Alright, all you hungry festival-goers: here’s where to eat in Austin during SXSW. Whether you’re a local who’s braving the crowds or a visitor who is finally getting to visit this amazing city we all love so much, SXSW is a crazy time and you’re going to need to re-fuel regularly. You’re going to want to visit places that have amazing food (duh), are mostly in the downtown Austin vicinity, and then of course a few that are nice places to sit and relax for a while (patio vibes, anyone?). Here are the best restaurants in Austin to try during SXSW.
Also see: the ultimate Austin bucket list
1. One Taco Urban Taqueria for breakfast tacos
One Taco was featured on Diners Drive-ins and Dives, but it had a loyal Austin following long before that. Their new downtown Austin location is perfect SXSW because it’s easily accessible, and they serve their tacos fast. Enjoy any of their breakfast tacos on their homemade yummy tortillas (try “El Big Kahuna”, and be sure to dunk it in their fantastic homemade salsa.
402 Brazos St | WEBSITE
Also see: the 18 best breakfast tacos in Austin
2. Houndstooth for a morning cup of coffee
Caffeinate for your long day at SXSW with a hot cup of Joe at Houndstooth Coffee at their convenient downtown location. Houndstooth revolutionized the coffee culture in Austin. They’re the coffee shop where the coffee snobs go, but you’ll enjoy it even if you don’t know much about coffee. Get a pour over or a cortado and enjoy a few moments of calm in their pretty downtown cafe before heading out into the SXSW crowds.
401 Congress Ave | WEBSITE
3. Forthright for weekday/weekend breakfast
Quality ingredients, scratch-made food, great coffee with Tweed coffee roasters, and a bright indoor space and pretty patio…that’s about all you need for a great downtown breakfast spot during SXSW!
35 Brazos St | WEBSITE
Also see: 24 tried-and-true Austin brunch spots
4. Casino El Camino for a big juicy burger
This 6th Street dive bar has one of the most iconic burgers in Austin because these things are HUGE. If you’re craving 3/4 pound of meat and some tasty fries in a grungy 6th St dive bar, Casino El Camino is your best bet. However, read on for one more burger option that’s not quite as iconic, but a better burger, in my opinion. (Psst: remember that one time I ate dozens of burgers to write a guide to the best burgers in Austin?)
517 E 6th St | WEBSITE
Also see: The Best Burgers In Austin
5. Counter Cafe for lunch (and another great burger)
Or pancakes. Or Eggs Benedict. Or shrimp and grits. But seriously, this grass-fed burger is honestly one of the best you’ll find in Austin, served on a soft sourdough bun with sharp cheddar cheese. Counter Cafe’s original downtown location is teeny-tiny, but you can also go to one of their other Austin location for more seating. (PS: here’s a map for 55 lunch ideas in Austin.)
626 N Lamar Blvd | WEBSITE
6. Parkside for happy hour
Parkside is great because it’s right in the middle of the SXSW madness on 6th street, plus it’s the most phenomenal happy hour deal in this city: 1/2 off the entire food menu and beer, cocktails, and wine by the glass from 5-6 pm. CRAZY. They have a New American menu with items like crab fritters, NY strip steak, seared scallops, and a raw bar.
301 E 6th St | WEBSITE
7. Comedor for a fancy dinner
If you’ve got someone to impress and you want an incredible dinner, go to this award-winning modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin. Texas Monthly called it the best new restaurant of the year.
501 Colorado St | WEBSITE
8. Via 313 for some crazy good pizza
Everyone’s always asking me for the best pizza in Austin (and I tell them to read this), but if you’re in town and want to try one pizza place that everyone in Austin is talking about, go to Via 313. It’s Detroit-style pizza, which is basically deep dish rectangular pizza with the cheese melted on top of the toppings. It’s soft and chewy with a nice crispy outer crust, and it’s probably going to become your new favorite pizza. Ever.
1802 E 6th St | WEBSITE
9. Midnight cowboy for cocktails
This speakeasy bar is pretty much the only way you’ll get me out on 6th Street on a Friday night. It’s a long-time Austin favorite that has an exceptional cocktail program (they wheel the bar cart in front of your table and make the drinks table side) and no sign outside. Do your research to figure out how to get in. 😉
313 E 6th St | WEBSITE
Also see: the top 20 restaurants in Austin
10. Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden
An oldie but a Goldie, Banger’s is THE place to visit on Rainey Street for their impressive tap wall (hundreds of beers on tap!) and homemade sausages. They’ve got the best poutine in the city, as well as some really fun outdoor patio vibes. Great for lunch, dinner, or late-night snacks + beer!
79 Rainey St | WEBSITE
Looking for more Austin ideas? Check out my book, Austin Food Crawls, a handy and colorful neighborhood food guide to the best eats and drinks in Austin!