UPDATED JULY 2016
This is the ultimate guide to the best eats this summer. A humble compilation of food and drink personally tasted tested and approved. I picked a mix of favorites and bests – a list that will help you navigate Austin in all its gastronomic glory.
Dig in – first reader to complete the list wins a heart attack and boasting rights.
I launched this guide three years ago and it’s been my most popular blog post to date. I’ve completely wiped the original list and complied everything I’ve eaten in the last 6 months with 100 of my favorite spots. Last time so many people asked me for a printer friendly version to put on their fridges so sign up below and I’ll send it to your email!
Want more eats? Follow A Taste of Koko on Instagram for daily eats!
100 Things You Need To Eat This Summer in Austin
1. Gelato at Gemelli’s
Gelato shop in Austin that makes gelato with local ingredients in the most insta-worthy shop with marble tables. Try the olive oil gelato with affogoto, and a negroni.
SEE ALSO: Gelato Date At Gelateria Gemelli
2. Cocktails on Westin’s Rooftop Pool
Perched on the top of Westin Hotel, Azul Pool Bar is the tallest hotel rooftop pool bar in Austin with the best views of downtown Austin. Take a dip in the pool and then relax on the lounge chairs while you sip on a blood orange and anchiote margarita and nosh on appetizers. The pool is open to the public Sunday through Thursday.
3. Brunch at VOX Table
I like the brunch menu much more than the dinner menu. Absolutely loved the crab Benedict, VOX burger with the steak fries (omg those fries), and olive oil pancakes with stellar cocktails, and the Saturday Morning Toons (aka boozy cereal milk).
SEE ALSO: Best Brunch in Austin: VOX Table
4. Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at Spun Ice Cream
Cool off with Spun Ice Cream’s liquid nitrogen ice cream – they make it right in front of you!
5. Soup Dumplings at Wu Chow
Also known as xiao long bao. You can order them at Wu Chow for dinner or during brunch on the weekends.
SEE ALSO: Wu Chow Serves Up Best Dim Sum In Austin
6. Bubble Tea at Kung Fu Bubble Tea
Best bubble tea in Austin, my go to is the oolong tea.
7. Snow Cones at Sno Beach
Snow cones are mandatory for Texas heat.
8. Bites & Sips at The Townsend
A cocktail bar with a killer food menu that’s perfect for after work bites and drinks, or for a first date. Be sure to order the French fries with red miso mayo, hot chicken, and dumplings.
9. Breakfast Pizza at Cantine
The breakfast pizza with guanciale, potato, and fried egg makes my list of best pizzas in Austin.
SEE ALSO: Best Brunch in Austin: Cantine
10. Juice Shots at Juice Society
Try each of the organic and local juices at Juice Society with the juice flight.
11. Brunch at Snack Bar
Brunch is served every day at Snack Bar until 4PM. Love the avocado quinoa with pineapple and tamago yoko. The patio is dog-friendly!
12. Tacos at Tacodeli
If you’re new to Austin, Tacodeli tacos are a must. Be sure to add the dona sauce.
13. Popsicles at Steel City Popsicles
Based in Alabama and new to Austin, Steel City Popsicles has the best popsicles. I’m obsessed with their passion fruit popsicles!
14. Happy Hour at FIXE
For the summer (through Labor Day), Fixe’s new Daily Social menu is available all-night, Sunday–Thursday and then 4-7 on Friday and Saturday. The crispy fried chicken sandwich and summer fish fry is delicious.
15. Puffy Tacos at El Chilito
Beef puffy tacos and fresh aqua fresas at El Chilito is the perfect lunch.
16. Whole Fish at Thai Kun
Thai Kun serves the most authentic Thai cuisine in Austin by Paul Qui. Be warned, the food is extremely spicy as it is authentically served in Thailand, but really, really good.
17. Green Monster at Soup Peddler
When I’m needing something healthy and on-to-go, the Green Monster from Soup Peddler is my fav. There’s broccoli, spinach, banana, peanut butter, coconut water but it tastes just like a peanut butter smoothie.
