The 50 Best Things to Eat in Austin Before You Die

Dietitians will try to tell you “eat to live,” but the Austinite M.O. is definitely “live to eat.”

Austin is the type of city where you can get gourmet dishes out of a food truck, so narrowing down the “must-eats” to just 50 was nearly impossible. How many of our favorites have you crossed off your bucket list?

1. Polenta Fries at St. Philip

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Mozzarella sticks get an upgrade in this creamy, crispy appetizer.

2. Squash & Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich at FoodHeads

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The squash sandwich is grilled to perfection and full of veggies, so you’ll feel healthy AF while you eat it. Don’t forget to try the homemade pickles that come on the side.

3. Campfire Churro at Churro Co.

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Enjoy the great outdoors at the Churro Co. food truck, where this delicious dessert fusion will have you screaming for s’more.

4. Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Honey Ice Cream at Lick

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Lick’s commitment to quality, locally-sourced ingredients is reflected in their exciting list of unique, fresh flavors. Goat cheese, thyme, and honey is the perfect combination of tangy and sweet.

5. The O.G. at Blenders and Bowls

Photo by Evan Rauch

Even if you aren’t one of those people who goes to yoga, discovers a new Indie band, and tends their rain garden (all before 8 am), you can look like one while munching on this bowl that’s overflowing with fresh fruit and hemp granola. Fake it ’til you make it.

6. Sapporo Ramen at Michi Ramen

Photo by Gabby Phi

Kick that Top Ramen to the curb with this souped-up bowl that is loaded with pork, veggies, and butter. You have the option to customize your noodles, broth, and toppings at Michi, but the Sapporo is amazing just the way it is.

7. Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s Famous El Rancho

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This queso filled with taco meat and guacamole gets its name from the professional wrestler and UT-alum who placed the first order. He just might be your new hero after you try a scoop.

8. Pretzel with Beer Cheese at Easy Tiger

Photo courtesy of Chris Perez –

Easy Tiger’s location on East 6th makes it a perfect spot for brunch or happy hour. Their pretzel is made in-house and always fresh, making it the perfect vessel for the big scoops of beer cheese you’ll be shoving in your mouth.

9. Chicken Kebab at Halal Bros

Photo by Kathleen Lee

Halal Bros is a campus favorite for simple and flavorful takeout. They are open late, so the chicken kebab is a delicious alternative for when the line at Whataburger is out the door.

10. Lobster Roll at Clark’s Oyster Bar

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You don’t have to be a New Englander to eat like one. At Clark’s, the lobster meat is sweet, the roll is buttery, and the shoestring fries are perfectly crispy.

11. Blackout Donut at Gourdough’s Public House

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You might not actually blackout, but you are sure to get chocolate-wasted off one of the best donuts in Austin. The Gourdough’s trailer makes them, but the restaurant on South 1st will make you feel like an Austinite.

12. Breakfast Burger at Josephine House

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Your hangover has met its match. Josephine’s juicy burger rests on a homemade bun and is topped with a fried egg and bacon.

13. Barbecue Sammy at Freedmen’s

Photo courtesy of Freedmen’s Bar

Freedmen’s is a historic yet laid-back beer garden and smoke house in West Campus that serves up delicious barbecue all day. Best part is, they won’t break your bank. Get their lunchbox deal for $10, which includes this melt-in-your-mouth barbecue sandwich, a side, and a drink.

14. Afternoon Delight at Bananarchy

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Nothing screams “Austin” like a frozen banana stand inspired by Arrested Development. The Afternoon Delight is covered in all three dips (chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla), nuts and graham cracker.

15. Breakfast Roll at Texas Honey Ham Company

Photo by Kathleen Lee

Honey Ham is known for their breakfast tacos, but is a hard-sell when there are other taco joints closer to campus. This roll loaded with a fried egg, cheese and meat is worth the drive to Westlake.

