday.
Central Austin’s Old Thousand is the second location of this popular Asian spot that’s made a name for itself by bringing together elevated Chinese dishes and old school hip hop. Shazam every song on the playlist while sharing dishes of their brisket fried rice, chongqing chicken, spicy dumplings, and kung pao cauliflower.
Honey Moon Spirit Lounge. Credit Cassandra Klepac Photography.
There are almost no words to describe the evocatively designed interior of Honey Moon Spirit Lounge. It’s like someone went to all the coolest vintage shops, found the best thing there, and then designed around them. Having drinks or dinner here feels like you somehow got admitted to the cool kids club. Try the duck confit - you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re into putting healthy food in your body—or you have a lot of allergies—Picnik is the place for you. Everything is gluten-free, peanut-free and free of refined sugars. Pulse you can add CBD oil, mushrooms, or moondust to any of your drinks.
Home Slice. Credit Chase Daniel.
Home Slice Pizza is an Austin original and they opened their second location on North Loop, much to the delight of all central Austinites. Their garlic knots are worth fighting over, the toppings list is legitimately lengthy (hello fried eggplant!), and though they often go unsung, their subs are stacked.
Hank’s in east central Austin is a sprawling restaurant that’s popular for their all-day menu, frozen drinks, and dog-friendly patio. Their menu is American with sandwiches, soups, burgers, and casual entrees and happy hour lasts all day on Mondays.
Dai Due was a supper club and now it’s a fantastic restaurant and butcher shop that is hyper-focused on seasonal and local. Most everything they serve is certified organic, they buy grains that are grown and milled in Texas, all their wine and beer is from Texas, and well, basically they check every box for a responsible restaurant.
Ready to book your trip? Check out hotels near Central Austin.
Article contributed by Kelly Stocker.