Looking for the best places to eat in Austin right now? Our curated list of new and essential restaurants and bars will almost certainly have whatever you’re craving, from a lovely Italian spot nestled inside a cozy boutique hotel to an incredible Japanese tasting menu experience and a welcoming throwback tavern serving up comfort fare. Eat up, y'all!

Assorted breads and pastries from Wolf & Wheat.Wolf & Wheat. Credit Chad Wadsworth.


Austin's ever-evolving food scene is keeping it fresh with a new bakery from a Michelin-starred pastry chef, contemporary Laotian fare, a damn good burger, and lots more.

Sample sweet treats and delicious breads at Wolf & Wheat, helmed by Michelin-starred pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee. If you've ever savored her scrumptious sourdough bread or pastry creations at one of the Scratch Restaurants, you can now buy them at her East Austin bakery. The menu changes often but look for the delectable potted cakes, pints of ice cream, brown butter brioche cookies, and almond buckwheat brownies. 

Do drinks at the mysterious Trona, a secretive spot in East Austin inspired by modern Japanese and Oaxacan design. Walk down a Salina Street alley to find the distinctive Trona sign and a lightning bolt symbol on the door, then ring the bell for entry. You’ll want to make a reservation to be sure you snag one of the 49 seats in this intimate speakeasy. The drink menu features creative cocktails made with a curated selection of mezcals and prized Japanese whiskeys.

It feels like a throwback to another era at Murray’s Tavern in East Austin. Bar owner Travis Tober always keeps two of his grandmother’s favorite drinks — the Rob Roy and Brandy Alexander — on the menu. The bar is named in honor of her maiden name. In addition to New York City classic cocktails like the New York Sour, Paper Plane, and Cosmopolitan, Murray’s serves drinks mixed with local Austin mezcals. Looking for a bite to eat? Order comfort fare like French onion soup, chicken pot pie, and prime rib after 4 p.m.

East Sixth Street is home to the new NADC (Not a Damn Chance) Burger flagship, an expansion of the original Rainy Street burger stand. The restaurant features seating at a bar (which serves alcohol) and on an outdoor patio. Professional skateboarder Neen Wiliams and Michelin-starred chef Phillip Frankland Lee teamed up to create NADC, serving a Texas wagyu beef burger topped with American cheese, a secret sauce, onions, pickles and jalapeños. Order the standard fries, or elevate them to Beast Mode Fries by adding the same burger toppings. 

Array of colorful menu items on neutral plates.Poeta. Jessica Attie Photography.

Italian fare is on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Poeta, located inside The Frances Modern Inn, a lovely boutique hotel. Choose from patio, veranda, dining room, or bar seating. Arrive early for the daily afternoon social hour to enjoy drinks and antipasti. Start your dinner with crispy polenta or tuna carpaccio. An array of inventive pastas include spaghetti carbonara with roast pork, cappelletti with blue crab, and gnocchi with lamb confit. There are also traditional Italian dishes, like chicken cacciatore and stuffed eggplant. End your meal with the gelato of the day or creamy tiramisu.

Enjoy 22 exquisitely prepared courses from the Japanese tasting menu at Craft Omakase. First, have drinks at the small bar, then head into the 12-seat dining room for an intimate fine dining experience. Menus change with the seasons but typically include nigiri, raw dishes, and desserts. The restaurant’s guiding Japanese culinary principles are balance, comfort, seasonality, technique, and tradition.

The Flavor Hospitality Group has debuted Gina’s on Congress, a downtown bistro serving classic French and Italian food for lunch, brunch, and dinner. The cozy spot offers flavorful dishes with elegant presentations. Enjoy half-off cocktails and snacks from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Start your meal with small plates of smoked salmon dip with caviar, bone marrow or golden beets. Savor entrees such as PEI mussels, a veal chop and braised lamb shank. Top everything off with a cannoli or dark chocolate pot de crème, paired with an espresso.

Taste the difference in the scratch-made dough and tomato sauce at the Feral Pizza food truck in the North Loop. Choose the thin and crispy Feral-style options that include the Ankle Biter with pepperoni, jalapeños and garlic, and the Nervous Breakdown with sausage, red bell peppers and onion. Or opt for a grandma-style pan pizza with a chewy crust. You can also build your own pizza, with toppings that include honey, basil and spinach. Not up for an entire pizza? Slices are available from 3 p.m. until they’re sold out.

From a roving food truck, owner-chef Bob Somsith is graduating to a brick-and-mortar business. Lao’d Bar is scheduled to open in March 2024 on Farm to Market Road in East Austin. At this full-service restaurant, the contemporary Laotian-American menu will be complemented by cocktails and beer. Among the menu items at Somsith’s current Sekse Fud Ko food truck (parked at Vacancy Brewing) are chicken wings, pulled pork steam buns, beef skewers and crispy fried rice.



Two women and a man cheering drinks over plates of tacos.
Nixta Taqueria. Credit Arts+Labor.

Essential Austin Restaurants

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

South Austin’s popular Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden has added a new Saltillo location on East Fourth Street. Inside the open-air space, guests can relax surrounded by greenery, a fountain and twinkling lights. Sit at communal picnic tables or smaller tables for four. Order tacos — ranging from brisket to chicken to veggie chorizo — in addition to snacks like tortilla chips, fried chicken bites and queso fries. Drinks include a range of coffees (straight or boozy), teas, beer, wine, cocktails, agua frescas and Liquid Sunshine energy/recovery drinks that can be spiked with tequila, vodka, gin or rum.   

Uchiba, an extension of established Japanese restaurant Uchi, is an izakaya-inspired cocktail bar that also serves food from the grill and Uchi favorites at its West Second Street location. Order one of the Japanese whiskeys or a specialty cocktail like the Zilker Park Swizzle with mint, jasmine tea and rum. Dine indoors or outside and relish small bites like sushi rolls, wagyu beef skewers, rutabaga noodles and the hot fried chicken bun.

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 chamorro with pork shank slow cooked in brine for 24 hours.

Hands reaching for different Ramen Tatsu-ya food items like ramen and crispy brussels sprouts.Ramen Tatsu-ya. Credit Jane Kim.

Get your ramen fix at Ramen Tatsu-ya. Their rich pork bone 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. 

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.

One of Emmer & Rye's sister concepts, Hestia, features a custom 20-foot hearth as the culinary centerpiece of their live-fire New American grill house. Halibut, king trumpet mushrooms and wagyu ribeye all get the open-flame treatment.

Elegant restaurant Olamaie puts a modern spin on Southern cuisine, adding a fresh twist to comfort food. 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 pimento cheese on their legendary biscuits.

Discover more dining options at visitaustin.org/food