Here it is folks! I get asked this question all too often! So many of you come to Austin for the first time and want to know my favorite spots, or are like me and want to make a bucket list of the places to go while you live here! I love being a tourist in my own city and trying new things so at some point I’ll share with you the places that I haven’t been but are on my bucket list to try. So, this is part one! All of my favorite dinner spots in town! There are many more categories and subcategories that need to be posted. Soon to come: brunch and breakfast, coffee houses, Tex-Mex, happy hour, bakeries and lunch spots, etc. But for now, enjoy my tried and true all time favorites and add them to your personal bucket list!
Nice Dinner Spots:
Ramen Tatsuya – okay this is number one because it is the most interesting. This is a Texas-Japanese fusion restaurant. You read that right. I don’t even like Japanese really, love ramen, but don’t love Japanese, and this place is insane! Think ramen with brisket, and Japanese styled duck with sweet bbq sauce. It is INSANE! I also love places that serve small plates for sharing. Everything is very fairly priced. Bring a boy here for an adventure! Their little hut in the front is great for drinks as well! And of course this funky place is in East Austin.
Moonshine – Southern comfort food made fancy! A great place to take a boy! Their mac and cheese is my favorite in town and the atmosphere totally fits the name. Very rustic, homey and fancy at the same time
June’s All Day – yummiest everything! Brunch is killer, drinks are amazing and appetizers are so good! The cutest, and best branded restaurant I have ever seen. Oddly enough, their burger is my favorite thing on the dinner menu. But it’s not a boring old burger! Also, a burger is not reflective of their menu. Its eclectic and different and not at all boring American bar food.
Winflo Osteria – I think I remember reading that “osteria” means an Italian bungalow. That might be wrong but this is the internet and I can say whatever I want. Either way, that’s totally what this place is. Delicious Italian food but it is still light and sort of airy. It won’t sit in your stomach like a rock which is what most Italian places do to me.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen – great family spot with a yummy southern dishes, great pimento cheese and street tacos. I get the Moscow Mule everytime!
Chez Zee – old Austin, so good. Amazing dessert!
Kome – Yummy sushi on Airport Blvd. Really fun and casual atmosphere
Seersucker – Really nice place, fun atmosphere and delicious drinks. I’ve only been for HH and apps but it was amazing and I need to go back for dinner.
BarChi – Right on Colorado and 2nd. Charles Neel and I go here probably once a week for sushi. We like sitting outside on the sidewalk because we get a pretty view of downtown. Warning: the inside is very club-y. Which can be super fun for birthdays and celebrations but not so much for just a wednesday night dinner with your boyf. Crazy good sushi and drinks – our favorite is the jalapeño saketini!
RA – Another bar-like sushi place. I think every single one of my friends has had a birthday party here except me. Has a really fun deck overlooking downtown.
Lonesome Dove – Mostly wild game. You have to be into that kind of thing to really enjoy it. It’s very expensive so save it for a special occasion or just go for drinks! It’s a very cool atmosphere and perfect for a fancy Happy Hour.
Swift’s Attic – MUST get the edamame with poprocks. Sounds so weird but delicious. Also a really yummy lunch spot or a good place for HH and apps.
Tiny Boxwood – Probably my favorite dinner in Austin. Which is weird because they are known for their breakfast and lunch in Houston, where they started. I think it’s too similar to Josephine house which beats them in that department. (P.s. stay tuned for a best brunch in Austin coming soon!) Shrimp risotto at Tiny’s knocks my socks off every time. And the fact that they force freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on you for dessert is more than okay with me.
Olive and June – In a really cute neighborhood and has a great atmosphere. An awesome place to grab HH with friends and get a light dinner. Or a good place to have a birthday party or large group. There is a lot of space and has a cool layout! Their Italian food reminds me of Winflo in that it doesn’t sit in your stomach like a rock. Its decadent and delicious!
Mattie’s – great everything! The most wonderful location off of South First, great drinks, amazing brunch, yummy apps, and dinner! I love everything about this place. Would also totally get married there. It is on the most beautiful piece of property – Green Pastures.
El Chilito – My favorite breakfast tacos in town. Which is so weird because I grew up going to Taco Shack (which is a different kind of amazing). They have the yummiest combos and I always get horchata which is very important.
Matt’s El Rancho – Austin Original. I literally always run into old Austin families when I come in. The best margaritas in town! Best queso = Bob’s. Has everything you could want in a queso.
Taco Shack – Again, an Austin classic. Reminds me of my childhood. Simple breakfast tacos that are no-frill. The best hangover tacos you’ve ever had.
