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A black shallow bowl of shredded meat and scallions on top of rice.
Bulgogi from Korea House.
Korea House

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Austin

A guide to the city's defining restaurants spanning all cuisines, neighborhoods, and price ranges

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Bulgogi from Korea House.
| Korea House

What are the best restaurants in Austin, those essential spots that should not be missed? Eater Austin’s Eater 38 aims to show you where to eat across the Texas city, with restaurant recommendations fit for any situation. The list spans numerous cuisines and budgets, collectively satisfying every need from taco trucks to fine dining spots. These are the 38 restaurants and food trucks that truly define Austin.

Every quarter, Eater Austin updates the map to add pertinent restaurants, whether it’s because they have become newly eligible (our standard is a spot must have been open for at least six months) or revamped their menu or services. The aim is always to keep the list inclusive and reflective of the Texas city. The winter 2024 update adds Korea House and Ramen del Barrio. This round also means we’re saying farewell to Seoulji and Kemuri Tatsu-ya.

For a running list of past featured restaurants, head to the Eater Austin 38 archive. For other Austin picks, check out the heatmap, a collection of the city’s hot new dining options.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Interstellar BBQ

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Yes, there are many excellent barbecue spots in Austin, so to stand out, restaurants have to nail the staples while also offering something special. Enter this northwest Austin smoked meats joint from the team behind beloved but gone Noble Sandwich Co. The attention to meat is clear: There are citrusy, juicy turkey breasts, sweet-savory peach tea-glazed pork belly, and the ideal brisket. It’s a counter service-style spot and yes, expect lines on weekends. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor dine-in areas.

A barbecue tray with meats, pickles, and sides from Interstellar BBQ.
A barbecue tray from Interstellar BBQ
Interstellar BBQ

Himalaya Kosheli Nepali & Indian

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Within Austin’s South Asian food scene is a small but strong contingent of North Indian/Nepalese restaurants. Of those, this casual Barrington Oaks restaurant is marvelous, serving the greatest hits from the Indian subcontinent, including all sorts of momos, chow mein, chilis, dals, meats, and biryanis. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor dine-in services.

Momos at Himalaya Kosheli Nepali & Indian
Momos at Himalaya Kosheli Nepali & Indian
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Ramen Del Barrio

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The newly crowned best restaurant of 2023 by Eater Austin, up in Scofield Farms, is all about Japanese Mexican ramen. The steaming bowls from chef Christopher Krinsky are fun, creative, and great: there’s the carnitas tonkotsu, mole tsukemen, and more. Then there are the yaki-tacos, where the skewered meats come in tacos. It’s tucked away within the Hana World Market food court. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor dine-in services.

Two bowls of ramen.
Ramen from Ramen del Barrio.
Cat Cardenas/Eater Austin

Con Todo

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Chef Joseph Gomez highlights the culinary wonders of the Rio Grande Valley through his North Austin truck, and don’t call the menu Tex-Mex. Rather, he explores the true depths of Mexican food along the border of south Texas. This means handmade tacos full of vegetables paired with salsa macha or beef with queso fresco, tostadas topped with chorizo and potatoes, and more. And as always, all tacos are made con todo — “with everything” — meaning cilantro, onions, and salsas. There’s a good reason the truck won Eater Austin’s best food truck of 2022 and was one of Eater’s Best New Restaurants nationally that same year. Place orders in person; host site Celis Brewery offers indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

A plastic tube of red-orange and orange frozen liquid next to two corn tortillas filled with meats and green sauce.
A tepache and piña chamoy bolis paired with a barbacoa and mollejas tacos from Con Todo 
Feasting 512/Instagram

Usta Kababgy

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This casual Middle Eastern restaurant in North Austin focuses on delectable halal grilled meats. There are all sorts of kebabs, from lamb-and-beef adana to chicken, as well as shawarma bowls and wraps. The lahmajun (meat flatbread) is really nice, as are the falafels and dolmas. Pickup and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor dine-in services.

