Austin undoubtedly knows how to have fun, and that starts with good food and drink. From highbrow fine dining to the absolute finest in food served out of a truck, Austin has it all — and whether you like a craft beer, a unique cocktail with a locally distilled liquor, or just a pitcher of sweet tea, there’s a drink ready for you to wash it down with.
Texas as a whole is known for its Mexican food, but it’s still important to know where to look for the best in town. Locals in Austin will point you towards Borrego de Oro for classic authentic Mexican, and Fonda San Miguel for Mexican fine dining. If Tex-Mex is more your style, you’ll want to try Chuy’s at its original location on Barton Springs Road. For vegetarian and gluten-free options, you’ve got to try Mr. Natural for your Mexican fix. If you’re really just looking for margaritas, Polvo’s is the destination for the height of authenticity in Austin frozen margaritas.
Food trucks, or trailer dining, has been a staple of Austin cuisine since before the food truck craze hit the rest of the US. You’re not really a true Austinite until you’ve spent the day cruising the town and stopping in at food trailer parks as the hours pass to sample the best the city has to offer. Taco enthusiasts will want to check out the beloved Torchy’s, as well as Veracruz All Natural and El Primo; for classic southern fare, you’re best off at Red Star Southern ordering the Tennessee hot chicken, and for barbecue there’s no place like La Barbecue Cuisine Texicana. There’s even a vegan option — Arlo’s on Red River Street — and sushi at Kyoten. The beloved East Side King has seen one of its proprieters, Paul Qui, win Season 9 of Top Chef — it’s more than worth trying their spicy Asian fusion menu.
Of course, there’s also a higher-end dining experience available; no one wants to eat every meal standing up off a paper plate. Fine dining destination Wink has been serving farm-to-table food since before everyone else was and offers a vegetarian tasting menu; Lenoir offers seasonal fare that pairs perfectly with Austin’s hot weather.
Good to the Last Drop
After you eat, you’ll of course need something to wet your whistle. Craft beer aficionados will want to stop by Craft Pride, one of the best beer bars in all of the US with 54 taps; if you want to enjoy the sunshine while you sip, check out Easy Tiger’s beer garden on East 6th Street. If you’re more interested in specifically local Austin brews, Growler USA is the place for you, with local beers on tap and local breweries hosting tap takeovers regularly. Austin has more than its fair share of local microbreweries, from Austin Beerworks to Jester King and beyond, and they almost all offer tours. If you can still walk after that, check out Deep Eddy Distillery, with deliciously Southern takes on flavored vodka like Peach and Sweet Tea.