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Pasta from L’Oca d’Oro.
L’Oca d’Oro/Facebook

Where to Eat in Austin to Avoid SXSW Madness

Dine well while dodging the festival

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Pasta from L’Oca d’Oro.
| L’Oca d’Oro/Facebook

In March, South by Southwest (SXSW) will consume the city, to the adoration or irritation of Austin residents. What everyone can agree on is that dining out anywhere near the downtown epicenter is basically impossible. Here is Eater’s updated guide with restaurant suggestions outside of the city’s crowded, very-branded centers (downtown, east side, Rainey, South Lamar, South Congress), offering great meals without the hassle.

If you’ve got friends in town for the conference asking you “Where should I eat now?” direct them to Eater’s SXSW guides for more dining and drinking ideas.

For other dining suggestions, look to the Eater Austin 38 essential restaurants and the heatmap.

As with all businesses right now, be sure to call ahead to make sure each restaurant is still open or if there are updates on current offerings and service models, as things are changing constantly. Be sure to wear a mask, tip well, and, if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the restaurants themselves.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Carnitas El Guero

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This taco shop is known for its flavorful carnitas, which are served in fluffy tortillas.

Barley Swine

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Try Bryce Gilmore’s true Texas dishes at the Brentwood restaurant, which has both tasting and a la carte menus, along with a full bar. Don’t skip the desserts, either.

Barley Swine
Barley Swine
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

The Peached Tortilla

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The restaurant outpost of this beloved food truck features a full bar and expanded menu of Asian-Southern fusion dishes.

Ramen from Peached Tortilla
Ramen from Peached Tortilla
Peached Tortilla/Facebook

Epicerie

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Epicerie is a grocery/cafe in Rosedale, selling artisan goods and handmade breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner from a French-inspired Cajun menu. Order the beignets.

Quality Seafood

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Quality Seafood is known city-wide for its fresh sea fare, whether you’re looking for a take-home tuna steak or a dine-in po’ boy, fish taco, or fried catfish. Stay a while and grab a cold beer, too.

Quality Seafood
Quality Seafood
Raymond Thompson/EATX

Foreign & Domestic

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This chef-owned restaurant in North Loop is home to farm-fresh local produce, a killer burger, and fun dishes like light Parisian gnocchi. It also offers a nose-to-tail prix fixe menu for adventurous diners.

L'Oca D'Oro

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This humble Italian charmer in the Mueller development has become a stable for Italian fare for good reason. Its straightforward and thoughtful approach to rustic cuisine allow simple ingredients to shine.

L’Oca D’Oro
L’Oca D’Oro
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Hoover's Cooking

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Soothe your SXSW-addled psyche with some of Austin’s best Southern and soul food at Manor Road restaurant Hoover’s. Chicken fried steak solves everything, right?

Aviary Wine & Kitchen

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The South Lamar wine restaurant is an ideal spot to spend a calm afternoon with friends, a bottle of wine, and a rotating selection of cheese and charcuterie.

Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Abby Jane Bakeshop

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Go for full peace and quiet at this bakeshop in Dripping Springs, which offers breads, cakes, croissants, all made with Barton Springs Mill flours. Abby Jane also offers sandwiches, picnic-ready sides, and beer and wine on tap, as well as a shaded picnic tables for eating outside.

A tiered glass display of various pastries.
Pastries from Abby Jane Bakeshop
Abby Jane Bakeshop [Official]

Papalote Taco House

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The stellar taco spot is far enough south that few will venture down that far. It has great tacos, and a liquor license. For those staying north of the river, there is a second location, too.

Jack Allen's Kitchen

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Chef Jack Gilmore’s locally sourced, Southern-inspired restaurant mini-chain Jack Allen’s Kitchen is a great destination for a lively, filling meal without the downtown mess. There are also locations out in Round Rock, 360, and West Anderson Lane.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Raymond Thompson

Radio Coffee & Beer

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Looking to grab a casual coffee or beer while surrounded by some of Austin’s best food trucks? Radio’s patio is a great place to enjoy the spring sunshine, whether to work, relax, or enjoy some tacos (Veracruz), Thai (Dee Dee), or brisket biscuits (Briscuits).

Sichuan River

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Craving Chinese? Try Sichuan River’s take way off the normal beaten path in Westgate.

Take a wander out in the southwesterly direction to Pieous in Belterra Village, which specializes in Neapolitan pizza, house-cured pastrami, and absurdly large cookies and other sweets. It also has beer and wine on tap.

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

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Barbecue and Tex-Mex combine at this highly acclaimed far south barbecue and taco truck, which boasts massive tacos including the popular Real Deal Holyfield with a fried egg, potatoes, refried beans, bacon, and brisket.

