Best Restaurants In Austin

36 Best Restaurants In South Austin

December 18, 2021

Best Restaurants in South Austin

Where should I eat in South Austin? This is one my most FAQs. With so many people moving to South Austin and more restaurants opening, here’s my guide to the best restaurants in South Austin. With a wide variety of cuisines to choose from, going out for a night of food never gets boring here. 

SEE ALSO: 43 Best Restaurants In Austin, Updated 2021

From the rich Asian fusion food trucks to the southern soul food restaurants in Lamar BLVD, there is plenty to choose from. Luckily, we have collected all of the best restaurants in the South Austin district, including many culturally diverse cuisines. Here are some of the best restaurants in South Austin sorted by cuisine.


Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in South Austin

Magnolia Cafe in Austin Texas

Magnolia Cafe

Cozy and fun, Magnolia’s Café is the place to be if you’re looking for a comfy mid-afternoon brunch with your friends. They offer the perfect ambiance to catch up with old friends or make memories with new ones. It also helps that their menu options are stellar.

Their range of Tex-Mex options ensures that your meals are never boring, whereas you can even go for their breakfast dishes during any time of the day. The absolute best thing to try there is the Mag Mud Queso, which is possibly the finest dish you’ll try in South Austin.

1920 South Congress Avenue, magnoliacafeaustin.com

 

Habanero Cafe

Family-owned Mexican restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch for 23 years. From the platos de casa, you can choose from flauta, tostada, gordita (my favorite) taco, burrito, carnitas, barbacoa (another fav) and more. They also have menudo here too. Cash only.

501 W Oltorf St, habanerocafe.com

 

Gabriela's in South Austin

Gabriela’s

Popular Tex-Mex restaurant Gabriela’s in East Austin has opened it’s second location in South Austin earlier this year. The restaurant is just as Instagrammable as its sister restaurant, Taquero Mucho, with a large bar and outdoor space with TVs. 

Gabriela’s also has plenty of live performances for its customers, so be sure not to miss out on those for a unique dining experience. Don’t forget about their wide selection of margaritas during their happy hour and their special tacos during Taco Tuesday.

9600 S I-35 Frontage Rd Ste. B-500, gabrielasdowntown.com

 

Matt’s El Rancho

Dine on delicious Mexican food in one of the city’s most culturally relevant Tex-Mex restaurants. Matt’s El Rancho was a staple of the Austin dining scene, all the way back in 1952. Since then, while they have added plenty of new items to their menus, they still carry the liveliness and energy of the early fifties.

Enjoy a fine selection of their tortillas, with recipes they have perfected over multiple decades. They even offer various soups and salads, along with seafood and grilled steaks. If you’re looking for the quintessential Tex-Mex experience, then Matt’s El Rancho is the place to be.

2613 S Lamar Blvd, mattselrancho.com

 

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

What do you get when you mix the best southern and Mexican food? Valentina’s is the answer. They put a new twist on the Tex-Mex delights, offering a wide range of southern steaks with a Mexican punch.

You can feast on their brisket or their sandwich briskets, which happen to be their premier dish. Of course, if you’re looking for some cuisine from across the border, then you will certainly like their range of tasty tacos. They offer pulled pork, beef fajita, and chicken fajita tacos to fit your appetite. Get the best of both worlds when you come down to Valentina’s.

11500 Menchaca Rd, valentinastexmexbbq.com

 

Chimichurri skirt steak at Fresa's in Austin

Fresa’s Chicken

Fresa’s chicken is as delicious as it is versatile. If you go in the morning for lunch, you can enjoy quality time with your family, including your kids. But if you happen to go there during the night, you can enjoy a moody atmosphere perfect for a date night or a special anniversary.

While still offering Tex-Mex staples, the restaurant does deviate considerably from most subpar Tex-Mex restaurants you can find. Their inventive dishes provide a unique taste; you’ll be coming back for more. Be sure to pair your grilled and smoky chicken with some tasty grilled potatoes.

1703 S 1st St, fresaschicken.com

 

Cafe No Se

It’s time for lunch, but you don’t feel like eating something too heavy. In that case, why not consider Café No Se and their wide variety of lighter tasty foods. They have plenty of salads, bowls, and sandwiches that can help if you’re feeling peckish. But if you want something heavier, they also offer entrées like the harissa chicken Milanese, which will satiate your spicy urges.

Be taken aback by the restaurant’s attention to detail to the different aspects of its design. It is nice and moody while still being hip and plenty of fun for friends and family.

