If you recently moved to the Lone Star State’s capital or still planning to, it’s just natural to ask yourself and the people around you what the best restaurants in Austin TX are. That’s a tough one, though. Texans take pride in their cuisine but also don’t hesitate to let new influences into it. Wherever your tastes lie, you’re in for a treat after moving to Austin.
Texas is rich in culinary influences. Nothing proves it better than the famous Tex-Mex, the mix of Mexican cuisine and that found in the south and southwest of the US. There’s a lot of meat, tortillas, peppers, beans, and spices involved, but also a lot of cheese (not usual for our southern neighbors). But ask anyone what defines the local diet, and there will be just one short answer – BBQ! Austin is no exception to that. Eateries that offer it are on every corner, from street trailers to fancy joints.
Fortunately for those who enjoy different tastes, there are plenty of other places to dine. Austin’s cuisines are as rich and diverse as the city itself. If you’re looking for sushi, some other Japanese staples, or Chinese or Korean food, there are plenty of places to go to. Prefer tacos? Whether you wish for pork, chicken, beef, or any other kind, it’s there. You only need to find the right place. So let’s start a tour around places you should visit if you crave a perfect bite.
It is only right to start the tour with the iconic US dish. Traditional on the Fourth of July and nearly every other national holiday, but eaten at homes and joints around the country, pork or beef, grilled or smoked – it’s BBQ. There are few better ways of making friends in a new city than over a well-smoked brisket and beer. And you’ll probably make a lot of friends since the telling sign of an excellent place is a queue in front of it.
To experience the best possible first contact with Austin’s cuisine, visit Franklin Barbecue. According to the local media, it serves “the best barbecue in the known universe.” It started as a trailer in 2009 but soon evolved into a restaurant on the East Side. Its owner, awarded and celebrated chef Aaron Franklin also wrote a book on smoking meat and starred in TV shows. The place is open every day except Mondays and works from 11 am until the last juicy brisket is sold (usually very early in the afternoon).
Franklin’s is sort of a tourist attraction, and there is always a long line in front of it. However, when your turn arrives, you won’t be disappointed. Not by a mile. Briskets, ribs, pulled pork, beef, sausages, and turkey come by the pound or in tasty sandwiches. Pro tip: Tipsy Texan is everyone’s favorite.
At Terry’s, everything is clear from the first glance at their menu. The staff that’ll serve you with traditional-style barbecue is well versed in their trade, and owner and chef-in-chief Terry Black and his sons are the third and fourth generation of pitmasters in the family.
When we say traditional style, we mean briskets charred on the outside yet juicy and perfect on the inside. Be patient, and when you hit the table, you’ll enjoy briskets, pork and beef ribs, sausages, or meaty, juicy sandwiches. It’s all rounded up with pecan pie.
Globally renowned for tortillas, tacos, burritos, and chili peppers, Mexican food is much more than that. In Austin, some of these joints are a perfect place for breakfast (mostly in case they close early), but others are hotspots of excellent dining at any time of the day.
Another gem of the East Austin, Suerte is one of those places where you go not only for the great food but also the authentic atmosphere. Suerte’s owner and the chef went together to Mexico to explore. The result is modern Mexican cuisine made from local ingredients.
Suerte offers separate menus for brunch and dinner. Early in the day, you should try tacos, chicken dobladas, and quesadillas with some of the brunch cocktails. The dinner menu features duck breast with dumplings, seafood, goat barbacoa, and many more.
Lovers of a tasty sip aren’t forgotten. There are beers, wines, and cocktails, for sure. But there’s a special treat – you can try a large number of tequilas and mezcal-based spirits. Indeed a bliss for all senses.
When thinking about American cuisine, most people will envision McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, or any other fast-food chain. We prefer the image of a corner bar, cafe, or diner with great dishes and an occasional jukebox. Yes, there is lots of fried chicken, but also so much more. Here are our picks.
If you’re looking for a good meal in a good looking cafe, then you might as well stop by the Galaxy Cafe. There you can expect affordable prices and fast service. Meals are made from local and organic sources, and many of the dishes are gluten-free.
At Galaxy, you can eat custom made wraps with eggs and ingredients of choice, tortillas with cheese, bacon, and sausages, onions, and peppers. The lunch menu is rich, both in meal salads (with and without meat) and a large variety of burgers, wraps, and sandwiches. Our recommendations would be mac and cheese, Thai steak salad, Yellowfin tuna, and chicken sandwich with mozzarella.
Another joint to show you the well-known hospitality of the South, Hoover’s Cooking has been serving American comfort food for the last twenty years. It also uses only Texas-grown products, since its owner is a proud Texan. In this bar, you can have a great lunch or dinner, and the dishes follow the pattern with lots of smoked, grilled, or fried meat and sandwiches, but also fish, salads, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and yam.
