The 15 Best Restaurants in Austin

Austin's food scene is vibrant, diverse, eclectic, and always in flux. The city is absolutely packed to the gills with awesome dining options, from offbeat taquerias and truly excellent BBQ joints to a nationally-known Texas-Japanese fusion spot. And while it's near-impossible to definitively name all the top-caliber restaurants in town, this list is a great jumping-off point.

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Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Courtesy of Kemuri Tatsu-ya

2713 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78702-4715, USA
Phone +1 512-803-2224

The hip, super-fun Texas-Japanese fusion eatery that launched roughly a hundred articles proclaiming it the best restaurant in Austin, Kemuri Tatsu-ya lives up to its outsized reputation. The food here is inventive, outstanding, and in keeping with the city’s famous ethos, a little weird. Expect steaming bowls of Texas-fied ramen (including one with brisket); octopus fritters topped with Texas chili; and crudités involving local veggies, buttermilk, and yuzu.

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La Condesa

La Condesa Austin

Courtesy of La Condesa Austin 

400 W 2nd St A, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Phone +1 512-499-0300

Get your Tex-Mex fix at La Condesa, a James Beard-nominated eatery serving vibrant, modern Mexican fare in a stylish space on Second Street (a prime spot downtown). In contrast to the many Tex-Mex places in Austin—whose huge portion sizes leave you needing a nap afterward—the plates at La Condesa are small and relatively light. Try one of everything and don’t skimp on drinks—the margaritas are notoriously tasty here.

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Hillside Farmacy

1209 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702-1964, USA
Phone +1 512-628-0168

Located in a former drugstore from the 1950s, Hillside Farmacy is housed in a building owned by one of the oldest Black residents in Austin. The restaurant has been restored impeccably, with tiled floors, whimsical tin ceilings, and vintage medicine bottles adorning the walls. Hillside serves a casual lunch and dinner, but it's best known for its decadent brunches, where you can nosh on lobster gravy and grits and sip wasabi Bloody Marys to your heart’s content.

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Odd Duck

Odd Duck

Courtesy of Odd Duck

1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Phone +1 512-433-6521

Beloved farm-to-table restaurant Odd Duck boasts homey vibes, a warm and knowledgeable staff, and a hyper-local menu that changes with the seasons. Come with a group and sample Southern-style dishes like cast-iron cornbread with green garlic butter; seared scallops with bacon lardon and cauliflower purée; and fried quail with goat chorizo stuffing, baba ghanoush, and salsa macha.

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Licha's Cantina

Licha's Cantina

Courtesy of Licha's Cantina

1306 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702-3302, USA
Phone +1 512-480-5960

It’s always a party at this East Sixth locale. Everything on the “Mexico City soul food” menu—think huraraches made with bone marrow, crispy brisket confit tacos, and avocado sopecitos—is mouthwateringly good, and the palomas and margaritas flow like water. Nestled in a delightfully crammed, cream-colored cottage, Licha’s is a welcoming, buzzy spot to enjoy a meal and multiple drinks with your crew. 

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801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Phone +1 512-916-4808

One of the most iconic restaurants in town, Uchi is a true cornerstone of Austin’s culinary scene. James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole serves insanely delectable Japanese creations that involve fresh fish flown in from Japan daily and local, seasonal (and, occasionally, unusual) ingredients. Your fellow diners will all be hardcore foodies splurging on date night; definitely plan to make a reservation beforehand, especially if you’re dining on a weekend.

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Justine's Brasserie

Seemingly out of nowhere, the neon-lit signage of Justine’s Brasserie appears out of the darkness. Follow the shimmery clouds of smoke and peals of raucous laughter into the disco ball-studded courtyard or the red-lit interior—this sexy, lively haunt attracts sexy, lively people who like partying ‘til dawn. The menu is classic French bistro-style, with staples like escargot, steak tartare, French onion soup, and moules-frites.