1603 S Congress Ave, cafenoseaustin.com

 

Polvos

Polvos is a simple Mexican restaurant specializing in offering all its customers authentic traditional breakfasts. Choose between a wide range of dishes like the Huevos Corridos, Migas, Chorizo and egg plate, and Huevos El Gusto. You can even order some of their incredible breakfast tacos to start your breakfast with a tasty and filling meal.

Each serving of a breakfast entrée also comes with tortillas, potatoes, and beans. You can choose to have corn or flour tortillas when placing your order. But if you can’t make it to their intricately designed restaurant, then you can always just have them deliver your favorite foods.

2004 S 1st St, polvosaustin.com


Best Asian Restaurants in South Austin

888 Vietnamese Restaurant

Take on many Asian culinary delights at 888 Pan Asian Restaurant. Based in Oltrof, Austin, they have a wide selection of Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese food for you to try. Everything from noodle soup and stir fry noodles to pho and steamed rice is available here.

They even have a massive buffet if you’re looking to try as many of their dishes as you like. Of course, the good food is only half of the experience, with the rest coming from their incredible interiors. They have meshed various elements of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai cultures for a unique dining experience.

2400 E Oltorf St #1A

 

Ramen Tatsu-ya in Austin Texas

Ramen Tatsu-Ya

And now we move on to the most universally loved ramen place in town, Ramen Tatsu-Ya. It is THE place to go when visiting South Austin, owing to its beautiful ambiance and Instagrammable food. The presentation for their Japanese cuisine is unlike any other restaurant in the area, looking like it came straight out of an anime.

It mimics the style of most fast restaurants in Japan, where you pop in for a quick bite to eat. Of course, the food itself is also incredibly delicious, from the toppings on top to the broth at the bottom and everything in between, you won’t leave behind a single drop.

1234 S Lamar Blvd, ramen-tatsuya.com

 

Uchi

Usually, when people think about Japanese cuisine, they think about sushi, sashimi, or ramen. And if you’re bored of all those options, then Uchi is the place to go. Their creative Japanese cuisine is sure to make your tastebuds jump, with their unique combinations of beef, pork, and chicken them specializing in omakase.

It is easily one of the most crowded restaurants in the city, where you will have to make reservations in advance. The James beard Nominated high-end Japanese restaurant is easily one of the best restaurants in the city and is a definite must-visit while you’re in South Austin.

801 S Lamar Blvd, uchiaustin.com

 

Loro Austin - best restaurants in Austin

Loro

Two of the best Austin restaurants come together, Franklin Barbecue and Uchi, to create Loro. This south Lamar restaurant combines the aesthetic appeal of American dining with the tasty goodness of Japanese food. Their walk-up counter ordering allows you to place your order in a matter of minutes while you enjoy the outdoor dining ambiance. Their large outdoor space also allows dogs, which means you can enjoy some great food with your little friend as well. They also offer takeout with a curbside pickup if you’re looking to take their excellent cuisine home.

You can also get a wide assortment of southern steaks if you’re in the mood for something more American. And be sure to not forget about happy hour, where you can choose from Yuzu Spritz cocktails, Vino, and boozy slushies.

2115 S Lamar Blvd, loroeats.com

 

DEE DEE

Dee Dee is a Thai food truck that translates directly to “good good.” And after eating their specialty northeastern Thai food, that is all you’ll be saying. They pick out the freshest ingredients to make authentic Thai food like Stir-fry tofu, som tom, Om Gai, and lab moo, just to name a few.

You can find this farm-to-table food truck at Radio Coffee, with chairs and tables under the bright blue sky for a great outdoor eating experience. And if you happen to go out at night, you will notice the special lighting arrangement to make your meal feel even more special.

4204 Manchaca Rd, deedeeatx.com

 

Soursop – Spicy Boys Pop-Up

Soursop is another food truck that has managed to capture the hearts of all the residents of South Austin. Soursop was originally a Spicy Boy’s Fried Chicken popup stand that has grown so massive that it’s become its brand.

As you can guess, their entire menu consists of fried chicken and all of its delicious variations. You can find various sandwiches here, along with simple fried chicken, with delicious homemade tater tots. You can even get a delightful Thai Basil Ranch sauce with your food that tastes just as good as it sounds. Located at St Elmo so you can wash down all that delicious food with a craft beer.

440 E St Elmo Rd g2

 

East Side King

East Side King is one of those few restaurants that stand out in an overcrowded market. You can find plenty of Asian Fusion Restaurants, but you can never find a restaurant like East Side King. Bask in the glory of the King’s flavorful specialty rice, along with their wide assortment of buns.

