There’s no doubt that Austinites take their food game seriously. And as our city’s population has exploded over the last few years, we’ve gone way past the Tex-Mex and barbecue joints that originally put Austin’s culinary scene on the map. Foodies flock from all over the country for Japanese eats (Uchi, Ramen Tatsu-ya), elevated farm-to-table fare (Hestia, Lenoir), and healthy food in a hipster setting (Swedish Hill, Cafe No Se.) The past couple of years have brought excellent Mediterranean, Korean, and interior Mexican restaurants to the table, so our 2021 guide of the best restaurants in Austin includes those exciting additions. And don’t worry, we’ve still got plenty of the best tacos and pork ribs, too.

As passionate Austinites and restaurant lovers, we’ve tried just about everything and narrowed them down to the best of the best.

Scroll on for our 2021 list of the 33 best restaurants in Austin divided by brunch and dinner, casual and fancy, according to the Camille Styles team.

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Two Hands

“I tried this restaurant for the first time in NYC and was so excited when their laid-back, vibrant cafe concept was brought to Austin. We’re big fans of the founders, too, and even did a feature story on them you can read about here. If you’re looking for a restaurant that has something for everyone, Two Hands is your spot. They’ve got a wide array of toasts, bowls, salads and to please any eater for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I love going on the weekends and sitting outside on their patio to watch the action on South Congress.” – Michelle

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Swedish Hill

Swedish Hill is an old Austin fave that got a major revamp a couple years ago – and it might be my most frequented spot in town. This all-day café from the MMH peeps has everything I want in a neighborhood haunt: fresh-baked bread, great coffee, avocado toast, interesting veggies and salads to eat there or take with you. Plus there’s house-made gelato and a great little grocery section that I hit up when I need to make a cheese plate extra special. And did I mention it’s great for dinner, too? Order a pizza from their brick oven, and pair it with a couple of salads and a bottle of good wine for the laid-back, delicious meal I’m always craving. SH, you really check all the boxes. — Camille

no reservations // outdoor seating available

image by thomas winslow

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Easy Tiger

“If you ask me to name my favorite neighborhood spot to pop in for a snack or drink, it’s Easy Tiger. Slide into the bakeshop between 7am-2pm for pastries and coffee, or tuck into the basement or patio to order off the full menu. I’m a fool for the pretzel with beer cheese and the roast beef sandwich, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the amazing eats. I’m getting hungry now just thinking about it…” — Chanel

large party and event reservations only // outdoor seating available

image by afar

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Hillside Farmacy

“This is my favorite brunch in Austin because of two words: cheddar grits. The wasabi bloody mary’s are on point, and the breakfast menu features delicious eggs from an organic farm in Lockhart. You’ll be charmed by the Instagram-worthy space (think fresh old-school pharmacy) and eclectic mix of beautiful hipsters and scruffy musicians who are always there.” — Jenn Rose

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by jessica attie

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

JuiceLand

“I really can’t imagine my life without JuiceLand – nor do I want to. Pickup the best smoothie on the go (I go for the Wundershozen), a shot for when you could use a boost, a freshly squeezed juice, or agua fresca for a mid-day treat. Plus, their ever-expanding menu of grab-n-go foods is all vegan and surprisingly delicious.” — Camille

no reservations // outdoor seating varies by location

image by my table

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Tacodeli

“Taco Deli is a locals spot, especially when it comes to breakfast tacos! There’s certainly no shortage of tacos in this town, and while some may argue over which is best, Tacodeli is the clear winner for me! With locations all over Austin popping in is easy, but pick-up’s even better. Morning favorites include – Freakin Vegan, Jess Special, and any of the Frontera Fundido tacos. Using premium meats and local and organic when they can, Taco Deli has sides and salads that are almost as good as the tacos. Almost. The truth- my absolute favorite item on the menu is their Salsa Dona, a creamy jalapeno sauce that they are famous for.  I go through so much of it that I have to buy it in bulk from Whole Foods!” — Stephanie

no reservations // outdoor seating varies by location

image by matthew odam

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Joann’s Fine Foods

This restaurant found within the old Austin Motel serves up everything from huevos rancheros to patty melts to avocado smoothies to chicken fried steak. The all-day California Tex-Mex menu has something for everyone and every mood. Its classic diner vibes feature a bright indoor dining room, colorful skylight, booths, and a counter with marquee signage. Out on the patio is the dressed-up palapa-style bar with an extensive menu of boozy concoctions. Come with friends, come with family, come on a Tuesday morning to get some work done over a classic breakfast and a strong cup of coffee. Everyone is friends and family at Joann’s. — Kat

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

Little Ola’s Biscuits

If you’ve ever been to Olamaie (temporarily closed for the moment), you know they’re famous for making the best biscuits in Austin. They were off-menu, but those in the know ordered them asap upon seating. Thankfully, the Olamaie team has channeled their talents into a biscuit-centric takeout shopt called Little Ola’s. Now we can all enjoy their biscuits whenever we’d like, whether sandwiched with fried chicken or simply fresh from the oven and slathered with honey butter.

