austin texas restaurant guide

Charcuterie at La Matta.

With South by Southwest starting next week and my increasing number of food posts on Instagram, I decided it was time to compile a list of all of my favorite Austin restaurants. I’ve always loved food, but living in this city for the past 5 (almost 6!) years has turned me into a huge foodie. Here are all of my current local favorites:

austin restaurant guide

Coffee and pastry at Elizabeth Street Cafe.

Ladies Who Lunch (and Instagram)

Elizabeth Street Cafe – One of my favorite Instagrammable spots in Austin. And the food’s as good as it looks! Order the fried egg, crispy pork belly, avocado and mint Bánh mì. It’ll change your life! Opt for outdoor seating on a nice day, but be sure to step inside for a Vietnamese coffee and a macaron after your meal.

Tiny Boxwood’s – Another one of my top favorite cute spots. For lunch I always order the turkey and avocado sandwich. It has homeade pesto on it and it’s to. die. for. When I’ve come in for dinner I typically go for the charcuterie board and a mini pizza. And always the chocolate chip cookies… They’re truly the best around. They’re extra gooey and served warm. Need I say more?

Blue Dahlia – A french inspired casual bistro. I love all of their charcuterie boards! Pair one (or two) with a glass of rose and you’ll be dining Rachel style. I also really like their egg salad! Random, but delicious I promise. They’ve also got an insanely good happy hour!

La Matta – Your one stop shop for Italian sandwiches, salads, and charcuterie boards. They have some of the best proscuitto! It’s a small restaurant and oh-so-adorable. 

Hillside Farmacy – Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner… and repeat. I love every meal here, but brunch is my favorite! I always order the ham steak and parmesan cheese grits. Set in an old drugstore, this historic restaurant is sure to please! They also have a great covered patio that’s perfect for those Instagram shots. 

Irene’s – American comfort food in a vintage-y, eclectic setting. Don’t forget to grab a pic by their neon sign!

Josephine House – Upscale American food in the cutest, coziest house. I always get the rice bowl and it never disappoints! It’s actually really healthy (I think) but so so good. They also have really yummy drinks!

June’s All Day – A trendy upscale American spot located on South Congress. It has a retro vibe on the inside and a lovely petite Parisian patio! Everything I’ve ever had there has been amazing. I’d suggest going during happy hour to catch the best deals! 

austin restaurant guide

Shrimp and grits, slow cooked pot pie, and mac ‘n cheese at Jacoby’s.

Southern Inspired:

Searsucker – Trendy meets Southern at this downtown gem. I’ve been here multiple times and it always hits the spot. Try the massive burger and duck fat fries.  And you’ll to start with some tasty deviled eggs, trust me.

Jacoby’s – Upscale Southern with a uniquely Austin twist. The ambiance here is amazing and so is the food. I’m seriously obsessed with the decor! They’re known for their beef, so be sure to order a steak with a side of mac and cheese.

Lucy’s Fried Chicken – My favorite fried chicken that I’ve had to date. Order a bucket and dig in! Don’t forget to grab a few sides and a beer to wash it all down. Highly, highly recommend! It’s such a fun spot.

Mattie’s – Upscale southern food in a historic plantation style home. The grounds here are beautiful! There’s plenty of parking (plus complimentary valet if you prefer) and you just might be greeted by one of their free roaming peacocks. And I’m in love with their biscuits! Be sure to ask for extra honey though – they only come with a little drizzle on top.

austin restaurant guide

Crispy Duck at Toulouse.

austin restaurant guide

Latte, nutella crepe, ham and cheese crepe at Cafe Crepe.

French Inspired:

Toulouse – Ok, so this one is a chain but I love it so much that I had to add it to the list. If you’re shopping up at The Domain this is your dinner spot no questions asked. I recently tried their crispy duck and the only word that comes in mind is life-changing. I also love their charcuterie board!

Cafe Crepe – A little piece of France right here in Austin! Seriously, this place feels like a little European bistro. Transport yourself and your tastebuds to Paris with a classic Nutella crepe. Be sure to grab a coffee too!