However, what East Side King gets right are its stir-fried vegetables, which can make even the staunchest meat lover consider eating the vegetables instead.

2310 S Lamar Blvd c101, eastsideking.com

 

Elizabeth Street Café

In a list of necessary places to visit in south Austin, you can’t have a complete list without Elizabeth Street café. It is a Vietnamese café that offers a wide range of tasty traditional cuisine very sophisticatedly. But despite the excellent presentation, it is not as expensive as other high-profile restaurants. You can also find a wide range of very tasty French pastries, all of which are perfect for your dessert.

I like eating on the patio with all the pastel colored tables and chairs while slurping a bowl of pho or makrut lime fried chicken bún.

1501 S 1st St, elizabethstreetcafe.com

 

Jjim – Korean Braised BBQ

Very few restaurants can recreate the magic of home-cooked Korean food. And the only restaurant that comes close is Jjims. They specialize in Korean-style braised meats, which taste especially delicious when you have them aside. Their ribeye bulgogi also stood out for being very tender and genuinely tasty.

They have various other traditional foods, all in an authentic Korean indoors fashion. They even offer no contact delivery if you don’t feel like going out and curbside pickup if you’re in a rush.

1100 S Lamar Blvd Ste 2140, jjimbbq.com

 

Best New American/American restaurants in Austin

Lenoir outdoor patio in Austin

Lenoir

Lenoir just reopened this December with the new indoor remodel, just in time for their 10 year anniversary (NYE). The interior has 22 seats and a banquette that seats up to 12, 10 seats at the hammer coppered bar with comfortable stools that is first come first served for full dinner service, a new window to enhance natural light into the space, a new ceiling, and dark blue and white tile to round out a whole new space. In addition, Todd and Jess have finally created their dream come true with their own branded Lenoir Pét-Nat collaboration with Austin Winery. Lenoir is a Black Spanish Grape and a red varietal and was grown by Kurt Banff 1.3 acres off Lake Travis. Available at Lenoir only.

Lenoir is a small but charming restaurant with a unique ambiance and an equally small menu. They use seasonal produce grown in the heart of the Lone Star State. Their rotating menu offers new edibles every week, ensuring something new every time you go there.

But what stands out about Lenoir is not the menu for their brunch options and dessert, but the menu for their wines. They offer sparkling, white, rose, and orange wine for the connoisseur within you. It also makes for the perfect date night location, which many tout as the most romantic restaurant in Austin.

1807 S 1st St, lenoirrestaurant.com

 

Odd Duck

South Austin is famous for its various culinary delights. The Odd Duck, however, stands out from other restaurants, owing to its unique approach to New American cuisine. This farm-to-table restaurant has risen to stardom in recent years, from its humble origins as a farm-to-trailer restaurant.

What stands out about their New American foods is the healthy dose of southern flair that comes with it. They offer eccentric and creative dishes like bourbon pecan waffles underneath the country-style fried chicken. Their menu often changes as they try out new words, so keep your occasional trips fresh and interesting.

1201 S Lamar Blvd, oddduckaustin.com

 

TLC Austin seafood boil - brunch in Austin

TLC

One of the many specialty foods that TLC offers is seafood, which they serve in a unique Texan style. Take your time going through their rich menu filled with delicious seafood offerings and side dishes. Unlike most restaurants with a fixed menu, you can construct the perfect meal by choosing a flavor and then picking sauces that you would like as your sides. Of course, if you’re not looking for any seafood, you can also order their chicken fried steak or their chicken and waffle.

You can enjoy your meal at an outdoor table, along with your friends and family. Thanks to its open spaces, you can also bring your family and feast on your meal together.

1100 S Lamar Blvd Ste. #1150, tlcaustin.com

 

Brooklyn Breakfast Shop

Eating out will never be the same again, especially when you’re at Brooklyn Breakfast Shop. This food truck will have your mouth watering just by looking at the tasty options. You can find stuffed French toast along with fried chicken sandwiches when dining out here.

Right in front of the food truck are a few dining tables where you can sit down and enjoy your meal. Grab a nice picnic table in their outdoor seating arrangement with your friends and family and enjoy some true American comfort food that makes you feel full.

7800 S 1st St, brooklynbreakfastshop.co

 

Easy Tiger in Austin Texas

Easy Tiger

If you consider yourself a connoisseur of beer, then the Easy Tiger is the place to be. Sit down in a beautifully decorated outdoor dining area, where you can feast on their fresh bread and a wide assortment of tasty sandwiches.

