A Guide to Central Austin Restaurants.
Austin! A foodie’s dream. But really, before we moved to Austin, I read a lot about different places to eat and how there so much selection to choose from. From vegan/vegetarian, to BBQ, to Tex-Mex, and even ramen. This was obviously a huge influencing factor on choosing where to move. Now after being here for almost 3 years, everything I read is so true. We haven’t even touched the surface of amazing food scene here.
Every year the Austin Food Blogger Alliance has bloggers do round-up posts of the best places to eat all over the city. Since I live pretty central, I am rounding up a bunch of places to grab a bite to eat, drink, brunch, or just hang out in Central Austin. Most of these places I have tried, while others are still on the list to go!
Central Austin Restaurants
for the sake of this post, central is 24th street to Anderson Lane and a little east of 35 and west of Mopac.
Pint House Pizza
4729 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
They now have two locations in Austin, but the original is right on Burnet and 47th. This place is usually always packed. They offer their own take on classic pizzas, along with a build your own option, salads, a few appetizers, and a pizza of the month (which is usually a non-traditional combo with fun ingrdients). The pepperoni pizza rolls are delicious. And what goes better with pizza than beer? Pinthouse is also a brewery! They have about 6 mainstay beers that are always on tap, a few seasonal, and then a wide selection of local and national beers. The pizza is good, but the beer selection is great.
Little Deli & Pizzeria
7101 Woodrow Ave, Austin, TX 78757
This is the kind of pizza that I grew up on and love. It is northeastern style joint that offers deli sandwiches and New Jersey style pizza. All of their doughs, breads, soups, and salads are made in house. I really enjoy this type of pizza and they make great salads and sandwiches as well. Bonus is that they are BYOB and right next to them is a convenience store with a wide selection of beer and wine. This place is perfect for those nice spring and early summer nights as there is a nice outdoor area to eat and relax. Note that they are not open on Sundays.
3016 Guadalupe St #100, Austin, TX 78705
Genuine Detroit style pizza. If you are like me and didn’t know what Detroit style pizza is, it is square thick crust pizza. And it is amazing. Via313 started as a food trailer by 2 brothers from Detroit. There is now a few locations across Austin. They prepare their crust daily, use the finest cheeses and meats and sources locally when possible. Gluten free and dairy free options are available as well. I highly suggest the Cadillac.
2716 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705
Daito is a casual Japanese eatery with an Osaka-style menu of udon and soba noodles, sushi, and more. It is family operated, with the family coming from Osaka, and the service is wonderful. The food is definitely worth trying out. We went their with our neighbor one night who frequents there often and is a world traveler. He knew what to order. Their menu ranges from traditional Japanese style foods, to a wide selection of sashimi, to nigiri, and a few sushi rolls. They are also really well known for their udon noodles, both hot and cold. Daito has a wide selection of sake which I wouldn’t pass up. It is some of the best I have ever had. I highly recommend this spot!
4636 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
Sushi joint right in Rosedale. They have a selection of Japanese and Chinese dishes with a decent sushi selection. This is my boyfriend and I’s go to when we don’t feel like cooking on the weekend and we just order takeout from there. I believe it is BYOB too.
4200 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
Uchiko is an offshoot of the famed Uchi restaurant with upscale sushi and small plates. The menu is a brand new selection of dishes and sushi taken from dishes and ideas at Uchi. I would recommend reservations for dinner. They also have a ‘sake social menu’ where you can enjoy many of their dishes for a fraction of the price. The tasting menu is a great way to go as you get to try a little of everything. The combinations of ingredients they use is simply amazing and nothing I would ever think of, which makes it so special.
Tarka Indian Kitchen
525 W Anderson Ln #300, Austin, TX 78757
Indian food with an American influence. This place is fast-casual. You order at the counter, get a number, and they bring it to your table. It isn’t the most extensive Indian food selection, but does the trick when you are craving those flavors. It is also relatively cheap for the amount of food you get.
6519 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752
Michi Ramen is a traditional ramen house with a Texas flair. They have a handful of ramen bowls you can choose from, then you pick your broth and any additional toppings you would like. The bowls range from your standard ramen, to a veggie lover, a meat lovers, and even a Texas BBQ bowl. You can also create your own which is a good option for kids or people that are picky eaters. Michi Ramen serve a long list of appetizers to get you started and have a beer, wine, sake, and tea menu. Don’t go skimpy on the topping after choosing your bowl. My favorites are ajitama (soft-boiled egg), spicy (homemade chili oil), and the veggie mix.
