To state that I’m excited about attending the annual HOU vs ATX Throwdown next year is an understatement. I’m really not big into BBQ – well, I can’t eat as much as a true fan does – but I do love meeting the pitmasters, oogling over the meat and dining with friends and fellow fans!
This year, the throwdown was in Austin at Friends & Allies Brewing back parking lot. If you’ve ever been to a BBQ Festival, you know the lines can get long and the crowd can get wild, but the setup of this one was perfect. The lines were manageable, you could mingle and observe what was cooking at each spot, and the weather for the event was absolutely perfect. Pair it with a delicious brew from Friends & Allies, and you have a Sunday made in heaven!
Here are some photos from the unique BBQ bites we had at the event:
If you can’t wait till the next throwdown between ATX and HOU around this time next year, then get your tickets for the HOU BBQ Festival on April 14th now!
This guide to the Best of East Austin Restaurants is part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s 2019 City Guide. #atxbesteats
Updated May 2019
If you like looking at maps to find the locations and plan a walk, bike ride, rideshare, etc. then you’re going to love the map I’ve embedded into this post! If you expand it to full screen, you can click on a restaurant in the listing and it’ll show you the pin on the map as well as some vertical videos and food or drink pics of mine (or others’ photos with credit given in the blog post) to get you drooling! Call or check out a restaurant’s website simply by clicking in the map. Go ahead, take a look, play a bit, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
*All pictures in the map are the same as those you see in this post. See captions of pictures for appropriate credit if they aren’t mine.
I’ve been living and dining in East Austin for 4 years now, and boy has the food scene expanded over time! We’ve seen some really great places come and go ;( And tons of spots have stuck around through all the East Austin revitalization going on.
Nonetheless, I’m sure you’ve dined on the EastSide at least once even if you don’t live in this part of town! It’s become quite the mecca for unique culinary experiences and here are some of the spots I recommend. Again, this is not meant to be an all-inclusive list since there are probably more restaurants than meals 🙂 I also haven’t made my way out to every East Austin restaurant quite yet.
Hill Country Cuisine
If you’ve asked me any time since August, “what’s your favorite restaurant right now?” my response has been, “Pitchfork Pretty.” I love the A-frame design, bright chalet feel and everything I’ve ever eaten or sipped on there.
My recommendations: To name a few for dinner — Yuca Dumplings, Fried Chicken, Buckwheat Cornbread, Oysters
Brunch — All of the bagel sandwiches! They make their own bagels, y’all.
So I dine here a lot. Brunch on Sundays, dinner on a weeknight, oh and a super dope Happy Hour (all night on Thursdays)! Alot of the staff have been there since they opened and I like to feel like it’s my home away from home.
If you want high quality seafood and Jacoby’s Ranch beef mixed in with a Mexican/ATX-Mex feel, this is your place!
My recommendations: Just a few of my faves — Tostaditas, Tuna Tostadas, Ceviche Mixto, Queso, Street Sprouts, Picadillo Tacos. For drank — FroMo, 50/50, Grizz Mizz, Bad Girl Ri Ri.
Can’t pass up their Sunday Brunch Buffet!
Parking: Parking on the street on Tillery or 2nd. Also, valet.
TexMex is fine and all and usually is what you’ll find more of around town, but the Eastside is blessed with Licha’s and if you love sopecitos, tinga de pollo and cochinita pibil as much as we do, this is your spot for authentic Interior Mexican fare! They’ve got an incredible happy hour – probably one of the best in town, IMO!
My Recommendations: Ceviche, Arroz con Huitlachoche, Tinga de Pollo, Cochinita Pibil Tlacoyos
When this spot popped up on Rosewood and Angelina, Instagram was flooded with pictures of their tacos. We stopped in to see what all the hype was about and totally get why they’re some of the most loved tacos in Austin. They only serve one kind of taco, the Discada, with the best mix of beef and pork cooked in a wok and topped with onions, pineapples, cilantro, etc.! It’s a technique found in Northern Mexico and the owner, Jose, shared with me that his family cooked this way and he wanted to serve it in Austin. The tacos aren’t huge, so order alot – mostly because you aren’t going to want to share and you’re going to keep craving them!
My Recommendations: I get 3 Discada tacos for myself and 8 if sharing with the hubs. And definitely try the elotes.
Fairly new to the Mueller development, Stella Public House focuses on “farm to pizza.” If you dine there, be sure to get one of their Texas-sourced artisan wood-fired pizzas! They have way more than that, from fresh salads, to a wonderful brunch menu (with things other than pizza)!
Stop on by for happy hour daily from 4-6:30PM and try out tons of incredible dishes at happy hour pricing. Their Margherita pizza is only $5 during happy hour!