Follow Little Ola’s Instagram for updates on new locations and ordering availability.

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Carpenters Hall

Every time I walk into Carpenters Hall, located in the retro-hip Carpenter Hotel, I exclaim “Why aren’t there more spots in town like this?” It’s casual yet cool, and the food is unfussy yet reliably delish. You can get both a quinoa bowl and a solid burger on the same menu, and bring kids without feeling like you’re at a “kid restaurant.” I especially love the bright and airy space for a weekday lunch—order the tuna tartare tostada and grab an almond latté from the hotel’s very adorable coffee shop. — Camille

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by trendland

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Elizabeth Street Cafe

“Elizabeth Street Café embodies the quirky, colorful, and delicious experiences that Austin is known for! My favorite menu items: House Baked Brioche French Toast, Texas Akaushi Beef Carpaccio, Cha Ca Red Fish, and a Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s tasty for any meal of the day, offering French baked goods with coffee and tea for breakfast, to artfully crafted pho, bun and banh mi for lunch and dinner, and not to mention the macaroons! The pastry chefs have created hundreds of flavors for these delightful treats that match the aesthetic of the entire place – snag a box and take some home!” — Megan

reservations for 8 or more // outdoor seating available


LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

June’s

“Master sommelier June Rodil has been a beloved fixture of the Austin restaurant scene for more than a decade, so when the MMH team opened her namesake café we knew it would have the best wine list in town. What we didn’t know was that the food would be good enough to garner Food & Wine’s coveted “Best New Restaurant in America” title in 2017. The super vibey South Congress hotspot has truly become a neighborhood hangout, where any given night you’ll spot Austin luminaries, power players, and cool kids. Go for the cozy, energetic atmosphere and order one of our favorites—the matzo ball caldo or the fried chicken sandwich.” — Jenn Rose

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by chanel dror

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Pool Burger

“Think delicious hamburgers, crinkle fries, soft serve, and tiki drinks, all served in a joy-sparking retro surf shack (but like, the fancy kind.) When the weather’s right, day or night, there’s no place we’d rather be than Pool Burger. Wet post-swim hair encouraged.” — Chanel

no reservations // outdoor seating available

image by austin food and wine festival

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Café No Se

“Café No Se is my favorite spot to bring out-of-towners for brunch because it checks ALL the boxes! Located just below the ever-trendy South Congress Hotel, the interior is meticulously curated, with overgrown plants and hipster magazines for browsing. Most often I’m with people that are up for sharing, and portions are plenty big to do so. My favorites? Perfectly poached eggs over greens and grains, English pea beignets, shaved veggie salad, and ricotta hotcakes—yum! Crisp white wine typically follows delicious lattes and serves as fuel for a day of exploring South Austin on foot! Shopping follows the feast since some of the very best boutiques in town are just around the corner.” — Stephanie

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by stiles switch

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Stiles Switch

“I can count the number of ‘best BBQ joints in Austin’ on two hands, but to me, none check every box quite like Stiles Switch. About 15 minutes north of Downtown, Stiles serves up amazing ‘cue and really delicious sides in a fuss-free, laid-back space. And best of all? None of that wake-up-at-6am-to-get-in-line mumbo jumbo.” — Chanel

no reservations // outdoor seating available

image by julia keim

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Launderette

“It’s tough to find a spot that’s casual enough for an early dinner with kids and special enough for a four-hour date night feast… and Launderette is all that and more. We like to get there early and split a bottle of rosé while we wait for our table on the patio. And there will be a wait since just about everyone else in town will have the same plan on a sunny weekend. But it’s so worth it for Chef René Ortiz’s perfectly executed but unfussy small plates: fried oysters with coriander & jalapeno, crab & avocado toast with caper-mint vinaigrette, and (my fave) charred octopus with chorizo and fried parsley. Whatever you do, don’t miss pastry chef Laura Sawicki’s famed birthday cake ice cream sandwich.” — Camille

