Savor Austin: A Culinary Expedition Through 16 Must-Try Restaurants in Austin, TX

Updated on March 15th, 2024

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Known for its diverse and dynamic gastronomy, Austin’s culinary landscape is a melting pot of flavors, showcasing everything from traditional Texas barbecue to inventive fusion cuisine. So whether you’re looking for an apartment in Austin, TX, or searching for a home in the area, this Redfin guide will lead you on a food journey, featuring 16 eateries that define Austin. From iconic barbecue joints to trendy food trucks and upscale dining establishments, get ready to tantalize your taste buds.

A chef pouring sauce from the spoon on meal on a black background.

1. Lucky Robot 

Cuisine Type: Japanese 
Location: 1303 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Website: Lucky Robot

Lucky Robot is a delicious Japanese-inspired restaurant with a diverse menu featuring creative sushi rolls, sashimi, and Asian-inspired dishes. With a focus on high-quality ingredients and innovative flavor combinations, Lucky Robot has become a go-to spot for those seeking a unique dining experience in Austin. 

“Lucky Robot is my must-hit spot in Austin, TX,” notes travel guide This Here Town. “Everything on the menu is delicious, but the R2D2 and Yuzu pie are standouts. And, if you’re interested in adventurous craft cocktails, the Midnight in Tokyo is your chance to enjoy a glittery squid ink-infused adult beverage.” 

They also love Lucky Robot’s commitment to sustainability, as the restaurant was the first sustainable sushi restaurant in Austin and has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch Program.

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2. Sour Duck Market

Cuisine Type: American
Location: 1814 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78702
Website: Sour Duck Market

Sour Duck Market takes an artisanal approach to food. This market-style restaurant, bakery, and bar focuses on locally sourced and high-quality ingredients to create a menu that caters to various tastes. Known for its delicious baked goods, sandwiches, and inventive dishes, Sour Duck Market provides a welcoming space for patrons to enjoy a casual meal, grab a coffee, or explore its rotating selection of craft beers. 

“If you’re looking for a tasty spot on Austin’s Eastside, head to Sour Duck Market. This laid-back eatery and beer garden serves up hearty breakfast tacos that will power you through your day, and the TX Farm Chop Salad is another favorite. A lot of heart and soul goes into the dishes at Sour Duck Market, and you’ll find something for everyone on the yummy menu,” adds This Here Town.

A male chef serving a fine dining dish in a restaurant.

3. El Meson

Cuisine Type: Mexican
Location: 2038 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Website: El Meson

Established in 2010, El Mesón Tequilería is a neighborhood favorite, renowned for its Mexican home cooking.

“My husband and I love a good brunch buffet, and our favorite is the Sunday brunch at El Meson,” remarks Sandy Carlson of Austin Tex, a local city guide. “This small family-owned restaurant has some of the best Mexican food in Austin. The Sunday brunch has pancakes to hand-carved roast beef, tons of specialty interior Mexican dishes, and a huge dessert table. They also have delicious margaritas, which my friends recommend.”

4. Barley Swine

Cuisine Type: American
Location: 6555 Burnet Rd #400, Austin, TX 78757
Website: Barley Swine

Barley Swine is a highly regarded Austin restaurant known for its tasting menu format. Its ever-evolving menu reflects the seasons and the availability of fresh produce.

Chef Gabe Erales of Bacalar Restaurant shares that beyond his own restaurant in Austin, his favorite “is Barley Swine restaurant by Bryce Gilmore and Mark Buley. It is located in the Crestview/Burnet area. The shiitake dumplings are an iconic must-try dish, but I also love hoja santa-wrapped hiramasa.  Barley Swine is an Austin institution that has always had a very distinct style of cooking and sourcing.”

A chef is cooking in his restaurant's kitchen. Shot through the glass. High-end gourmet restaurant.

5. Loro

Cuisine Type: Asian
Location: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Website: Loro Asian Smokehouse and Bar

Loro is a popular Asian smokehouse and bar that combines a unique fusion of Texas barbecue and Southeast Asian flavors. A collaboration between renowned chefs Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin, Loro offers a menu that features smoked meats, inventive small plates, and a variety of flavor-packed dishes.

“They could very well be home to one of the best burgers in Austin.; The Caramelized Onion-Cheddar Burger, and their feature Smoked Baby Back Duroc Pork Ribs are able to be ordered only on Sunday and Monday starting at 4 pm. As far as drinks are concerned, you can’t go wrong with The Mandarin Margarita or The Kyuri Mule, which can both be leveled up on the spice game by adding ghost agave liqueur,” raves 512Now, an online magazine about arts, culture, food and drink, and music.

6. Pinthouse Brewing

Cuisine Type: Pub food and brews
Location: 2201 E Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78741
Website: Pinthouse 

Pinthouse Brewing serves up craft beers and delicious artisanal pizzas and takes pride in brewing a diverse selection of high-quality beers, including hop-forward IPAs, rich stouts, and various seasonal offerings.

“They have a pizza there called the O.G., and it’s the best thing in Austin. They also have my favorite beer, Electric Jellyfish. Pinthouse has great beer and a fantastic menu from top to bottom,” shares local rental box company, Bronko Box.

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7. Franklin Barbecue 

Cuisine Type: Barbecue
Location: 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
Website: Franklin Barbecue

Founded by pitmaster Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue has achieved legendary status for its meticulously smoked meats and long lines of eager patrons. 

Creative Agency Carbonate remarks, “Franklin’s is legendary, and one bite of brisket at this barbecue pit explains why people flock to Austin’s East Side to wait five hours in line for smoked meats so tender they fall apart with the touch of the fork still richly flush with fatty juices.”

