If you’ve ever discussed the food scene in Austin, Texas at any point in time, then you know it is absolutely exploding with amazing places to eat- both old and new (if you haven’t yet, be sure t check out our guide to the 20 best restaurants in ATX). And with the exception of a few food genres here and there, you can really find ANYTHING your heart desires when it comes to amazing food in Austin. We love the fairly new (opened in 2017) Fareground in downtown Austin. Fareground is basically the food court of your dreams, but all the cool kids are calling it a food hall.
Did you ever eat at one of those growing up? You may recall memories of Sbarro, Panda Express, Subway, etc. Fareground Austin has that similar “food court” layout, but in an absolutely gorgeous setting, showcasing all local an incredible Austin restaurants. There’s a beautiful outdoor patio area that’s perfect for families, couples, or really any kind of group where they often have live music or games, and the inside is beautifulllly air-conditioned with plenty of seating. You’re going to need to park downtown on the 111 Congress garage on the east side of Brazos between Cesar Chavez & Second, and with a purchase, you’ll get the discounted parking rate of $3 per half hour. Which, believe it or not, is a steal.
The Ultimate Guide to Dining at Fareground Austin
We’ve rounded up our favorite items from each restaurant so you can see what our Fareground Austin favorites are! Some of these vendors provide breakfast on select days, but this post primarily highlights lunch and dinner options. Have you been to Fareground? What are your favorite things to eat here?
7. Italic: Penne Bolognese Rigate
The original Italic isn’t too far from Fareground, but will require a reservation and a bit of a commitment from your wallet. Italic in Fareground features some of the same classic Italian favorites as the original location but with more of a lunch vibe and price point. Italic has some really great salad options, warm and cold sandwiches, and some of the coziest housemade pasta dishes (this Penne Bolognese case in point – literally the definition of comfort food). Portion sizes are generous and there’s something for everyone on the menu.
6. Henbit: Peanut Chicken & Lime Leaf Rice
If you’re relatively familiar with the dining scene in Austin then you know that Henbit comes from the same creators as Emmer & Rye on Rainey Street that basically serves some of the best food in the entire city. Henbit is a completely different concept but you can expect the same fantastic quality. We love the food here because it’s nothing too heavy and there are a LOT of delicious healthy options in the form of salads, bowls, wraps, etc. We highly recommend the peanut chicken and lime leaf rice bowl served with chicken laab, pickled carrots, steamed rice, cabbage, and benne.
5. Ni-Kome Sushi: Nigiri & Roll Combo
Two thumbs up for Ni-Kome at Fareground Austin because they have delicious fresh sushi and it’s very reasonably priced. The nigiri & sushi combo (pictured) is a whopping $15. Worth it and a great option if you’re craving sushi/sashimi while dining at Fareground Austin. Ni-Kome also serves delicious ramen and several nigiri and sushi options.
4. TLV: Beef and Lamb Kofta Plate
TLV is the newest addition to Fareground and serves some of the most gorgeous Israeli street food you’ll ever see. The menu has quite a few traditional Mediterranean-style items (think hummus, falafel, shawarma) along with some more adventurous dishes. While everything looks amazing, the flavors here are the true star- loads of fresh herbs, tangy sauces, earthy spices. Get a little bit of everything with a big bite of pillowy soft pita for lunchtime perfection.
3. Contigo: Contigo Burger
If you’ve read our guide to the 15 best burgers in Austin you know that we are hopelessly devoted to the burgers from Contigo. Great news- the burger that’s served at Fareground is literally the same fantastic burger! No shortcuts, same delectable quality- it’s basically a work-lunch-downtown dream come true. You can customize your burger with a variety of toppings but make sure to get it with white cheddar and bacon if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.
2. Henbit: Monster Cookie
Henbit gets not one but TWO spots on our guide to the best things to eat at Fareground Austin because of the MONSTER COOKIE! It has chocolate chips, pecans, and the slightest perfect hint of lemon throughout. It’s also one of our top picks for the best dessert in Austin. We never (ever) make a trip to Fareground without this cookie and you shouldn’t either. They typically always have warm cookies available- the perfect dessert or snack or finish to a great meal at Fareground Austin.
1. Dai Due Taqueria: Wild Boar Al Pastor Tacos
Picking a favorite thing to eat at Fareground Austin is basically like picking a favorite child, but if we can only recommend one thing to try while you’re here, it’s definitely going to be the Wild Boar Al Pastor Tacos from Dai Due Taqueria. Don’t be put off by the unique meat selection– you’re going to love these delicious, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth tacos! The tortillas and masa are made in house with Mexican heirloom corn milled on-site and the wild boar is your new best friend.