16. Kimchi Fries at Chi’Lantro

Photo by Wylie Gorup

Mexican-Korean fusion just works. Chi’Lantro killed it as a food truck, and now they have their own restaurant. You’ll believe the hype once you take your first bite of these fries, loaded with meat, sauces, kimchi, cilantro, and sesame seeds.

17. Don Juan Taco at Juan in a Million

Photo courtesy of Juan in a Million

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and this taco is no exception. Juan in a Million’s ginormous breakfast taco brings people from all over the country to their East Austin location.

18. The Originator at JuiceLand

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The Originator is a peanut butter and jelly smoothie, y’all. Minus the bread and packed with protein, Juiceland’s greatest creation will keep you full and make you feel like a kid again.

19. Texas Trash Pie at Royer’s Pie Haven

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Royer’s gets the salty and sweet duo right, combining chocolate, caramel, pecans, coconut, and pretzels into one incredible slice of heaven.

20. Green Chile Macaroni at Moonshine Grill

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kieth – flickr

Moonshine adds some Tex-Mex flair to a classic mac-n-cheese with green chile, corn, and bacon gratin. Bonus points for serving up popcorn and to-die-for corn muffins fo’ free.

21. Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich at Launderette

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100% chance of this being your most-liked picture on Instagram. This ice cream sandwich is a party on your plate and in your mouth.

22. Banh Mi at Elizabeth Street Cafe

Photo by Madi Barsky

Fresh and flavorful ingredients set this banh mi apart. Elizabeth Street Cafe has an adorable outdoor seating area where you can enjoy their full menu, including made-in-house macarons and eclairs.

23. Cheeseburger at P. Terry’s

Photo by Wylie Gorup

P. Terry opened his first burger stand back in 2005 and has built an empire in the ten years since. Order some shoestring fries on the side, and tell them not to skimp on the special sauce.

24. Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes at Magnolia Cafe

Photo by Wylie Gorup

I would recommend ordering the whole menu at Mag’s (like I do every time I go). But if you had to try just one thing, make it the huge, fluffy pancakes and don’t feel bad licking your plate clean.

25. Rainbow Cone at Sno-Beach

Photo courtesy of Yelp user Katherine W.

Sno-Beach is the perfect food truck to help you beat the Texas heat. Top your cone with a drizzle of cream for a rich and refreshing snack.

26. Jess Special at Tacodeli

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The Jess Special is full of avocado, jack cheese, and migas mix. Pro-tip: they are available every morning in the RLM, so you can get your fix before your 8 am calculus discussion.

27. Duck Pastrami at Noble Sandwich Co.

Photo courtesy of Meghan McCarron-Eater Austin

This rich and flavorful sandwich was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so get your Guy Fieri on and try this new twist on a deli staple.

28. Stuffed Avocado at Trudy’s

Photo courtesy of Yelp user Isra A.

File this under “looks gross tastes great.” The avocado is fried, stuffed with chicken or veggies, and smothered in suiza sauce. Dios mio.

29. The Ainsworth at Fricano’s Deli

Photo courtesy of Yelp contributor Colin S.

If you don’t know what sandwich to choose, order the Ainsworth. The staff will pick the ingredients for you, so it’s different every time but always delicious.

30. Braised Beef Short Rib at Second Bar & Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Yelp contributor Paige B.

The perfectly tender ribs are served under grilled and fried onions and on top of black truffle grits. 10/10 would recommend.

31. Son In Law at Sway

Photo courtesy of Melody Fury

Brings a new meaning to “#putaneggonit.” Sway boasts a terrific, modern Thai dining experience that is sure to please.

32. Bacon Waffle at Bacon

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As the name suggests, Bacon puts the crispy good stuff on nearly everything, including right into the waffle batter. It’s, sweet, salty and basically a superfood.

33. Chloe’s Crepe at Le Cafe Crepe

Photo by Michelle Wang

Nutella game so strong. As they say at Cafe Crepe, “bon appetit, y’all.”

34. The Notorious P.I.G. at Frank

Photo courtesy of Yelp Contributor Eric L.

