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Ultimate Guide to the Best Downtown Austin Restaurants

February 24, 2022

Updated Feb 2022

Best Restaurants In Downtown Austin

This is your ultimate guide to navigating the best downtown Austin restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, happy hour, and late-night munchies.

SXSW 2022:

Welcome to SXSW 2022! Jane here from A Taste of Koko, Austin’s top food and travel blog, where I share the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Follow me on TikTok and Instagram at @atasteofkoko to keep up with me during SXSW. If you’re a brand or agency that’s interested in working together on an SXSW activation, please email me at jane@atasteofkoko.com.

If this is your first time to Austin, we’re all about local restaurants, smokey barbecue, craft cocktails, and breakfast tacos. Please enjoy the city while you’re here, but please don’t move here. ☺

SEE ALSO: 45 Top Things To Do In Austin

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Lunch at Forthright Cafe

BREAKFAST

Veracruz All-Natural

Austin’s favorite breakfast taco spot is now at the Line Hotel with their tacos and agua fresas. There’s a walk-up window on Congress for takeout.

111 E Cesar Chavez St

 

Tacodeli

Another local’s favorite breakfast taco spot is now open in downtown Austin until 3pm

301 Congress Ave

 

Walton’s Fancy & Staple

Avocado toasts, challah French toast, biscuits & gravy, shrimp & grits, and breakfast tacos at Sanda Bullock’s bakery.

609 W 6th St

 

Forthright

Healthy cafe with toasts (avocado, mushroom), salads, chia pudding, coffee, and tea.

35 Brazos St, forthright.cafe

 

Fareground

Austin’s first food hall, Fareground, located off of Cesar Chavez just reopened with six eateries with over 120 dish offerings with cuisine inspired by global fare including Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. There’s a huge grassy outdoor seating area to dine al fresco at tables or on the turf.

  • Austin Rôtisserie
  • Little Wu
  • The Market 
  • Taco Pegaso
  • Henbit
  • TLV
  • DRINK
  • Ellis

111 Congress Ave, faregroundaustin.com

 

The Well

All-day healthy menu with superfood powered smoothies and smoothie bowls, coffee, tea, juice, and wellness shots.

All menu items featured at The Well are nonGMO, soy free, trans fat free and refined sugar free. Additionally, nearly every menu item can be made vegan, nut free, dairy free, and gluten free. Grab-and-go bottled beverages, cold-pressed wellness shots and other freshly prepared wholesome snacks are also available in addition to a retail section including local brands such as Moontower Matcha, Bearded Brothers, Culina yogurt and more.

440 W 2nd St, eatwellatx.com

 

Stella San Jac

Hungry and need a bite to eat near the Austin Convention Center? Stella San Jac is just a couple of blocks away.

310 E 5th St, stellasanjac.com

 

Caffé Medici

Not only does Caffé Medici serve the best coffee in Austin, but they also have the best breakfast tacos in Austin (aka Tacodeli).

200 Congress Ave, caffemedici.com

 

Jo’s Coffee

Breakfast tacos, and 6 different egg dishes – welcome to Austin.

242 W 2nd St, joscoffee.com

 

1886 Cafe & Bakery

Morning meeting? Head to 1886 Cafe & Bakery inside the historic Driskill Hotel for a quiet breakfast filled with baked goods and a Texas-shaped waffle.

604 Brazos St, 1886cafeandbakery.com

RELATED: 23 Best Breakfasts In Austin Worth Waking Up For


Le Politique in Austin, TX

BRUNCH SPOTS

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

Sunday brunch buffet filled with plenty of moonshine – bourbon, whiskey, single malt scotch, tequila, Texas vodka, and gin.

303 Red River St, moonshinegrill.com

 

Swift’s Attic

Brioche french toast, peanut butter, house-cured bacon, salted caramel bananas – try and say that 7 times fast. But really, Swift’s Attic is a top pick for Sunday brunch.

