Looking for the best places to eat in Austin right now? Our curated list of new and essential restaurants will almost certainly have whatever you’re craving, from fall-off-the-bone barbecue to elevated Mexican eats and upscale sushi experiences. Eat up, y'all!

Vibrant spread of meals from Local Foods, in dark blue service sets.Local Foods. Credit Mackenzie Smith Kelley.

New Restaurants in Austin

From brand-new concepts to welcome expansions by established eateries, Austin’s local food scene is keeping it fresh.

Popular Japanese sandwich pop-up Choo Sando opened a permanent location in the Brentwood neighborhood. Sando (sandwich) options, served on incredibly soft milk bread, include the classic katsu (layered panko-breaded pork cutlets) and a strawberry dessert version filled with fresh strawberries and hand-whipped cream. Authentic omakase is available for pre-order only, with pick up available on Thursday and Friday.

Pizza lovers will be in heaven at Delucca Gaucho Pizza & Wine, where there’s one fixed price for a five-course tasting menu that includes soup, salad, meatballs and a daily changing selection of wood-fired pizzas. Try unique pies like the Turkish lamb, chicken Tikka Masala or Mexican elote. There’s also dessert pizzas slathered with everything from Nutella to Brazilian guava marmalade.

Step up to the Kerlaches food truck and order one of Austin’s favorite breakfast foods. These doughy, hand-held pastries are stuffed with oak-smoked barbecue, in combinations that include brisket and cheddar cheese and smoked pork with Monterey Jack.

Local Foods is all about amazingly fresh, hyper-seasonal dishes made from scratch with local Texas ingredients. Try an over-stuffed sandwich filled with truffled egg salad or a salmon poke bowl. And don’t miss sides like the apple cranberry salad and Tuscan kale tossed with pine nuts and golden raisins.

Maie Day is a casual steakhouse located in the hip South Congress Hotel. Start with the grilled oysters glistening with bourbon barbecue butter, then move on to main courses like the pepper-glazed big pork chop accompanied by a selection of sides that include charred okra with ham bits.

Food truck Oye Chico offers one delicious item on its menu: a Miami-style Cuban sandwich that stacks pork butt, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on bolillo bread. Side your sandwich with a café con leche or cafecito.

Try a wood-fired pizza made with organic sauces and meats from Side Eye, a tasty food truck parked at Meanwhile Brewing Co. The namesake Side Eye pizza is loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, house-made red sauce, red bell peppers, olives and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Located on the fourth floor of the Thompson Austin hotel is Wax Myrtle’s, a poolside indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar offering craft cocktails and modern cuisine like shawarma spiced tuna with yogurt and smoky tomato. Hang around after dinner for the entertainment that ranges from DJs to screenings and live performances.

open faced taco from Nixta Taqueria in Austin Texas
Nixta Taqueria. Credit Jacob Lerma.

Essential Austin Restaurants

These tried-and-true favorites are some of the locals’ prime dining spots for barbecue, tacos and everything in between.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew is a favorite neighborhood spot for savoring slow-smoked meats and cold craft beers. Try the brisket or Switch original sausage with a side such as corn casserole or the sweet serrano fried brussels sprouts. And be sure to try the homemade peach cobbler for dessert.

Intimate farm-to-table neighborhood restaurant Foreign & Domestic has held true to its “nose-to-tail” spirit and focus on local farms. The menu changes seasonally, so you can return over and over again for tasty, new delights.

Modern Mexican restaurant Comedor serves updated tacos and tostadas in a chic industrial interior. The bone marrow tacos are a must at this Austin Monthly 2019 Restaurant of the Year.

For a more casual Mexican meal, sample the house-made tortillas at Nixta Taqueria. The team here uses corn from Oaxaca to create their own masa daily in a bright, charming taco joint. Favorites include the duck carnitas tacos and yellowfin tuna tostada.

Interior Mexican spot El Naranjo also makes their own heirloom corn tortillas, but their menu is more traditional. Look for flavorful moles, rotating ceviches and dry-rubbed carne asada.

Get your ramen fix at Ramen Tatsu-ya. Their rich pork broth and chewy noodles introduced Austin to truly slurp-able “fancy” ramen. Customize your bowl with a bomb — a ball of extra spice and flavor — to make your soup just how you like it. 

When you’re looking to splurge, head for award-winning sushi restaurant and longtime Austin favorite Uchi. This converted house on South Lamar serves perfect nigiri, plus appetizers like hot rock wagyu beef and grilled branzino. Check the Toyosu menu for market-fresh specialty fish.

Critically and locally acclaimed Emmer & Rye highlights heirloom grains and in-house fermentation. Order from the daily menu, but save room for treats off the rolling cart that will make several stops at your table.

The team’s second restaurant concept, Hestia, features a custom 20-foot hearth as the culinary centerpiece of their live-fire New American grill house. Halibut, lion’s mane mushrooms and wagyu ribeye all get the open-flame treatment.

Elegant restaurant Olamaie puts a modern spin on Southern cuisine, adding freshness to a food style that can tend to heaviness. Their flaky biscuits are so beloved, the owners gave them their own spin-off — Little Ola’s Biscuits. This casual shop serves sandwiches like fried chicken or ham and pimento cheese on their legendary biscuits.

Couple pulling two pieces of cheesy pepperoni pizza apart from Via 313
 Via 313. Credit Stephanie Rogers.

Top Food Trucks, Tacos & BBQ

Try the spicy laab moo and pungent papaya salad from Dee Dee Thai food truck. Via 313’s cheesy, square Detroit-style pizza is a local darling. Plant-based Mexican street food from Lick It Up has no meat but extra flavor. The Bearded Baking Company's savory desserts include decadent chicken fried bacon gateau.

Authentic street tacos and fruit smoothies grace the menu at Veracruz All Natural. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner from Tacodeli’s expansive taco menu. For wood-grilled chicken tacos, try Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon. The al pastor taco at Vaquero Taquero is sweet, fresh and savory all at once.

Bring a chair for the line at Franklin Barbecue. The wait is worth it for their can’t-miss brisket. Try the carnitas tacos or pork ribs at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. LeRoy and Lewis specializes in unusual styles, like beef cheeks and Akaushi wagyu brisket. Austin landmark Sam’s Bar-B-Que serves old-school mutton ribs in East Austin.

Discover more dining options at visitaustin.org/food