While you’re out on your picnic table, you can also choose from a wide array of craft beers, Easy Tiger’s specialty. They have different beers for every type of beer lover that you know, which go well with their wide range of American foods. Easy Tiger is an important place to go, especially if you love beer and hearty snacks.

3508 S Lamar Blvd Suite 200, easytigerusa.com/pages/south-lamar

 

June's All Day in Austin Texas

June’s All Day

June’s All Day food is all of the goodness of south Austin American food wrapped into one. Their burgers have a flavorful patty, only made better by the different sauces that you can add to it. And even though it can be a little pricey, the food you’re getting in return is very much worth it.

And if you get the chance to eat there, their ambiance and beautiful design are sure to impress you, especially if it’s your first time. You should try the buttermilk pancakes if you’re going for brunch. But if you’re there for dinner or lunch, try their fried chicken sandwich.

1722 S Congress Ave, junesallday.com

 

Home Slice Pizza in Austin Texas

Home Slice Pizza

Scientists may never find the answer to the age-old question of whether New York-style pizza is better than Chicago-style pizza. But even if you’re firmly against New York pizza, we recommend trying Home Slice Pizza out. The crispy crust of the pizza goes very well with the soft and fluffy middle. And when that tasty marinara sauce touches your tongue, it’s a memory you’ll want to save.

Easily one of the best pizzas you can buy here is the Margherita, which has a healthy serving of mozzarella and diced tomatoes. While it may be bare-bones, its simple flavor is what makes it stand out.

1415 S Congress Ave, homeslicepizza.com

 

Carpenters Hall

Carpenter’s Hall is where the casual meets class. Few restaurants can emulate that classy, relaxed feeling as the Carpenter Hall does. You could enjoy a nice dinner with your friends in a sophisticated but cool environment here. Or if you want to enjoy a fashionable brunch on a fancy patio under the sun, well, you can do that too.

Despite having a fairly small menu, it easily makes up for its quantity with an emphasis on quality. So even though their turkey on milk bread club sandwich doesn’t feed much, it is also unlike anything you have ever tasted.

400 Josephine St, carpenterhotel.com

 

Phantasma Kitchen

Phantasma kitchen offers pizza that most people would turn down if they heard about it for the first time. Pizza baked to a crispy, with soft melted cheese. Now before you start getting judgy, we would suggest you first go and check it out. Because despite it sounding a little distasteful, their range of flavors is still excellent with mushroom toppings and beautifully melted mozzarella.

 

P6

Possibly the best thing about the P6 is that it is the cutest little date night spot. The ambiance fits the New American theme, and their food is nothing short of spectacular. You sit on an open rooftop that offers a unique outdoor dining experience.

You can enjoy famous dishes like the Patatas Bravas, Artisanal Cheeses, and Pimento cheese. All of their ingredients are freshly sourced and very healthy.

111 E Cesar Chavez St, thelinehotel.com/austin/bars-restaurants/#p6


Best Southern/Soul-Food restaurants in South Austin

Leroy & Lewis - barbecue austin food trucks

Leroy and Lewis Barbecue

It’s hard to say which restaurant is the “Best” Barbeque in south Austin. Despite saying that, it’s pretty obvious that Leroy and Lewis is the best BBQ joint in the city. The best thing that Lewis and Leroy have going for them is their signature new style BBQ taste, mixed with old-school service. It’s the best of both worlds, especially when considering outdoor dining.

Dine on some of the absolute best BBQ fried rice, Caesar salad, and beefsteak. And what makes their steaks and Barbeque so good is their wide selection of spices and herbs.

121 Pickle Rd, leroyandlewisbbq.com

 

The ABGB

If you’re looking for some southern soul food with beer, base, and beef, then the ABGB is the place for you. Sit back and enjoy your food with soulful live music performances from local artists and bands. And while you’re enjoying some of their special pies or shrimp tacos, be sure to wash it down with their signature beer.

The ABGB believes that every problem can be settled with a nice pint of beer, especially with their unique craft options. Dine-in at their signature ranch-style restaurant, where you get a warm southern greeting and spicy food that would make your tongue sizzle.

1305 W Oltorf St, theabgb.com

 

Mattie's in Austin Texas

Mattie’s

You’re not always looking for a hearty meal or unique dining experience. Sometimes you just want to meet with friends for a light brunch at a place like Mattie’s. Its picturesque indoor dining area, along with the beautiful view of their green pastures, makes for an unreal dining experience.

