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Must Eat Restaurants in Austin, TX

    Austin has such a great food scene! From Asian Fusion to Gastropubs, Austin has just about anything you could want to eat! And when you’re planning your trip to Austin, choosing your restaurants ahead of time is one of the best things to do, because there are just so many options! In my opinion, there are 3 things you MUST eat in Austin: BBQ, Tex-Mex, and dessert. Because always dessert.

    Here’s where we went and other highly recommended restaurants in Austin:


    Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q

    Casual, family friendly, and lots of sides to choose from. The moist brisket was our family’s favorite! We enjoyed both of their BBQ sauces, sissy ‘sause’ and original ‘sause’, which they also sell by the bottle. The only thing this place is missing in my opinion is some macaroni and cheese, which is a must for my kids who are picky about eating meat. Rudy’s Country Store is not only yummy, it is one of the more affordable BBQ options in Austin and the meat is priced by the half pound, which gives additional flexibility.

    Terry Black’s BBQ

    Locals rave about this place and the price and crowds reflect that. If your family has dietary restrictions, Terry Black’s is a great choice, because their menu items are plainly marked gluten free, dairy free, or vegetarian. Go early and leave happy.

    The Salt Lick BBQ

    Take a little drive out of the city and spend a leisurely afternoon at The Salt Lick BBQ. With spacious outdoor seating and live music, it’s a great restaurant for the whole family. They have a family-style all you can eat option, or you can choose between meat by the pound and a plate option that comes with sides.


    El Mercado

    When we are browsing Mexican restaurant menus, I always look at their taco selection. Tacos Al Pastor and Carnitas Tacos are two of our favorites, and we rounded out the meal with sopapillas for dessert. El Mercado has 3 Austin locations. We visited their South 1st Street location, which has an outdoor patio with a small playground, so our kids were entertained while we ate.

    Eldorado Café

    Two highly recommended menu items here are the salsa sampler and their shiny ribs glazed with sweet arbol chilis. They also have a whole list of breakfast tacos that look incredible!

    Waterloo Ice House

    If your family is spilt on whether they want American or Tex-Mex food, Waterloo Ice House is a great choice. Their breakfast menu has everything from chicken & waffles to migas with refried beans. And their dinner menu has hot wings, mix & match tacos, and gourmet burgers. To top it off, a couple of their Austin locations have playgrounds for kids.


    Chuy’s is an eclectic chain of Tex-Mex restaurants that started in Austin. Each of these funky restaurants has their own flair, from wooden fish hanging from the ceiling to an Elvis shrine. Two of their most popular menu items are “big as yo’ face” burritos and their Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom enchilada.

    If you want to try out a little Chuy’s before your trip to Austin, look for locations around the country from Colorado to Ohio to Florida.

    Tip for Families: If you have young kids, search for Austin restaurants with playgrounds!


    Tiny’s Milk & Cookies

    Dessert options for everyone: chocolate chip cookies, an assortment of pastries, ice cream, coffee, and refreshing beverages like mint lemonade. Featured on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.


    You’ve had donuts topped with chocolate fudge or cream cheese and berries before, but  Gourdough’s is an experience all to itself. With more than two dozen different dessert options, you’ll want to go with a group to try as many doughnuts as possible. Gourdough’s has two locations with slightly different offerings. If you want a dessert donut with the full Airstream trailer experience, visit the South 1st Street location. If you want to try one of their many donut sandwiches and burgers, you’ll want to visit Gourdough’s Public House on South Lamar.

    Pie Bar

    Pie Bar offers both mini and full-size pies with mousse and cobbler fillings. Their pies rotate, but you can find flavors like Oreo cheesecake, banana cream, Mexican chocolate, and key lime. And if nothing in the case seems quite right, you can build your own mini pie with your choice of pie crust, mousse filling, and toppings.

    Churro Co Food Truck

    How could you go wrong topping churros with ice cream and delicious toppings? Find this food truck and their sweet little outdoor seating just a few blocks from the Greetings From Austin mural.

    The Baked Bear

    The Baked Bear serves custom ice cream sandwiches. Choose 2 cookies, ice cream, and toppings, and then devour your ice cream treat. OR… have it hot pressed for that freshly baked cookie warmth!


    Those are our top 3 things to eat in Austin and here’s a little bonus. Whataburger vs In-N-Out is a big debate for Texans. Try a burger and fries at each to compare and decide which your crew prefers!

    Fill Your Day:

    Plan your whole weekend in Austin with our itinerary suggestions.

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