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by Tribeza

LUNCH / CASUAL DINNER

Nixta Taqueria

“I first tried Nixta last summer and was so blown away by the flavors that I went back that same night to order more. My go-to’s are the Tuna Tostada—a yellowfin tuna perfectly marinated in citrus and topped with furikake, and the Cauliflower Taco—the mix of the roaster cauliflower paired with the Spanish Romesco on their heirloom tortilla is incredible. They do veggie dishes so well, that I almost prefer them over meat. Everything is so fresh, balanced, and perfectly dressed. I’ve taken advantage of their curbside to-go orders and the food stays perfect on the drive home. Pro-tip: don’t sleep on their homemade salsa macha, and if I were you, I’d order a side of their fresh heirloom tortillas to use on tacos throughout the week. Nixta opened just 4 months prior to the pandemic hitting, but have quickly established themselves as leaders in the community, being one of the first to host the ATX Free Fridge Project, opening their fridge to the public last August.” — Kelly Krause

SLIGHTLY FANCIER DINNER / GROUP DINING

The Peacock

The Peacock, located inside the Austin Proper Hotel, is one of the first upscale truly Mediterranean spots we’ve got in Austin, with a menu full of colorful, healthy dishes inspired by North Africa, Greece, Israel & Lebanon—all meant for sharing. Suddenly I find myself eating falafel and muhammara on the reg. If you can, snag a seat at the insanely beautiful Goldie’s bar next door, which is supposed to be a private spot for hotel guests and residences. And people who like to sneak in when no one is looking. Orrrr you can just head up to the rooftop and grab tacos at La Piscina (more on that below.) — Camille

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image from Austin Eater

SLIGHTLY FANCIER DINNER / GROUP DINING

La Piscina

“If you want fun vibes, great food, solid tequila, and good conversation, look no further than this rooftop restaurant at the Proper Hotel. You can dine in their vibrant indoor space or hang out poolside in a cabana-style enclave that feels like a private room big enough to fit 12 of your friends. From tostadas to fish tacos, they serve up some of the best modern Tex-Mex food in town. It’s a bit pricier, but this restaurant checks all of the boxes for me.” — Michelle

image: jessica attie

FANCIER DINNER

Comedor

Whenever friends ask if I know of cool, newish Austin restaurants, I usually say “Comedor” before they can finish their sentence. It is everything I want in a restaurant—the breathtaking indoor-outdoor design that makes me feel like I’m at a Mexico City hot spot, and an inventive cocktail menu that (for me at least) always kicks off a special night with friends. And then the food—this is not Tex Mex, y’all. The multilayered dishes are perfect for sharing so you can all experience the exciting flavors together: the Smoked Tuna, Octopus & Shrimp Tostada and Sotol-Grilled Carrots are personal faves. Go with a group of friends so you can order one of everything. — Camille

make a reservation // outdoor dining available

image: inked fingers for oseyo

SLIGHTLY FANCIER DINNER

Oseyo

A whole new world of Korean food opened up in Austin the day Oseyo opened—I was practically a K-food virgin, so we first tried it with friends who were well-versed in ordering thanks to their many years of living in New York and traveling to Asia. I fell in love with the bibimbap, bulgogi, and spicy-sweet fried chicken all inspired by owner Lynn Miller’s mother’s recipes. This Eastside spot is also chic—the organic materials, earthy stoneware, and “chandelier” made of rustic baskets make this spot feel date night-worthy. — Camille

make a reservation 

FANCIER DINNER

Hestia

We hit up this beautiful spot with a group of friends after tapas at the neighboring sister bar, Kalimotxo, and TBH my memory of the individual dishes is a little fuzzy (the spritzs next door were flowing.) But here’s what has etched in my mind from that ridiculously fun night: a 20-foot hearth where all the food is cooked over an open fire, our waiter who was also a chef who passionately walked us through every dish on the menu, the shareable small plates that felt interesting yet approachable — like the charred broccoli topped with edible flowers and the perfectly succulent New York strip and the Parker House rolls showered with melt-in-your-mouth cheesy butter. Don’t miss the Kakigori, an Instagram-worthy tower of matcha shaved ice that is a theatric ending to each meal. Just writing this reminds me how much I need to get back there, stat. — Camille

make a reservation 


FANCIER DINNER

Jeffrey’s

“With its plush velvet booths, brass fixtures, and moody lighting, there’s nowhere else I’d rather get cozy and feast on a chilly night. The menu reads old-school steakhouse, and the hyper attention to detail on every element from uniforms to martini cart to the best popovers you’ve ever tasted brings it fully into 2021. During the pandemic, the team added a row of cute outdoor tables.” — Camille

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by andrew reiner

FANCIER DINNER

Suerte

“Eater called it one of the best new restaurants in America, and it’s gotten the NYT seal of approval, too. For us, it was the housemade tortillas that had us singing Suerte’s praises—something that’s harder to come by than you would expect in Austin. The ingredients are top-notch, and the Mexican menu is executed to perfection. Highly recommended!” — Chanel

