clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A bowl with round nuts and seeds and greens on one side.
A dish from Olamaie.
Olamaie

Where to Eat and Drink in Downtown Austin

Find decadent dining, tacos, coffee, cocktails, and more all in the heart of the city

View as Map
A dish from Olamaie.
| Olamaie

The epicenter of Austin is its downtown area. It’s where the stately Capitol building resides, marking the city’s political hub (it is the capital of Texas, after all), where office buildings, high-rise buildings, and hotels continue to open, where tourists flock and locals frequent their go-to spots, where office workers congregate during daytime hours, where locals let loose in the evenings, where tourists hang around to see the Congress Avenue bats swarm around for food (wait for hot weather).

Downtown Austin contains multitudes within itself: the entertainment districts of Sixth and West Sixth, the residential areas of the West End and North Side, the concert venue-filled Red River, and the lovely trails along the Colorado River. The neighborhood even connects to other nearby locales: (South Congress, East Side, Clarksville).

Eater presents this guide to the essential restaurants and bars of downtown Austin. This means drinks and snacks at Small Victory, soup dumplings from Wu Chow, casual pan-Asian dishes from Koriente, and tacos from Veracruz All Natural and Asador.

Looking for more downtown eats? Here are Eater’s picks for the best restaurants and bars along Rainey Street and the best downtown lunches.

In the search of other vital Austin drinks and eats? Turn your attention to the Eater 38, restaurant heatmap, and essential bars.

For the purposes of this guide, the map covers the area bordered by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, I-35, and North Lamar Boulevard, and excludes Rainey Street (which is covered elsewhere). Check out Eater Austin’s other neighborhood dining guides too.

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.

Read More
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Olamaie

Copy Link

Yes, the biscuits are great, and there are other modern Southern dishes to check out, like the chicken with dumplings and mushrooms, Gulf shrimp and red rice, butter beans, and more, alongside beautiful desserts and a strong cocktail list, all for dinner. The restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services.

Mohawk Austin

Copy Link

For easy drinks and fun concerts, this Red River venue is the place. There are indoor and outdoor areas.

Walton's Fancy & Staple

Copy Link

Solid sandwiches and breakfast dishes can be found at the downtown deli. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Cheer Up Charlies

Copy Link

The LGBTQ vegan bar with plenty of outdoor space often hosts concerts and dance parties while offering up fun juice-based cocktails in a festive atmosphere. There are indoor and outdoor spaces.

Small Victory

Copy Link

Tucked away above a parking garage entrance is Small Victory, one of the city’s best cocktail bars around. Owner and bar veteran Josh Loving is passionate about his craft and it shows with his classic drinks. Plus there are snacks. The bar is open for indoor service.

A bar with a bar top on the left and blue seating on the right.
Small Victory.
Robert J. Lerma/Eater Austin

Wu Chow

Copy Link

Soup dumplings and other modern Chinese dishes can be found over at Wu Chow for lunch, dinner, and Sunday dim sum. To-go orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services.

The Roosevelt Room

Copy Link

Satisfy the search for west downtown cocktails with this other stellar downtown bar, with a robust drink list and a surprisingly filling food menu (the grilled cheese is good). To-go and delivery orders can be placed online; the bar is open for indoor services.

A cloudy yellow cocktail in a daiquiri glass against a very black room.
The Poet’s Muse cocktail at the Roosevelt Room.
The Roosevelt Room

Asador at Las Perlas

Copy Link

Bars and food trucks are a tried-and-true Austin combination. The best downtown iteration of this can be found near Red River with mezcal bar Las Perlas and taco truck Asador. Taco to-go orders can be placed online. The bar is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Koriente

Copy Link

Easy and heathy-ish pan-Asian fare can be found at the restaurant near the Red River district. There are call-ahead takeout orders and third-party deliveries (Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash). The patio is open for dine-in service.

The higher-end downtown restaurant from the team behind Emmer & Rye focuses on live-fire dishes, alongside expertly crafted desserts. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Diner Bar

Copy Link

The downtown newcomer from chef Mashama Bailey with chef de cuisine Kristine Kittrell is a hotel restaurant done right, from the bar full of raw oysters and vodka drinks to the comfortable dining room full of thoughtfully crafted dishes for the mornings through evenings, ranging from the Low Country breakfast to burgers to peach salads to foie and grits. There are indoor dine-in services.

