Welcome to our guide to the absolute best Austin restaurants. It only takes a day or two in the capital of Texas to realize that it’s nothing short of a foodie mecca. With restaurants new and old bursting at the seams, it can be overwhelming and challenging to sort the exceptional from the mediocre. Which is exactly why we’ve created and annually update this tried-and-true guide to the absolute best restaurants in Austin to satisfy all of your gastronomic needs.
This certainly isn’t a collection of all good Austin restaurants, nor is it a list of the most hyped or popular restaurants, but rather our consolidated favorites that stand out among the masses, solely based on the exceptional quality of food they serve. As always, these restaurant reviews are completely unbiased and all meals photographed for this post (plus dozens of others you aren’t seeing here) were consumed and enjoyed just like any other regular customer. If you come to town asking for our Austin restaurant recommendations, this is the golden guide that we’ll give to you. We’ve ranked them in descending order for additional help and included original photography and menu recommendations for every single spot.
30. Neighborhood Spot: Little Deli
Little Deli isn’t over-the-top glamorous, and the menu certainly isn’t bursting with novel chef-driven creations. But that’s exactly why we love it: they do the favorites so incredibly well, and it’s a spot where ride-or-die loyal customers come back time after time. From pizza to sandwiches to calzones, there are plenty of options to choose from. Grab a quick lunch to-go or bring friends and family together for dinner at one of their outdoor picnic tables to enjoy one of the best restaurants in Austin. Bonus points for being family-friendly and for having one of the best chewy chocolate cookies ever (it’s GF too!).
Little Deli & Pizzeria
$ Delis, Pizza, Sandwiches
29. Korean Comfort Food: Jjim Korean Braised BBQ
Jjim Korean Braised BBQ in South Austin features a fairly small menu with a focus on their namesake dish: jjim. Jjim is a traditional Korean cooking technique in which proteins and vegetables are marinated, steamed, then braised until the liquid is reduced down to a sultry, umami-packed sauce. The beef galbi jjim is the way to go here– think old-school pot roast with potatoes and carrots but make it short ribs, add shishito peppers because that bright crunch is such a nice textural contrast, and serve it all in a puddle of a salty, slightly-funky Korean soy sauce “gravy”. Add mozzarella cheese for the ultimate cheese pull and to really push things over the top– we consider it non-negotiable. Jjim is the comfort food we didn’t know we needed but now can’t stop thinking about. Go here on that drizzly, cold February night when you’ve exhausted all soup options but want something in the same vein. Bring a friend (the small feeds two easily) or don’t . . . the leftovers are almost better than the first time around.
Jjim – Korean Braised BBQ
$$$ Korean, Barbeque, Soup
28. Healthy-ish: Fresa’s
Fresa’s is one of the best Austin restaurants that serves incredibly delicious menu items, most of which are on the lighter and fresh side but never lacking in flavor. It’s the perfect spot when you’re craving a salad that actually tastes good and will fill you up. Or if you’re feeling something a little more substantial, their tacos are fantastic– we strongly recommend the La Fresa so you can enjoy one of their best menu offerings: the pulled achiote chicken. The Mexican street corn is to die for and we will never say no to their guacamole. Dine in at the South First location or drive thru (not kidding) at their ever-so-convenient 9th and Lamar location.
27. Bakery & Restaurant: Swedish Hill
If you’re looking for a fantastic bakery that also doubles as a great restaurant in Austin, look no further than Swedish Hill. Nestled at the edge of our favorite neighborhood in Austin, Clarksville, this bright and airy establishment serves the most beautiful assortment of freshly baked goods, plus daytime and dinner menus, both worth checking out. Favorite baked goods include the cinnamon roll, chocolate croissant, and cake by the slice. The bagel and lox is one of the best breakfasts in town, and the house pastrami sandwich is swoon-worthy.
$$ Bakery, Cafe
26. Pizza Bar: Dovetail Pizza
Dovetail Pizza is the result of friends from some of the most renowned restaurants in the city (Salt and Time, Swedish Hill, Lenoir) joining forces to create pizza magic in the heart of Bouldin Creek. And if you’re thinking with culinary geniuses like that “I bet that pizza is good,” you would be correct. Let’s talk crust: Dovetail uses a slow-fermentation dough to create a golden-hued crust that’s both crispy and chewy, nice and thin but with enough heft to hold up more than two token pieces of pepperoni. The White Pie with ricotta cream, snap peas, corn, and arugula is top-notch– it’s a surprising, anything-but-classic combination for pizza but tastes wonderfully familiar and is bound to become a Dovetail Classic.