My recommendations: Dinner — Wild mushroom mac & cheese, Bee Sting pizza, Proscuitto Arugula pizza
Brunch –Root Hash, Egg Panino
Parking: Street parking and validated parking in the garage next to the Alamo Drafthouse
It took me ages to get to Intero but I’m so glad I did. They focus on the whole animal in their Italian creations and save room for some of the tastiest chocolates I’ve gotten my hands on. Chef Ian and Chocolatier Krystal are a power couple in the restaurant and out and about. They’re married and the sweetest. With Brunch service as a new addition to their offering, you really need to dine there asap and enjoy their culinary creations. The restaurant is absolutely gorgeous as well!
My recommendations: Gnocchi, Spaghettini, Burrata, Risotto
Parking: They have a parking lot and there is also street parking in the area
When Native Italian bring Italian Sandwiches to the Eastside, you run! This low-key, casual, cafe vibes spot at The Arnold, should be on your line up for amazing paninis (the real kind, not the panini maker kind), mozzarella boards, boards, and vibrant fresh salads. Oh and if you’re a Soccer fan, they’ve got several TV’s broadcasting games!
My Recommendations: Hot Soppressata, Fontina, Roasted Peppers, Basil on Ciabatta – legit Italian sandwich, y’all! Enjoy with a Kale, Burrata, Mango, Endive, Turnip, Radish, Hazelnut, Mint and Lime.
They’re known for their mozzarella boards and boards with meat and cheese in general. I’ll be going back for these!
If you’re needing a libation, they have Italian wines, beer, and coffee of course.
Since they’re open daily from 11-9PM, you have plenty of opportunities to try out the entire menu.
Parking: Street parking and validated parking in the garage (bring your ticket in)
Situated outside of the Butterfly Bar and The Vortex, Patrizi’s has a legit operation going serving up super fancy and uber satisfying Italian classics all from a food trailer! If you stop by any evening around 6:45 or so, you’ll almost guaranteed have to wait in line. Don’t worry though, staff pass around the tastiest zucchini salads to hold you over, and they’ll even talk you through the menu and what works best for your dining occasion that night!
My Recommendations: The Great Leopold or Karah’s Diavolo + the best and most affordable chicken in town! Patrizi’s salad for sure and NEVER PASS UP an order of garlic bread!
Parking: They’ve got a parking lot shared with Butterfly Bar and The Vortex and there is neighborhood parking nearby.
Takes reservations: It’s a truck – stand in line, yo!
Uh, if you love biscuits and fried chicken, a visit to Bird Bird Biscuit is an absolute must! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been. They’ve got sausage, bacon, and just little biscuit dough bites too – if you don’t like fried chicken. Their biscuits remind me of the ones I ate growing up in Southern Louisiana. Quite often, you’ll find a line at the joint – don’t let it scare you…it moves fast!
My Recommendations: Queen Beak, Dough Dough Bites
Parking: A few spots up front and then street parking
Takes reservations: Not that kind of place. Order at the counter and grab a seat or take to-go
The fact that we have restaurants that are zero waste is yet another reason Austin has one of the best culinary scenes in the country. Brewer’s Table brews their own beer and uses the malts, hops, grains from the brewing process in their culinary creations. How amazing is that?!
Check out their Lager Garden for an exclusive menu including sandwiches, sides and brews. Stop on by for brunch on the weekends and enjoy pancakes, breakfast hash, deviled eggs and other brunch staples! They’ve got mimosas, friends!
My Recommendations: Get The Feast! It easily serves 3 if you start with an app or two
Ok, so this is a bar with an impressive menu, so it deserves a spot on this list. My husband and I frequent it for a casual spot to grab a drink and enjoy a quick bite usually on our way to see a band at the Historic Scoot Inn.
My Recommendations: Cheese or Charcuterie boards, Meze (99% of the time, I order this), Frito Pie (life-changing), Roasted Beet Sandwich, Tuna Melt (my husband’s obsession). If you love a spiced saltine, order the Social Crackers – eat them alone or with the meze or cheese board.
Parking: They have a lot and there is street parking off of 5th
I was lucky enough to be invited for Sunday Funday Brunch fairly soon after the opening of RKB, and I was blown away by the attention to detail on their food! They’ve been open on East 6th for over a year now, and Chef Dom always keeps the menu seasonal and fresh, Alana knocks it out of the park with amazing cocktail creations, and LisaMarie is the most amazing Operations Director I’ve ever encountered. Overall, quite the team!
My Recommendations: Dinner — Chicken Lollipops (asian garlic, dry rub, thai green curry), Chili Fries (add avocado), RKB Burger, Fries, Sweet Potato Tots,
I can’t remember my first time grabbing a brioche or torta from ADP, but it’s been a frequented spot for us the last 3 years. Grab a spot out front on a nice day, or order and get your food brought to you while sipping on a drink at The Wheel.