6555 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
New to the Central Austin neighborhood is Barley Swine. It was on South Lamar for awhile, but just relocated to Burnet. Barely Swine serves a fixed-price menu with seasonal American small plates and a extensive beer list. So deep that my memory was a little hazy after I visited. Their plates are truly seasonal and always changing based on the ingredient availability. The chef’s tasting is a 13 course meal inspired by the chef daily. It is pricey, but worth it. You can also just dine on small/shared plates or come for their happy hour where drinks and snacks are discounted. Reservations are highly recommended.
Black Star Co-op
7020 Easy Wind Dr, Austin, TX 78752
Black Star Co-op is the world’s first cooperatively-owned and worker self-managed brewpub. They are owned by a community of more than 3,000 individuals and organizations! But you don’t have to be a member to enjoy some brews here. Their house beers are voted on by the member-owners by taste testing and member meetings. They also have guest beers from local favorites to international delights. The food here does not disappoint either. They strive to serve locally sourced and sustainably produced foods from a group of conscientious Texas farmers and ranchers who are devoted to the same principals. Their chips (English-style fries) are bomb here!
222 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
Korean BBQ inspired comfort food. They started as a food truck, but now have a few brick and motor locations. Chi’lantro is probably most famous for their kimchi fries. Think crispy fries piled with your choose of Korean inspired meat, kimchi, cheese, cilantro, a special sauce, and sriracha. Yes, they are delicious. They also have appetizers, Korean fried chicken wings, and Korean inspired rice bowls, tacos, and burgers. One of my favorites is the rice bowls.
4801 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
In a world full of fast food, Picnik offers a delicious menu for every dietary restriction. They focus on better ingredients to make you feel your best, sourcing most of their food from local farmers and companies, only using avocado oil, and avoiding gluten, corn, and soy. If you are paleo, this is the place to be! The menu ranges from breakfast hashes, grain-free pancakes, salads, shareables, and dinner entrees. They are well known for their butter coffee.
207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751
Neighborhood cocktail bar with eclectic drinks and inventive bar eats. They also have a wide selection of whiskies along with beer and wine. Make sure you come hungry as their food menu has unique combinations with bold flavors. I have just had bar snacks, salads, and small plates (which have been fantastic), but also hear they make a killer burger. This place is very small and does not take reservations so plan to stay awhile once you get there.
5501 N Lamar Blvd C101, Austin, TX 78751
La Cocina de Consuelo
4516 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
Small house turned into a cozy BYO restaurant serving home-style Mexican dishes. The name of the restaurant translates to Connie’s kitchen, which is exactly what it is. You can often find Connie in the kitchen making your meal. All their dishes are made from scratch including their corn and flour tortillas. When we visited you could see them making the guacamole behind the counter after we ordered. They are well known for their delicious breakfast burritos, enchiladas, and crispy beef tacos.
4200 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
And Austin staple with multiple locations throughout the city. It’s a fast casual joint focusing on tacos made with high quality and local (when possible) ingredients. The tacos range from breakfast, seafood, meat, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free. They also have specials each day of the week.
4600 W Guadalupe St, Suite B5, Austin, TX 78751
A classic Tex-Mex option in Austin. The menu ranges from queso, salads, tacos, chile rellenos, burritos fajitas, enchiladas, and even breakfast. My absolute favorite is the power bowl (chicken or shrimp) with fajita veggies and spinach.
520 Burnet Rd #101, Austin, TX 78756
As the name suggests, this place is a taco bar. They have a wide variety of tacos along with other Tex-Mex staples such as chips, salsa, guac, nachos, queso, and more. Taco Flats also has a wide variety of tequila and a good selection of beer. This place has a bunch of TVs so you can catch a game while enjoying some good food and drinks.
The Peached Tortilla
5520 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX 78756
Another Austin food truck that now has a brick and mortar. The Peached Tortilla focus is on southern comfort food with an Asian flare. The founder was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved with his family at the age of 10 to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was introduced to southern cuisine. Pretty cool. Their menu ranges from shareables, greens, burgers, tacos, and Asian noodle and rice bowls. I really enjoy the Thai chop chop salad, bacon jam fries, and the Malaysian laksa bowl. The Peached Tortilla also have happy hour during the week and a nice selection of whiskey. Check our their brunch or taco Tuesdays as well.
Kerbey Lane Cafe
3704 Kerbey Ln, Austin, TX 78731
An Austin staple for 30+ years. They now have multiple locations all throughout Austin, but the the original is right in Central Austin on Kerbey Lane. They make a lot of their food from scratch, use fresh natural ingredients, and source locally when possible. I have eaten here more times than I can count. Some of favorites include the their Kerbey Queso, all of their burgers (beef, bison, and lamb), the sweet potato fries, variety of their eggs benedicts, and the salads. They also have seasonal menus, a vast variety of rotating pancakes (which are great), and are vegan and gluten free friendly. They are open 24 hours at most locations and serve the whole menu. Oh and beer and wine is only $3 and mimosas $2 everyday!