315 Congress Ave, swiftsattic.com

 

Lambert’s Downtown BBQ

Looking to indulge? Lambert’s all-you-can-eat brunch features brisket, pork ribs, prime rib and more. They also have a live music schedule.

401 W 2nd St, lambertsaustin.com

 

The Well

For a “feel good” brunch, The Well has a brunch menu centered around clean ingredients without sacrificing the bold flavors of your favorite brunch classics with a nutrition-focused twist featuring local and sustainably farmed ingredients, including a beloved Texas staple, the Patty Melt served with texas wagyu beef patty on a homemade gluten-free toast, vegetarian Chilaquiles and overnight oats served with oat milk, hemp hearts, ground flax, cinnamon, monk fruit, housemade granola and almond butter with a choice of cinnamon apple or blueberry banana. Add ons include MCT oil, goji berries, ground flax, hemp hearts, bee pollen, golden berries and coconut.

The better-for-you beverage program with brunch-inspired cocktails with nutrient-rich ingredients such as in-house cold pressed organic juices and bloody mix, and utilizing only natural sugars like agave, honey, dates, and coconut sugar. 

440 W 2nd St, eatwellatx.com

SEE ALSO: 24 Spots With The Best Brunch In Austin 


Caffe Medici

COFFEE SHOPS

Houndstooth Coffee

Out-of-town coffee snobs will love Houndstooth Coffee’s premium coffee. And I mean this in a nice way because the coffee is really good. For a cold option, try their Japanese iced cold brew.

401 Congress Ave, houndstoothcoffee.com

 

Caffé Medici

Needing a pick me up to kick start a long day of panels? Head to Caffé Medici for one of the best cups of coffee in Austin! They’re famous for their cortados.

200 Congress Ave, caffemedici.com

 

Halcyon

Want something sweeter? Halcyon has a fine selection of flavored iced frappes or even a coffee martini. Network over Halcyon’s tabletop s’mores.

218 W 4th St, halcyoncoffeebar.com

 

Alta’s Cafe

Get away from the crazy crowds at the convention center and escape to Alta’s Cafe. The balcony overlooking Lady Bird Lake has one of the best views of the lake.

74 Trinity St, altascafe.com

 

Jo’s Coffee

Necessary coffee stop when you’re in Austin that’s loved by the locals and celebs. Head to Jo’s South Congress location for the iconic “I Love You So Much” wall.

242 W 2nd St, joscoffee.com

SEE MORE: Best Coffee Shops In Austin


La Condesa - restaurants downtown austin

BUSINESS LUNCH

La Piscina Ceviches & Fajitas

Located on the 5th floor of the Austin Proper Hotel, La Piscina is a convivial poolside restaurant and bar serving Texas-inspired Mexican cuisine with a view.

600 W 2nd St 5th Floor

 

Wu Chow

Who doesn’t love dumplings with tiki cocktails?

500 W 5th St #168, wuchowaustin.com

 

La Condesa

Order me the house margarita and guacamole sampler at this modern Mexican restaurant and I’ll be ready to sign any deal.

400 W 2nd St, lacondesa.com

SEE ALSO: 27 Best Options For Lunch In Downtown Austin TX


Italic Restaurant in Austin

NETWORKING LUNCH

Fareground

With 6 restaurant concepts at Fareground, there’s something for everyone to eat in the same space. 

111 Congress Ave, faregroundaustin.com

 

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

If you have a group of people, go to Gus for Southern fried chicken around the table and sides to share. 

117 San Jacinto Blvd, gusfriedchicken.com

 

Parkside

One of Austin’s finest restaurants for a plate of freshly shucked oysters and head upstairs to the best view of 6th Street.

301 E 6th St, parkside-austin.com

 

Backspace

On this list of best restaurants in downtown restaurants for a quick lunch, Backspace is my fav. Neapolitan-style pizza with thin-crisp crusts blistered in the giant woodfire Italian brick oven. I love the Bianca pizza – it’s a veggie pizza.