Who can picture a fine evening with friends without a few boxes of pizza in between? Or a romantic dinner without candles, tall glasses of wine, and fine-seasoned pasta? You’re right, probably no one. And those are all traits of every fine Italian restaurant.
Dry meat, home-made pasta, and gelato are the sigils of L’Oca d’Oro, as much as Mediterranean white and blue interior.
Pasta is made from local wheat, and keeps its flavor under all the seasoning, be it shrimps, mushrooms, vegetables, ricotta, or meat.
You can also try wonderful focaccias, stracciatella crostini, or polpette.
Asian cuisines are rich in tradition and taste. Thanks to a couple of dedicated chefs, Austin’s landed on the national map for Asian restaurants, as well. As you can expect from such a diverse city, dining in any of them is a paradise for senses. Whether you’ll opt for sushi, some fish dishes, or something completely new and previously undiscovered, it is up to your adventurous spirit.
A very successful project of an award-winning chef named Tyson Cole, Uchi (House) is located in the city’s south. Cole uses his immense talent to give a modern and non-traditional look to Japanese cuisine, adding more than one flavor of Texas.
At Uchi, you can expect ingredients brought from Japan every day, especially fish. Patron’s favorites from the menu are bigeye and yellowtail tunas, adorned with vegetables, fruit, and some Texan herbs. Another specialty at Uchi is nigiri. So far, so ordinary, right? But Cole and his crew make it with foie gras, not fish.
There is, of course, standard and not-so-standard sushi, and many types of sake. Speaking of sake, every day from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, it’s happy hour at the sushi bar. Visit the joint, you won’t regret it.
For lovers of Korean cuisine, old and new, Oseyo is the place to go. Led by a highly motivated and experienced duo of owner Lynn Miller and chef Mike Diaz, the restaurant offers its patrons traditional Korean food in a modern, though a bit rustic environment. On the menu are all of the Korean delicacies – Kimchi stew, fried dumplings, rice with vegetables, ribs, and noodles. Oseyo offers many East-Asian teas, as well as some genuinely amazing home-made drinks.
Having read this blog up to this point, you might be forgiven for thinking that Austin isn’t highly rated among the best cities for vegans. Well, to be honest, it isn’t. Still, that doesn’t mean that vegetarians and vegans have nowhere to go. Not only are there exclusive places for them, but many of the meat-eating joints put one or two animal-friendly dishes on their menus.
Set in one of the best Austin neighborhoods of Hyde Park, this bar has been open for 40 years and has been putting meat-free meals on the table for the same amount of time. In Mother’s Cafe and Garden, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can try soups, salads, enchiladas with jack cheese, veggie lasagna, and ravioli, but also some classic staples in the new clothes, like stir-fries, burritos, and nachos. On weekends, breakfast fare includes pancakes, tacos, and omelets. What’s there not to like?
People say that you can’t judge a book by its covers. But you certainly can judge a city by the quality of the food you can buy on the street from trucks and trailers. Texas is sprawling with them, and so is its capital. Just like restaurants, they can be found in all parts of town, and with as many cuisines on offer as there are communities. We could spend days telling you about them, but our space is limited, so we must pick one.
The choice wasn’t difficult since Valentina’s is the best street BBQ in town, located in the city’s south. It is open every day except Tuesdays, from 7:30 am until 9 pm or until sold out (happens often).
The breakfast menu is short but effective, with eggs and potatoes with the addition of cheeses and pork. For the entree, on the Tex side, there are sandwiches with briskets, chicken, and pork. The Mex side is covered with smoked briskets, cerveza beef fajitas, smoked carnitas, and pulled pollo.
By some accounts, a brick-and-mortar location is in the making, but until it happens, we’re delighted with what we have at Valentina’s.
The list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of the oldest active eatery in town. A German immigrant founded Scholz Garten bar in the aftermath of the Civil War. Even though it changed owners since then, it kept traditional German dishes on the menu.
There, you can eat pretzels, waffle fries, cheeses, and potatoes. Then there are burgers and sandwiches. Still, the crown jewels of Scholz Garten are steaks (or schnitzel, as they should be called on the premises) and sausages (again, wurst, please). On the offer are many german beers, but also local crafts. If you happen to visit on Tuesdays, select beers are 50% down, and tacos cost one dollar.
There you have it, our list of the best restaurants in the Texas capital. Still, when it comes to hearty meals, subjective feelings prevail. So it’s time for you to hire the best Austin long-distance movers with professional moving services and come to discover your next favorite restaurant. After all, a sound bite is an ideal way to overcome the anxiety about moving to another state.