Le Politique – Small portions and a large price tag… Normally two things that I don’t like to say in the same sentence. However, in this case the food is truly phenomenal and the atmosphere is wonderful. Their scallops are to die for! If you still wanna check out the digs without spending too much, try their coffee shop next door! It’s tre chic.

austin restaurant guide

Brunch at Stella San Jac.

austin restaurant guide

Appetizers at Trace.

Upscale American: 

Trace – One of my absolute top restaurants in town housed in one of my favorite hotels: The W downtown. It’s got great vibes and awesome service. It’s also in a prime location in the 2nd street District. Their charcuterie board is my current favorite! The fact that they only have 3.9 stars on google is a travesty. 

Cru – A chain, but still one of my favorites because of their extensive wine list and awesome happy hour deals. Order a wine flight, some fondue, and of course… charcuterie. 

Stella San Jac – Housed on the first floor of the Westin Hotel, Stella is another favorite of mine as is The Westin. I’ve had breakfast, brunch, and dinner here and it was nothing short of incredible. I recommend the short ribs for dinner! They’re super tender and flavorful. Plus, they come with a side of the super creamy whipped sweet potatoes! The star of the show here though is definitely the chocolate s’more cake. Warm gooey chocolate topped with toasted marshmallows and served with graham crackers for dipping… You just can’t beat it.


Texas BBQ:

Black’s BBQ – An Austin, Texas staple with the best brisket sandwich in town. I also love their beans, mac ‘n cheese, and of course the peach cobbler. I love it so much in fact that I once had a Black’s cobbler in place of a birthday cake one year. It’s that good!

Cooper’s BBQ – A Spross family favorite. The original is in Llano, Texas but you can find another location in downtown Austin. Great meats, great cobbler. 

austin restaurant guide

Picadillo tacos, guacamole, queso, and a frozen margarita at Grizzelda’s.


Fonda San Miguel – Upscale Mexican food in a unique, lovely setting. Order the Ancho Relleno San Miguel for dinner or stop in on Sundays for their brunch buffet!

Grizzelda’s – My favorite tacos in town served in a trendy, chic space. You’ll want to get your camera out the minute you walk in! I always get the picadillo tacos with corn tortillas. Their margaritas are awesome as well – but beware, they are strong! 

Fresa’s – Healthy-ish Mexican food! You can eat here and enjoy some good food sans the guilt. The power bowl is where it’s at! Top it with the chicken – that’s what Fresa’s is known for.

Hula Hut – This has been a favorite of mine since I moved to Austin over 5 years ago. I always recommend this spot to visitors because it’s so fun! Hawaiian and Tex-Mex come together here with beautiful Lake Austin views. Bonus: there’s a lot of parking.

austin restaurant guide

Pepperoni pizza at Home Slice.

Italian + Pizza:

North – Technically North is a chain, but it doesn’t feel like one. Step inside and transport yourself to a quaint bistro in Italy! It’s my go-to lunch spot at The Domain.

Pinthouse Pizza – This is my absolute favorite pizza in town right now! You can’t go wrong with a classic pepperoni, but they have lots of other unique combos to choose from as well. I also love their salads! They also have their own beers on tap which I also recommend. 

Home Slice Pizza – Another favorite pizza spot of mine and an Austin classic. Literally everything here is good! It’s located on South Congress so be sure to explore after your meal. They do have a parking lot, but space is limited. Be prepared to walk a bit.


Sushi + Asian inspired:

Uchi – Expensive, but worth the splurge if you really love sushi. It’s truly top notch! Everything is incredibly fresh and the service is excellent. I love their Hama Chili dish especially – it’s the best yellowtail around.

Kula – Conveyor belt sushi. I love this place! It’s such a fun date night spot and you can get nice and full without spending an arm and a leg. Each plate comes with 2-3 pieces for around $3 so you get to try lots of different things!

Sushi Japon – My favorite happy hour! Austin and I love to go here when we really want sushi, but don’t want to spend a ton of money. The two of us can usually eat here for less than 40 bucks when we order off of the happy hour menu, including drinks!

Ichiban – A classic sushi spot! This is where you’ll want to go if you’re looking for great sushi at a reasonable price. I love the casual ambiance and their large sashimi portions!



