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The pork chop at Odd Duck
The pork chop at Odd Duck
Richard Casteel/Odd Duck/Facebook

SXSW 2020: Where to Eat in Austin

13 must-visit restaurants during the March festival and conference

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The pork chop at Odd Duck
| Richard Casteel/Odd Duck/Facebook

Tens of thousands of attendees will descend upon Austin in March for South by Southwest (SXSW), the massive interactive, film, and music festival, for panels, networking, and partying. To answer the eternal question — Where should I eat during SXSW 2020? — here are Eater’s recommendations for the best dining bets in Austin.

This means nationally acclaimed smoked meats from La Barbecue, excellent sushi in a landlocked city from Uchi, Texas offerings from Odd Duck, a collection of the city’s best restaurants right in the heart of downtown Austin with Fareground, newcomer natural wine bar LoLo, and more. Be sure to check ahead with our suggestions to make sure there aren’t any private events.

For more dining and drinking ideas, check out the rest of Eater’s SXSW coverage.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Nixta Taqueria

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2512 E 12th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 551-3855
Visit Website

It’s worth the trek to further east Austin for some of the most exciting tacos in Austin. Take one highly skilled chef (Edgar Rico), place him in vibrant cozy counter-service restaurant, and you’ve got a simple, creative menu of tacos and tostadas made with quality ingredients that, yeah, sometimes veer into the cheffy side (beets tartare, duck confit), but don’t let that deter you.

The duck confit taco from Nixta Taqueria
The duck confit taco from Nixta Taqueria
Nixta Taqueria/Facebook

2. Better Half

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406 Walsh St
Austin, TX 78703

The Eater Austin restaurant of year is an all-day cafe and bar from the Wright Bros. Brew & Brew team features hearty stellar takes on burgers, biscuits, and Texas staples (chicken fried steak, redfish tortas), alongside cocktails and coffee.

Better Half
Better Half
Courtney Pierce

3. Comedor

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501 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 499-0977
Visit Website

The stunning sleek building (winner of Eater Austin’s restaurant design award in 2019) right in the middle of downtown hides a wonderfully creative modern Mexican restaurant from the all-star team of chefs Gabe Erales, Philip Speer, and Alan Delgado. This means constructed, rich plates of octopus paired with black garlic mole, seafood tostadas, and the DIY bone marrow tacos served with said-bones. Desserts are especially not to be missed, like the delightful tres leches with burnt meringue and corn milk. Even better: happy hours feature five- or three-course taco tasting menus for either $25 or $15.

Seafood tostadas at Comedor
Seafood tostadas at Comedor
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

4. Easy Tiger

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709 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 614-4972
Visit Website

This downtown bake shop and beer garden nails the winning Austin formula: made-in-house bread and pastries, craft beer, ping-pong, and a friendly neighborhood atmosphere in the most improbable of places: Dirty Sixth.

Pastries from Easy Tiger
Pastries from Easy Tiger
Easy Tiger/Facebook

5. Buenos Aires Café

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1201 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 382-1189
Visit Website

Right in East Austin is the casual Argentinian restaurant Buenos Aires Cafe, Este, known for its plentiful tender grilled meats and empanadas.

6. Fareground

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111 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

Austin’s first food hall features some of the best restaurants and chefs in the city. There’s ranch-inspired eats from Contigo (burgers and rotisserie chicken), stellar tacos from Dai Due Taqueria, sushi and ramen from Ni-Kome, Israeli cuisine from TLV, among others.

Fareground Robert J. Lerma/EATX

7. Suerte

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1800 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 953-0092
Visit Website

One of Austin’s hottest restaurants is still Suerte, the Mexican-inspired spot with Eater Austin’s chef of year Fermín Núñez. The menu is all about masa, from suadero tacos (confit brisket and “black magic” oil), canitas tlacoyo, to tortillas a-plenty.

8. Veracruz All Natural

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1704 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 981-1760
Visit Website

Some of the best tacos in Austin come from this taco truck, served on handmade tortillas with fresh salsas. Don’t forget to order the migas, perfect for breakfast, lunch, and inevitable hangovers.

