When time gets away from you, but you’re still hungry, Austin’s late night food haunts are here to help. And they’ve got a lot going for them. Pizza, stuffed donuts, fabulous French, beautiful brunch, stacked sammies and a whole lot more can be found after hours.
One of our absolute faves is 24 Diner. Not just because you can get chicken and waffles, bennies, and all the late-night rich food of your dreams, but also because they are local, seasonal, and have a fabulous beer and wine selection. And also, it’s just cute.
If you’re craving savory, Asian flavors, try 888 Pan-Asian Restaurant. Their extensive offerings include everything from American-Chinese food to Vietnamese specialties to tongue-tingling Thai.
For burgers, you can’t go wrong with Casino El Camino. But also make sure you’re hungry. Their three-quarter pound Angus beef burgers don’t come to play. Made fresh at a little window, settle in with a beer or a drink while the kitchen magicians do their work. Some of our favorites are the buffalo burger (classic buffalo sauce and blue cheese), the Pitts (Guinness and sherry sauteed mushrooms) and the LA burger with smoked shallot aioli. They also do hot dogs, sausages, wings, and sandwiches.
East Side King plunked down at Liberty bar about a decade ago and hasn’t left. Open until 1 AM on the weekends, fan favorites include their fried beets with garlic aioli, the chicken karaage and brussels sprouts salad. If we’ve learned anything from the chicken sandwich wars, it’s that people will go to great lengths to find a good one.
Golden Tiger, parked near Whisler's bar, makes juicy, crispy, spicy fried chicken sandwiches, smashburgers, and fresh fries. Not just any fries though… their Tiger Fries are topped with chili, queso, barbecue sauce, an egg, serrano chilis and pickles. They are not for the faint of heart.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts is the place. Their food trailer is still serving up that fried dough-y goodness that made them famous. Stuffed, topped, smothered donuts in a wild variety of flavors. And their nearby Gourdough’s Public House has an expanded menu with tons of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and even donut burgers and sandwiches.
Home Slice Pizza is an Austin Icon. With beginnings on South Congress (before SoCo was SoCo), they’ve expanded to a second location in Central Austin. Their authentic NY-style pizza can be bought by the slice or by the pie and they also have delicious subs and salads. Always get the side of garlic knots.
For something a bit more ooh la la, make a reservation at Justine’s Brasserie. This lovely spot is tucked away )n the east side of Austin, also serving French food but with an incredibly charming outdoor area, jazz on vinyl, and a fabulous wine menu. The twinkle lights and intimate appeal are transportive.
Original Austin restaurant Kerbey Lane has been keeping it real, and keeping it real late, since 1980. There’s lots to tell about Kerbey Lane but the one thing you truly need to know is that their selection of pancakes and variety of queso is epic.
If you see folks lining up outside a walk up window downtown, it’s probably The Onion pizza. A long time late night staple, their pizzas are cracker crust thin, ultimately foldable, and will give you garlic breath for at least 24 hours. Definitely worth it.
For something a bit more upscale, and still downtown, head to Peché. This cocktail bar and French gastropub could be stuffy but it’s absolutely not. Your stomach will appreciate their steak frites even as you’re sipping on a perfect French 75. Something the locals know is that their happy hour is all night Sunday and Monday with food and drink specials to keep your wallet happy.
Upstart Via 313 has been winning awards and making waves -- the first Detroit-style pizza trailer in Austin quickly grew to six locations. They don’t all keep the same hours but on the weekends, they’re open later than many restaurants. Belly up to a food truck parked behind the bars or stop into their brick-and-mortar locations for their signature square pizzas with creative toppings like the Cadillac (prosciutto, balsamic, fig preserves).
Late night burgers hit the spot at Yalla Burgers and Wings. They’re open until 4am and their simple offerings -- burgers, chicken sandwiches, vegan burgers, and wings -- are still hard to choose between. Just a tip: add the egg. If you find yourself on Sixth Street, there are a couple of options you’ll appreciate.
Pulling an all-nighter? Check out our guide to restaurants open 24-hours in Austin.
Contributed by Kelly Stocker.