There are dozens of amazing places to eat in Austin, Texas. Between breakfast tacos, some of the best Bloody Marys, top chefs doing awesome things and dozens of food trucks, Austin is a serious food mecca.
To get a good overview of the food in Austin, we think it’s fun to go on a self-directed food to discover all the great places to eat in downtown Austin. In one day, you can get around to these 6 top food and drink spots. Then you can start exploring the other neighborhoods.
Here are our recommendations for where to eat in downtown Austin. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the best Austin restaurants downtown.
(See this post on specific foods you should seek out in Austin.)
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Austin, consider going in November for the annual Austin Food & Wine Festival. It’s a 4-day event that features tons of area restaurants and wines. We love it!
Where to Eat & Drink in Downtown Austin, Texas
This restaurant is almost always buzzing with people, so be prepared to wait to get in. It has a great atmosphere, with a bar in the middle and a happy hour from 4-6pm. You don’t need reservations for the bar, but be sure to get online for a table reservation, especially to sit outside on their lovely patio with a view.
It’s one of the higher end restaurants in downtown, which makes it great when you’re looking for something away from the college scene. My favorites on the menu are the Kettle of Green Chile Pork, the Tortilla soup, and the Longbone Pork Chop with chorizo.
Address: 701 Congress Ave, Austin, Texas
There’s no better place to get your Napoli pizza fix on than 40 North. They have the best thin crust, truly authentic Italian pizza. They have some really interesting additions on their pizzas, like bone marrow and fried potatoes and black garlic.
Definitely give those a try. You’ll be surprised. Even though this restaurant is really in West End, it’s very much worth the effort to get there from downtown. They have a nice outdoor space as well.
Address: 900 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78703
You can tell straight-away that this is a popular place and one of the upscale restaurants in Austin. There’s always a wait to dine at this upscale Tex-Mex restaurant on 2nd Street in downtown Austin. We suggest getting a reservation. They serve modern Mexican dishes along with many types of margaritas and they have a very extensive collection of tequilas in the back bar.
The food is served in small portions and is meant to share. We ordered a plate of Hamachi ceviche, some incredibly delicious elote (Mexican street corn) and classic margaritas. There are two outdoor patios to enjoy on a nice day, and lots of space inside for larger parties.
Address: 2nd Street District, 400 W 2nd St A, Austin, TX 78701
When you’re looking for some good BBQ in downtown Austin, Lambert’s is the place to go. Located in a brick building that really adds to the ambiance, this place is definitely doing something right. The dining room is always packed with people wanting to get a taste of the brisket, crispy wild boar ribs and enormous plate of short ribs.
The deviled egg and caviar appetizer is also very popular. There’s also a courtyard out back for outdoor dining. There’s a small bar downstairs, but there’s a much larger bar area upstairs where there’s often live music playing. Definitely one of the best places to eat in downtown Austin.
Address: 2nd Street District, 401 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
If you’re looking for some of the best tacos Austin has to offer, you must try Torchy’s Tacos. There are multiple locations of this extremely popular taco truck around town, and it’s a good thing. Their tacos are very creative and inventive.
And the best part is that they are open for breakfast and have tons of options to choose from – seriously, there are 9 different breakfast tacos, alone! You’ll definitely want to try the Trailer Park with fried chicken and chilies, and the Republican with jalapeno sausage and a poblano sauce.
Address: 2809 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Uchi + Uchiko are Tyson Cole’s impressive traditional Japanese restaurants, serving fresh and creative dishes and some of the best sushi you may ever encounter. There are both hot and cold dishes, sushi, sashimi and a omikasi selection that changes with the seasons.
Both restaurants, though located in different sections of town, are very similar. You can’t go wrong with either choice, just be prepared for a long wait if you don’t have a reservation. The food is often referred to as “mind-blowing” so you know you’re in for something special here.
Address: 801 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704
Located right downtown in the middle of the action is The Market, a perfect hangout place for when you want to grab a drink and relax. The inside space is cozy and inviting, with plush couches and a big screen TV. There’s a balcony with additional comfy seating.
And then there’s the rooftop, where you can look out over the city as it bustles around you. The space is laid out really well with plenty of seating for groups. We loved the rocking chairs and the two-person swing.
Address: 319 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
Of course, we weren’t able to make everywhere, but I think we found some pretty great places to eat and drink in downtown Austin. When we go back, we’ll find the rest! Where you have you been in downtown Austin that we should add to the list? Any favorites?
Where to Stay in Austin, Texas
Downtown is a prefect location for tourists in Austin. It’s easy to get around on foot, or get a Lyft. There are tons of restaurants and bars to check out and many good choices for hotels.
(The links below are our affiliate links, which costs you nothing to use, but earns us a buck or two when you choose to book a room through our link. We always appreciate your help in keeping the lights on around here).
Be Prepared For Travel
Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.