“Sicker than your average… hot dog. I just love your flashy ways of topping a custom-made pork, bacon, jalepeño and sage sausage with mac-n-cheese.” – Biggie Smalls

35. BLT Benny at Hillside Farmacy

Photo by Evan Rauch

Don’t feel like you are missing out at brunch by combining two meals into one. The BLT benny is an epic mashup that has got you covered for breakfast and lunch.

36. Trailer Park Taco at Torchy’s

Photo courtesy of Torchy’s Tacos

Fried chicken on a taco. What else needs to be said? If you take after Leslie Knope by avoiding salad and other disgusting things, order your taco “trashy.” They’ll leave off the lettuce and replace it with queso.

37. Shiner Bock Fajitas at Hula Hut

Photo courtesy of Hula Hut

If you haven’t combined your beer with your fajitas, you ain’t met my Texas yet. And Hula Hut’s spot overlooking Lake Austin can’t be beat.

38. Mozzarella at Bufalina

Photo courtesy of Yelp contributor Willy A.

Sure, you could order a pizza here and get your cheese-fix that way. But Bufalina makes their own mozz daily, and the accompaniments are always changing. The simplicity and quality makes this a cheese worth ordering alone.

39. Kerbey Queso at Kerbey Lane Cafe

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Kerbey is a campus staple that’s open around the clock. Nothing tastes better than queso at 3 am after a long night of studying (or a long night of drinking, let’s be real).

40. Monte Cristo at Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What?

Photo courtesy of Yelp contributor Linette S.

Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What? serves up some awesome sandwiches out of their food truck, but this meaty, Shiner-battered Monte Cristo steals the show. No question here, you’ll eat the whole thing or die trying.

41. Beet Home Fries at East Side King

Photo by Evan Rauch

Austin’s golden boy and Top Chef winner Paul Qui created East Side King, which serves up beet fries so good, you might even forget potatoes exist.

42. Brisket at Franklin Barbecue

Photo courtesy of Franklin Barbecue

There is a reason people start lining up outside Franklin’s in the early morning. It is the epitome of Texas BBQ, and it is so worth the wait.

43. Short Rib Hash at Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile

Photo courtesy of Zach Beil

Treat yo’self to this hash at Jacoby’s, which boasts pickled peppers and a spicy hollandaise. The farm-to-table eatery ensures that every bite you take is full of the freshest ingredients Austin has to offer.

44. Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit at 24 Diner

Photo courtesy of Yelp contributor Wes W.

There’s nothing wrong with getting your HBCB from Whataburger, but 24 Diner keeps it real, too. It is definitely worth shelling out a little extra cash for this bad boy.

45. Truffled Deviled Eggs at Salty Sow

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Pressman

You won’t find these at a neighborhood picnic. Go for happy hour and nosh on these super-rich and creamy deviled eggs. You might not even need an entree.

46. Grilled Meatloaf at Eastside Cafe

Photo courtesy of Yelp contributor Michelle N.

Comfort food at it’s finest. I tend to stay away from meatloaf because it often includes ketchup (which I hate). But the bacon tomato sauce that covers this loaf made me a believer again.

47. Fried Chicken at Gus’s Fried Chicken

Photo by Vicky Nguyen

Gus’s is a simple, no-frills restaurant with a mean chicken recipe. Use your hands and don’t be afraid to get messy. #NoRagrets

48. Brussels Sprouts at Uchiko

Photo by Nikki Shiner

You may have hated vegetables as a kid (maybe you still hate them), but this dish will change your mind. The brussels sprouts are sweet and slightly spicy with a Japanese flair, a fabulous dish on Tyson Cole’s all-around outstanding menu.

49. Carrot Cake French Toast at South Congress Cafe

Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Dessert for breakfast? Count me in. This french toast is super flavorful and will keep you full all day.

50. Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza at Home Slice

Photo courtesy of Adam Kuban – flickr

Pepperoni and mushroom is the classic of all classics. Venture to South Congress to grab a big-as-your-face slice of this bad boy. Fold it in half and eat it like a New Yorker for full effect.

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