Fonda San Miguel – their guava margarita is to die for! Perfect for appetizers and drinks! I have honestly always eaten in the bar area but the whole restaurant has a crazy cool feel! This is my parents favorite place. And they’re like, really cool.
Enchiladas y mas – The best hole in the wall, authentic Mexican food in Austin.
Chuy’s – Creamy Jalapeno. Duh.
Lunch/Casual Dinner spots:
Pool Burger – cool secret place hidden under Deep Eddy on Lake Austin Blvd. Looks so good and the atmosphere is cool too. Definitely need to go in the summer time since it’s outside seating and totally gives me summer vibes.
Eastside Cafe – a really sweet dinner spot. Perfect for a first date or casual dinner with friends! Really cute shop across the street. They also have an amazing brunch!
24 Diner – Cafeteria style diner. Has about everything for everyone
Picnik Austin – the best health and allergy conscious spot in Austin.
Citizen Eatery – the yummiest and most filling veggie burger I have ever had! A great place to bring gluten free or vegetarian pals.
Pinthouse Pizza – beer flights! A super fun date spot but kind of loud
Peached Tortilla – Asian comfort food with amazing cocktails. They started serving lunch and brunch. Cray. I’ve only been for dinner and my favorite thing on the menu is mom’s toast, bbq brisket taco, charred brussel sprouts, and eastbound and down to drink!
Brunch and Breakfast:
Blue Dahlia – a very sweet and simple place in the heart of East Austin. Very quaint and extra delicious.
Hillside Farmacy – the coolest place ever. A great play-off the word Pharmacy (vs. Farmacy). It’s like a farmhouse with cool and eclectic old-scientist aesthetic. Must get a pastry and mimosa carafe served in a scientist beaker!
Josephine House – Without a doubt, the most instagrammable brunch spot in Austin. In a quaint house next to it’s brother, “Jeffrey’s” a yummy steakhouse. It is often described as Jeffery’s cool younger sister. A less expensive place, compared to Jeffery’s, and a cool spot for happy hour, too! You MUST get the avocado toast if you’re a fan of crab.
Eberly – their dinner is not my favorite but their brunch is absolutely to die for! I always get their biscuits and gravy to start, the Eberly breakfast, and a bellini to drink.
Snooze – two great locations and the line is always super long! You MUST get the pancake flights as an appetizer! Walton’s – Love this yummy lunch/breakfast spot. Weirdly enough, their oatmeal is the most delicious oatmeal I have ever had. They also have yummy macarons, pastries, sandwiches and soups. I love catching up with friends for a little breakfast here!
Bakeries and Coffee Stops:
Russell’s Bakery – the world’s best cinnamon rolls, a part of my childhood, and the best pastries in town! (All the Highland Park kids have grown up going here and if you haven’t tried it you are in for a major treat!)
Upper Crust Bakery – great lunch on Burnet. The best croissants and build your own sandwiches.
My Name Is Jo – This coffee shop, served from an airstream, has not only amazing coffee and toasts, as well as a delicious hotchatte (horchata-latte)… but they have a community service initiative which helps those affected by alcohol addiction get back on their feet. Love this place.
Apana’s – One location on South Congress and one in the Domain NORTHSIDE. Great place to study or work because of the light bites, yummy lattes, plenty of space and plenty of charger outlets!
Hideout – This is truly a hideout. On Congress, in the middle of a ton of hussle and bussle, but is very calming and a great place to get work done!
Jo’s – Obviously where the “I love you so much” sign is on South Congress. Yummy grab and go coffee and a great place to bring your dog because all seating is outside.
Italic – this is actually a nice italian restaurant as well but I love their coffee bar in the front of the space!
Cafe No Se – great location and fun atmosphere. I always get their hummus!
Irene’s – Pretty good happy hour. Free popcorn, $2 off snacks and $3 drinks on Monday-Sunday from 3:30-6:30. My favorite snacks are the meatballs, pimento cheese and pigs in a blanket. Also has a cute set up for pictures.
Central Standard – very insta-worthy! Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30 happy hour with half off beers and cocktails.
Chicon – Happy hour every night from 5-7 for $3 margs. Their margaritas on the rocks are my favorite! And their charred avocado is crazy good.
Nightcap – happy hour is from Wednesday to Friday from 5-7 with half off snacks and $7 cocktails.
Boiler 9 – Really cool space in Seaholm (Austin Energy plant). Really industrial and cool. Every floor is actually a different restaurant but the one on the top is a really fun rooftop bar.
Mattie’s – great everything! The most wonderful location off of South First, great drinks, amazing brunch, yummy apps, and dinner! I love everything about this place!