As food is my #1 listed pro to living in Austin, I would be remiss to not mention my favorite spots to eat in town. This likely won’t be my last post on this topic because I could go on and on. I didn’t gain 15 lbs there for nothin’!
When you visit Austin, most of your itinerary will and should be set aside for eating. The food is too damn delicious to not eat continuously throughout your visit. What to pack? Stretchy pants. Today’s post is dedicated to the Top 5 Most Delicious Meals in Austin. While I highly recommend all of these, don’t forget my “Let’s Get Cheesy” post. It not only provides suggestions for queso but those listed spots offer scrumptious eats as main meals too.
Now, my bet is that locals will read through these and say “Yup, Yes, Oh for sure, duhhh!” because most of these are very well-known in the area. But, there are so many highly recommended meals that it can be daunting to choose from a never-ending list. Therefore, I have spent some time narrowing down my list to my favorites, the best of the best. If you only have a quick weekend in town, you should hit up all of these, you won’t go wrong. So do your taste buds “a flavor” and go to the following, in no particular order:
FRANKLIN BARBECUE – FAMOUS AUSTIN BBQ WELL WORTH THE WAIT
- Order: It’s no wonder Yelp has over 2,000 reviews with 4 and 5 star ratings. This place is epic. You can literally order anything and leave satisfied. I went with my friend Ableen during my birthday week and we ordered a tasting of everything on the menu: Brisket, Ribs, Pulled Pork, Turkey, Sausage, and all the options for sides (Pinto Beans, Slaw, and Potato Salad). We also purchased matching T Shirts that say “Sold Out” on the back! I’m a ribs fanatic, but I left here feeling like their best dish was the brisket! It literally melts in your mouth.
- Timing Tips: We got there at 7:45AM on a Friday and were among the first people in line. We were probably #12 and #13 and set up with chairs but it’s never a guarantee so get there early! If you do get there early enough there will be chairs you can use for free. We waited in line till they opened at 11 AM and made our way in the first grouping. I think we sat down to eat around 11:30 – 11:45 AM. The entire experience was so much fun. You can drink in line but I recommend not eating anything for breakfast to prep for this filling meal!
- Bonus: VERY friendly staff. Before it opens, they come and welcome you with a smile in line and ask for pre-orders. They are happy because they know you’re about to have a good time.
- Website: https://franklinbarbecue.com
OK sure, my first Austin food recommendation is barbecue, how predictable. But you should know Austin is more than just a piece of meat! There are many other delicious cuisines in town that aren’t straight up BBQ. Check it:
PUEBLO VIEJO – HANDS DOWN THE BEST TACO TRUCK IN AUSTIN
- Order: You absolutely need the al pastor quesadilla taco. It will melt in your mouth. Get the salsa which has a little kick too! Shout out to Mykala Holtz for your reco!
- Location: For some reason Google Maps shows the location at the corner of E 6th St and Brushy St, but it is actually down on E 6th St and San Marcos where a few other trucks are tucked away (across from El Milagro Tortilla). C’mon google!
- Fun Fact: The empty lot next to it is desolate, but SXSW 2015 transforms it into the “Spotify House” where many popular artists perform. Also, this truck seems to not be as well known among locals as the other spots on the list, but I have a feeling it will be soon.
- Website: No official website but you can visit the Yelp Reviews.
ELIZABETH STREET CAFÉ – FRENCH VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT WITH YUMMY SAUCES AND BAKED GOODS
- Order: Shrimp spring rolls! They come two to an order (you can request they cut them in half for sharing purposes) and are stuffed with shrimp, cilantro, sprouts, avocado, lime zest, jalapeño and chewy noodles served with three sauces for dipping: ginger-jalapeño, sweet chili vinegar and traditional peanut. I recommend you dunk a roll into all three. Macarons are amazing here and come in a variety of flavors. Ask what their flavor of the day is as soon as you sit down as they tend to sell out fast. Also, the Kefir Lime Fried Chicken Bun was especially tasty with all the sauces mixed in (even though fried chicken is always a good time).
- Drinks: Happy Hour is served here every weekday from 3-6 PM with $2 off apps and drinks. I recommend the Shady Blonde Punch, perfect for a hot summer day.
- Fun Fact: I have a friend in Austin (shout out Ali Carr) that goes here at least once a week. In fact if you go you’ll probably see her there 🙂 Great spot for brunch, lunch, and happy hour.
- Website: http://www.elizabethstreetcafe.com
UCHI + UCHIKO – SAID TO BE THE BEST SUSHI OPTIONS IN TOWN
- Uchi vs. Uchiko: Anyone who knows me is laughing right now, I’ve never been known to like sushi. Well, I’ve been to both Uchi and Uchiko (sister restaurants) and was not disappointed! While I didn’t go straight for the raw fish, I highly recommend both restaurants given all dishes are made to perfection. My sushi-obsessed sister, Adrienne, suggested we go to Uchiko when she visited and we ended up enjoying every dish. Later on, I went to Uchi, a slightly more $$$ version with the same owners and was just as pleased. Uchiko offers a larger space with better parking. Uchi has better ambiance, dimmed lighting and is fancier, ideal for a date.
- Order: You seriously can’t go wrong here when you order, so go to town. My personal favorites were the Brussels Sprout, the Wagyu Hot Rock, and of course I love anything with avocado in it, which fortunately most of their rolls come with.
- Website: http://www.uchiaustin.com
EAST SIDE KING –CHEF PAUL QUI’S FOOD TRUCKS W/ ASIAN FUSION FARE
- Background: Last but NOT least goes to Paul Qui and his phenomenal food trucks around town (called East Side King). You may recognize him as he was named Top Chef in 2012. East Side King has a group of pop up trucks and restaurants around town. I have been to a few of them that I wanted to highlight here. I did not have the opportunity to visit “Qui”, his main restaurant, because it is fairly expensive. However, if you’re in town on work trip or on a fancy date, definitely go because I’ve heard all good things. The trucks are so delicious though that if you are down for a chill food truck night, you will walk away beyond satisfied.
- Thai-Kun: Get the #3 Black Noodles, not too spicy and super tasty.
- The Liberty: Known for the Beet Home Fries. I’m not a huge fan of beets but people RAVE about them. I usually go for the Liberty Rice which is mmm mmm deliciousssss.
- Hole in the Wall: The Chicken Tortilla Ramen. Enough said.
- Website: Credit for the gorgeous food images go to the main website: http://eskaustin.com. Also, learn more about Paul Qui here: http://www.bravotv.com/people/paul-qui