Looking for the best places to eat in Austin right now? Our curated list of 15 essential restaurants to sample undoubtedly have what you’re craving, from fall-off-the-bone barbecue to elevated Mexican eats and an authentic Japanese omakase experience.
Nixta Taqueria. Credit Jacob Lerma.
The casual, counter-service Nixta Taqueria specializes in serving handmade corn tortillas. Choose from tacos and tostadas with fillings like marinated yellowfin tuna and roasted sweet potatoes, or seasonal ingredients such as smoked Japanese eggplant. For dessert, take an avocado paleta to go.
Sour Duck Market. Credit Richard Casteel.
Sour Duck Market is a one-stop shop, rolling a bakery, restaurant and bar all into one delicious destination. Stop by for coffee and a chocolate croissant, a sandwich made with meat smoked in-house or a cocktail on tap.
Suerte. Credit Casey Dunn.
You can celebrate an all-out fiesta at Suerte. Post up on the patio overlooking East Sixth Street and dig into elevated Mexican cuisine like the oak-grilled carne asada with peach pico and carrot-habañero salsa, sided with a rosé sangria.
Bird Bird Biscuit. Credit Chelsea Laine Francis.
Just try resisting the flaky, buttermilk goodness that is Bird Bird Biscuit. Grab a biscuit sandwich (made with organic eggs) for breakfast or lunch, with fillings that range from house-made chicken sausage to crispy bacon with cheddar cheese. Currently offering online ordering and pick-up only.
Easy Tiger. Credit Jess Attie.
Brunch easily turns into an all-afternoon affair at Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden at The Linc. Pair your corned beef-and-potato hash with a mimosa in the sprawling 150-seat beer garden sporting an outdoor stage, then take a swing at one of the ping-pong tables after your meal.
Loro. Credit Logan Crable.
Loro is a decidedly Asian smokehouse with a casual backyard barbecue feel. Headed by noted Austin pitmaster Aaron Franklin (of the legendary Franklin Barbecue) and Chef Tyson Cole (of Uchi fame), the James Beard Award-winning duo turns out traditional favorites with a twist, like smoked beef brisket spiked with Thai herbs.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails. Credit Alison Narro.
Come for the fantastic coffee and craft cocktails on the spacious patio at Better Half Coffee & Cocktails. But stay for the all-day cafe fare, including breakfast sandwiches, chicken-fried steak and killer hush puppies with bacon bits and roasted tomato aioli.
Courtesy of L'oca d'Oro.
Homemade Italian is the name of the game at L’Oca d’Oro. Your entire table can do a tasting of the house-made pastas (including chilled buckwheat spaghetti) or opt for an entree like the dry-aged pork chop served with fried okra flowers and pickled hot peppers. Don’t miss the tiramisu spiked with dark rum for dessert. Currently closed for dine-in service; offering weekly meal subscriptions only.
Eldorado Cafe. Credit Courtney Pierce.
The family-run Eldorado Cafe in Allandale serves three squares a day, with a Mexican menu that features homemade salsas, enchiladas and the restaurant’s signature shiny ribs, slathered with sweet arbol chile glaze.
Courtesy of Via 313.
Detroit-style square pizza is the specialty at Via 313, owned by two brothers who grew up on the stuff. You can visit their original pizza trailers on West Sixth Street or Rainey Street, where the slices are a favorite late-night snack.
Emmer & Rye. Credit Julia Keim.
Sample creative, seasonally inspired cuisine at the award-winning Emmer & Rye, hailed by Bon Appétit as one of the best restaurants in the country. The menu changes daily and includes nightly dim sum specials, best enjoyed on the restaurant’s new covered patio. The Emmer & Rye team is also behind Henbit, serving up healthy bites at Fareground. Get a local Austin perspective from Emmer & Rye pastry chef/co-owner Tavel Bristol-Joseph.
Hoover’s Cooking is known for its soul food dishes, like the Jamaican jerk ribs, and familiar Southern comfort fare that includes fried catfish and smothered pork chops. Try the AUS-TEX ‘Rita Rocks (featuring 512 tequila and Paula’s orange liqueur) or ask about the day’s margarita special.
Chef Yoshi Okai of Otoko. Credit Kate LeSueur.
Otoko is an exclusive 12-seat Japanese restaurant located in the hip South Congress Hotel. Get ready for a multicourse omakase experience that blends Tokyo sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki, inspired by seasonal ingredients and the chef’s whim. Check out a day in Austin with Otoko head chef Yoshi Okai.
la Barbecue. Credit Alison Clem.
Located inside Quickie Pickie, la Barbecue’s pitmasters serve up world-class beef, pork, turkey and sausage in a custom-fabricated smoker using local, perfectly seasoned post oak. Sample their El Sancho sandwich (pulled pork or chopped brisket on top of house-made sausage with red onion slaw) and see why they rank among the upper echelons of the barbecue world.
Texas Ramen, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya. Credit to Kirsten Kaiser.
Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is the izakaya brainchild of the team behind the wildly popular Ramen Tatsu-Ya. The menu gives a Texas tip of the hat to Asian eats, such as the octopus fritters topped with Texas chili, cheddar and smoked jalapeño. Be sure to sample a sake.
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