Taco at Veracruz All Natural
Taco at Veracruz All Natural
Veracruz All Natural/Official

9. Via 313

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61 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 609-9405
Visit Website

Austin isn’t really known for being a pizza destination, but the Detroit-style pizzeria and food truck definitely puts the city on the map. The thick rectangular pies are topped with cheese, meats, vegetables, and sometimes fruits such as seen with the sweet and savory Cadillac, which comes with fig preserves. The truck on Rainey Street is so helpfully parked at beer bar Craft Pride, too.

Via 313’s pizza
Via 313’s pizza
Via 313/Facebook

10. Uchi

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801 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 916-4808
Visit Website

For a nice dinner at one of Austin’s must-eat destinations, opt for Uchi, where the new-school sushi is excellent. Take advantage of the happy hour for an incredible deal. Make reservations ahead of time or show up right when doors open at 5 p.m.

A piece from Uchi
A piece from Uchi
Uchi/Facebook

11. Emmer & Rye

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SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 366-5530
Visit Website

Emmer & Rye has cemented its place in Austin cuisine as one of the city’s most exciting and consistently outstanding New American culinary experiences. Plus, it’s located in the center of Rainey Street South By madness, meaning you won’t have to travel far to melt into the restaurant’s signature cacio e pepe dish, or delight in whatever dim sum options chefs Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph will send that night. 

Cacio e pepe ar Emmer & Rye
Cacio e pepe ar Emmer & Rye
Emmer & Rye/Facebook

12. Odd Duck

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1201 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 433-6521
Visit Website

Across the Colorado river, Bryce Gilmore’s second restaurant with a more casual spin offers magnificent large format dishes to on-point brunch for one of Austin’s most pleasurable New American-meets-Texas dining experiences. It’s perfect for bigger groups looking to share meals.

Several mis-matched plates on a wooden able, one with tacos, one with a pale green soup, and another with an open-faced sandwich.
Dishes from Odd Duck
Odd Duck/Facebook

13. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

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2713 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 893-5561
Visit Website

Trek further east to check out the Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya from the gang behind Ramen Tatsu-ya (the city’s best ramen). It offers up fun dishes, like a take on Frito pie with octopus fritters and hot pockets filled with brisket, and the funkier exotic and rarities selection, alongside yakitori, sashimi, smoked meats, and a solid cocktail list.

Kemuri’s skewers
Kemuri’s skewers
Kemuri/Facebook

1. Nixta Taqueria

2512 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702
The duck confit taco from Nixta Taqueria
The duck confit taco from Nixta Taqueria
Nixta Taqueria/Facebook

It’s worth the trek to further east Austin for some of the most exciting tacos in Austin. Take one highly skilled chef (Edgar Rico), place him in vibrant cozy counter-service restaurant, and you’ve got a simple, creative menu of tacos and tostadas made with quality ingredients that, yeah, sometimes veer into the cheffy side (beets tartare, duck confit), but don’t let that deter you.

2512 E 12th St
Austin, TX 78702

2. Better Half

406 Walsh St, Austin, TX 78703
Better Half
Better Half
Courtney Pierce

The Eater Austin restaurant of year is an all-day cafe and bar from the Wright Bros. Brew & Brew team features hearty stellar takes on burgers, biscuits, and Texas staples (chicken fried steak, redfish tortas), alongside cocktails and coffee.

406 Walsh St
Austin, TX 78703

3. Comedor

501 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
Seafood tostadas at Comedor
Seafood tostadas at Comedor
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

The stunning sleek building (winner of Eater Austin’s restaurant design award in 2019) right in the middle of downtown hides a wonderfully creative modern Mexican restaurant from the all-star team of chefs Gabe Erales, Philip Speer, and Alan Delgado. This means constructed, rich plates of octopus paired with black garlic mole, seafood tostadas, and the DIY bone marrow tacos served with said-bones. Desserts are especially not to be missed, like the delightful tres leches with burnt meringue and corn milk. Even better: happy hours feature five- or three-course taco tasting menus for either $25 or $15.