My Recommendations: Jalapeno Hushpuppies ALWAYS, The Lucy Tacos, Baby Buffalo, Mini Tuxedo, Pineapple Express Tacos, Thai Salad, Medi Salad, Lavender Lemonade
Address: 1900 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. and 4620 E. Cesar Chavez St. Bldg. 1
Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
One of the first ranch-to-table restaurant in Austin, Jacoby’s always impresses with the tastiest beef and the most beautiful views of the Colorado River. Scoot on over to the Mercantile and buy yourself a little something while you’re there too. I always do 🙂
My Recommendations: Dinner — Deviled Eggs, Cheeseburger, Chicken Fried Steak, Mac & Cheese, Brussels Sprouts, Wood Roasted Chicken
Where my Odd Duck lovers at? Sour Duck is their fast-casual sister restaurant on the Eastside and it needs to be on your list asap.
Their dishes are so creative and rarely the same day-to-day. Focusing on smoked meats, they’ve got one of our favorite burgers in town! And if you enjoy craft beer and cocktails, they’ve got reasonably priced draft beers and cocktails on tap.
Their patio and outdoor area is one of my favorites in town and it’s kid-friendly too!
My Recommendations: Burger, Dirty Fried Rice. The menu changes regularly but the burger is always on and you’ve gotta order one (or else)
Parking: Parking lot and street parking
Takes reservations: No, not needed. You order at the counter/bar and grab a seat
Address: 1814 E. MLK Jr. Blvd
Micklethwait Craft Meats
Included on the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas and well-deserving of the list, Micklethwait has become one of our go-to spots when we want BBQ without a super long wait. I personally love their Brisket Frito Pie the most and will keep going back for it!
My Recommendations: Brisket Frito Pie, Smoked Chicken, Brisket, Sausage, Beef rib, Jalapeno-cheese grits, buttermilk pie (leave room for it)
No “Best Of BBQ” or Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas list could ever be complete without including Franklin! I think it’s worth standing in line at least once in your life. Don’t both even dreaming of cutting the line or joining a group of friends who have been waiting a while, as you’ll get a stare-down like no other and probably a talking-to! Pro Tip – if you know you’re going to eat at least $75 worth, you can pre-order and pick it up.
My Recommendations: Brisket, Ribs, Pulled Pork, Potato Salad, Bourbon Banana Pie
Parking: Parking nearby
Takes reservations: Pre-order at least $75 worth of BBQ and you can just pick it up; otherwise, you’re waiting in line as they don’t take reservations.
Now you can get La Barbecue inside the Quickie Pickie off E. Cesar Chavez. Be sure to prepare to wait in line but at least part of the line is inside! And yes, it’s on the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas list!
My Recommendations: Brisket, Pork Ribs, Chipotle Sausage, El Sancho, La Frito Loco
Parking: Parking lot and street parking
Takes reservations: Nope, you gotta wait in line or call ahead 3 days in advance and pre-order
While this might not be your typical BBQ spot, they pride themselves in their menu which features their own BBQ onsite. The space is absolutely beautiful with earth tones and there is a huge rooftop area with a bar and epic views of the sunset. Plan to happy hour, brunch and dine here!
Perhaps I love this place because it’s walking distance from my house or maybe because one of the owners is a fellow Texas Ex! Either way, you’ve gotta drop by either of their locations and try out some Texas BBQ!
My Recommendations: Brisket, Brisket Frito Pie, Pulled Pork, Banana Pudding
Parking: Nearby and street parking near the 11th St. location
I always feel so comfortable and as if I’m on vacation when I dine at Blue Dahlia. If you love all things tartine, meat and cheese boards, salads, and entrees like meatloaf, Coq au Vin Blanc, then Blue Dahlia is your spot!
My Recommendations: Meat Board (50% off during happy hour), Egg Salad Tartine, Mesclun Greens Salad, Hummus Tartine, Smoked Salmon Tartine, Egg White Frittato, Macarons (get some to-go!)
Old Thousand serves up some impressive Chinese classics with a modern twist – take for instance the Brisket Fried Rice! So satisfying with the addition of Micklethwait’s brisket, this is a craveable dish that stands alone or as a supplement to some Orange Chicken or Kung Pao Cauliflower!
My Recommendations: Just a few — Brisket Fried Rice, Chongqing Chicken, Kung Pao Cauliflower, OT Dan Dan, and Cumin Beef. Stop in for Lucky Time Monday-Friday from 5-6:30PM for a $5 menu of select food and drinks.
Parking: Street parking and a free parking lot behind the building
Why did it take us so long to to get a restaurant that serves dumplings and authentic Chinese dishes on the Eastside? When I put two and two together (a new building coming up with awesome art and an Eater Austin article announcing Sweet Chive’s upcoming soft opening), I scheduled a dinner date with a girlfriend and got there as soon as I could.