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la Barbecue

la Barbecue

Courtesy of la Barbecue 

2401 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702, USA

Feast on some of the best Central Texas barbecue in town at La Barbecue. Here, hordes of carnivores gather on the outdoor patio over butcher paper-covered trays, barely looking up from their brisket and beef ribs to make conversation. The restaurant is female-owned—by spouses LeAnn Mueller and Alison Clem—which is a rarity on the uber-masculine Texas BBQ scene. Extra bonus: Their beef is sourced from a local ranch, where it’s grass-fed and free of hormones.

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Courtesy of Comedor

501 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Phone +1 512-499-0977

At Comedor, diners can indulge in sophisticated, ultra-modern Mexican dishes while marveling at the restaurant’s architecturally stunning interior and exterior. Designed by architect Tom Kundig, the building (all black brick and glass blocks) looks more like a Scandinavian art museum than a restaurant. On the menu (“para la mesa”), you’ll find a variety of shareable dishes that incorporate a mix of cutting-edge and Indigenous flavors and techniques.

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Clark's Oyster Bar

1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703, USA
Phone +1 512-297-2525

A dirty vodka martini and a plate of cold-water oysters? Yes, please. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re at an East Coast seafood dive bar instead of tony, land-locked Clarksville at Clark’s Oyster Bar, with its cheery nautical vibes and fresh seafood offerings. While you can’t go wrong with any of the specialities on the menu (and please do pair your oysters with an order of garlic-and-rosemary fries), the fresh catch of the day is a reliably delicious pick.    

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Josephine House

1601 Waterston Ave, Austin, TX 78703, USA
Phone +1 512-477-5584

In a charming blue-and-white bungalow cottage in Clarksville, Josephine House offers upscale, locally sourced American food in a quaint, Insta-worthy setting. Whether you’re chowing down on the fluffy, tangy lemon ricotta pancakes for brunch or the forbidden rice bowl with roasted and pickled seasonal veggies for dinner, chances are you’ll be surrounded by groups of well-heeled women gossiping over their bourbon cocktails.

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1807 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Phone +1 512-215-9778

Offering seasonal prix-fixe selections and a well-curated European wine list, Lenoir is where the Bouldin Creek contingent does date night. Seating is very limited, so be sure to book ahead if you’re dining inside. Or, check out the shady backyard wine bar for additional seating underneath the 500-year-old oak trees and string lights.

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Veracruz All Natural

Veracruz All Natural

Courtesy of Veracruz All Natural

Run by sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez, Veracruz is a local institution. What began as a universally loved food truck has since expanded into five locations, including a brick-and-mortar (though we're partial to the South location, where you can enjoy a perfect cup of coffee from Radio alongside your migas poblanas taco). While you really can’t make a claim that anywhere in Austin serves “the best tacos” (sorry, we’re allergic to superlatives when it comes to tacos), the tacos at Veracruz will make you see heaven.

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Launderette Austin

Courtesy of Launderette Austin

2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702, USA
Phone +1 512-382-1599

Eclectically housed in a former laundromat, Launderette serves an American-Mediterranean-French mash-up menu that consists mostly of small plates, so you can share everything with your table (for this reason, it’s a great spot for nights out with friends). Popular items include the charred octopus (with beluga lentils, garlic aioli, avocado, and upland cress); whole branzino with sliced almonds and herbs; and garganelli with fennel sausage, kale, and truffle vinaigrette. Don’t leave without sampling the excellent desserts and impressive European wine collection.

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ATX Cocina

ATX Cocina

Courtesy of ATX Cocina

110 San Antonio St #170, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Phone +1 512-263-2322

For elevated Mexican food in a swanky downtown space, locals know to turn to ATX Cocina, a fairly recent addition on the scene that’s quickly become a go-to fine-dining destination. The menu is centered around masa, which is made in-house and sourced directly from heirloom varieties of corn grown by small family farms in Mexico; as such, you can’t leave here without sampling the impossibly fresh-tasting tortillas in some form or another, washed down by a tequila- or mezcal-based cocktail (or several). The dishes are meant for sharing, so come with pals or family.

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The 15 Best Restaurants in Austin