A container of yellow rice, grilled vegetables, a salad, hummus with spices, and two long meat kebabs.
The kebab plate at Usta.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

House of Three Gorges

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The casual North Austin Sichuan restaurant offers some of the best regional Chinese in the city for lunch and dinner. Find specialties like red braised pork belly, spicy Jumping Fish, and brisket in a radish soup. Uber Eats and DoorDash pickup and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor dine-in services.

A variety of Sichuan dishes from House of Three Gorges including soup, noodles, and vegetables arranged on a dark wooden tabletop.
A variety of Sichuan dishes at House of Three Gorges
House of Three Gorges

Korea House

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Dining at the casual Korean restaurant in North Shoal Creek is a perfectly homey experience. The menu is a traditional one, loads of stews (budae jjigae and the seaweedy miyukguk), kimbap, and kimchi jeon. Then there’s the fun grill-it-yourself barbecue setup with all sorts of meats, such as galbi and duck breasts. The physical space is beautiful and cozy as well, with a pond outside and many group-friendly tables. And it’s a place for the community: co-owner Mrs. Kim opens up the restaurant to free meals monthly to those who need it. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Food in black packages.
Doshirak from Korea House.
Korea House

Bufalina Due

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Owner Steven Dilley and his pizzeria teams continue to impress diners at this Brentwood restaurant and the reopened East Austin location. The Neapolitan pies are simple but skillfully executed; under chef Eli Rodriguez, you can’t go wrong with the exemplary margherita and specials such as the potato and Parmesan pie, alongside stracciatella and Caesar salads. And the pasta game has never been as good as it is now. Wine nerds will dig the intriguing and affordable bottles selected by wine managers Brianna Leahy and Lauren Williamson, along with wine director Rania Zayyat. Pickup orders are placed online for Brentwood only; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Bird Bird Biscuit

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This fast-casual shop from Brian Batch and Ryan McElroy serves delightful biscuit sandwiches in Brentwood as well as at their original location, down in Cherrywood. The chicken sandwiches aren’t to be missed, especially the sweet and spicy Queen Beak, with black pepper honey and chipotle mayonnaise. Pickup orders can be placed online.

A hand holing up a biscuit sandwich with a piece of fried chicken, thick slices of pickles, some lettuce, and a white sauce
A sandwich from Bird Bird Biscuit
Jasmin Porter

Foreign & Domestic

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Co-owners and chefs Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley are still knocking it out of the park at this North Loop restaurant with their fresh energy and ideas. The New American menu is familiar, but has been spruced up since the restaurant’s original owner sold it to the couple in 2017, with soothing dishes like short rib campanelli and Parisian gnocchi. Adventurous eaters should seek out the offal dishes, such as chicken liver mousse. The neighborhood restaurant works as well for spontaneous meals as it does for special occasions. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The exterior of Foreign & Domestic
Foreign & Domestic
Raymond Thompson

Co-owners Také and Kayo Asazu turned their popular but now-defunct sushi trailer Sushi A-Go-Go into a full-blown laid-back North Loop restaurant, offering their take on homestyle Japanese fare. Along with impeccable sushi and affordable rolls, the lunch menu features bentos for those seeking a little bit of everything, as well as loaded donburi bowls (the hokkai-don is a richly indulgent one, with salmon sashimi, ikura, and scallops; add the uni if it’s available). There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A look into the semi-private dining room
A look into the semi-private dining room
Courtney Pierce

JewBoy Burgers

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El Paso native Mo Pittle honors his Jewish heritage and Texas border city upbringing with his food truck-turned-restaurant in North Loop that is certainly not kosher. The diner menu centers on burgers and burritos, filled with beef, cheese, Hatch green chiles, and even latkes. There are also chili dogs and sides like queso. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A burger with fries on black and white checkered paper.
JewBoy’s Reuben slider and fries.
Fareground

Asti Trattoria

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The casual neighborhood sit-down restaurant in Hyde Park serves up classic Italian dishes for dinner and brunch. There are always stellar pastas and risottos (the rigatoni amatriciana is a good bet), alongside stand-out desserts and sides. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The exterior of Asti Trattoria
Asti Trattoria is a casual neighborhood sit-down restaurant.
Katie O./Yelp

L'Oca d'Oro

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Under co-owner and chef Fiore Tedesco, the Mueller Italian restaurant serves up a thoughtful menu full of house-made pasta and well-prepared vegetables, like mafaldine or charred broccolini. For some time, Tedesco and co-owner and general manager Adam Orman have been championing the rights and well-being of restaurant workers, such as paying fair wages and advocating for the Austin industry in general via Good Work Austin. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Pasta, bread, and a drink from L’Oca d’Oro on a wooden tabletop.
L’Oca d’Oro serves up a thoughtful menu full of house-made pasta.
L’Oca d’Oro

Texas French Bread

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While, yes, the building housing the exquisite bakery and restaurant in the Heritage neighborhood was destroyed in a devastating fire in early 2022, Texas French Bread is still going strong, albeit in a different format. While owner Murph Willcott works to rebuild the physical space, the bakery is operating as a food truck within its garden space for breakfast and lunch, serving sandwiches, pastries, and cakes. Lunch preorders can be placed online or in person; there are outdoor dining areas.

An oval-shaped loaf of bread.
A white sourdough boule from Texas French Bread.
Texas French Bread

Dai Due

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The Cherrywood New Texan restaurant — which is so regionally minded that even beer and wine are exclusively from the state — is equally satisfying for brunch or a blowout meat fest at dinner. The restaurant version of this former farmers market stand/supper club from owner/chef Jesse Griffiths is everything Austin could have hoped for. He even won a James Beard Media Award for his tome about wild hogs. The Texas-forever menu under executive chef Janie Ramirez has heavier dishes like giant wagyu rib chops, fried quails, grilled chicken hearts, and coffee-cured antelope leg filets, as well as lighter fare like butter lettuce salads and grilled sweet peppers. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A double cheeseburger on a wooden slab in front of a brick wall
The double cheeseburger from Dai Due
Dai Due

Hoover's Cooking

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Owner and chef Hoover Alexander has been bringing a good ol’ mix of Southern soul fare to Cherrywood for over 25 years with his homey restaurant. The menu highlights staple dishes done extremely well, from the chicken-fried steak and the fried chicken to any of the sweet pies. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are Favor deliveries available; and there are indoor dine-in services.

The interior of Hoover’s Cooking
The interior of Hoover’s Cooking
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Olamaie

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The fancy downtown Southern restaurant is a sensational dining experience. There are inventive plates from James Beard Award semifinalist Amanda Turner, like smoked cabbage or the blackened dayboat fish with blue crab sauce and Carolina Gold rice. Then there’s the amazing cocktail and wine menu. The restaurant itself is elegant and offers high-class service. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A basket of biscuits wrapped in a white napkin.
Biscuits at Olamaie
Olamaie/Facebook

Birdie's

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This casual neighborhood wine bar, which won Eater Austin’s best neighborhood wine bar of 2021, can be found on the east side with a giant patio with an ever-rotating menu of simple dishes done right. There’s usually handmade pasta, a rich steak and vegetables dish, and a variety of wine-friendly seasonal appetizers like beets with chive cream. Don’t skip the creamy soft serve for dessert or the after-dinner drinks. There are no reservations, as it’s a walk-up joint. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A white brick building with a window with blue trim.
The exterior of Birdie’s
Sanetra Longno/Eater Austin

Nixta Taqueria

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The funky little taqueria, from co-owners Edgar Rico (the James Beard Awards’ emerging chef of 2022) and Sara Mardanbigi, has quickly become a taco darling for good reason. Rico works magic into every single one of the East Austin spot’s new-school tacos and tostadas. While the meatier items are terrific, the vegetarian options really showcase his inventive skills: The beet tartare is a pure work of art. For something more special, check out its regularly-held taco omakase services. Currently, the restaurant is operating with limited outdoor capacities due to permitting issues with the city. The natural wine list is worth exploring. Curbside pickup orders can be placed online; there are outdoor dine-in services.

A blue plate with a circular tostada with pink beets on it.
The beet tartare tostada from Nixta Taqueria.
Robert Jacob Lerma/Eater Austin

Clark's Oyster Bar

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Seafood isn’t the first thing a person thinks about eating in Austin. However, this Clarksville gem, from the prolific McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality group, concocts such divine fish and shellfish dishes that the city’s landlocked status doesn’t matter. The, yes, pricey menu spans cold and cooked seafood, including East Coast oysters, caviar, grilled octopus, prepared bass, scallops, and more, all of which pair well with old-school cocktails — especially cold martinis and spritzes during lunch, dinner, and brunch — in an intimate and cute space. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A two-level platter tower with oysters on the bottom and lobster on the top.
Clark’s Oyster Bar’s oysters.
Casey Dunn

Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum

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Chef Ling Qi Wu has grown into a bona fide restaurateur with multiple restaurants and more to come around the city. It is through the somewhat casual Clarksville restaurant — her first — that diners can get a taste of what she does best: simple yet high-quality Chinese and pan-Asian dishes, from her iconic soup dumplings to Sichuan cucumbers to salt-and-pepper lobster tails. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are indoor dine-in services.

A dish from Lin Asian Bar
A dish from Lin Asian Bar
Lin Asian Bar Restaurant/Facebook

Better Half Coffee & Cocktails

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This all-day spot was named Eater Austin’s Restaurant of the Year in 2018, and co-owners Matt and Grady Wright and Matthew Bolick continue to deliver fantastic service and convivial vibes. The West Fifth space feels appropriately Austin with its large patio, great coffee, and a first-rate lineup of beer and wine. Chef Rich Reimbolt’s menu is full of laid-back dishes with lovely touches like breakfast sandwiches layered with hash brown patties or the iconic cauliflower tots. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Two plates of food, one with a sunny-side-up egg and a broth and the other with a sandwich with a cup of latte and a drinks menu on a wooden table.
Food and coffee at Better Half.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Franklin Barbecue

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Pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s smoky meats have risen from their humble trailer origins to become a fixture at one of the country’s most talked-about barbecue destinations. Yes, you will wait in line. Yes, it will be worth it. Weekend waits can be very long, so consider opting for a weekday brisket fix instead. If pitch-perfect brisket happens to run out, try the ribs, turkey, and sausages. Preorders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

A tray of various barbecue meats ranging from brisket slices to ribs to sausages, alongside sides of coleslaw and potato salad and slices of bread, pickle slices, and onions.
Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue.
Franklin Barbecue

Shirley's Trini Cuisine

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For casual and amazing Caribbean fare, look no further than this East Austin food truck. It’s where owner and chef Janelle Romeo serves up ace Trinidadian dishes like doubles, curried goat, rotis, and jerk chicken. Preorders can be placed online; takeout orders in person; and there are outdoor dine-in areas.

Chickpeas in brown sauce on a bed of crunchy fried bread.
Doubles from Shirley’s Trini Cuisine.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Veracruz All Natural

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At the essential Austin food truck, sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez make the best tacos in the city, served on handmade corn and flour tortillas with fresh salsas. It’s not a complete order without the migas taco and an agua fresca. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online or in person for all seven of its locations, plus the Veracruz Fonda restaurant in Mueller; most locations include indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Taco at Veracruz All Natural
Taco at Veracruz All Natural
Veracruz All Natural

The East Austin Caribbean restaurant, named Eater Austin’s Best New Restaurant of 2022, pays tribute to executive chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph’s Guyanese roots with dishes like buttery roti, wild boar pepper pot, and jerk chicken. Since it’s a Bristol-Joseph project, don’t overlook the desserts, especially the tres leches cake. The restaurant has an upscale tropical vibe, with fruity but balanced cocktails, a large bar, and a small outdoor patio. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Three pieces of dark-roasted chicken on a large green leaf next to a bowl of reddish sauce with green sprinkled leaves.
The jerk chicken at Canje.
Canje

Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop

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The historic Mexican bakery, founded in 1962 by Joe and Paula Avila and now run by their granddaughter Regina Estrada who oversees the two generations that run the family restaurant, is a pillar of the East Austin community in two ways. First, there’s the exceptional daytime menu, from the wonderfully tender and juicy barbacoa breakfast and the migas to the lunch tacos. Then there is its community service: Estrada is an advocate for East Austin, making sure people are informed about what’s going on in local politics and even directly registering voters. Pickup orders can be placed over the phone or in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

A white oval plate with a crispy taco, rice, refried beans, and enchiladas covered in yellow cheese sauce.
Crispy beef taco, rice, beans, and chicken enchiladas from Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop. from Joe’s.
Deana Saukam

Toshokan

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The East Austin Japanese spot has become one of the city’s best omakases around, so much so that it won Eater Austin’s best omakase of 2022 award. Even though the restaurant had to relocate into a new space in East Austin within the Pershing East venue, the vibe remains the same. Executive chef Saine Wong offers an awesome intimate meal, featuring well-crafted nigiri and other bites in a setting that feels like a fun little party. Reservations can be made online, and plan ahead: It books up quickly. There are indoor dine-in services.

Raw fish in a bowl.
A bite from Toshokan.
DJ Ferno/Open House Productions

Odd Duck

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At his relaxed Zilker restaurant, chef and partner Bryce Gilmore and the rest of the team embrace Texas ingredients through the New American menu. There are magnificent dishes (stuffed quail, pecan mole pork shoulder with a gordita) and on-point desserts (salted caramel budino, chocolate-masa icebox cake). There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Inside Odd Duck
Inside Odd Duck
Patrick Michels/Eater Austin

La Barbecue

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The city has an embarrassment of world-class smoky meats, and this East Austin spot gives Franklin a run for its money. After all, the barbecue joint is from the late LeAnn Mueller, who hailed from the legendary Texas barbecue family dating back to 1949; La Barbecue is now solely run by Mueller’s wife, Ali Clem. Go for the brisket, sausages, and any of the inventive sandwiches. Be sure to order the superb shells and cheese made with smoked vegetables and a little spicy kick. The deli menu also includes tinned fish, cheeses, and caviar. Pickup orders are placed online (order in advance to bypass the line); there is in-person ordering; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Tri-tip from La Barbecue
Tri-tip from La Barbecue
La Barbecue/Facebook

Justine's

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This East Austin restaurant has all the makings of a prime neighborhood dining stop: French food with an east-side twist in a convivial atmosphere. There are steak frites, escargot, duck confit, and ratatouille, along with a hefty burger topped with Gruyere cheese. Plus, the reasonably priced wine list means this tucked-away gem is set up perfectly for a long, lingering meal. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A fork holding up a slide of steak in front of steak topped with butter, a pile of fries, and a condiment container with butter.
Steak frites at Justine’s.
Justine’s

Bouldin Creek Cafe

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Beloved by residents of the 78704 and beyond, this cafe in Bouldin Creek from owner Leslie Martin offers a varied menu of vegetarian fare paired with locally roasted coffee, and a taste of very-old-school Austin in the forms of aesthetics and food. The vegetable sandwiches are legitimately delicious, as is the tofu scramble. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The Veggie Royale burger from Bouldin Creek
The Veggie Royale burger from Bouldin Creek
Marcus A./Yelp