Tacos for days, margaritas that don’t taste like neon, and, of course, BBQ! You can’t throw a rock without hitting a food truck, and brunch and happy hour options abound. The locally brewed beer is on point and just about every meal starts with chips and salsa. Plus, there’s plenty of patios for those who prefer to dine al fresco.
You must have a breakfast taco on your tour—Juan in a Million in East Austin might have the best ones.
An original Austin eatery, South Congress Cafe has all your favorite brunch dishes with a Tex-Mex twist. Afterward, stroll the funky shops and get your pic taken in front of all the murals on the SoCo strip. Stop by Allens Boots to pick up a pair of shit kickers that will always remind you of your trip to Texas.
Loro is the hottest restaurant to open in Austin—maybe ever. The city’s most famous chefs, James Beard Award winners, Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, have teamed up to create this casual Asian smokehouse and bar that foodies have fantasized about for years. Bold Asian flavors are combined with Franklin’s world-famous barbecue to create a meal you will never forget.
Picking a favorite taco joint is like picking a favorite child, but we are especially fond of Curra’s Grill. This colorful local go-to is known for its Oaxaca cuisine and authentic mole sauce (the salsa is fire too). We love the Tacos al Pastor Plate with charro beans. And you MUST have an avocado margarita. The added avocado makes the frozen marg have a smoothie-like texture.
Suerte means luck in Spanish, and you’ll count your lucky stars you ate here. Mexican flavors come together with local ingredients at this East Austin eatery. Start off with the flavorful ceviche, followed by an inventive taco (the suadero taco has confit brisket, “black magic oil,” and avocado salsa cruda aka raw). Then finish with one of their house specialties, like the Fish a la Devil or goat barbacoa. We could live off the homemade tortillas alone.
Austin is famous for its brisket, but no one has four hours to wait in line at Franklin Barbecue or time to drive out to the original Salt Lick in Driftwood. Luckily you can find Salt Lick BBQ in town, and there are plenty of other meat-and-three joints, including (but definitely not limited to) la Barbecue, Rudy’s "Country Store" and BBQ, and The County Line.
This former doughnut truck is now a brick and mortar with a bar, outdoor patio, and games. Fried dough plus unique toppings. What could go wrong? We are especially fond of any donut with bacon, and Gordough’s has two: The Squealing Pig is topped with cream cheese icing, bacon, strawberry jalapeno jelly, and candied jalapenos; or you can be less adventurous and opt for the Flying Pig, topped with bacon and maple icing. The drinks aren’t shabby at all, either!
This will not be ground-breaking for Austinites, but Amy’s Ice Cream is a local go-to for the sweet stuff that will cool you down on a hot Texas day. Get the Mexican vanilla, topped with whatever you fancy, and don’t skimp on the hot fudge.
Fan of funfetti? Then don’t miss Laundrette’s tribute to childhood: the birthday cake ice cream sandwich. The New American cafe gets its name because of its converted gas station/laundromat location. Pastry Chef Laura Sawicki will melt your face off with the layers of partially baked cookie and ice cream.
Available at local stores, restaurants, and bars, Fireman’s #4 is a refreshing blonde with “the perfect balance of smooth malt and zesty hops.” The Texan favorite is made by Real Ale Brewing Co., in the nearby town of Blanco.
The Mexican martini is local to Austin, and Trudy’s makes a mean one.
Perhaps you’ve seen El Arroyo’s famous sign (it has its own Instagram account). Get your picture taken with it and enjoy some killer happy hour margs at this classic spot.