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by a taste of koko

FANCIER DINNER

Wu Chow

Wu Chow, a modern Chinese restaurant offers authentic, farm-fresh Chinese food right in the heart of downtown Austin. The family-style dining mixed with upscale restaurant vibes creates a fun dining experience that makes you want to slow your roll and stay awhile—especially on Dim Sum Sundays. The handmade soup dumplings are a must-order, and while you want for your dumplings to steam (or for your table to be ready at the bar), have the friendly bartenders serve you up a Texan’s Tiki—their take on Bali nights gone Tokyo drift, mixed with a classic Texas marg. — Kat

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by kristen kilpatrick

FANCIER DINNER

Lenoir

“Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, the chef couple who own Lenoir, have created a magical space that feels at once elegant and inviting. The three-course prix-fixe menu ($48) changes with the seasons, featuring veggie-forward Mediterranean-inspired fare that always leaves me feeling the perfect amount of satisfaction.” — Camille

make a reservation for the dining room // outdoor seating available


FANCIER DINNER

Uchi / Uchiko

“If I had to pick just one place to go during any trip to Austin, Uchi and Uchiko would tie for first. I know, the idea of world-class sushi in Austin is usually met with a raised eyebrow, but any doubts are silenced with one taste of Chef Tyson Cole and team’s innovative creations. My favorites on the menu? Yokai Berry (salmon sashimi, kale, Asian pear, yuzu), Maguro Sashimi & Goat Cheese (with bigeye tuna and fuji apple), and gimme all the nigiri on the menu.” — Camille

Uchi : make a reservation for up to 4 // outdoor seating available

Uchiko : make a reservation // outdoor seating available


FANCIER DINNER

Fonda San Miguel

“It may not be trendy, but I consider Fonda to be an essential stop on any culinary tour of Austin. Open since 1975, this interior Mexican restaurant boasts vibrant decor that gives it an exotic and playful vibe, but the menu is fine dining Mexican with some of the best mole, Rellenos, and tortilla soup you’ll ever experience. Go with a group and share tacos al pastor, angels on horseback, and chile Rellenos. The margaritas are top-notch, too.” — Camille

make a reservation // no outdoor seating


FANCIER DINNER

Olamaie — *ed note: Olamaie’s anticipated reopening date is in May!

“Everyone took notice when Michael Fojtasek was crowned one of Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in America a few years ago, and for good reason: this is classic Southern food taken to a whole new level. From the famed basket of biscuits to the elevated take on Hoppin’ John to the mouthwatering bone-in pork chop, everything on the menu sounds simple—which is usually the hardest thing to get right. Olamaie nails it every time, and if the weather’s pretty, arrive early and order a Whisky A Gogo to sip on the charming front porch.” — Camille

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by chanel dror

COOL DINNER / GROUP DINING

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

“Japanese and Texan cuisine live in perfect harmony inside the walls of this casual east side izakaya joint. I’ll never forget my first time in: I was blown away by the unexpected menu, and better yet, equally impressed by how flawlessly it was pulled off. Wash it all down with Kemuri’s signature matcha pain killer on the patio for an idyllic way to spend a spring day.” — Chanel

make a reservation for up to 7 people // outdoor seating available

image by jessica attie

COOL DINNER / GROUP DINING

Justine’s

“Ah, Justine’s. What with her twinkling patio, vinyl records, and well, that je n’ais se quoi that epic dinners are made of. There’s simply no better place in town for a night out, and the artsy set in attendance guarantees top-notch people-watching and late-night friend-making.” — Chanel

make a reservation for 6 or more // outdoor seating available


COOL DINNER / GREAT PATIO / GROUP DINING

Perla’s

“This is arguably the best patio in Austin: it’s right on South Congress, so the people-watching is great, and the large picnic-style tables are perfect for groups (and dogs.) This seafood spot has all the qualities we’ve come to expect from an MMH group restaurant—great design (down to the uniforms), vibey atmosphere, and consistently good food. Watch cute boys shuck east coast oysters at the inside bar, and be sure and order the baked shells and cheese with lobster for the table. It will blow your mind!” — Jenn Rose

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

image by a taste of koko

GROUP DINING

Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon

Fresa’s offers a modern take on the classic Mexican Chicken al Carbón with colorful Havana nights vibes and a cocktail menu that’s tough to beat. With 2 locations of different serving styles (fast to-go drive-thru on S. Lamar and picnic-style ‘stay and hang awhile’ seating on S. 1st), Fresa’s is the ideal choice for sharing with friends and family.

