Austin, Texas is not just the capital of Texas, it’s also the live music capital of the world. Apart from enormous music festivals like Austin City Limits and the city-wide music and film festival, SXSW, you can hear live music every day and night of the year.
When I recently searched for where to eat in Austin, I found an eclectic and unique array of restaurants that feature world-class fine dining to the typical Texas barbeque joint. Read on to explore my list of the best restaurants in Austin.
Matt’s El Rancho
2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Established in 1952 in the old South Lamar neighborhood, Matt’s El Rancho is Austin’s oldest Tex-Mex restaurant. Founded by Mexican American couple Matt and Jannie Martinez, Matt’s El Rancho is an Austin establishment worldwide.
Matt’s El Rancho has a tortilla machine and corn grinder to make their delicious tortillas and chips. One thing you can expect at Matt’s El Rancho is delicious frozen margaritas with freshly squeezed lime juice and bottomless baskets of chips and creamy queso.
801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Meaning “house” in Japanese, Uchi is a fitting name for this world-class traditional Japanese restaurant located in an old South Austin house blocks away from Austin’s famous Zilker Park.
Owner and James-Beard Award-winning executive chef Tyson Cole trained for over a decade in Tokyo, New York, and Austin to become one of the only American-born sushi masters in the world.
900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
If Barbeque were an art, Franklin Barbecue would be the grand opus. Owned and run by married couple Aaron and Stacy Franklin, Franklin Barbecue remains a small barbecue stand off the Texas Interstate 35in Austin’s East End.
Franklin’s barbecued meats are so delicious that they sell out of it before noon on any given day. Some lines span multiple blocks starting at 8 am to buy this mouthwatering barbecue.
1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Located directly between the Zilker and Bouldin Creek neighborhoods of south Austin, Odd Duck is an innovative farm-to-table restaurant run by brothers Bryce and Dylan Gilmore.
They use ingredients from only local farmers to create their ever-changing meat-centric menu. The restaurant is located inside an old Fleetwood Mallard trailer that the brothers purchased in Wisconsin and drove down to Austin.
Fonda San Miguel
2330 W N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
Fonda San Miguel is an upscale traditional Mexican food restaurant located inside a classic Hacienda-style compound in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood.
The hacienda is a beautiful stucco-stoned building with Mexican colonial detailing and an even more beautiful interior consisting of indoor dining rooms surrounding an enclosed patio replete with a giant water fountain.
Veracruz All Natural
With six locations around Austin, Veracruz All Natural is a casual and trendy Mexican taco stand and outdoor eatery owned and operated by Mexican native sisters Maritza and Reyna Vazquez.
In 2010, the sisters began making tacos out of the first trailer on Austin’s east side neighborhood off Cesar Chavez, gaining instant popularity and rapidly expanding taco trailers around town.
2713 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78702
Located in East Austin’s Holly neighborhood, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is a Japanese Fusion restaurant named for the head chef and owner Tatsu Aikawa.
They immigrated to the states from Japan, bringing with them authentic Japanese cooking techniques. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya offers a fusion of Texas and Japan both in the culinary sense and in the atmosphere.
Emmer & Rye
SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St UNIT 110, Austin, TX 78701
Emmer & Rye is a true farm-to-table restaurant with a menu that changes daily, supplied by local and seasonal produce with an on-site butchery station and in-house fermentation.
Located on the cusp of downtown Austin and East Cesar Chavez, Emmer & Rye is an intimate, 12-course fine-dining experience.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
11500 Menchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78748
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ combines Texas’ two main culinary contributions to the world: Tex Mex and Barbecue. Located in South Austin’s Manchaca neighborhood in front of Austin Roller Rink, Valentina’s is a family-owned and operated Tex Mex and Barbeque trailer.
They offer perfectly smoked Texas-style briskets and other meats with more Tex-Mex accompaniments like hand-made flour tortillas, avocado, and salsas.
2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702
Located in East Austin’s Holly neighborhood, Launderette is a high-end neighborhood café and bistro, serving refined American food in a casual, bustling setting.