A tray of six tacos, each filled with a slice of bacon, brisket, and fried eggs.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. [Photo: Nick Solares/E]
Nick Solares/E

Carnitas El Guero

This taco shop is known for its flavorful carnitas, which are served in fluffy tortillas.

Barley Swine

Barley Swine
Barley Swine
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Try Bryce Gilmore’s true Texas dishes at the Brentwood restaurant, which has both tasting and a la carte menus, along with a full bar. Don’t skip the desserts, either.

Barley Swine
Barley Swine
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

The Peached Tortilla

Ramen from Peached Tortilla
Ramen from Peached Tortilla
Peached Tortilla/Facebook

The restaurant outpost of this beloved food truck features a full bar and expanded menu of Asian-Southern fusion dishes.

Ramen from Peached Tortilla
Ramen from Peached Tortilla
Peached Tortilla/Facebook

Epicerie

Epicerie is a grocery/cafe in Rosedale, selling artisan goods and handmade breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner from a French-inspired Cajun menu. Order the beignets.

Quality Seafood

Quality Seafood
Quality Seafood
Raymond Thompson/EATX

Quality Seafood is known city-wide for its fresh sea fare, whether you’re looking for a take-home tuna steak or a dine-in po’ boy, fish taco, or fried catfish. Stay a while and grab a cold beer, too.

Quality Seafood
Quality Seafood
Raymond Thompson/EATX

Foreign & Domestic

This chef-owned restaurant in North Loop is home to farm-fresh local produce, a killer burger, and fun dishes like light Parisian gnocchi. It also offers a nose-to-tail prix fixe menu for adventurous diners.

L'Oca D'Oro

L’Oca D’Oro
L’Oca D’Oro
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

This humble Italian charmer in the Mueller development has become a stable for Italian fare for good reason. Its straightforward and thoughtful approach to rustic cuisine allow simple ingredients to shine.

L’Oca D’Oro
L’Oca D’Oro
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Hoover's Cooking

Soothe your SXSW-addled psyche with some of Austin’s best Southern and soul food at Manor Road restaurant Hoover’s. Chicken fried steak solves everything, right?

Aviary Wine & Kitchen

Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

The South Lamar wine restaurant is an ideal spot to spend a calm afternoon with friends, a bottle of wine, and a rotating selection of cheese and charcuterie.

Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Aviary Wine & Kitchen
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Abby Jane Bakeshop

A tiered glass display of various pastries.
Pastries from Abby Jane Bakeshop
Abby Jane Bakeshop [Official]

Go for full peace and quiet at this bakeshop in Dripping Springs, which offers breads, cakes, croissants, all made with Barton Springs Mill flours. Abby Jane also offers sandwiches, picnic-ready sides, and beer and wine on tap, as well as a shaded picnic tables for eating outside.

A tiered glass display of various pastries.
Pastries from Abby Jane Bakeshop
Abby Jane Bakeshop [Official]

Papalote Taco House

The stellar taco spot is far enough south that few will venture down that far. It has great tacos, and a liquor license. For those staying north of the river, there is a second location, too.

Jack Allen's Kitchen

Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Raymond Thompson

Chef Jack Gilmore’s locally sourced, Southern-inspired restaurant mini-chain Jack Allen’s Kitchen is a great destination for a lively, filling meal without the downtown mess. There are also locations out in Round Rock, 360, and West Anderson Lane.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Raymond Thompson

Radio Coffee & Beer

Looking to grab a casual coffee or beer while surrounded by some of Austin’s best food trucks? Radio’s patio is a great place to enjoy the spring sunshine, whether to work, relax, or enjoy some tacos (Veracruz), Thai (Dee Dee), or brisket biscuits (Briscuits).

Sichuan River

Craving Chinese? Try Sichuan River’s take way off the normal beaten path in Westgate.

Pieous

Take a wander out in the southwesterly direction to Pieous in Belterra Village, which specializes in Neapolitan pizza, house-cured pastrami, and absurdly large cookies and other sweets. It also has beer and wine on tap.

Related Maps

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

A tray of six tacos, each filled with a slice of bacon, brisket, and fried eggs.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. [Photo: Nick Solares/E]
Nick Solares/E

Barbecue and Tex-Mex combine at this highly acclaimed far south barbecue and taco truck, which boasts massive tacos including the popular Real Deal Holyfield with a fried egg, potatoes, refried beans, bacon, and brisket.

A tray of six tacos, each filled with a slice of bacon, brisket, and fried eggs.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. [Photo: Nick Solares/E]
Nick Solares/E

Related Maps