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A plate of sliced steak next to cut green beans and sauce.
Steak and and pickled green bean salsa verde s at Odd Duck.
Richard Casteel/Odd Duck/Facebook

SXSW 2022: Where to Eat in Austin

15 must-visit restaurants during the March festival and conference

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Steak and and pickled green bean salsa verde s at Odd Duck.
| Richard Casteel/Odd Duck/Facebook

Many 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 2022? — 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, seasonal Texas offerings from Odd Duck, a collection of the city’s best restaurants right in the heart of downtown with Fareground, East Austin natural wine bar LoLo, and more. Be sure to check ahead with our suggestions to make sure the businesses aren’t closed for private events or buy-outs.

For more dining and drinking ideas, check out the Eater 38 (a collection of Austin’s very best restaurants), and the March heatmap (a roundup of the best new restaurants in the city), as well as the rest of Eater’s SXSW coverage.

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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Nixta Taqueria

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It’s worth the trek to further east for some of the most exciting tacos in the best Austin restaurant of 2020 and 2021. Take one highly skilled chef (Edgar Rico), place him in a 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. Also, keep an eye out for Persian food specials courtesy of co-owner Sara Mardanbigi. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A taco on dark tortilla on a blue plate.
The duck confit taco from Nixta Taqueria
Nixta Taqueria/Facebook

Better Half

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The Eater Austin restaurant of 2018 is an all-day cafe and bar from the Wright Bros. Brew & Brew team, featuring hearty stellar takes on burgers, biscuits, and Texas staples (chicken fried steak, redfish tortas), alongside cocktails, coffee, and a smart wine list. Get the cauliflower tots, you won’t regret it. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A sandwich on a light plate on a table.
A sandwich from Better Half.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Koriente

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This family-owned Korean-ish restaurant has great options for those craving simple, flavorful food with lots of vegetables, from the japchae with sweet potato noodles and vegetables to a rice medallion sautee. It is only open for to-go orders, call ahead for pickups or place delivery orders through third-party services.

Kalimotxo

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This Basque tapas bar with a great patio is attached to sibling spot Hestia, one of the fanciest options for downtown dining. The more casual Kalimotxo is known for excellent cocktails, vermouth, and porróns of wine as well as tapas like an unbeatable Spanish tortilla, wood-fired flatbreads, and a decadent sundae. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Two slices of bread with a tomato paste on a green plate.
The pan con tomate at Kalimotxo
Kalimotxo/Facebook

Vaquero Taquero

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This essential Austin taco spot is a bright spot on Dirty Sixth, with gooey quesadillas and meaty tacos, serving until 10 p.m. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A taco next to a container of red-brown liquid.
A taco and consommé at Vaquero Taquero.
Vaquero Taquero/Facebook

Buenos Aires Café

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Right in East Austin is the casual Argentinian restaurant Buenos Aires Cafe, Este, known for its plentiful tender grilled meats and empanadas. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A sandwich next to a pile of fries.
The lomito sandwich at Buenos Aires Cafe.
Buenos Aires Cafe/Facebook

Fareground

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Austin’s first and only food hall features some of the best restaurants and chefs in the city. There’s Israeli cuisine from TLV, dumplings from Little Wu, giant cookies from Henbit, French sandwiches from Austin Rotisserie, among others. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Cardboard trays of dumplings.
Dumplings from Little Wu.
Little Wu/Facebook

This fun east Austin wine bar is a great destination for natural wine and snacks. Enjoy a glass on the patio with some tinned fish or baguette and butter. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A dark gray plate of tinned sardines, a row of crackers, and a half-lemon on an orange table.
Tinned sardines and crackers at LoLo.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Veracruz All Natural

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Veracruz offers some of the best tacos in Austin, served on handmade tortillas with fresh salsas, and the outpost at the Line Hotel is convenient to festival-goers. Don’t forget to order the migas, perfect for breakfast, lunch, and potential hangovers. Takeout orders can be placed in person or online; there’s a walk-up window; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A bunch of tacos on a cardboard tray.
Migas tacos from Veracruz.
Veracruz All Natural/Facebook

One of Austin’s hottest restaurants is still Suerte, the Mexican-inspired spot with Eater Austin’s chef of 2018 Fermín Núñez. The menu is all about masa, from suadero tacos (confit brisket and “black magic” oil), carnitas tlacoyo, to tortillas a-plenty. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Tacos on a plate.
Suadero tacos at Suerte.
Suerte/Facebook

Via 313

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Detroit-style pizzeria and food truck offers thick, filling rectangular pies topped with cheese, meats, and vegetables. Try the sweet and savory Cadillac, which comes with gorgonzola, prosciutto, fig preserves topped with a balsamic glaze. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A pizza from Via 313
A pizza from Via 313
Via 313/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 4 p.m. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A piece of sushi with pink-orange salmon on top of rice.
A piece from Uchi.
Uchi/Facebook