Dovetail Pizza & Bar
25. Farm-to-Table: Odd Duck
Odd Duck has been one of the best restaurants in Austin for many years, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. This farm-to-trailer (now turned farm-to-table) restaurant serves flavorful, chef-driven, reinvented favorites for dinner and brunch. Think classics like burgers, salads, quesadillas, steak, and waffles— but better. Current menu favorites include the dry-aged wagyu burger, quail tender taco, and country-fried chicken on a bourbon pecan waffle.
$$$ American (Traditional), Bars
24. Thai: Sway
One of the absolute best restaurants in Austin is undeniably Sway. Locals love it, tourists love it, and you’re going to love it too. If you can’t get reservations, plan on waiting a bit for a seat at one of their bars or around a communal table. The flavors in every dish here are so well executed and unforgettable, but some of our favorites include the satay, peanut curry, the Son-in-Law, and the Tiger Cry (if you don’t mind some heat).
23. Burger: Salt and Time
After sampling dozens (and dozens) of burgers at the best restaurants in Austin we finally found the burger of our dreams at Salt and Time. Picture a 1/2 pound beef patty made of daily steak trimmings including ribeye and other high-quality cuts, served with aioli, sour pickles, and beef fat french fries and you have our favorite burger in all of Austin. The juiciness and flavor in this burger will make your carnivore heart sing.
Salt & Time
$$ Butcher, American (New), Beer, Wine & Spirits
22. Biscuits: Bird Bird Biscuit
There are plenty of Austin restaurants that serve phenomenal biscuits, but if you can only visit one place for a biscuit-dedicated meal, make it a stop at Bird Bird Biscuit. Opened in 2018, this straightforward, fast-casual restaurant serves breakfast and fried chicken sandwiches, all served on their heavenly, all-butter biscuits made from scratch. The Bird Bird Bacon is one of the best breakfast sandwiches you will have in your life, made with bacon, an over-medium egg, cheddar, and a bacon-infused chipotle mayo. Other Bird Bird favorites also include the Queen Beak and Firebird.
Bird Bird Biscuit
$ Sandwiches, Breakfast & Brunch
21. Lunch With Girlfriends: Tiny Boxwoods
Meeting girlfriends for lunch? Head straight to Tiny Boxwoods, a Houston outpost that has become one of our favorite Austin restaurants. The restaurant itself is lovely and picturesque (when can we move in?), and the food is always wonderful. The Southside Breakfast is our breakfast and brunch go-to, with scrambled eggs, cheddar, avocado mash, tomatillo salsa, and warm tortillas. The Lucky Burger is a great order for lunch or dinner, but always save room for their absolutely perfect chocolate chip cookies, baked fresh around the clock and served warm.
Tiny Boxwoods Austin
$$ Venues & Event Spaces, American (New)
20. Happy Hour: Clark’s Oyster Bar
Spend a couple of days researching the best Austin restaurants and you’ll quickly realize that happy hour is a big deal in ATX. And while some happy hours are worth it and others aren’t, the happy hour at Clark’s is one of the best. From 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can enjoy 50 cents off oysters and half off one of our favorite burgers in town. You will die over how succulent and juicy their pan-roasted Black Angus burger is, and the shoestring fries are truly addicting.