The family behind Sweet Chive aren’t new to the restaurant business. Chef Pai has China Cafe, Dragon Gate and Peony Asian Cuisine under her belt.
My Recommendations: Beef Noodle Soup, BonBon Chicken, Pan Fried Dumplings, Scallion Pancakes
Parking: Parking lot and street parking
Takes reservations: No, this is a counter-service restaurant
Now you can nom on all things Sa-Ten at 2 locations! The original and the location I first devoured their yummy toasts, yakitori and katsu was at the Canopy off of Springdale Rd. If you enjoy their attention to the coffee ritual or traditional eats, Sa-Ten should be on your list.
My Recommendations: Yakitori Bowl, Chicken Katsu plate with kale salad and macaroni fuji salad, Potato Wedges with Cilantro Sauce, Cold Chicken Katsu, Chicken Katsu Curry, Yasai Toast, Nori Tama Toast, Egg Bacon and Sausage Toast
Parking: Shared lot with The Canopy
Takes reservations: Order at counter and grab a seat
Address: 916 Springdale Rd., Bldg 3 Suite 101 and 4917 Airport Blvd.
Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches
These aren’t your average kolaches! Imagine Micklethwait’s brisket and sausage inside a housemade kolache. Well, you don’t have to just dream about it because you can walk on in to Batch morning or night and get you some!
My Recommendations: Sausage Jalapeno & Cheese, Brisket Pickle & Swiss, Pepperoni Pizza, Jalapeno & Cheese, PB&J. They have an awesome selection of beer on draft and several cans to grab and go or enjoy on site (with a corkage fee).
Parking: Parking lot
Takes reservations: Just walk on in and order at the counter and grab a spot inside, out on the beautiful backyard or take it to-go
I am pretty familiar with Ayurveda as I grew up practicing some of it in my household when one of us experienced an illness. I also learned more about it a couple of years ago during my coursework as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. And then, low and behold, Curcuma, an Ayurvedic focused food trailer joined the Austin scene! It’s a 100% plant-based menu. Go on in and meet the owner, Rachel. Try all of her yummy creations. You’ll feel good knowing your eating healthy and nourishing your body in the way that feels right for you. Take home a few jars of Golden Paste while you’re there for all your at-home golden latte, smoothie, oats needs!
My Recommendations: Noms — Sweet potato toasts, Spirulina Pesto Bowl, Raw Pecan Tacos, Kitchari Bowl
Drink — Reishi Mocha, Golden Mylk, Sexy Joe
Parking: It’s part of a Food Trailer Park so there is plenty of parking in the lot
Takes reservations: Order at the window or call ahead
I quite literally could eat at Bento Picnic everyday. Bento = Japanese for lunchbox. If you’ve never tried a bento box, imagine a dish with compartments and different textures, colors and flavors all coming together for a delish meal. Bento Picnic focuses on 5 tastes, colors and elements to engage the senses!
They’ve got something for everyone with veggie, vegan, and gf options. They also travel nicely if you like your meals prepped for you ahead of time, like me!
My Recommendations: Mushroom garden bento, Japanese cauliflower curry bowl, salmon noodle bowl
Parking: There are a few spots in the back and plenty of street parking
Takes reservations: None needed. You can order ahead of time online as well.
If you love Northern Thai street food, then DeeDee is your jam! Their new location off Pedernales and E. 6th is a great spot to order at the truck, grab a spot in the “yard” and chill (cool down from the spicy yummy thai dishes).
My Recommendations: Larb Moo (this is SPICY), Om Gai, Som Tum, Mango & Sticky Rice
Parking: Street nearby
Takes reservations: Order at the trailer or call ahead
This new addition to the Mueller area is a nice spot for some authentic poke boxes and the first ever pokecado toasts! They have a miso soup dispenser as well. Oh, and be sure to save room for some Dole Whip or a float.
My Recommendations: They’ve got generous portions and the poke box and pokecado toasts are fully customizable. You get 4 scoops of protein (make them all the same or try a scoop of each). Be sure to get a scoop of spicy crab salad!
When you have the best Peruvian Cebiche on a recent trip and then you hear a Peruvian restaurant with a Cebiche Bar shows up on the Eastside, you go! It’s such a beautiful space with a huge covered patio to enjoy some cocktails and apps!
My Recommendations: Happy Hour — Jalea De Calamari, Yuquitas
Drink — Rose Sangria, Pisco Punch, Lima Gin & Tonic
Dinner — Tiradito Divorciado, Vegetales a la Brasa
So, what do you think? So much food to start trying, haha! What are you waiting for?! But seriously, I hope you enjoy dining at some of my favorite restaurants on the Eastside. Feel free to comment below if you need more recommendations.
Thanks for reading!
Don’t see your favorite on the list? Let me know in a comment below.