18. Tacos & Frozen Margaritas at Torchy’s Tacos
Tacos are practically another food group in Austin and Torchy’s Tacos fills that need. The queso, guac, and frozen margaritas are really good.
19. Cheese Date at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Impress your date with Antonelli’s Cheese Shop’s date night for 2 or 4 (double date!) for a cheese tasting guided by one of their experienced Cheesemongers. Tasting includes: seven cheeses (about half a pound of cheese per person), four pairings (like honey or mustard), a shared charcuterie board, a shared dessert board, baguette, olives, and almonds.
20. Japanese Iced Tea at Houndstooth
Cool off with Houndstooth’s Japanese cold brew tea. The coffee there is also pretty spectacular.
21. Brunch at Cafe No Sé
Café No Sé is an all-day neighborhood café featuring California-inspired American dining located inside South Congress Hotel. Love the ricotta pancakes and avocado toast.
SEE ALSO: Weekend Brunch At Café No Sé
22. Ramen Tatsu-Ya
Ramen Tatsu-ya now offers an all-day menu combining lunch and dinner menus. The Slurpin’ Hour from 2 – 6pm features discounts on house sake and specialty cocktails, including the Sugrdog and Kimchelada.
23. Happy Hour at Fukumoto
Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 5 – 6:30pm with food and drink specials.
24. Lick Ice Creams
You can’t survive summers in Austin without Lick Ice Creams – the ice cream is made with locally sourced ingredients!
25. Watch The Game at BaseCamp
BaseCamp isn’t your typical sports bar with terrible bar food. Executive Chef Eric Kuypers, formerly of Uchi and Peached Tortilla, has created an elevated menu of 50/50 Burger, pepper crusted hanger steak, fried pickles, and charcuterie boards.
26. Brunch at Snooze
Brunch all. day. long. at Snooze from 6:30am – 2:30pm. The egg benedict, hashbrowns (ask for crispy), and pancake flights are so good.
27. Tapas Happy Hour at Bullfight
Happy hour is Monday through Friday until 6:30, half off all liquor/cocktails, beer, and bar snacks!
28. True Food Kitchen
Wild caught albacore tataki, edamame dumplings, and Thai grapefruit martinis.
29. Brunch at Isla’s
Island-inspired brunch with the most amazing ceviche, rum drinks, and palm tree wallpaper!
SEE ALSO: Caribbean Inspired Brunch At Isla Austin
30. Monte Cristo at Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What?
Pit-smoked ham and mesquite-smoked turkey, cheddar, provolone and housemade cherry and fig jelly, battered in Shiner Bock and deep fried. Seriously, and I ate the entire thing.
31. Acai Bowls at Blender and Bowls
Fuel up on colorfulAmazonian superfuit açaí bowls at Blender and Bowls. The bowls can be customized with gluten free, vegan or paleo options accommodating all dietary preferences.
32. Sunday Brunch Buffet at Fonda San Miguel
Escape to Mexico at Fonda San Miguel’s Sunday brunch buffet. Indulge in chicken mole, ceviche, cochinita pibil, guacamole, and flan in a interior Mexico setting of lush plants, colorful tiles and a parrot.
33. Breakfast at Modern Market
Healthy, happy breakfast at Modern Market! The breakfast plates include local cage-free eggs – cooked to order, however you like them.
34. Ceviche at Alcomar
Aside from a beautifully designed space (reminiscent of a contemporary beach house), Alcomar’s lunch and dinner is on point with lobster, soft shell crab, snapper, gulf oysters, shrimp, scallops, as well as steak, and chicken.
SEE ALSO: Alcomar, Austin’s Seaside Escape
35. Southern Comfort at Jacoby’s
If you’re looking for a casual dinner, Jacoby’s is a ranch-to-table dining experience with elevated Southern comfort staples and locally sourced beef from their own ranch.
36. Shanghai Lobster at Liberty Kitchen
There’s something for everyone at Liberty Kitchen – lobster, gumbo, king crab, oysters, scallops, pasta, steak, sandwiches, and almost eggs on everything. Ask for the shanghai lobster, it’s off the menu.