8. Odd Duck 

Cuisine Type: New American
Location: 1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Website: Odd Duck 

Established by chefs Bryce Gilmore and Dylan Gilmore, Odd Duck features a mix of small plates and larger offerings, focusing on unique flavor combinations and thoughtful presentations.

“Odd Duck is Texas farm-to-table cooking with creativity in the South Lamar district. As enticing and delicious as everything is, the Cast Iron Cornbread with spring onion cultured butter is a must order,” adds Carbonate.

A happy young couple is on a Valentines day dinner date in a fancy restaurant.

9. The Backspace 

Cuisine Type: Italian
Location: 1745 W Anderson Ln. Ste 600, Austin, TX 78757
Website: The Backspace

The Backspace offers a menu that features Neapolitan-style pizzas crafted with high-quality ingredients. The menu also features a selection of antipasti and small plates. 

Yzabelle Onate of A Travelers Notebook notes, “I love the Backspace because of their great daily Happy Hour and how intimate it is. It’s perfect for date night but also a nice dinner with company. They serve wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, fresh pasta, and salads, and it’s a great spot for wine and pizza lovers. The must-try wine is Lambrusco, a sparkling red wine you don’t find often, and for food, it would be their Bianca pizza with prosciutto – they have a delicious, pillowy dough.”

10. China Family Restaurant 

Cuisine Type: Chinese
Location: 6801 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752
Website: China Family Restaurant

With three locations around Austin, China Family Restaurant serves up delicious Chinese food, most notably soups, rice and noodle meals, and protein dishes.

“China Family Restaurant serves authentic Szechuan cuisine, and it’s a great spot if you’re in the mood for Chinese food. A must-try is their wonton soup, dumplings, and their Hunan beef, which is spicy. I love China Family’s food because everything is made in-house, including their dumplings,” adds A Travelers Notebook.

Businessman paying for a lunch with business colleagues. A diverse group of businesspeople enjoying lunch at a restaurant, and businessman paying with a credit card via contactless payment

11. L’Oca d’Oro

Cuisine Type: Italian
Location: 1900 Simond Ave, Austin, TX 78723
Website: L’Oca d’Oro

Translating to “The Golden Goose” in Italian, L’Oca d’Oro provides high-quality ingredients, often locally sourced, to create a menu that celebrates the flavors of Italy. 

“L’Oca d’Oro is serving up fresh, sustainable, and locally grown Italian-inspired dishes in Mueller Park, and you won’t be able to stop thinking about their Lasagna di Rotola, which is a must-try in the Fall. They are one of our favorite restaurants because of their commitment to serving delicious food while consistently supporting our community,” shares Austin Restaurant Weeks.

12. Suerte 

Cuisine Type: Mexican
Location: 1800 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Website: Suerte

Boasting a sleek and inviting ambiance, Suerte is particularly acclaimed for its inventive approach to tacos, handmade masa, and a range of flavorful dishes that highlight the craftsmanship of their skilled culinary team. They provide a curated selection of craft cocktails, mezcal, and an extensive list of tequilas. 

A chef is finishing the preparation of the plate. He's decorating the plate just before the serving.

13. Uchi

Cuisine Type: Japanese
Location: 801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Website: Uchi

Uchi is a contemporary Japanese restaurant with a unique approach to sushi and Japanese-inspired dishes. The menu features a creative fusion of traditional Japanese flavors with modern, locally sourced ingredients. Uchi places a strong emphasis on fresh, high-quality seafood, and the skilled chefs showcase their expertise in crafting sushi, sashimi, and other unique creations. 

14. Thai Kun

Cuisine Type: Thai
Location: 11601 Rock Rose Ave, Austin, TX 78758
Website: Thai Kun

Thai-Kun is recognized for its bold and flavorful Thai street food. Originally starting as a food truck, Thai-Kun has expanded to brick-and-mortar locations. The menu features a variety of dishes inspired by the vibrant street food scene of Thailand, with a focus on bold spices and fresh herbs. Signature dishes may include favorites like Thai chicken wings, Khao Man Gai (a traditional chicken and rice dish), and flavorful noodle dishes. 

A female chef pouring sauce from the spoon on meal on a black background.

15. Emmer & Rye

Cuisine Type: American
Location: SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St UNIT 110, Austin, TX 78701
Website: Emmer & Rye

What sets Emmer & Rye apart is its unique dining concept that includes a dim sum-style service, where carts carrying small, shareable plates move around the dining room. This allows diners to choose from a diverse selection of dishes.

Led by Chef Kevin Fink, who has received recognition for his dedication to culinary innovation, Emmer & Rye has received accolades for its creativity and commitment to sustainability. The menu may include a range of dishes, from inventive small bites to hearty entrees, all crafted with a focus on highlighting the natural flavors of the ingredients.

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16. Clarks

Cuisine Type: Oysters and seafood
Location: 1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
Website: Clark’s Oyster Bar

Clark’s Oyster Bar is a renowned seafood restaurant known for its coastal-inspired cuisine. As the name suggests, the restaurant is celebrated for its expertly shucked oysters sourced from both coasts. The menu extends beyond oysters, featuring a variety of seafood dishes, including ceviche, crudo, and expertly grilled fish. 

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Ryan Castillo

Content Marketing Manager

Ryan is part of the Content Marketing team and enjoys writing about market trends and local insights. His dream home would be a large cape cod-style house by the beach.

Connect with Ryan

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