Austin is an incredible city for foodies!
We have everything from top-rated restaurants to Diners, Drive-ins and Dives celebrities, from food trucks to lines that start at 6 a.m. And by cuisine, we’re known for our barbecue and Mexican eats.
What really makes Austin’s cuisine special is the unique local restaurants that have become the must-visit staples for any resident or tourist. Their reputations are legendary, but most of them you won’t find outside of Austin’s city limits.
We’ve collected our notes on some of our favorite places to eat in downtown Austin. These are the best restaurants, straight from the locals. Enjoy and eat up!
There’s nothing like a good burger and a beer to show off Austin’s homegrown American cuisine. Go for the hot buns + cold beer at the Hopdoddy Burger Bar.
There are three locations, and if you don’t mind a crowd, the South Congress location is a pretty hip spot. The line is typically out the door, but don’t let that scare you away — it moves quick.
The burgers are juicy and amazing, the truffle fries are to die for, and you can add a fried egg on top. Mmmm!
South Congress is a very unique Austin area, and we love how Lucky Robot fits into that special vibe. It’s a weird (that’s a good thing in Austin lingo) Japanese restaurant.
Their marquee sign on top of the building can be entertaining to read. There are iPads on the tables, and there are swings inside that you can sit in while you eat.
Order the brussel sprouts and whatever else catches your eye on the menu, and then practice your chopstick skills.
Pizza is a highly debated subject, no matter what city you’re in. In Austin, it’s a pretty well-known fact that Home Slice is the best pizza (and best pizza experience) in town.
Visit their location on South Congress, and either take a seat in their restaurant or walk right up to the window and grab a slice to go.
We recommend the classic cheese and pepperoni. Also, they have Carnival O’ Pizza every year — seriously.
Of course, Austin has great Latin food. Gloria’s is a great option if you’re looking for a dining experience that’s a bit more upscale than a food truck.
Gloria’s makes for a good date spot, and they even have salsa dancing nights with free lessons. They have a few locations, including on West Sixth Street and in The Domain.
Grab a margarita, a few tacos, and break a leg!
Sushi in Austin? Yep, we have that, too. If you’re having a craving for sushi, then you have to check out the Ra sushi bar in the Warehouse District of downtown Austin. Locals recommend their late-night happy hour from 9 p.m.–close. Try the cucumber margarita, pineapple cheese wontons, and the Viva Las Vegas roll.
Yes, this is the place you’ve heard about from all your friends and seen on the news. Franklin is rated the best barbecue in Texas, and their beef brisket is out of this world.
Franklin completely sells out of food within hours — every single day. The line starts forming around 6 or 7 a.m. Waiting in line for Franklin is an Austin experience in itself. Bring a chair and a cooler, and hang with friends or meet new ones in line.
When it’s finally your turn to order, get the brisket and an assortment of other options, and grab an extra pound or two for meals for the week.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
The best Southern-style comfort food in downtown Austin is definitely at Moonshine. The chicken fried steak and the Texas wagyu meatloaf are amazing.
They also have one of the best Sunday brunches in downtown Austin, but be prepared to wait at least an hour. Grab a mimosa and enjoy the ambiance to pass the time.
Moonshine nails the southern hipster vibe, so feel free to wear your cowboy boots or a plaid shirt.
It’s on the southeast corner of downtown and is walking distance from Rainey Street, Sixth Street, or the Convention Center.