Paris may be for lovers, but Austin is for eaters. As someone who tends to plan my trips around my three main meals, that made it impossibly hard to pick just a handful of restaurants, taco trucks, and coffee shops from the hundreds of mouthwatering Yelp reviews I’d read in anticipation of my recent trip to Texas’s funky, food-forward capital city.
I didn’t get to visit even a fraction of the places that were recommended to me, but I still managed to walk (okay roll) away from the city feeling pretty satisfied with my choices.
Here are, in no particular order, 5 of my favorite spots to grab a bite or a brew in Austin, TX:
Holy mother of all things smoked! When it comes to BBQ, Freedmen’s does not mess around. Freedmen’s is different from many of the other Austin meat meccas in that it is primarily a bar, which just happens to serve tremendous BBQ brisket on the side, but don’t let its upscale appearance and small table count fool you– Freedmen’s BBQ is ridiculously tasty. I got the chopped brisket sandwich with potato salad, and a smoked banana pudding for dessert. I was a happy, happy camper.
But do you want to know the best thing about Freedmen’s? No line. That’s right, not only are the desserts smoked, but you can also be in and out in the time it took your buddies to Instagram their view of the line at Franklin’s.
So, next time you’re passing through Austin and don’t have an entire morning to devote to waiting for your BBQ fix, head on over to Freedmen’s. They’ll treat you right.
Between the ultra-fresh, cleverly plated sashimi and aptly, yet ridiculously names Jar Jar Duck (delightfully tender, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of duck marinated in an applewood smoke that poofs out of the jar when you open it) Uchiko has the hipster farmhouse Japanese cuisine niche on lock.
Go for the perfectly curated ambience and make sure to bring friends– you’re going to want to try it all.
Veracruz Taco Truck
I visited a couple of taco trucks on my sojourn through Austin, and the original Veracruz truck on E Cesar Chavez was by far my favorite. Order the migas tacos and a Mexico Lindo smoothie. You will not be disappointed.
Oh and the tortas are pretty bomb too.
Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile is a gem of a place tucked along the Colorado River. The patio is where it’s at. With a whimsical yet homey vibe, it’s the perfect place to catch the sunset while snacking on upgraded Southern classics like pimento cheese and this divine pork chop, piled with peaches, and drizzled with a sweet and tart sorghum syrup.
If I’m being really really honest with you, Odd Duck was probably my favorite restaurant of the trip. With a tapas-style menu full of small, funky dishes, there’s something to please most anyone who stops by this fine establishment.
Even my mother– who doesn’t care for most cocktails, and especially doesn’t like whiskey– swooned over their High Five cocktail. And as unappetizing as “pig face” sounds, their Parker house roll with pig face really hit the spot.
So did the crawfish boil. And the dessert. And pretty much everything we ate.
Have you been to Austin? What were your favorites? I have to start compiling my must-eat list for my next visit!