Clark’s Oyster Bar
19. Pizza: Bufalina Pizza
When it comes to the best Austin restaurants that serve pizza, our top pick is always Bufalina. Serving up incredible Neapolitan pizza, the delicate wood-fired crust combined with fresh toppings and mozzarella is truly a thing of culinary beauty. Try the margherita for a classic Neapolitan pie or the fresca topped with prosciutto and arugula for something light and unique.
$$ Pizza, Italian, Desserts
18. Lunch Spot: Elizabeth Street
If you’re looking for a great lunch spot at one of the best restaurants in Austin, Elizabeth Street Cafe is one of our favorites. This adorable spot seems like an Instagram trap from the get-go (it’s quite gorgeous), but we promise that the food lives up to the hype as well. Elizabeth Street Cafe serves Vietnamese entrees + has a pastry case filled with gorgeous French pastries– it’s the perfect combination of hearty, delicious meals with the perfect sweet finish. Our favorite menu items are the bún bowls (they’re rice vermicelli bowls with delicious fresh vegetables, herbs, and roasted peanuts with a meat of your choice) and the banh mi. The grilled chicken is our pick, but there honestly is no wrong answer here. Don’t leave without a macaron (or three).
Elizabeth Street Cafe
$$ Vietnamese, Coffee & Tea, Bakeries
17. Italian: Patrizi’s
Handmade pasta food truck Patrizi’s is one of those places we keep coming up with excuses to visit time and time again. Whether it’s a celebratory “we made it to Friday”, a craving for incredibly authentic carbonara, or just a Monday, we often find ourselves at Patrizi’s promptly at 5 pm, hopefully ahead of the droves of other Austinites because this line can get crazy long. Though we’ve yet to try the whole menu (the siren call of the aforementioned carbonara is so hard to resist), we can comfortably confirm that all the Italian classics Patrizi’s serves up with their homemade fettucini pasta are just the right blend of homey and familiar yet also beautifully and lovingly crafted with high-quality ingredients. Top recommendations include Patrizi’s Red Sauce, The Great Leopold, and yes, of course, the Carbonara Alexandra.
16. Southern: Olamaie
Amidst a sea of endearingly wonky and unique Austin restaurants that scream #keepaustinweird, Olamaie is a refreshingly timeless southern establishment that’s perfect for special occasions or date night. The food here is authentically southern and everything is executed to perfection. Start with the boiled peanuts or the hush puppies, and for sure choose between the farm chicken and the pork chop for your entree, but whatever you do you’re getting at least one of the “off the menu” biscuits. They’re the essence of perfection and your life will never be the same. Scout’s honor.
$$$ Southern, American (New), Cocktail Bars
15. Fusion: Kemuri Tatsu Ya
There is no other restaurant in the world like Kemuri Tatsu Ya, and it’s hands down one of the best Austin restaurants. They serve Japanese dishes with a Texan/barbecue flair in a unique indoor-outdoor patio setting, and it’s all truly quite divine. The menu leans quite adventurous and exotic but a few must-order items include the grilled scallop and pickled corn skewer, the jellyfish menudo salad with smoked tomato, and, of course, the brisket. Do yourself a huge favor and get that brisket served bento box style– your brisket will come alongside a large box filled with bits of pickle, dabs of condiments, miniature jars of hot sauce, fresh vegetables, and nearly any other add-in you can think of for the makings of a DIY tableside nori roll. No surprise the brisket is smoky, rich, and exactly what Texas brisket should be, but the whole setup is simply pure culinary fun.
$$ Izakaya, Smokehouse
14. Brunch: Mattie’s
Mattie’s is one of the most unforgettable Austin restaurants, and our top brunch pick in ATX. The menu served at Mattie’s is a true diamond among the sea of waffles, hashes, pancakes, and benedicts in town. The fried chicken eggs benedict is literally one of the best breakfast dishes you will have in your entire life, and the brioche French toast with candied pecans and fresh berries is close second. The beautiful grounds featuring the immaculately restored mansion adorned with a wrap-around porch and peacocks roaming around are the icing on the cake. If you’re brunching in Austin, we cannot recommend Mattie’s more.
