We can all agree that Texas is no small state, and this region packs in a ton of cities. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio – you name it. But nowhere is more eccentric than the great city of Austin. Austin is reputable for many different things, from its quirky bars to incredible lakes, this district radiates both Southern charm with urban personality, and is consistently growing in popularity.
Austin is also one of the best places in the country to experience some refined, luscious plates or sip on creative cocktails. The menus are some of the nation’s most diverse. If you thought going out to dinner couldn’t be more fun, be sure to stop by some of the greatest restaurants in Austin:
You can tell from the title that this eatery is anything but casual. The Garrison is a high class, high quality grill house that is just simply phenomenal. The food is known for being absolutely mouthwatering, and the restaurant’s dim-lit ambiance is soothing and elegant. If you’re in the mood for a treat or a flashy date night, this is the place to be. The Garrison is also know for its’ truffle drizzled tater tots and delectable steaks. Complete the mood with one of their fine imported wines – and don’t forget to dress the part!
See the Garrison here
It’s impossible to visit Texas without doing the barbeque justice – and there’s few spots that match Franklin. A casual, welcoming vibe is radiated throughout this brisket joint, so it’s the perfect place for a midday snack. Chef Aaron Franklin the mastermind behind Franklin BBQ, and he even hosts classes that teach you how to smoke meat to perfection. The menu is simple and straightforward, with options for sides, pies, and brisket by the pound.
See Franklin Barbecue here
If you’re looking to feel that southern charm but also want to dine in class, Olamaie has you covered. You can find classic southern comfort food revamped and garnished here, with options like Beef Tartare and Kentucky Butter Cake. The outside gives off a polished, yet amiable appearance, and the location is relatively close to downtown Austin.
See Olamaie here
The whole saying “food is art” is defined at Barley Swine. Professional chef and owner Bryce Gilmore has cultivated some of the most aesthetically pleasing dishes that are also incredibly satisfying. Barley Swine also has a reputation for their extravagant cocktails and intriguing pairings. Sample dishes include Fennel Ice Cream, Lunchbox peppers, and Shiitake Dumplings.
See Barley Swine here
Salty Sow is an Austin favorite for both locals and tourists alike. Gleaming lights are displayed above the outdoor tables, making the restaurant’s exterior noticeably appealing. The lavish yet friendly fun setting combined with the famously delicious savory dishes are what makes Salty Sow a place for the books. Eccentric dish choices include Roasted Bone Marrow, Butterscotch Budino, and Truffled Deviled Eggs.
See Salty Sow here
Kemuri Tatsu-ya is a restaurant with a genius menu. Talented chef and owner Tatsu Aikawa fuses together a range of diverse cultures and cuisines, with dishes like King Salmon sashimi and Beef In the Heart of Texas. Each plate is crafted with a blend of savory ingredients from Asian, Spanish, and American fares. The interior decor also speaks upon the uniquely curated menu, and a dimly-lit atmosphere initiates some inner calming. Of the various ethnic restaurants in Austin, Kemuri-Tatsu-ya is an exceptional choice.
See Kemuri Tatsu-ya here
Veracruz All Natural
Of course there needs to be a reputable taco spot on the list of places to eat in Austin, and amongst the many to choose from this is one of the best. It’s not a sit-down restaurant, however, Veracruz All Natural is actually a glammed out food truck with 6 locations distributed in or around the city. Sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez have managed to create some of the absolute best tacos in Austin, like the vegan Furioso or Barbacoa made with slow cooked cow head. To top it off, they also serve healthy juices and smoothies – a true win.
See Veracruz All Natural here
The Salt Lick Barbecue
You can’t have too many barbecue choices, and The Salt Lick needs to be at the top of your list. Along with the mouthwatering taste of Franklin’s, this barbecue joint is an Austin essential. The inside of Sale Lick is decorated with hanging lights, giving off that backyard cookout feel with a bit of class. It’s not located right downtown, and it’ll take you about 30 minutes to get to from the city. However, visiting The Salt Lick is more than worth the trip. Additionally, it’s a good way to see the outskirts of Austin, or the more “country-ish side”. The Salt Lick also whips up some amazing desserts in addition to the pork ribs, beef, and sides.
See The Salt Lick Barbecue here
A restaurant proud to embrace Austin’s authenticity, the Odd Duck is another fan favorite. This eatery has a menu of spontaneity, as it is always changing items. However, that’s not to say new dishes aren’t as good as their counterpart – it’ll probably just have you coming in for more. Superior chef Bryce Gilmore is behind the artsy menu. Sample dishes at Odd Duck include Dried Chile Chocolate Fudge Pie and cast iron Cheddar Cornbread with cured pork fat.
See Odd Duck here
The bar experience in Austin, Texas is remarkable, even for the non-drinkers. Part of what makes Austin such a unique and entertaining destination is the city’s reputable personality – and just like most people, it comes out after hours. Not only that, but many of the city’s bars are culturally intriguing, aesthetically divergent, and carry their own individual character. There’s one for just about every occasion.
Honey moon spirit lounge
This spot’s aesthetic is in the name; the Honey moon spirit lounge is modern, lush bar that radiates a dreamy vibe. It’s also known for its mouthwatering, creative cocktails. There’s an option for everyone at Honey Moon, whether you’re a straight whiskey person or prefer not to taste your alcohol in the slightest. Try a taste of the Old School Old Fashioned which is fused with fine bourbon, cherry-coee bitters, demerara, and smoke.
See Honey Moon Spirit Lounge here
It’s evident by Native’s edgy personality that this spot wasn’t always a bar. Originally, it was a hostel from way back in the late 1800’s – and guess what? This reassembled building is still open to guests. Themed exhibits, eccentric events, and extra comfortable seating are all top qualities of this bar.
See Native Bar here
It’s no wonder this bar is named after Tanzania’s tropical coast; one step into this trendy rooftop terrace, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the jungle. At Zanzibar, city life and the topics unite. An expansive collection of emerald flora and tropical accessories awaits, as you gaze over downtown Austin. Zanzibar also crafts some of the best mixed drinks in town like the Zanzibar Swizzle and Bird of Paradise.
See Zanzibar here
Armadillo Den is the epitome of “it’s more than just a bar”. There’s certainly room for everyone at this bar and eatery, and no shortage of fun. Live events, music, yard games, and food trucks; it’s the ultimate backyard barbeque. Before you down too many craft beers, try the axe throwing or get competitive with a game of cornhole. Kids are welcome until 6, and there’s an off-leash dog park on site.
If you’ve never been to a speakeasy before, make sure to put Midnight Cowboy on your list. This must-try bar in Austin is a former brothel that was named “Midnight Cowboy Modeling Oriental Massage” – and has now been turned to a classic, sleek drinkery that embraces its ominous history. Enter through a secret entrance, and enjoy the prohibition-style decor while sipping on crafty, delicious drinks.
See Midnight Cowboy here
Deep Eddy Cabaret
Another classic, historical favorite – Deep Eddy Cabaret. This spot brings in all the cultural elements and integrity of Austin, and has been around since 1951. Deep Eddy is a lot more relaxed and slow-moving than, say, the Armadillo Den, so if you’re in a clubbing mood this probably isn’t the place. It is, however, a perfect place to sip on some incredibly delicious drinks while visiting with friends, or engaging in a romantic night with your partner.
See Deep Eddy Cabaret here