1917 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Salty Sow is an American Gastropub that serves contemporary farmhouse fare. Hand-crafted cocktails and entrees are served fresh daily, mindfully sourced from local farms and purveyors. I have only been here once, but it was delicious and have been longing to go back. I would highly suggest getting their for happy hour, and then stay for dinner if you like. Drinks are discounted along with a wide section of food. The outdoor patio is wonderful for a relaxing night out.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78757
You can’t not name a BBQ place when naming places to eat in Austin. A nice feature of the concept includes the craft brew features on tap. Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew celebrates the local and Texas craft beer scene by hosting a variety of Austin craft brew favorites from new and established local breweries, as well as stocking the favorite domestics. The menu here is pretty standard to most BBQ joints. The lines are usually not as long as other well known joints in the city too. I would suggest getting there early because once they sell out of something for the day, it is out!
2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705
Freedman’s is a saloon-like cocktail lounge, beer garden, and smokehouse serving BBQ. The restaurant is in an old Austin historic landmark that is almost 150 years old. The BBQ there can be described as more upscale than your typical Texas BBQ. Here is a review from my blogger friend The Smoking Ho.
Republic of Sandwich – UPDATE – unfortunately ROS closed and is moving locations. It is unknown where they are going!
2320 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756
I can’t say enough good things about this place. Republic of Sandwich is a deli and craft sandwich shop specializing in house-cured meats and artisanal sides. The small shop is attached to a gas station in the Rosedale neighborhood. Don’t let the outside fool you though. ROS combines classic and unique flavors to make crave-worthy sandwiches. Every sandwich needs a side too and ROS delivers. My absolute favorite are the curried Brussels sprouts and the tater tots. They also use natural, environmentally responsible ingredients, which is a bonus. If you aren’t a sandwich lover then come for breakfast. Their breakfast tacos stack up to some of the best in Austin and $3 gets you a pretty hefty sized taco. And if you are from Philly (like me and one of the owners), the 215 sandwich rivals ones from home. BONUS – if you are gluten free, they have a killer gluten free bread that I believe is from epicerie.
Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar
4800 Burnet Rd #450, Austin, TX 78756
Cozy wine bar in the Rosedale neighborhood that has a wide range of wines and creative small plates. They have special happy hours every night, ranging from discounted bottle and glasses of wine and discounted food. We usually frequent on Saturday nights as they have 50% off bottle of bubbles all night along with some discounted food. I have yet to try one, but I hear their desserts are delicious.
4119 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78751
Wine and cocktail bar located in the Hyde Park neighborhood. On top of a extensive wine list, the food at Vino Vino is just as great as the wine. They offer cheese plates and small and large plates. Their happy hour should not be missed either as there are drink and food specials that are really reasonable. Mussels and fries for $7? Yes! I hear they have a late night menu with special offerings and make paella on Sundays. I have never been, but it sounds like it is worth checking out.
Billy’s on Burnet
2105 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756
Neighborhood beer and burger joint with a dive bar feel. The boyfriend and I frequent here a lot. You can’t go wrong with cheap beers and a good burger. Billy’s has a selection of 36 rotating taps, along with some bottles, and a small wine list. This is a great neighborhood joint to come and relax after work. They have a small patio which is usually really crowded on nice days. The burgers are also delicious and range from your standard beef patties, to grilled chicken, to veggie patties. They also have a whole vegetarian menu and delicious french fries. Billy’s also has an early and late night happy hour during the week.
4500 Duval St, Austin, TX 78751
Another Austin staple in the central part of the city. Juiceland has a wide variety of fresh smoothies and juices, grab-n-go items/snacks, and gluten free salads. The menu is really diverse and just about anyone can find a smoothie they would enjoy. A great options when you are looking for a healthy smoothie or snack!
Lick Ice Cream
6555 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
What is a round up of places to eat and drink without dessert? I was so happy when Lick decided to open up in my neighborhood. The ice cream is well worth the drive south of the river though. Lick is an ice creamery that churns out offbeat flavors made from local, natural, and sustainable ingredients. The ice creams are made with 100% milk and cream from Mill-King Market & Creamery, located in McGregor, Texas, just outside of Waco. The creativity of their flavors is impressive. Think goat cheese, thyme, & honey or roasted beets & fresh mint. Lick also has seasonal flavors that change with what is in season. Some include tequila lime pie and sweet lemon, gin, & juniper. Lick serves up some basic flavors if you are not so adventurous along with vegan and dairy free options. My all time favorite is the caramel salt lick.
Well that is all I have for now. Did I miss a place that you totally dig? I’m sure I did 🙂 Let me know in the comments!
For more guidance to eating the best of what Austin offers, check out this year’s Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide