Given the pleasant climate and picturesque surroundings of Austin, Texas, dining goes beyond the walls of a restaurant. Restaurants that have outdoor seating offer a special combination of fine dining and the outdoors. This article offers a curated list of the best restaurants in Austin with outdoor seating options, whether you are a local looking to enjoy a relaxing meal or a visitor wanting to experience the city’s culinary scene. With an emphasis on factors like food quality, service, and the overall dining experience, this all-inclusive guide hopes to be a reliable source for anyone looking for a more sophisticated outdoor dining experience in the city.
Lenoir is the culmination of owners and couple Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher’s culinary dream to open a classy farm-to-table restaurant with a lovely tree-shaded patio. Located in Bouldin Creek, Lenoir has a seasonal menu of locally sourced food to share in a romantic atmosphere. The menu is eclectic, small, and expertly curated. I delighted in the roasted red snapper with blue crab salad, but the Pullman-style bread with pimento cheese and jalapeno won my heart.
Better Half is half-coffee house/half cocktail bar and beer brewery. Nestled between MOPAC and downtown, you only see a small coffee house from the street. However, once you step outside, you’ll see a massive outdoor patio with a large brewery enclosed in glass windows where you can watch the beer brewing process. The coffee house also has a breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch menu. I went in the morning and woke up with a fragrant rosemary lavender latte.
Meanwhile Brewing is a giant brewery, taproom, and outdoor complex replete with a soccer field, outdoor stage, and playground. Located in South Austin, Meanwhile Brewing is family and pet-friendly, offering an excellent space for outdoor festivities suitable for all ages. Meanwhile Brewing’s taproom has 14 housemade beers and a store with bottled beer to take home. I recommend their El Mero Mero horchata rice lager for a unique take on a Mexican beverage.
Located on the funky East Side, Nixta Taqueria is a casual counter-service taco stand with a tree-covered patio. Owners and couple Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi strive to create the most authentic Mexican-style street tacos in homage to Mexico’s most prized starch: the corn tortilla. Their taco and tostadas are both authentic and inventive. Take, for instance, the duck carnitas tacos with duck confit, salsa cruda, radish, shaved white onion, and cilantro.
LORO is the marriage of two culinary greats in the Austin food scene. James Beard Award-winning chefs Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ fuse their expertise in a funky and casual Asian Barbecue joint and cocktail bar in the South Lamar area. You don’t have to stand in line for 3 hours at Franklin’s BBQ to get their award-winning brisket. I got an order of their beef brisket with chili gastrique, and Thai herbs with a kombucha cocktail called blood orange blossom.
Located three blocks from Festival Beach Park on town lake in Holly Neighborhood. Launderette is a beloved neighborhood bistro serving a colorful menu of New American cuisine. Head Chef Rene Ortiz draws inspiration from around the world for his creative plates. The bright and airy space has a lush green front porch, indoor-outdoor sunroom, and open-air patio. My favorite dish at Launderette is the bone-in pork chop with fermented citrus butter, caramelized endive, and bleu cheese.
Perla’s is a friendly yet refined oyster bar and seafood restaurant in the heart of SOCO, with a beautiful wooden deck shaded by enormous oak trees. Perla’s has twelve varieties of fresh oysters, not to mention appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and high-end fish entrees. Their eclectic menu features preparations from around the globe. I started with a Mexican spicy oyster shooter with Mezcal, ancho Reyes, bloody mix, and lime, then headed north for a shrimp po’boy.
With locations on the East Side, the Highland District, and South Lamar (SoLa), Easy Tiger is a giant beer garden, bakery, and kitchen with a neighborhood feel. Easy Tiger caters to families, young professionals, and students with a menu for any time of day. Their freshly baked bread comes in many different forms, from pastries to Bavarian pretzels. I like heading to the lawn for a tasty brunch of Croque Madame on their fresh sourdough bread with smoked ham, gruyere, sunny farm egg, and arugula.
Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden is a gorgeous outdoor space in South Austin a block away from St. Edward’s University. It’s surrounded by a self-containing ecosystem with ponds, waterfalls, greenery, and a chicken coop. The small coffee house is a counter service espresso and cocktail bar. Three different food trucks are on the premises, so you can get fresh, locally made food to accompany a unique coffee drink or local brew. I recommend a boozy coffee to get a cocktail and a coffee in one order.
LoLo is a quaint and artsy wine bar with an art gallery and wine shop on the premises. The funky atmosphere and gorgeous outdoor courtyard have garnered features in Thrillist and the Infatuation as one of Austin’s best bars and outdoor dining options. They have one of the more extensive wine lists with bottles from around the globe, a small wine spritz, artisanal beer, and a small plates menu. I recommend Milo’s All Natural Spritz with cardamaro, cider, and angostura.
Another massive South Lamar venue, Radio Coffee & Beer is a hip coffee house, beer garden, music venue, and food trailer park. The coffee house is inside an old South Austin house, and the surrounding grounds are full of tables, a stage, and an airy tent with hanging tea lights. There are three permanent food trucks from local Austinites, including Veracruz Tacos, Briscuits, and DeeDee Thai food. They have a rotating tap of 14 beers, all from local breweries. My favorite brew is the Live Oak Hefeweizen. It’s the perfect summertime beer.