Dimassi’s – This is one of mine and Austin’s favorite places to go. The store front and decor are nothing special, but the food is amazing and everything is very clean. They’ve got all of the quintessential Mediterranean dishes, served buffet style. Their hummus is the best I’ve ever had and they’re always bringing out fresh, hot pita bread. Trust me on this one! It’s a hidden gem.

austin restaurant guide

Citizen Power Bowl and sweet potato chips at Citizen Eatery.

Healthy Eats:

Citizen Eatery – Health nuts, this one is for you! There are a lot of healthy options to be found at almost any restaurant in Austin, but Citizen’s entire menu is diet approved and most everything is vegan! I get the Citizen Power Bowl with a side of sweet potato chips. Delicious and nutritious!

austin restaurant guide

Coffee, mimosas, and empanadas at Cafe Nenai

Cutest Coffee Shops:

Walton’s – Instagrammers, get out your phones! This spot is as cute as it is tasty. I like to go in the mornings for breakfast tacos! They also have giant cinnamon rolls and other yummy pastries. I highly recommend grabbing a golden egg! It’s a nutmeg infused yellow cake dipped in melted butter and coated with cinnamon sugar… It’s heavenly.

Cafe Nenai – A cute little South American coffee shop with delicious empanadas and other tasty treats. My favorite is the ham and cheese! It’s owned by a fellow influencer/entrepreneur, Gladys Benitez and her mom. How adorable is that? Brb gonna go open up a cafe with my mom real quick.

Houndstooth – The best coffee in town in my opinion. If you need that morning buzz or an afternoon boost, this is your spot. There are several locations around town and they’re all good!

Mozart’s – Located right next to Hula Hut this is another spot that overlooks Lake Austin. I usually meet my wedding planner here for meetings. There’s plenty of both seating and parking! They’ve also got a wide array of sweet treats. Austin loves their chocolate mousse! On a nice day you’ll definitely want to sit outside on their picnic tables.

Cenote – This Eastside coffee shop has all of the classic Austin-y vibes. Stop in for a coffee to go or sit down for lunch. They have giant salads with generous helpings of meat and other goodies on top. There’s another location now on Cameron, but you’ll want to go to the original on Cesar Chavez. I love this location because it’s in an old house complete with cozy couches!

austin restaurant guide

Chocolate chip cookies at Tiny Boxwood’s.


Kelley’s Baking Co – This adorable little spot serves an array of baked goods, but the cookie dough is where it’s at. There are tons of different flavors and it’s scooped like ice cream. You can even get it in a tiny mini cone! So cute and so. freaking. good. 

Amy’s – An Austin, TX staple. Amy’s has the creamiest ice cream and lots of unique rotating flavors and mix ins. I always get cookie dough mixed with my ice cream! It’s literally an entire ball of chocolate chip cookie dough and it’s wonderful. If you can’t tell, I really like cookie dough.

Cow Tipping Creamery – This one isn’t technically a restaurant, it’s a food truck. It’s soft serve style ice cream with lots of creative flavors and toppings! It’s soft serve like you’ve never seen (or tasted) it before and definitely photo worthy.

Dolce Neve – The cutest Italian gelato shop with unique flavors. I got the goat cheese pecan last time I went and it was delish. If you love non-traditional ice cream you’ve got to stop by. 

Sprinkles – My favorite cupcakes, ever. I love their ice cream too! I always get a triple cinnamon cupcake or if I’m feeling especially hungry I’ll get a cupcake sunday. Yes, that’s a thing and it’s worth the calories!

Hey Cupcake – A local Austin cupcake chain. They’ve got my favorite strawberry cake and other traditional flavors, all of which are done well. The cake is always moist and the icing isn’t overpowering!

Launderette – You can have dinner here as well as this trendy East Austin spot, but I personally really like going just for dessert. They’ve got these adorable little ice cream sandwiches made with rainbow sugar cookies that are basically just dough. They’re photo worthy AND yummy!

Steel City Pops – Grab a popsicle here for dessert or an afternoon snack. They have traditional fruit flavors as well as more savory ones like chocolate and my personal favorite, pistachio. Get them dipped, drizzled, or dusted!

Tiny Boxwoods – I already mentioned Tiny’s on this list for lunch and dinner and I did mention the cookies… But I have to talk about them again under desserts because they’re that good. They’re pretty big but I promise you won’t want to share!


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