Casino El Camino

Copy Link

Head to the downtown dive bar and restaurant for messy good burgers and easy cheapish drinks. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Houndstooth Coffee

Copy Link

Coffee fans should head straight to this downtown cafe for a perfect cup of joe. To-go orders can be placed online or in person. The cafe is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Mort Subite

Copy Link

The downtown beer bar is all about Belgian brews, with all sorts of drafts, bottles, and cans. The bar is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Fareground

Copy Link

The downtown food hall reopened with some of the city’s best chefs and restaurants, like Emmer & Rye’s fast-casual outpost Henbit, Israeli spot TLV, French chicken and baguette sandwich shop Austin Rotisserie, and Wu Chow’s dumplings and noodle stall, all making for an easygoing mix-and-match meal. Plus there are two bars with cocktails and wine. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person. The hall offers indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Veracruz All Natural

Copy Link

Yes, the city’s best taco restaurant can luckily be found in downtown Austin. Veracruz’s Congress Avenue location within the Line Hotel features its amazing menu of tacos (yes, get the migas), quesadillas, and weekend brunch. To-go orders can be placed online or in person. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Arlo Grey

Copy Link

Top Chef winner Kristen Kish’s first solo restaurant landed in Austin with elegant dishes stemming inspired from her already-storied past. Its indoor dining room is also a prime location for bat-watching. There are indoor and outdoor seatings.

Forthright

Copy Link

For easy, simple, quality breakfasts, lunches, and brunches, turn to this daytime American restaurant. To-go orders can be placed online. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Olamaie

Yes, the biscuits are great, and there are other modern Southern dishes to check out, like the chicken with dumplings and mushrooms, Gulf shrimp and red rice, butter beans, and more, alongside beautiful desserts and a strong cocktail list, all for dinner. The restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services.

Mohawk Austin

For easy drinks and fun concerts, this Red River venue is the place. There are indoor and outdoor areas.

Walton's Fancy & Staple

Solid sandwiches and breakfast dishes can be found at the downtown deli. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Cheer Up Charlies

The LGBTQ vegan bar with plenty of outdoor space often hosts concerts and dance parties while offering up fun juice-based cocktails in a festive atmosphere. There are indoor and outdoor spaces.

Small Victory

Tucked away above a parking garage entrance is Small Victory, one of the city’s best cocktail bars around. Owner and bar veteran Josh Loving is passionate about his craft and it shows with his classic drinks. Plus there are snacks. The bar is open for indoor service.

A bar with a bar top on the left and blue seating on the right.
Small Victory.
Robert J. Lerma/Eater Austin

Wu Chow

Soup dumplings and other modern Chinese dishes can be found over at Wu Chow for lunch, dinner, and Sunday dim sum. To-go orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services.

The Roosevelt Room

Satisfy the search for west downtown cocktails with this other stellar downtown bar, with a robust drink list and a surprisingly filling food menu (the grilled cheese is good). To-go and delivery orders can be placed online; the bar is open for indoor services.

A cloudy yellow cocktail in a daiquiri glass against a very black room.
The Poet’s Muse cocktail at the Roosevelt Room.
The Roosevelt Room

Asador at Las Perlas

Bars and food trucks are a tried-and-true Austin combination. The best downtown iteration of this can be found near Red River with mezcal bar Las Perlas and taco truck Asador. Taco to-go orders can be placed online. The bar is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Koriente

Easy and heathy-ish pan-Asian fare can be found at the restaurant near the Red River district. There are call-ahead takeout orders and third-party deliveries (Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash). The patio is open for dine-in service.

Hestia

The higher-end downtown restaurant from the team behind Emmer & Rye focuses on live-fire dishes, alongside expertly crafted desserts. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Diner Bar

The downtown newcomer from chef Mashama Bailey with chef de cuisine Kristine Kittrell is a hotel restaurant done right, from the bar full of raw oysters and vodka drinks to the comfortable dining room full of thoughtfully crafted dishes for the mornings through evenings, ranging from the Low Country breakfast to burgers to peach salads to foie and grits. There are indoor dine-in services.

Casino El Camino

Head to the downtown dive bar and restaurant for messy good burgers and easy cheapish drinks. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Houndstooth Coffee

Coffee fans should head straight to this downtown cafe for a perfect cup of joe. To-go orders can be placed online or in person. The cafe is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Mort Subite

The downtown beer bar is all about Belgian brews, with all sorts of drafts, bottles, and cans. The bar is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Fareground

The downtown food hall reopened with some of the city’s best chefs and restaurants, like Emmer & Rye’s fast-casual outpost Henbit, Israeli spot TLV, French chicken and baguette sandwich shop Austin Rotisserie, and Wu Chow’s dumplings and noodle stall, all making for an easygoing mix-and-match meal. Plus there are two bars with cocktails and wine. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person. The hall offers indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Related Maps

Veracruz All Natural

Yes, the city’s best taco restaurant can luckily be found in downtown Austin. Veracruz’s Congress Avenue location within the Line Hotel features its amazing menu of tacos (yes, get the migas), quesadillas, and weekend brunch. To-go orders can be placed online or in person. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Arlo Grey

Top Chef winner Kristen Kish’s first solo restaurant landed in Austin with elegant dishes stemming inspired from her already-storied past. Its indoor dining room is also a prime location for bat-watching. There are indoor and outdoor seatings.

Forthright

For easy, simple, quality breakfasts, lunches, and brunches, turn to this daytime American restaurant. To-go orders can be placed online. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Related Maps