$$$ American (Traditional), Southern, Cocktail Bars
13. Tex Mex: Valentina’s Tex Mex
Valentina’s Tex Mex is two fantastic worlds colliding into one, off-the-beaten-path spot just south of Austin. They serve incredible barbecue including sliced and chopped brisket, pulled pork, and chicken. The breakfast tacos are truly top-tier, made with a homemade flour tortilla, fried egg, potatoes, bacon, serrano salsa, and a slice of their marvelous brisket. Whether it’s the Tex or the Mex portion of their menu you order from, you’re in good hands at one of the best restaurants in Austin.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
$$ Food Trucks, Barbeque, Tex-Mex
12. Breakfast Tacos: Veracruz All Natural
Consider Veracruz All Natural your perfect best friend– always there for you through thick and thin. The OG food truck is the most well-known location, but all other nearby brick and mortar stores and trucks serve the same high-quality food. Both the breakfast and lunchtime tacos are standout delicious, but if you can only pick between one or the other, come for breakfast. Start with chips and salsa (their molcajete salsa is perfection), and order as many breakfast tacos as you can reasonably enjoy (for most people that’s two). The Migas Originales is Tex-Mex at its best, but the Migas Poblanas also takes the cake when you want to change things up a bit. Wash all of the deliciousness down with one of their enormous aguas frescas– mango or cantaloupe are favorites.
Veracruz All Natural
$ Food Trucks, Mexican
11. Fine Dining: Jeffrey’s
If you’re looking for one of the best Austin restaurants for a splurge, make it an evening at Jeffrey’s in the endearingly charming Clarksville neighborhood. Owned by the same folks at Swedish Hill, the entire top-to-bottom dining experience at Jeffrey’s is truly remarkable. You’re coming here for anniversary dates, birthday dinners, or to impress your in-laws, so take the bull by the horns and go all out with the menu. The house specialty is steak, so don’t pass on the opportunity to indulge in a big, juicy, medium-rare filet or ribeye.
$$$$ American (Traditional)
10. Unconventional Barbecue: Leroy & Lewis
There are a slew of life-changing barbecue joints in Austin, but Leroy and Lewis is one of the very best. You’re here for not only some of the best barbecue in town, but for the most innovative, unconventional meats and sides you’ll find for miles. And it is all finger-licking delicious. Menu offerings change at this barbecue truck, but favorites include brisket, sausage, beef cheeks, mac & cheese stuffed quail, house-made kimchi, and pork hash & rice. Also noteworthy is their brisket burger, made with a juicy brisket patty, American cheese, grilled onions, homemade pickles, and sauce. Life will never be the same.
Leroy And Lewis Barbecue
$$ Food Trucks, Barbeque
9. Every Occasion: Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
One of the best Austin restaurants for nearly every occasion is Jacoby’s. They serve incredible ranch-to-table American food with an ample amount of Southern influence. Jacoby’s is perfect for weekend brunch, date night, girls’ night, guys’ night, holidays, casual dinner– you name it. Menu offerings are consistently amazing, you’ll never have to fight for parking thanks to complimentary valet, and the incredible ambiance of the restaurant combined with the adorable mercantile and outdoor patio are just a few reasons why we love this place so much. Jacoby’s is featured on our guides to the best burgers, best dessert, and best brunch in Austin. Don’t miss out on the deviled eggs, chicken fried steak, the mac & cheese, or Grandma Hagler’s strawberry cake.
Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
$$$ American (New), Southern
8. New: Diner Bar
One day we will get to James Beard Award winner Mashama Bailey’s The Grey in Savannah, Georgia, but until then, Austin is lucky enough to get its own import from Bailey’s team– Diner Bar, located in the Thompson downtown. If oysters are your thing, sidle up to the bar for a sampling of their rotating selection. Then settle in for a meal of Southern favorites, done in a way that is anything but tired. Everything hits the spot, but the true stand-out is the pork shoulder with onion demi-glace, which falls apart with only a slight nudge of the fork (the highest of praises!). Come here for a meal that is flawless paired with outstanding and personable service in a beautiful dining space. 10/10.
$$ American (New), Southern
7. Fancy Tacos: Suerte
Suerte means “lucky” in Spanish, but the cuisine at this Austin favorite is in-cred-ible and by no means a stroke of luck- Suerte is one of the best restaurants in Austin. Period. Whether you’re here for brunch or dinner, it’s hard to not swoon over everything on the menu. Try as many things as you can stomach, but whatever you do, don’t miss the suadero tacos. They’re at a much higher price point than your typical taco joint in Austin but worth all the hype and every last penny. Your server will try to tell you that the tacos are meant to be shared, but if you don’t we certainly won’t judge.