You can see the many baby peacocks that they have waltzing around the gardens as you wait for their unique brunch dessert options. The beautiful property mixed with the Southern food also makes it a great place for a date night.

811 W Live Oak St, mattiesaustin.com

 

Hideaway Kitchen & Bar

Are you looking for a night out with some delicious comfort food? Well then, the Hideaway Kitchen and Bar is just what you are looking for. Not only do they offer some of the best and most authentic southern comfort food you can find, but they also offer a casual and modern indoor environment.

Feast on some of their delicious southern food, all with a unique twist. They offer breakfast tacos with the finest and most delicious ingredients. You can even find some of their finest entrees, including hideaway surf and turf, along with the country-fried steak.

4323 N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, hideawayatx.com

 

Gourdough’s Public House

If you want to enjoy food for your soul, then Gourdough’s Public house has just the solution for you. Their selection of deep-fried burgers and unique soups all make for food that will fill your stomach. All of their appetizers and entrees feature the use of fried dough, giving them a taste unlike any other.

However, the first thing that you’ll notice about their menu are some genuinely corny puns. Help yourself to some Netflix and Chili, or how about a Nacho Libre to quell that hunger inside. And yes, these are all real names of their food items. And we would advise that you be careful, as these donut burgers might put you into a food coma. When you start eating, it’s hard to stop.

2700 S Lamar Blvd, gourdoughs.com

 

Jack Allen’s Kitchen

South Austin is the heart of southern soul food, with restaurants like Jack Allan’s Kitchen offering new for everyone. Start your order with their delicious Chicken Nachitos or Crispy Chicken Lollipops. But if you want to jump straight to the southern food main course, why not try their chicken fried steak or their excellently made fish tacos, Baja style.

And be sure to wash down that tasty food with their extensive selection of bourbon, wines, and beers. And if you’re in the mood to party, be sure to visit during happy hour, where you can get some of their tastiest frozen margaritas cheap.

7720 State Hwy 71 West, jackallenskitchen.com


Best Mediterranean/European restaurants in South Austin

Aviary Wine & Kitchen in Austin Texas

Aviary Wine & Kitchen in Austin Texas

Aviary Wine & Kitchen

The best thing about all of the unique restaurants in South Austin is the plenty of variety for everyone. And for people looking to try out different types of wine, Aviary Wine & Kitchen is the place for them. The wine bar offers a wide range of wines curated for your tastebuds.

Since its inception in 2006, the founders have been wine enthusiasts who want to share their love for specialty wines with everyone. You can also enjoy the many types of wines they have to offer, along with excellently cooked foods such as cabbage wedges, aviary dumplings, pork chops, and basil cake.

2110 S Lamar Blvd, aviarywinekitchen.com

 

Evangeline Cafe

The Evangeline Café is a humble, hole-in-the-wall café, which offers a wide assortment of well-crafted French cuisine. But what it lacks in its presence or size, it easily makes up for its incredible taste. Despite not having anything fancy, their entrees are some of the best you will find in South Austin.

Asking the server what is good can usually have them listing off the entire menu, just in a different order. If you’re looking to experience authentic Cajun cuisine unlike anything you have ever tried before, then the Evangeline café is right up your alley.

8106 Brodie Ln, evangelinecafe.com


Best Indian restaurants in South Austin

Mumtaz Market

Sadly, G’raj Mahal on Rainey Street has closed by the owners opened Mumtaz Market on South 1st. Indian food has qualities unique from most other types of cuisine. And no other restaurant better exemplifies this rich cultural excellence than Mumtaz Market. Choose from a wide range of curries along with your preferred naan and roti. You can also choose from their wide selection of rice, such as the famous chicken or beef biryani. They say it goes especially well with Raita.

Of course, they have even experimented with a few unique ideas, like the lamb burger, which is a fan favorite. You can even enjoy your food inside and even show off your Hindi.

1816 S 1st St, mumtazmarketatx.com

 

Nala’s

People usually confuse South Indian food with regular Indian food, meaning they’ve never really tried South Indian food. Nala’s offers the most authentic south Indian culinary experience you could want. And if you’re south Indian, eating here will feel just like home.

They offer large portions along with a variety of unique dishes and curries. Be sure to eat at the restaurant, so you get to try it out hot. And if you’re going to visit there soon, don’t forget about the mutton biryani, better known as lamb biryani.

4894 US-290, nalasusa.com

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.

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