Lunch, dinner, and cocktails are served seven days a week, along with an excellent boozy weekend brunch. Launderette is a small space meant for adult crowds seeking delicious craft cocktails and an intimate dining experience.
1800 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Another East Austin favorite, Suerte, is a high-end, trendy Mexican food restaurant centered around one of Mexico’s key culinary foundations, masa.
Run by Mexican native Head Chef Fermin Nunez, Suerte combines traditional Mexican recipes with local Texas ingredients in a beautifully designed dining space with an outdoor patio lined with giant agave plants.
2406 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Located in the Cherrywood neighborhood in Central Austin, Dai Due is a butcher shop and supper club offering the finest meats supplied by their on-site butcher shop.
They strive to source all produce, cheese, and meat from local farmers and ranchers. They also strive to represent the regional flavors of Texas in their meat-heavy dishes.
6555 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX 78757
Located in the family-friendly neighborhood of Allendale, Bufalina Due is an award-winning Italian wine bar and Neapolitan pizzeria.
Owner Steven Dilley is one of Food & Wine’s Sommeliers of the year, and Bufalina’s happy hour was voted one of the “happiest” in Austin due to its one-of-a-kind natural wine list.
Home Slice Pizza
Home Slice Pizza is a New York-style pizzeria with the original location in the heart of Austin’s SOCO District and a second, more spacious location in the trendy Hyde Park neighborhood.
Home Slice offers pizza by the slice from a walk-up window as well as a sit-down restaurant serving small plates, salads, and whole New York thin-crust and Sicilian deep-dish pies. If you’re looking for pizza in the city, this is the place to go!
Bouldin Creek Cafe
1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Named for the South Austin neighborhood in which it is located, Bouldin Creek Café has been a neighborhood and hippie-friendly favorite for decades.
Bouldin Creek Café is deeply rooted in serving the Austin community, offering tons of local discounts like getting 20% off meals if you present an Austin library card. Their menu is fully vegetarian with vegan options.
1204 W Lynn St, Austin, TX 78703
Located in the quaint Clarksville neighborhood, Jefferies is a high-end, fine-dining steak house in an old, two-story Austin home. Jeffery’s specializes in French American cuisine and utilizes only the finest dry-aged Prime beef for their decadent steak menu.
They also have an award-winning happy hour with the best cheese popovers and prime beef burger you’ll ever taste.
Via 313 started as an East 6th street Detroit-style pizza trailer, run by Detroit native brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt. The novelty of Detroit-style pizza, along with the high quality of its execution, soon rocketed Via 313 to the top of Austin’s favorite pizza spots.
Now, they have three brick-and-mortar locations, along with three trailers in Austin’s hottest bar districts of Rainy and West 6th.
Komé: Sushi Kitchen
5301 Airport Blvd #100, Austin, TX 78751
Located in the North Loop neighborhood, Kome Sushi Kitchen is casual, yet refined sushi and family-style Japanese comfort food restaurant run by Japanese native couple Take and Kayo Asazu.
Hailing from Osaka and Kobe, Take and Kayo started Kome to offer Americans authentic home-cooked Japanese meals to enjoy a family-style dining experience.
Leroy And Lewis Barbecue
121 Pickle Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Leroy And Lewis Barbeque is a trendy barbeque trailer located in South Austin’s famous Cosmic Café beer garden lot.
Named for the head chef and director of operation duo Evan LeRoy and Sawyer Lewis, the barbeque trailer offers new and inventive barbeque creations using locally sourced meats.
900 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78703
Ironically located in Austin’s West End, 40 North is a neighborhood pizzeria and casual comfort food eatery specializing in Neapolitan pizza, sandwiches, and burgers.
They’ve been voted some of the best pizza in Austin by the Austin American Statesman, Thrillist, and the Eater. Like many Austin favorites, 40 North started as a pizza trailer.
2401 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
La Barbecue is another James Beard Award-winning famous Texas Barbeque joint, recently relocated from South Austin to the heart of East Austin’s Holly neighborhood.