6. Essentialist Tacos: Discada
In a city (and even this guide) full of incredible tacos, Discada continues to impress us with their Northern Mexico meets Mexico City-style street tacos filled with braised beef, pork, onion, and bell pepper. Yes, the menu is small, but when you’ve nearly reached taco perfection, you only need to serve one thing, right? Grab a Mexican Coke, and a cup of elote, don’t forget the salsa, and tuck in for a spectacular taco experience.
$ Tacos, Food Trucks
5. Adventurous: Canje
Canje is quite possibly one of the buzziest restaurants in Austin right now, and we concur with the masses– it’s the definition of a phenomenal and lively dining experience. Walking into Canje is transportive, and you’ll know exactly what you’re in for as soon as you arrive: the space is full of eclectic and vibrant patterns, the bar is hopping, the music is loud– it feels alive and brimming with Caribbean energy. These vibes set the stage for a unique meal of fresh takes on traditional dishes from Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. Trust your server’s recommendations for a meal full of deep, bright, assertive, spicy flavors guaranteed to be all-together unforgettable. Whatever you do order, a side of roti is necessary to swipe up any remaining sauce (it’s slightly more dignified than literally licking the plate clean, which you’ll be tempted to do).
4. Barbecue: Franklin Barbecue
There are so many words, thoughts, and feelings we could devote to the subject of barbecue alone and specifically Franklin Barbecue alone (which we over-the-top did here), but if you’re looking for the best restaurants in Austin, Franklin Barbecue is at the top of our list. You’ll definitely want to try a little bit of everything, and although the lines can get insanely long (again, read this post first), it will still be worth it for true barbecue fanatics.
$$ Barbeque, Breakfast & Brunch, Tacos
RELATED VIDEO: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO EATING AT FRANKLIN BBQ
3. Mexican: Fonda San Miguel
Fonda San Miguel is the queen of Mexican food and has been one of the very best restaurants in Austin for decades. You’ll never have Mexican food like this anywhere else this side of the border, and this Austin institution has earned its golden reputation. Always start your meal with one of the ceviches or guacamole. You’ll get a different suggestion from your server every time you ask for recs, but the two things you cannot miss for entrees are the cochinita pibil and the carne asada. Enjoy with extra hand-made tortillas and copious amounts of chips and salsa.
Fonda San Miguel
$$ Mexican, Breakfast & Brunch, Salad
2. Sushi: Uchi/Uchiko
Locals will debate which Austin restaurants serve the best barbecue, breakfast tacos, and even doughnuts, but if there’s one thing this city unanimously agrees on, it’s that the BEST sushi in town can be found at Uchi and Uchiko. Both establishments serve some of the best sushi and Japanese cuisine you will have in your life with an innovative flair. The service here is incredible and your waiter will give you individualized recommendations based on your preferences, but we give five stars to the grilled edamame (trust us on this one), chicken karaage, hama chili, and as much sushi and sashimi as you can stomach. The sushi/sashimi offerings are constantly changing but the madai cannot be missed.
Uchi – Austin
$$$$ Sushi, Japanese
$$$$ Sushi Bars, Gluten-Free, Japanese
1. Downtown: Emmer and Rye
We are borderline obsessed with the dining experience at Emmer and Rye. If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Austin, this downtown restaurant is at the top of our list– literally. The food here is nothing short of brilliant: new American cuisine served in a dim sum style. You’ll be enjoying lots of small bites or shared plates, and if your server recommends something, take their lead. The only thing that never leaves the Emmer and Rye menu is the cacio e pepe, which is the best cacio e pepe you will have in your life.
Emmer & Rye
$$$ Tapas/Small Plates, American (New), Breakfast & Brunch