SEE ALSO: Weekend Brunch At Liberty Kitchen Austin
37. New India
For $8-$12, you can get a traditional Indian thali platter with curry of the day with rice, desert, achar, salad & 3 vegetables and nan or chapatti.
38. Steak & Egg Sandwich at Paperboy
Paperboy serves deletable sandwiches, sweet and savory open faced toasts, and hearty breakfast bowls using only local farms and purveyors.
39. Breakfast at Hillside Farmacy
Hillside Farmacy just renovated their outdoor patio and it’s the cutest for breakfast.
40. Japanese Eats at Sa-Tén
Arty, Japanese coffee shop by the owners of Kome, Sa-Tén serves up light and delicious eats on their Japanese-American fusion menu, like the chicken katsu sandwich and honey toast.
41. French Fries at Sala & Betty
The crispiest fries award goes to Sala & Betty on Airport Blvd. The fries are so crispy that they are almost translucent. You can order the fries à la carte, or you can enjoy them in the Mister T sandwich.
42. Cauliflower Pizza at Unit D Pizzeria
The cauliflower Neapolitan pizza at Unit D Pizzeria will have you coming back for more.
43. Guacamole & Chips at Zocalo Cafe
Love the fresh guacamole and freshly fried chips at Zocalo Cafe. The crispy stacked enchiladas with a side of pozole soup is my go-to.
44. Fruit Cups at Hay Elotes
Fruits cup like you’ve never seen them before.
45. Breakfast at Epicerie
Now here’s a delicious reason to get out of bed. Épicerie’s breakfast menu includes both savory and sweet items, along with a strong focus on the new coffee program — perfect for those who need that extra push to wake up in the morning. You can dine in the airy, cheerful dining room, or take it to-go, as all menu items are designed for on-the-run convenience.
SEE ALSO: 15 Best Breakfasts In Austin
46. Oysters at Clark’s Oyster Bar
50 cent off oysters Monday through Sunday from 3pm – 6pm. Happy hour Monday through Friday from 3pm – 6pm includes 50 cents off oysters, 1/2 off burgers (best fancy $8 burger in town!), $5 martinis, and draft beer. Happy hour Saturday and Sunday from 3pm – 6pm includes 50 cents off oysters and 1/2 off bottles of wine.
47. La Barbecue
Best barbecue in Austin ??
48. Happy Hour at Qui
Qui recently just released a new menu with dishes like the kinilaw and dinuguan, and has brought back classics like the salmon butter. Happy hour bites are $3 – $8 with ice pops making it one of my new favorite spots for happy hour!
49. Cow Tipping Creamery
Cow Tipping Creamery has officially opened their brick and mortar at the St. Philip location!
50. Lunch On The Fly at TRACE
TRACE’s signature Lunch on the Fly is one of the best lunch specials. One starter plate, one entrée, and a to-go box of sweets from Executive Pastry Chef Angel Begaye, all for $12.
51. Brunch at La Condesa
Huevos rancheros – fried eggs, corn tortillas, black beans, queso fresco, cilantro, salsa ranchera, and salsa tasting is the best way to start the weekend.
52. Happy Hour at Contigo
Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 5 – 7pm. $1 off bar snacks (love the crispy green beans), $1 off all draft beer, $1 off wine by the glass, and $2 off signature cocktails.
53. Brunch Buffet at Benji’s
For only $17.99, you can have all-you-can-eat migas, chicken and waffles, sopapilla French toast, biscuits and gravy, ceviche, aqua frescas, and more.
54. Shaved Ice at Snow Monster
Cool off with Snow Monster’s different snow ice flavors: green tea, strawberry, passion fruit, taro and mango. Pick from toppings like resh fruit, jellies, boba, egg pudding, and ice cream.
SEE ALSO: The Best Shaved Ice in Austin
55. Cocktails at Whisler’s
Whisler’s is East Austin’s destination for authentic craft cocktails, eccentric entertainment and kick-back patio hang time.
56. Amy’s Ice Cream
Summer essential in Austin!
57. Sushi at Komé
My favorite spot for sushi – the fish is always super fresh!