La Barbecue is a female-owned company, an admittedly rare occurrence in the Barbeque industry. Still, owner Leanne Mueller uses her father Bobby Mueller’s smoked meat recipes and techniques.
The Peached Tortilla
5520 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX 78756
Located between Allendale and Brentwood, The Peached Tortilla is a modern Asian comfort food restaurant that began as a food truck in 2010. The Peached Tortilla combines Southern comfort dishes with Asian ingredients and flavors in a contemporary, airy dining space with a full cocktail bar.
The Peached Tortilla has nightly specials like Taco Tuesday, Ramen Night, and Chicken & Whiskey Wednesdays. I recommend the pork belly buns with Vietnamese braised pork belly, green onions, cucumbers, and Chinese BBQ sauce if you’re ordering from the regular dinner menu.
Clark’s Oyster Bar
1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
Located in the Clarksville neighborhood in a beautifully tiled dining space with a large outdoor patio, Clark’s Oyster Bar is a high-quality seafood and oyster bar.
Not only is Clark’s an oyster bar, but they have a full espresso and cocktail bar. In addition, they have an excellent happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-5 pm with half-off martinis and burgers and discounts on their famous raw oyster plates.
Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
3235 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Located in a beautiful ranch house building right along the Colorado River in Austin’s East Side, Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile is a family-owned and run ranch-style restaurant specializing in Texas rustic fare.
The Jacoby family are multi-generational cattle, sheep, goat, and pig ranchers and use the meat raised on their farm to supply their menu.
With downtown and south Austin locations, Fresa’s is a casual Mexican food stand and dine-in restaurant specializing in Mexican-style wood-grilled chicken. They also have a full margarita and Mexican cocktail menu and traditional Mexican food favorites from every region.
Fresa’s top sellers are their whole chicken plates served with fresh corn tortillas, grilled onions, marinated jalapeno, black beans, salsa, and rice which are big enough to feed a family of four.
2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723
Contigo is a casual ranch-to-table restaurant and bar in the Mueller neighborhood, designing the beautiful, mainly all-outdoor eating space after the owner’s family ranch. Their happy hour has great deals on cocktails, frozen margaritas, and local can and draft beers to enjoy with a country-style bar food menu.
Contigo’s menu features refined new American dishes with contemporary flavors at accessible prices. I recommend starting with the charred avocado with kale Furikake, lime, cilantro, crema, and camp bread.
Quality Seafood Market
5621 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 7875
Quality Seafood Market is a fresh fish and seafood market and casual seafood eatery located in a giant old warehouse space in North Loop. The market started in 1938 as a single stall in the larger Starr’s Fruit and Vegetable market in front of the state capitol. Today they offer the freshest catches hauled from the Texas gulf coast.
Quality Seafood is a great spot for lunch, offering a wide array of different fresh fish and shellfish po’boys. My personal favorite is the fried gulf coast oyster po’boy.
6555 Burnet Rd #400, Austin, TX 78757
Located in the Brentwood neighborhood, Barley Swine is a fine dining New American bistro under the leadership of Executive Chef Bryce Gilmore. Barley Swine offers a chef’s tasting menu that is market-driven and locally sourced, constantly changing according to the availability of ingredients.
Barley Swine is a very meat-centric restaurant that prepares beautifully presented meat and seafood dishes with Texas flavors. I loved their shishito pepper tamale with confit duck and shiitake mayo to start a super decadent multi-course meal.
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille
114 W 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
Located in the historic Norwood Tower in downtown Austin, blocks away from the Capitol, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille is a fine-dining traditional steakhouse and seafood restaurant in a grandiose multi-roomed dining space.
Their beautiful space and exquisite meals have won them various awards such as Best Restaurant for a Date from Open Table and Best of the Best fine dining restaurants from the Austin American Statesman.
Colorado Tower, 303 Colorado St #200
Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Red Ash is a wood-fired Italian kitchen owned by head Chef John Carver.
The giant custom-made wood-burning grill is the restaurant’s focal point aesthetically and culinarily, with all prime meats and seafood dishes are artfully grilled.