507 San Jacinto Blvd, thebackspace-austin.com

 

Koriente

If you’re wanting a healthier lunch, Koriente is a small Asian restaurant that’s family-owned. Popular items include the miso honey-glazed mahi-mahi but they also have vegan bowl options. 

621 E 7th St


La Condesa

DINNER

La Piscina Ceviches & Fajitas

You can choose from table top sizzling fajitas like prime steak arrachera al carbon, pineapple & soy marinated ribeye, Australian rack of lamb, or even whole maine lobster. Gulf red snapper tacos, grilled whole branzico or lobster quesadillas, and 4 different margaritas to choose from.

600 W 2nd St 5th Floor, properhotel.com/austin/restaurants-bars/la-piscina/

 

TenTen

Modern Japanese restaurant with sashimi, robata, Japanese-styled grilled meats, and vegetables with a full sake selection. TenTen is offering curbside pick up and delivery.

501 W 6th St, tentenaustin.com

 

Parkside

Top dinner option in downtown Austin – head up to the rooftop for free 6th street entertainment during SXSW 2019.

301 E 6th St, parkside-austin.com

 

Taquero Mucho

This pink Instagrammable restaurant is by the owners of Gabriella’s in East Austin. You can get queso and pink tortillas here! Super cute spot for date night.

 

La Condesa

La Condesa does get pretty packed for dinner so enjoy a tequila cocktail or two at the bar before heading to your table. Don’t miss their homemade ice cream for dessert. 

400 W 2nd St A, lacondesa.com

 

ATX Cocina

Out of all the downtown restaurants, ATX Cocina is a popular spot for it’s modern Mexican with a focus on corn and seafood. The restaurant is also 100% gluten-free too!

110 San Antonio St Suite 170, atxcocina.com

 

Red Ash

Northern and Southern Italy come together at Red Ash with the wood-burning grill and oven.

303 Colorado St #200, redashgrill.com

 

J Carver

The newest steakhouse by the team behind ATX Cocina and Red Ash, J Carvers also has an oyster bar, chop house, and extensive wine and liquor selection.

509 Rio Grande St, jcarveratx.com

 

Backspace

Craving pizza and really good wine? Parkside’s sister restaurant, Backspace, is my favorite.

507 San Jacinto Blvd, thebackspace-austin.com

 

Comedor

Comedor is the newest modern Mexican restaurant to downtown Austin with a spacious outdoor patio – crowd favorites include the bone morrow tacos and sweet and savory chocolate tamal.

 

Driskill Grill

Austin’s oldest and finest institution serves up a killer steak that’s comparable to any steakhouse in downtown Austin in a sophisticated fine dining experience.

604 Brazos St, driskillgrill.com

 

Wu Chow

Best Chinese food in Austin? Wu Chow, and they have tiki drinks.

500 W 5th St #168, wuchowaustin.com

SEE ALSO: Wu Chow Serves Up Best Dim Sum In Austin

 

Fixe Southern House

Upscale Southern restaurant for grits, biscuits, and steak.

500 W 5th St

 

Emmer & Rye

Looking for a fine dining option on Rainey Street? Emmer & Rye boasts a curated, weekly shifting menu with innovative craftsmanship that pays homage to local farmers. You can order off a menu that changes weekly or partake in the evening’s seasonal small plates passed on circulating carts.

The menu features a wide range of flavors and ingredients through dishes such as handmade pasta, bread, and empanadas featuring heritage grains milled fresh daily

51 Rainey St #110, emmerandrye.com

 

Polvos

If you want Tex-Mex for dinner, head to Polvos on Red River Street.

 

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

This American restaurant is known for their iconic pork chop. Roaring Fork is also a popular option.

SEE ALSO: Best Restaurants With Private Dining Rooms In Austin


Le Politique Burger

HAPPY HOUR SPOTS

ATX Cocina

Happy hour is Monday to Thursday from 5pm to 6pm and Friday to Sunday from 4-5pm with $8 tacos del dia, $10 cocina guacamole, and $8 margaritas.