Odd Duck

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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. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

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

La Barbecue

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One of the best options in Austin for barbecue, La Barbecue serves brisket, sausage, pulled pork, ribs, and turkey along with traditional sides (the mac and cheese is a great choice). Grab a sandwich to stay full all day. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Sliced brisket.
Brisket at La Barbecue.
La Barbecue/Facebook

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

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Trek further east to check out the Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya and best restaurant of 2017 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

Nixta Taqueria

It’s worth the trek to further east for some of the most exciting tacos in the best Austin restaurant of 2020 and 2021. Take one highly skilled chef (Edgar Rico), place him in a 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. Also, keep an eye out for Persian food specials courtesy of co-owner Sara Mardanbigi. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A taco on dark tortilla on a blue plate.
The duck confit taco from Nixta Taqueria
Nixta Taqueria/Facebook

Better Half

The Eater Austin restaurant of 2018 is an all-day cafe and bar from the Wright Bros. Brew & Brew team, featuring hearty stellar takes on burgers, biscuits, and Texas staples (chicken fried steak, redfish tortas), alongside cocktails, coffee, and a smart wine list. Get the cauliflower tots, you won’t regret it. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A sandwich on a light plate on a table.
A sandwich from Better Half.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Koriente

This family-owned Korean-ish restaurant has great options for those craving simple, flavorful food with lots of vegetables, from the japchae with sweet potato noodles and vegetables to a rice medallion sautee. It is only open for to-go orders, call ahead for pickups or place delivery orders through third-party services.

Kalimotxo

This Basque tapas bar with a great patio is attached to sibling spot Hestia, one of the fanciest options for downtown dining. The more casual Kalimotxo is known for excellent cocktails, vermouth, and porróns of wine as well as tapas like an unbeatable Spanish tortilla, wood-fired flatbreads, and a decadent sundae. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Two slices of bread with a tomato paste on a green plate.
The pan con tomate at Kalimotxo
Kalimotxo/Facebook

Vaquero Taquero

This essential Austin taco spot is a bright spot on Dirty Sixth, with gooey quesadillas and meaty tacos, serving until 10 p.m. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A taco next to a container of red-brown liquid.
A taco and consommé at Vaquero Taquero.
Vaquero Taquero/Facebook

Buenos Aires Café

Right in East Austin is the casual Argentinian restaurant Buenos Aires Cafe, Este, known for its plentiful tender grilled meats and empanadas. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A sandwich next to a pile of fries.
The lomito sandwich at Buenos Aires Cafe.
Buenos Aires Cafe/Facebook

Fareground

Austin’s first and only food hall features some of the best restaurants and chefs in the city. There’s Israeli cuisine from TLV, dumplings from Little Wu, giant cookies from Henbit, French sandwiches from Austin Rotisserie, among others. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Cardboard trays of dumplings.
Dumplings from Little Wu.
Little Wu/Facebook

LoLo

This fun east Austin wine bar is a great destination for natural wine and snacks. Enjoy a glass on the patio with some tinned fish or baguette and butter. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A dark gray plate of tinned sardines, a row of crackers, and a half-lemon on an orange table.
Tinned sardines and crackers at LoLo.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Veracruz All Natural

Veracruz offers some of the best tacos in Austin, served on handmade tortillas with fresh salsas, and the outpost at the Line Hotel is convenient to festival-goers. Don’t forget to order the migas, perfect for breakfast, lunch, and potential hangovers. Takeout orders can be placed in person or online; there’s a walk-up window; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A bunch of tacos on a cardboard tray.
Migas tacos from Veracruz.
Veracruz All Natural/Facebook

Suerte

One of Austin’s hottest restaurants is still Suerte, the Mexican-inspired spot with Eater Austin’s chef of 2018 Fermín Núñez. The menu is all about masa, from suadero tacos (confit brisket and “black magic” oil), carnitas tlacoyo, to tortillas a-plenty. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Tacos on a plate.
Suadero tacos at Suerte.
Suerte/Facebook

Via 313

Detroit-style pizzeria and food truck offers thick, filling rectangular pies topped with cheese, meats, and vegetables. Try the sweet and savory Cadillac, which comes with gorgonzola, prosciutto, fig preserves topped with a balsamic glaze. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A pizza from Via 313
A pizza from Via 313
Via 313/Facebook

Uchi

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 4 p.m. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A piece of sushi with pink-orange salmon on top of rice.
A piece from Uchi.
Uchi/Facebook

Odd Duck

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. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

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

La Barbecue

One of the best options in Austin for barbecue, La Barbecue serves brisket, sausage, pulled pork, ribs, and turkey along with traditional sides (the mac and cheese is a great choice). Grab a sandwich to stay full all day. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Sliced brisket.
Brisket at La Barbecue.
La Barbecue/Facebook

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

Trek further east to check out the Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya and best restaurant of 2017 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

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