Red Ash’s menu takes inspiration from Northern and Southern Italy, making bread and pasta from scratch to accompany plancha grilled meats and vegetables.
The Capital Grille
117 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701
Located in Downtown Austin’s Warehouse District, The Capital Grille is a fine-dining classic American Steakhouse that uses only the finest cuts of USDA Prime steaks that have been dry-aged onsite for 18-24 days.
Their extensive wine list has wines from every region in the world, and their highly knowledgeable staff create a special dining experience.
303 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
Located in downtown Austin, Moonshine Grill is a contemporary take on an old bootleg saloon, serving southern American comfort food in a comfortable, casual, old-school atmosphere.
Moonshine Grill strives to take patrons back in time with its wide array of moonshine-inspired cocktails with names like Southern Belle and Blind Mule.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen Oak Hill
7720 State Hwy 71 West, Austin, TX 78735
Jack Allen’s Kitchen is a Texas-style casual and family-friendly southern bar and grill with locations in the Oak Hill neighborhood, 360, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Anderson Lane neighborhoods.
They offer lunch and dinner along with amazing weekend brunches. I recommend coming for a weekend brunch with family and friends to sample a delicious brunch cocktail.
4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702
Located in the heart of East Austin’s Govalle neighborhood, Justine’s is a French bistro and thematic restaurant situated on a huge plot of land. The bar and kitchen lie inside an old-timey Austin home, but the property has giant patio areas, verandas, fire pits, and weird art installations that make Justine’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
The food at Justine’s is classic French cuisine, offering a slew of cheese and charcuterie boards to start. I recommend their Escargot with garlic herb butter to start and their wood-fired Steak Frites with Roquefort for the main dish.
4305 Red River St, Austin, TX 78751
LE Meals is a Gullah-Geechee and Creole fusion kitchen, reflecting head chef and owner Alexandria Hollowel’s cultural heritage. LE Meals is a delivery-only meal service that comes straight from their Hyde Park kitchen.
I recommend trying both Gullah Geechee fare and classic NOLA creole. I loved the traditional Gullah Geechee okra stew with tomatoes and jumbo lump crabmeat. For a NOLA classic, I recommend the shrimp and grits made with organic creamy grits smothered in creole shrimp sauce with sauteed shrimp and andouille sausage.
1807 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Located in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood of South Austin, LENOIR is a new American farm-to-table restaurant owned and run by Texas native couple Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher.
They met in New York City as culinary students and aspiring restaurateurs. Lenoir supports the local culinary community by sourcing exclusively from local farmers and purveyors to create a seasonal menu.
1917 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Salty Sow is an intimate and high-end American gastropub specializing in pork-centered meals. All ingredients at the Salty Sow are mindfully sourced from local farmers, and all craft cocktails are expertly mixed.
Their menu offers a slew of refined yet super decadent bar food items like triple fried duck fat fries topped with a 110-minute egg. Since Sow is in the name, I recommend the candied pork belly with collard greens and soy balsamic syrup.
1900 University Ave, Austin, TX 78705
Located within the University of Texas’ enormous campus, The Carillon is a high-end New American bistro with a cozy yet elegant atmosphere and fine-dining service. Chefs at The Carillon create innovative dishes using the freshest ingredients, but the real draw to the food is its exquisite presentation.
The Carillon serves only breakfast and lunch. While breakfast is usually a lavish buffet with a small selection of a la carte plates, the lunch menu changes daily. I loved their Achiote chicken with grilled pineapple relish with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes.
Terry Black’s Barbecue
1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Located right across the road from Austin’s famous Auditorium Shores Park and event center, Terry Black’s Barbecue is a family-owned and classic Texas barbecue joint.
Owner Terry Black and his twin sons Mark and Michael hail from Lockhart, Texas, a town known for its incredible barbecue.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is an upscale, modern steak and seafood restaurant and cocktail bar located in the heart of downtown Austin. Eddie V’s multi-room dining space features a massive wine cellar and a cocktail lounge with live music playing most nights of the week.
