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University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin

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Austin Dining 101: A Guide for Students

Everything a college pupil needs to know about the city’s vibrant restaurant scene, from campus and beyond

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It’s a new school year at University of Texas at Austin, and all of the reading, projects, and tests will soon pile up. Luckily, Eater Austin has done some homework for scholars. For those new-to-Austin freshmen or returning students, this collection of maps and features can teach the most important lesson of all: how to eat and drink well in the Austin.

The Essentials

Greeting from Austin mural
Greeting from Austin mural
Steve Lagreca/

Let’s start with the basics. Here are the sites to bookmark for Austin’s general dining information gathered to solve happy-hour hankerings, sweet-tooth emergencies, and simply to answer the daily question, what’s for dinner tonight?

  • An Eater’s Guide to Austin: From coffee to cocktails and late-night pizza to patios with views, this guide will help everyone navigate it all.
  • The Heatmap: This is a full breakdown of Austin’s hottest restaurants. It gets updated monthly to reflect the city's freshest restaurant options.
  • The Eater 38: Updated every season, this is a roster of the essential restaurants around town, offering a selection of neighborhood standouts, with a range of locations, cuisines, and price points.
  • Eater Cocktail Heatmap: Before grabbing that ID and heading out for the night, check out these must-try drinking spots. Updated monthly. For reliable choices, visit the city’s steadfast and true bars and dive bars.
  • Essential Brunch Map: An antidote to an overindulgent evening, an excuse to meet up with friends, an opportunity to impress parents — brunch can do it all. These are Eater's picks, updated seasonally. For other brunch picks, check out the monthly heatmap with the city’s newest offerings.
  • Essential Food Trucks Map: The Austin food scene is studded with food trucks (trailers, revamped buses, and the like). Pay heed — some of these could be the humble beginnings of Austin’s next big thing.
  • Campus Dining Guide: Eater's best bets for dining on and around the campus area. There's a lunch version too.

Austin-Specific Dishes & Drinks

A tray of barbecued meats.
Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue

There are iconic dishes that help shape Austin’s culinary scene that might not necessarily be available for those out-of-town students, like kolaches and migas, but this town also does everyday favorites really well. Here’s the rundown.



  • Taco heatmap. Because there are so many tacos, so little time, Eater highlights Austin’s latest taco offerings. Trek north of campus to Vaquero Taquero for al pastor tacos straight from the trompo at the food truck’s new restaurant. (104 East 31st Street, Hyde Park)
  • The best breakfast tacos (the delicacy is basically Central Texas's national treasure and the proper way to start the day). Taco Joint serves up excellent ones near campus (2807 San Jacinto Boulevard, Central Austin)





Special Diets



  • Get coffee here. 24-hour Bennu (2001 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Central East Austin) on the east side fits the bill for coffee and study sessions at any hour.
  • Great coffee shops with Wi-Fi offer a change of scenery from home or the dorm. Flightpath Coffeehouse (5011 Duval Street, North Loop) is worth a visit for no distractions — the coffee shop doesn't allow any live music.

Adult Beverages

  • Craft beer in Austin, including the underrated gastropub Hopfields (3110 Guadalupe Street, Central Austin) which is near campus.
  • The city’s best dive bars. Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe Street, West Campus) offers that sweet blend of live music and drinks.
  • Tart or spicy, frozen or on the rocks margaritas. Head down to the iconic Texas Chili Parlor (1409 Lavaca Street, Downtown) for the Mad Dog margaritas that musician Guy Clark sang about.
  • Other essential frozen beverages.
  • Take tours of the Austin-area’s great breweries.
  • Eat well at bars with the best snacks.
  • Self-soothe the next morning with hangover cures. The migas plate at Cisco’s (1511 East 6th Street, East Sixth) has aided many a student.


Affordable Eats

Burger from Dirty Martin’s
Burger from Dirty Martin’s
Dirty Martin’s/Facebook

For the budget-conscious, these are our picks.

Tourist Stuff

Watching the bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge
Watching the bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge
Kushal Bose/Shutterstock

Here are guides and tips to keep in mind when you’re hosting friends and family. And trust us, everyone’s going to want to visit now that you’re in Austin.


Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Philip Lange/

Interested in sticking closer to home? Eater Austin’s coverage is organized by neighborhood. Here are a few close to UT, and check out the full directory for more.

Keeping Up With the News

Eater Austin is updated every weekday with breaking news, maps, features, guides, trend pieces, and more. Here's how to stay connected.

  • Check the Eater Austin homepage for the most up-to-date news and stories.
  • Sign up for Eater Austin's newsletter for the latest news delivered to your inbox daily.
  • Like Eater Austin on Facebook and follow on Twitter for updates on new stories and more throughout the day. While you’re at it, follow along on Instagram for pretty food photographs.
  • Also, visit the national site Eater for news and dining guides from across the country, plus international food news.

Get in Touch

Have other questions not answered here? Have a juicy tip to share? Want a super-specific restaurant recommendation? Here's how to reach us.

  • Email to reach the editors.
  • Share intel through the tipline which can be anonymous or otherwise.

With updates by Nadia Chaudhury and Erin Russell.

The University of Texas at Austin

1 University Station, F3200, Austin, TX 78712 (512) 471-3434 Visit Website
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