58. Paletas from Stephen F. Frostin’
Boozy pineapple mango margarita paleta. South Congress Hotel is hosting the Ice Cream Social every Sunday this summer in the Courtyard with frosty treats from Stephen F. Frostin’ ice cream truck, live music, drink specials and free valet parking.
59. Cupcakes at Sugar Mama’s
Best cupcakes in Austin are at Sugar Mama’s, they even have vegan and gluten-free options.
60. Sorbet at Dolce Neve
Nectarine and strawberry sorbet at Dolce Neve in a fresh waffle cone.
61. Salads at Vinaigrette
The New Mexican salad bistro serves up farm-to-table salads with local produce, refreshing pressed juice cocktails, and sustainable wine and beer selection.
62. Pretzel & Beer Cheese at Easy Tiger
Hang out at Easy Tiger’s Beer Garden and nosh on pretzel, beer cheese, and plenty of craft beers on tap.
63. Ube Ice Cream at Filipino Asian Mart
Ube is a sweet, purple yam used in Filipino desserts. It’s not too sweet so with the coconut milk, the Ube Ice Cream is so good for summer.
64. Injectable Donut Holes at Topgolf
24 cinnamon-sugar dusted donut holes with chocolate, raspberry jelly or Bavarian cream filling. Hit a couple of balls on the range and snack on donut holes.
65. Holy Mary at Freedman’s Bar
A quart of Forty Creek, smoked tomato, lemon, worcestershire, divine intervention: topped by a half pound brisket, sausage, and spare ribs.
66. Sushi Burrito at Whole Foods
Sushi, meet burrito. You can find these ginormous rolls at the sushi stand in Whole Foods.
67. Iced Latte at Manaña
South Congress Hotel’s Manaña coffee shop makes an excellent iced latte.
68. Chicken Sandwich at Flyrite Chicken
Crispy chicken sandwiches, fries, and six homemade sauces.
69. Crudo Pizza at Pizzeria Vetri
Love the Crudo pizza with prosciutto crudo, bufala mozzarella, parmigiano, and fried pizza dough with citrus fennel sugar.
70. Louie Mueller Barbecue
Kingdom of Texas barbecue – the beef ribs are to die for and worth the drive.
71. Burger & fries at Josephine House
Even though the fries at Josephine House aren’t available à la carte, you sure won’t be complaining about the Josephine house burger with Grafton cheddar and harissa aïoli.
72. Fish Tacos at Odd Duck
The fried fish tacos at Odd Duck are made with sweet corn, green tomato pico, and jalapeño mayo. Love the puffy taco salad for lunch too.
73. Kimchi Fries at Chi’Lantro BBQ
If you haven’t had Chi’lantro’s famous kimchi fries, you haven’t lived. Choose from ribeye beef, spicy pork, spicy chicken, soy-glazed chicken, or tofu, caramelized kimchi, cheddar + monterey jack, onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, sriracha, and magic sauce.
74. Boobie Coffee at Sister Coffee
No boobies were harmed in the making of this coffee. Cute new coffee shop that just opened in East Austin.
75. Big Kahuna Burger at Ski Shores
Laid-back lakeside fun on a huge deck at Ski Shores that has had a intrinsically cool Austin vibe since 1954. What could be better than relaxing with your toes in the water of Lake Austin, while munching a Big Kahuna burger with a cold beer?
76. Basil Chicken at Tea Haus
Basil chicken and bubble tea at Tea Haus is my jam.
77. Boozy Milkshakes at Hopdoddy
Favorite fries in Austin are hands down Hopdoddy’s truffle fries with extra truffle sauce and chipotle ketchup! Along with a side of Primetime burger and caramel and sea salt milkshake.
78. Hops & Grain Brewery Tour
Tours are given Tuesday through Friday at 5pm and Saturdays at 1, 3 and 5pm – approximately 45 minutes and include special samples not available in the tap room.
79. Thai Rolled Ice Cream at Holla Mode
Ice cream liquid made with local dairy milk ($1 for a dairy-free option with organic coconut milk) is poured onto frozen surface and scrape into rolls then topped with your choice of toppings. You have to see this for yourself.