Odd Duck is a farm-to-table food trailer turned beloved SoLa brick and mortar bistro, serving some of Austin’s richest, most decadent dishes. Owned by brothers Bryce and Dylan Gilmore, Odd Duck sources all their meat, dairy, and vegetables from local farmer’s markets and small farms around Austin. I don’t think I’ve had anything better than their cast iron cheddar cornbread with cured pork fat and spring onion cultured butter.
Teetering between Sweet Briar and Pleasant Hill, The Little Darlin’ is a neighborhood bar and eatery with a massive outdoor backyard centered around an enormous pecan tree that provides shade for the entire space. The friendly service, Texas-twist on global comfort food, and gorgeous yard have garnered praise from Thrillist and The Infatuation. I loved their colorful melon salad with various melons, lime peanuts, goat cheese, mint, and whipped yogurt with a raspberry vinaigrette.
Voted the Best New Venue at the Austin Music Awards, The Far Out Lounge and Stage is a hole-in-the-wall bar with iconic history. Located in South Austin, just north of McKinney Falls, The Far Out Lounge opened as a bar in 1908, changing themes over the years. There’s an indoor and outdoor bar at The Far Out Lounge, plus three permanent food trucks with tacos, vegan food, and southern comfort specialties.
Located between Holly and Govalle in East Austin, three blocks from the Colorado River, Kermui- Tatsu-ya is a funky Texas-style Izakaya. They serve a myriad of authentic Japanese spirits, sake, beer, cocktails, and a unique menu of Japanese Texas fusion cuisine. You won’t find more creative cocktails. I had the Kura Kura with Whiskey, blueberry, coconut, chai orgeat, grapefruit, and bitters. A perfect example of their Texas-style Japanese bar snacks is the Hot Pocketz, brisket, and smoked gouda stuffed tofu pockets.
Licha’s Cantina self-describes as a Mexico City soul food spot where a fully Mexican crew creates their favorite street food dishes and drinks. Located in an old 40s-style house on the East Side, Licha’s is a trendy and welcoming spot for authentic Mexican treats and beverages. They have a wide variety of Mezcal and tequila that you can sip on or have in a tropical cocktail. I loved the Papichulo with mezcal, blood orange liqueur, Aperol, orange, lemon, and sparkling wine.
Overlooking Auditorium Shores at Town Lake, Austin Eastciders is a coffee shop, seltzer and cider brewery, and farm-to-table eatery in a bright, airy, family-friendly space. You can bring your furry friends over from the giant dog park and hike and bike trail across the street to enjoy a meal and a beer al fresco. They make a dozen different ciders, my favorite of which is the ruby red grapefruit cider. I also loved their baked goat cheese with hot honey, cider-candied figs, pecans, and baguette sourced from Easy Tiger.
Featured in Austin 360, Culture Map, Austin Chronicle, and the Wallstreet Journal, Kinda Tropical is a hip, Tropical-inspired eatery, patio, and bar on the East Side. The minimalist boho chic décor with pale pink walls and hanging plants, and concrete floors assume a 70s Mexico City vibe. The food and drinks take inspiration from the Mexican, Caribbean, and Asian tropics with your favorite beverages like pina Coladas, mango margaritas, and kiwi banana daiquiris. I had the Old Smokey, a Mexican version of an old-fashioned made with Mezcal.
Located in Rosewood, Birdie’s is a family-owned and run wine bar and counter-service eatery specializing in French and Italian food. The daily menu, quaint atmosphere, and expertly curated wine list have been featured in Eater, The New York Times, Bloomberg, and the Texas Monthly. I loved their colorful roasted beet plate with mascarpone, charred grapefruit, and hazelnuts. It was the perfect prelude to an utterly decadent steak with oyster mushrooms and aioli.
Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile is a classic Texas-style ranch-to-table restaurant in an old ranch house right on the Colorado River on the far East Side. Jacoby’s is run by the Jacoby family, a multigenerational ranching family with its own seed and feed brand. If you’re looking for Texas ranch-style food, Jacoby’s makes the most authentic dishes in town. I started with pimento cheese dip, followed by Jacoby Brand beef chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and black pepper gravy.
Located in East Cesar Chavez, Lou’s is a hip, dog-friendly outdoor eatery and bar open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They serve classic American comfort food, cocktails, beer, and old-school frozen treats like root beer floats and frozen custards. Their specialty is rotisserie chicken which they serve whole with a choice of dipping sauces, sides, and a salad to be enjoyed family-style. I went by myself, so I had a rotisserie cobb salad with creamy lemon dressing. I finished it off with a hand-spun chocolate milkshake.
Austin is a hip, fun city to explore with artsy and funky cultural activities, from music festivals to ice-cold swimming holes.
Texas weather allows for year-round outdoor fun, and most restaurants, bars, and coffee houses have outdoor dining. Looking to enjoy the weather from a higher vantage? Check out the best rooftop bars Austin has to offer.
My list of beer gardens, taco stands, coffee houses, and bistros has the best options for outdoor dining in Austin.
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When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Austin.eater.com and Tripadvisor.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 6 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.