501 Colorado St
Austin, TX 78701

4. Easy Tiger

709 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
Pastries from Easy Tiger
Pastries from Easy Tiger
Easy Tiger/Facebook

This downtown bake shop and beer garden nails the winning Austin formula: made-in-house bread and pastries, craft beer, ping-pong, and a friendly neighborhood atmosphere in the most improbable of places: Dirty Sixth.

709 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701

5. Buenos Aires Café

1201 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

Right in East Austin is the casual Argentinian restaurant Buenos Aires Cafe, Este, known for its plentiful tender grilled meats and empanadas.

1201 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

6. Fareground

111 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Fareground Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Austin’s first food hall features some of the best restaurants and chefs in the city. There’s ranch-inspired eats from Contigo (burgers and rotisserie chicken), stellar tacos from Dai Due Taqueria, sushi and ramen from Ni-Kome, Israeli cuisine from TLV, among others.

111 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

7. Suerte

1800 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

One of Austin’s hottest restaurants is still Suerte, the Mexican-inspired spot with Eater Austin’s chef of year Fermín Núñez. The menu is all about masa, from suadero tacos (confit brisket and “black magic” oil), canitas tlacoyo, to tortillas a-plenty.

1800 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

8. Veracruz All Natural

1704 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Taco at Veracruz All Natural
Taco at Veracruz All Natural
Veracruz All Natural/Official

Some of the best tacos in Austin come from this taco truck, served on handmade tortillas with fresh salsas. Don’t forget to order the migas, perfect for breakfast, lunch, and inevitable hangovers.

1704 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702

9. Via 313

61 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701
Via 313’s pizza
Via 313’s pizza
Via 313/Facebook

Austin isn’t really known for being a pizza destination, but the Detroit-style pizzeria and food truck definitely puts the city on the map. The thick rectangular pies are topped with cheese, meats, vegetables, and sometimes fruits such as seen with the sweet and savory Cadillac, which comes with fig preserves. The truck on Rainey Street is so helpfully parked at beer bar Craft Pride, too.

61 Rainey St
Austin, TX 78701

10. Uchi

801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
A piece from Uchi
A piece from Uchi
Uchi/Facebook

For a nice dinner at one of Austin’s must-eat destinations, opt for Uchi, where the new-school sushi is excellent. Take advantage of the happy hour for an incredible deal. Make reservations ahead of time or show up right when doors open at 5 p.m.

801 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

11. Emmer & Rye

SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110, Austin, TX 78701
Cacio e pepe ar Emmer & Rye
Cacio e pepe ar Emmer & Rye
Emmer & Rye/Facebook

Emmer & Rye has cemented its place in Austin cuisine as one of the city’s most exciting and consistently outstanding New American culinary experiences. Plus, it’s located in the center of Rainey Street South By madness, meaning you won’t have to travel far to melt into the restaurant’s signature cacio e pepe dish, or delight in whatever dim sum options chefs Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph will send that night. 

SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110
Austin, TX 78701

12. Odd Duck

1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Several mis-matched plates on a wooden able, one with tacos, one with a pale green soup, and another with an open-faced sandwich.
Dishes from Odd Duck
Odd Duck/Facebook

Across the Colorado river, Bryce Gilmore’s second restaurant with a more casual spin offers magnificent large format dishes to on-point brunch for one of Austin’s most pleasurable New American-meets-Texas dining experiences. It’s perfect for bigger groups looking to share meals.

1201 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

13. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

2713 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78702
Kemuri’s skewers
Kemuri’s skewers
Kemuri/Facebook

Trek further east to check out the Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya from the gang behind Ramen Tatsu-ya (the city’s best ramen). It offers up fun dishes, like a take on Frito pie with octopus fritters and hot pockets filled with brisket, and the funkier exotic and rarities selection, alongside yakitori, sashimi, smoked meats, and a solid cocktail list.

2713 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78702

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