80. Brunch at Peached Tortilla
Start your Sunday with a delicious and boozy brunch at the Peached Tortilla. The Korean Steak & Eggs bowl with sous vide hanger steak and sunny side up egg is a must. Pro tip: Ask for an extra side of pork belly!
81. El Equinox at El Tacorrido
The tacos are only $2.25 each and wash them down with the El Equinox – iced horchata with a shot of espresso.
82. Breakfast at Sawyer & Co
Cajun and creole breakfast in a retro-modern diner.
83. Rockstar Bagels
Lox, onions, capers, cream cheese, and homemade bagel. BOOM.
84. Detrioter Pizza at Via 313
The detrioter pizza – smoked pepperoni under the cheese with natural casing pepperoni on top. Ask for extra crispy, you’re welcome.
85. Dinner at Emmer & Rye
The night I dined at Emmer & Rye, I declared it the best restaurant of 2015. Five months later, Food & Wine Magazine named Chef Kevin Fink one of the best Food & Wine Best New Chefs for 2016. The menu is seasonal and the team mills their own grain into flour for their homemade pasta every morning.
86. Ice Cream Sammies at Moojo
Gourmet ice cream sandwiches made with fresh, all-natural ingredients. A scoop of McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, smashed between two warm, freshly baked homemade cookies.
87. Biscuits at Olamaie
The biscuit of all biscuits that started the biscuit craze in Austin. The biscuits are off the menu so be sure to ask for them.
88. Donut Burgers at Gourdough’s
Meet the donut burger, Ron Burgundy. Angus beef, bacon, fried egg, two slices of American cheese, cilantro, guacamole, sliced tomato and mayo between two hot doughnuts.
89. Macarons at La Patisserie
La Patisserie makes French macarons fresh every day with different rotating flavors.
90. Lunch at Boiler Nine
Fire up the grill at Boiler Nine with the Boiler Nine burger and confit fried chicken thigh. Head to the observatory rooftop deck for an incredible view of the city.
91. Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at Science Cream
Creamy ice cream made with liquid nitrogen right before your eyes on SoCo.
92. General Tso Boy
General Tso chicken sandwich and the honey walnut shrimp sandwich – both with Easy Tiger bread is TSO good. Love the spicy fries and the milk soft serve!
93. Brunch at Irene’s
Newest restaurant from the ELM Restaurant Group (24 Diner, Italic, and Easy Tiger) that’s become the hot spot for brunch.
94. Date Night at No Va
No Va is the cutest restaurant on Rainey Street with live music that’s perfect for date night. Try the Brussels Sprouts, Quail with sweet corn puree, Springdale Farm salad, and steak frites. The restaurant is also very accommodating for dietary restrictions.
95. Gelato Pops at Venezia Gelato
Venezia Gelato just opened on South Lamar serving authentic gelato by this sweet Italian couple that just moved from Italy. The Mr Rings are made with donut gelato coated with icing and can be customized with a personal message. Hint hint: proposal idea 😉 They can also customize your latte too!
96. Churros at Churros Co
Best churros I’ve ever had. The Campfire has churros tossed in graham cracker sugar, topped with Mexican chocolate sauce, whipped cream and torched marshmallows.
Photo credit: @asia_sartor
97. Frozen Custard at Sandy’s Hamburgers
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve lived in Austin for 9 years and I’m just now trying Sandy’s. The old fashioned hamburger starts at $2.89 and the frozen custard is $1.49 for a small cone.
98. Caymen Account Cocktail at 77° Rooftop Bar
77° Degrees is the newest rooftop bar located on Rock Rose at Domain Northside. Grab an exotic rum drink and take a spin on their chairs. You could say I had too much fun while I was there.
99. Brunch Buffet at Italic
$25 all-you-can-eat feast brunch at Italic with à la carte options (including pizza), $3 brunch cocktails and free parking all day! $10 per person for house wine or mimosa carafe service.
100. Lemonade at Austin City Lemons
Cutest lemonade stand on South Congress called Austin City Lemons. Stop by for a cup of happiness (that’s what they’re really called!) and explore the shops on South Congress.
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