Austin is a major destination for people, whether they’re tourists looking to explore the Texas city, conference attendees flocking to the convention center, traveling musicians playing gigs, or concert and festival-goers (hello, Austin City Limits and South by Southwest). The city is also jam-packed with great restaurants, food trucks, and bars serving up some of the best barbecue, tacos, cocktails, beers, etc., etc., around the capital of the state.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, and sometimes there just isn’t enough time to explore everything. (Not everyone has time to wait in line for Franklin Barbecue, but, hey, if you’ve got time, it really is worth it.)
With all of that in mind, Eater Austin put together this handy dining itinerary guiding you through a perfect 24 hours in Austin, full of great food and drink.
7 a.m. - Patika
For some of the best coffee in Austin, wake up bright and early with the help of Patika. The coffee shop focuses on well-crafted espressos and lattes (don’t miss out on the just-sweet-enough vanilla latte) made with local roasts from Flat Track and Wild Gift. Throw in one of the cafe’s biscuits to start the day with some food too.
2159 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar
9 a.m. - Veracruz All Natural
For a quintessential Austin experience, hit up the city’s best taco truck for damn fine breakfast tacos at its original location before it moves at the end of the year. Migas are a must, a cheesy mess of eggs, tortilla chips, cilantro, tomatoes, and onions (flour tortillas are recommended). Wash it down with one of the refreshing aguas frescas, particularly one of the fruit-based ones. The truck tends to get busy around lunchtime.
1704 East Cesar Chavez, East Cesar Chavez
11 a.m. - Better Half
Since you’re aiming to get as much food drink in you as possible, it’s time for day-drinking. Better Half answers that call with daytime-friendly libations with all sorts of wines, beers, and cocktails. The ciders are particularly fun, featuring Austin cideries like Fairweather Cider Co. If you’re hungry, the cauliflower tots with beet ketchup do the trick.
406 Walsh Street, Clarksville
1 p.m. - La Barbecue
Again, because this is Austin, barbecue is a must. Head back to the east side for smoked meats courtesy of LeAnn Mueller, who happens to be from the legendary Mueller barbecue family (her late father ran Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas, which is now run by her brother Wayne). Yes, get the brisket and beef ribs, especially if the latter’s available. Even better: the former food truck’s newer digs within Quickie Pickie means there is air conditioning while you wait, plus access to coffee and beer if you should so choose. There’s also a patio for alfresco dining too. Note that the restaurant closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
2027 East Cesar Chavez Street, Holly
3 p.m. - June’s
Post-barbecue seems like the right time to grab a glass or two of wine. The list, curated by master sommelier and the restaurant’s namesake June Rodil, is a fine and fun one. Step outside of the box with the last portion of the drinks menu which reads essentially like an et cetera section full of orange and fortified wines. For a snack, indulge in the seasonal burrata plate.
1722 South Congress Avenue, Bouldin
5 p.m. - Uchi
The key to enjoying the exquisite sushi and dishes at finer dining Japanese restaurant Uchi is partaking in its stellar happy hour, aka the sake social. That’s when the notable restaurant serves up discounted nigiri, hand rolls, and other fun bites (think grilled escolar and sticky rice cakes). Again, Uchi doesn’t take reservations for the sake social, and the restaurant tends to get filled up fast during happy hour (it’s clear why), so get there right at 5 p.m. and grab a table stat.
801 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker
7 p.m. - Odd Duck
Just down the street, settle into Odd Duck for a proper dinner highlighting the edible exemplification of Austin dining with an eye to very seasonal ingredients and meats used in creative ways. Take the doughy pretzel sticks served with queso made of aerated squash or a giant fish head that is chicken-fried. Chef Bryce Gilmore has been nominated for several James Beard Awards for a reason, after all. Reservations are highly recommended, otherwise, take a seat at the bar.
1201 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker
9 p.m. - The Roosevelt Room
For after-dinner drinks, cocktail bar Roosevelt Room is the place to be. The drinks den is an homage to everything that makes up a perfect drink. While the menu might seem overwhelming as it spanning eras of cocktails (yes, there’s actually a killer Cosmopolitan), everything is made thoughtfully.
307 West 5th Street, Downtown
11 p.m. - Nickel City
End the night and even begin the next day at everything-bar Nickel City, where you’ll probably see the very same chefs, servers, bartenders, etc. who served you earlier that day. The neighborhood spot pays an equal amount of attention to beers and shots as it does to cocktails (the “unknown” section is worth exploring). Stave off a potential hangover with late-night bites from on-site food truck Delray Cafe, which whips up drinking-friendly food like coney dogs and sliders.
1133 East 11th Street, Central East Austin