110 San Antonio St Suite 170, atxcocina.com

SEE ALSO: Best Happy Hours In Austin

 

Swift’s Attic

Happy hour is Monday to Friday from 4pm — 5:30pm.

315 Congress Ave, swiftsattic.com

 

La Condesa

Happy hour is Wednesday to Saturday from 4pm-6pm featuring half-off all alcoholic beverages. Brunch Happy Hour runs on Sundays from 11am-3pm.

400 W 2nd St, lacondesa.com


Tiki Drinks at The Townsend

BEST BARS IN DOWNTOWN AUSTIN

Garage

Tucked inside a parking garage, Garage is a hidden gem in downtown Austin with solid craft cocktails!

503 Colorado St, garagetx.com

SEE ALSO: 7 Top Austin Speakeasies & How To Get Into All Of Them

 

Firehouse Hostel and Lounge

Nestled in the heart of downtown Austin, our craft cocktail lounge is located in the city’s oldest standing fire station, built in 1885. Discover speakeasy charm in the Firehouse Lounge, accessible through a hidden bookshelf in the hostel lobby. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, further heightened by our selection of craft cocktails, prohibition-era drinks, and timeless attention to detail.

605 Brazos Street, firehousehostel.com

 

Midnight Cowboy

Reservation-only speakeasy-style luxury cocktail lounge with quality drinks.

313 E 6th St, midnightcowboymodeling.com

 

Devil May Care

Sultry underground lounge with Mediterranean-inspired menus, bottle service and craft cocktails.

500 W 6th St Suite 100

 

Higher Ground

A house of worship to food and beverage, Higher Ground is a multi-level destination offering designer cocktails, delicious bites and a place to dance the night away. Austin’s newest social club catering to enlightened spirits with elevated souls is located in a historic space, right below a Juliet balcony with panoramic views of Congress Avenue and the Capitol. 

Italian-inspired menu with an extensive drink selection of holy spirits cocktails named after the Seven Deadly Sins as well as beers and wine. There is a drink for every occasion: Sloth (chamomile and lavender infused bourbon, lemon, honey and ginger) for sitting on the back patio with friends during happy hour; Lust (tequila, mezcal, lime, house made strawberry syrup, blackberries and absinthe) for a romantic dinner date and even Gluttony (vodka, heavy cream, cafe bustelo coffee infused demerara, licor 43 and nutmeg) for after dinner.

720 Congress Ave, highergroundatx.com

 

Péché

Austin’s first absinthe bar with French comfort food like escargot and craft cocktails in downtown’s Warehouse District for over a decade.

208 W 4th St, pecheaustin.com

 

Small Victory

Intimate cocktail bar with killer drinks.

108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701, smallvictory.bar

 

The Roosevelt Room

Industrial-chic cocktail bar with over 70 different mixed drinks categorized by era. The bar has over 80 different mixed drinks!

307 W 5th St, therooseveltroomatx.com


Voodoo Doughnuts

LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES IN DOWNTOWN AUSTIN

Voodoo Doughnuts

Needing something sweet? Voodoo Doughnuts are available 24/7.

212 E 6th St, voodoodoughnut.com

 

Casino El Camino

This dive bar is the spot for ultimate late-night food – trust me, the 3/4-pound burgers is what you need after a night of drinking.

517 E 6th St, casinoelcamino.net

SEE ALSO: 13 Best Burgers In Austin, Ranked

 

Chi’Lantro BBQ

Two words: KIMCHI FRIES. (see below). Chi’Lantro BBQ also has a location on South Lamar.

SEE ALSO: Best Spots For Late Night Food In Austin


AFBA CityGuide 2020

This guide is part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s 2020 City Guide. Check out more of the best eats in Austin, curated by Austin food bloggers, on the full list of guides.

 

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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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