Their menu features a wide variety of wood-grilled meals (the No. 2 Yucatan Spicy Chicken is our goto) traditional rice and beans, and queso and guac, in addition to healthier options like grilled sweet potato and cauliflower, Mexican street corn, and inventive salads. Whether you’re an ‘eat the whole chicken’ kind of eater, a picky eater, gluten-free, or vegetarian, Fresa’s has something for you at the table. — Kat

no reservations // outdoor seating available

image by jody horton

GROUP DINING

Odd Duck

“Odd Duck is the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion or a casual night out. What began as a trailer in the same location on South Lamar has morphed into a lively brick and mortar serving some of Austin’s most creative small plates. Chef Bryce Gilmore (who has received seven James Beard nominations) offers a menu that changes seasonally with dishes like doughy pretzels with chorizo spice mushroom and wagyu short rib pasta. Don’t forget to ask the servers for recommendations and let them guide you in ordering the perfect meal. ” — Caroline

make a reservation // outdoor seating available

no reservations // outdoor seating available

Did we leave one out? Drop the best restaurant in Austin below!

This post was originally published on February 28, 2020, and has since been updated.

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16 comments
  1. 1
    Mackenzie | February 28, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I am dying to visit Austin! All of these spots sound so delish. I live in Boston but my boyfriend travels to Austin for work pretty frequently and all of the places he tells me about looks amazing! Saving this for when I finally get to visit! 🙂

    Mackenzie || https://www.brunchonsunday.com

    Reply
  2. 2
    John Fish | February 28, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Under Fanciest Dining, Otoko is pretty amazing.

    Reply
  3. 3
    Jane | March 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    je ne sais quoi *

    Reply
  4. 4
    Camille's mom | February 28, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Shhhhhh! Do we really need to give people even more reasons to move to our fair city? Seriously though, I love your picks and am excited to try the ones I haven’t yet visited. Let me add a couple of favorites, both definitely non-hipster but very delicious. Mickelthwaite Craft Barbecue in east Austin is a trailer serving up pefect brisket, ribs, and sausage — along with fresh sides and even buttermilk pie. And Camille knows the next one I’ll recommend because I tease her every year for the omission of El Rancho. They’ve been serving up the best tex-mex in town since way before my college days here, and I still love it for the chile rellenos, relaxed outside dining, and a sweet reminder of old Austin.

    Reply
  5. 5
    Molly | February 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    This is so epic! My only addition is Pitchfork Pretty. I am OBSESSED. This whole list is beyond. I’m going to print it and put it in my kitchen for all future reservations!

    Reply
  6. 6
    Jamie | February 29, 2020 at 7:19 am

    I went to school in Austin and my mom grew up there. We are taking our kids to see the city in two weeks. Can anyone give some fun family friendly places for dinner and lunch?

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | March 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      How fun! We love taking our kids to Home Slice (the new one up north is awesome!), Matt’s El Rancho for classic tex mex, Perla’s patio, and Poolburger. Have fun!!

      Reply
  7. 7
    Nadine | April 12, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Dai Due, Barley Swine, Salty Sow. All great meals equal to or better than those you have listed for dinner

    Reply
  8. 8
    Julie | April 14, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Perfect timing – just booked our girls trip and pure coincidence we’re staying at the Proper Hotel. I am so excited!! Thank you!

    Reply
  9. 9
    Ryan Schmidt | July 25, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    This list is fine. But the sushi mark was widely missed. Uchi has good sushi and I go there every once in a while with friends. But to call it world-class and an Austin staple is insulting to the greater sushi scene in Austin. There are other Uchi locations in other cities. Uchi does NOT have most of their fish flow in daily.

    But, stand-alone places that DO have fish flown in every single day include places like: Otoko, Sushi|Bar, Soto, heck even TenTen, Uroko, Blue Sushi (although this does have other locations), and at least 2 or 3 others. Uchi didn’t even offer an omakase until recently.

    If you want good sushi by a legitimate world-class sushi chef who has won international awards (Tyson Cole of Uchi/Uchiko has not), then go to Otoko. It’s disappointing that the genuine sushi places were left off in favor of the place everyone goes in their 20s with their friends.

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | July 26, 2021 at 10:45 am

      Thanks Ryan, I love that you’re passionate about your Austin sushi! I must politely beg to differ–to me, Uchi still delivers the most consistently inventive and pristine sushi experience of just about any place I’ve experienced! That said, I couldn’t agree more that Otoko is really special. I’ve had many incredible dinners there and they’re unforgettable. I need to try Soto, haven’t been there yet!

      Reply
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