Eddie V’s menu features a sommelier-curated wine list with a wide array of foreign and domestic bottles along with expertly poured craft cocktails.
Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab
Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab is a fine-dining seafood restaurant located in Downton Austin’s Warehouse district and North Austin’s Great Hills Arboretum outdoor shopping mall. Truluck’s is a special, fancy dining establishment with a strict coat and tie dress code, so it’s an excellent choice for a special occasion meal.
They make a deliciously chunky lobster bisque topped with horseradish goat cheese, and their colossal pan-seared New England Sea Scallops with parmesan mashed potatoes and piccata sauce was utter perfection.
4404 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78749
Cypress Grill is a New Orleans-style southern comfort restaurant in the Sunset Valley neighborhood of Austin. Cypress Grill is a family-friendly establishment that serves sinfully rich Louisiana favorites with service that perfectly fits the southern charm.
Whether you’re looking for crawfish etouffee or Jambalaya, Cypress Grill has all the Cajun, and Creole favorites served in Texas-sized portions. I went for the Atchafalaya Catfish filet blackened and smothered with crawfish etouffee over dirty rice with mustard greens.
Stella San Jac
310 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
Located in the trendy Young-professional neighborhood of East Sixth, Stella San Jac is an upscale gourmet American Food bistro in a beautiful dining room.
The contemporary yet cozy dining room has an open kitchen and bar along with blush green booths, leather chairs, and a slew of interesting lighting fixtures hanging from a slatted ceiling.
111 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701
Located right off the Butler Hike and Bike Trail in Downtown Austin, III Forks is a fine dining steakhouse with a large, classy dining room and sophisticated bar and piano lounge.
Guests are invited to make a night of it at II Forks, starting with craft cocktails in the piano lounge to enjoy live music before retiring to the dining room to savor a traditional multi-course steak dinner.
Lonesome Dove Austin
419 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
Lonesome Dove Austin is an urban western bistro in downtown Austin owned and run by executive Chef Tim Love. Chef Love cooks western cuisine with a contemporary Austin-inspired twist, using local ingredients to flavor Western exotic game dishes.
Lonesome Dove Austin is a great place for adventurous eaters to try rare entrees like rattlesnake, rabbit sausage, or elk steaks. Dinner is a multi-course meal, with wild game as the centerpiece.
True Food Kitchen
222 West Ave Ste HR100, Austin, TX 78701
Located in downtown Austin’s Seaholm District, a block from the beautiful downtown Austin Public Library, True Food Kitchen is a health-conscious and fit-friendly New American bar and grill.
In accordance with their mission to provide healthy meals for every dietary preference, you can customize any meal to be vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. I recommend one of their colorful grain bowls.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
With locations in the trendy SOCO District, the East Side, and multiple locations in North Austin, Hopdoddy Burger Bar is a super hip burger bar serving the highest quality beef burgers and craft beers in town.
There are consistently lines out the door at any given location with loyal patrons waiting hours for these incredible burgers and the fun, hipster bar atmosphere in which to enjoy them.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
117 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is a downtown Austin favorite, offering the crispiest battered and fried chicken with a Texas kick to it.
Owner Vernon “Gus” Bonner uses his parents’ award-winning southern fried chicken recipe that they sold for over 40 years in their home state of Tennessee.
You can specify the type of chicken you’d like, whether it’s white breast or dark meat drumsticks, all of which are fried to order.
Bird Bird Biscuit
2701 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Located in the Chestnut neighborhood of East Austin, Bird Bird Biscuit is a southern comfort food restaurant specializing in biscuits and fried chicken.
Owners and long-time friends Ryan McElroy and Brian Batch had a long history working together in the food industry, namely as owner and barista of Austin’s beloved Thunderbird coffee house.
110 San Antonio St #170, Austin, TX 78701
Located in the heart of downtown Austin with great views of Ladybird lake and the hike and bike trail, ATX Cocina is a Mexican food restaurant serving elevated versions of traditional Mexican dishes.
Every dish revolves around corn imported from small farms in Mexico and “nixtamalize” or processed in the traditional Mexican way on site.
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