Austin is a foodie city. From the abundance of excellent options, growing every month, to the entrepreneurial spirit that encourages new endeavors, Austin is a fun city to live in and to visit if you love food. There’s always somewhere or something new to discover!
If you’re looking for things to do in Austin, here are 10 of my favorite foodie experiences to try.
Dine at a Food Truck
Food trucks are ubiquitous, and Austin is no different. We’re known for our food trucks, and some of the most delicious bites can be found at food trucks. If you’re looking for a casual dining experience, visit one of the 1,000 food trucks in this city! These posts will give you some recommendations:
- Best Food Trucks in Austin
- 12 Austin Food Trucks That Opened Brick-and-Mortar Restaurants
- Best Cold Treats in Austin
You’ve got to try some of Austin’s best barbecue! There are a lot of award-winning options, including Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats, Stiles Switch, Terry Black’s Barbecue, and Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. I like to follow Texas Monthly’s best barbecue in Texas list to help me keep track.
If you are vegan, you can try barbecue too. Check out Arlo’s BBQ Burger.
Experience a James Beard Nominated Restaurant
There are a handful of awards Austin restaurants can earn. Local media like Texas Monthly, Austin Monthly, and the Austin American-Statesman put out annual best lists, but on a national level, the James Beard Awards are something restaurants aspire to earn. Having a nomination or award to your name isn’t the last word of making a place a great restaurant, but it does signal that something you’re doing stands out and deserves recognition.
Here are some of the past nominees and winners and the restaurants (and brewery) they represent:
- Chef Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye, Hestia, Kalimotxo, Henbit, and TLV
- Chef Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie
- Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo
- Head baker David Norman of Easy Tiger
- Jeffrey Stuffings and Michael Steffings of Jester King Brewery
- Chef Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine and Odd Duck
- Chef Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ and Loro
- Chef Paul Qui of East Side King
- Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi, Uchiko, and Loro
When I’m visiting somewhere new, I like to look at a variety of lists to decide where to eat. Here are some other notable lists for Austin:
- Austin American-Statesman’s Annual Best Restaurants List
- Eater Austin’s Continuously Updated 38 Best List
Visit the Farmers Market or a Farm
I’ve learned that a good way to get to know a city and to find some really good eats is to visit the farmers market and look for local producers. My favorite farmers market is Texas Farmers Market on Saturdays and Sundays. Other popular options are SFC Farmers Market and Barton Creek Farmers Market on Saturdays.
For unique local produce experiences, see these posts about Two Hives Honey, Sweet Eats Fruit Farm, and Texas Hill Country Olive Company. A fun one-stop, all-around experience is Jester King Brewery, which has evolved into a 165-acre ranch with a brewery, farm, and goats!
See more about local Austin eating in my Local Monthly blog series.
We do love our tacos in Austin, and there is no shortage of them. There are so many taco options, you could easily eat tacos for every meal of a week and still have more to try.
Here are some more taco options:
- For griddled cheese and street-style tacos, go to Paprika or Vaquero Taquero.
- For barbecue tacos, go to Valentina’s Tex Mex.
- For fancy tacos, go to Suerte.
If you’re looking for hole-in-the-wall spots, go to Lamar and Braker and start driving south on Lamar. You’ll start seeing taco trucks on every block between Braker and Rundberg!
Want even more tacos?! See this Eater Austin list.
Visit a Brewery, Distillery, Cidery, or Winery
Whether you’re a fan of beer, wine, cider, or liquor, Austin has destinations for all of them! You can find options in the city or take a short road trip to the hills. Here are a few recommendations for each:
- Brewery: Austin Beerworks, Oddwood Ales, Jester King Brewery
- Distillery: Still Austin, Treaty Oak Distilling, Deep Eddy Vodka
- Cidery: Fairweather Cider Co, Austin Eastciders, Texas Keeper Cider
- Winery: The Austin Winery
As a big advocate for dessert, save room for dessert! You can get ice cream tacos, pavlovas, bingsu, and so much more. Use these blog posts to get some ideas:
- Best Desserts in Austin
- Best Cupcakes in Austin
- Best Asian Desserts in Austin
- 30 Best Cold Treats in Austin
Attend a Food Festival or Food Event
We love our festivals in Austin and I see events in our future! Here are some annual events to put on your calendar:
- Austin Food and Wine Festival: This multi-day event has tastings and chef demos
- Texas Craft Brewers Festival: Love beer? You’ll be able to try craft from all over the state here
- Quesoff: This queso cook-off puts local restaurants head-to-head and attendees will be able to try and vote on the best queso submission
- Austin Ice Cream Festival: Samples and samples of ice cream will make your summer sweet at this festival
- Hot Sauce Festival: This spicy festival has been going since 1990 and features a heated tasting competition
- Texas Monthly BBQ Fest: In conjunction with their annual ranking list, Texas Monthly invites all the best bbq joints in Texas to help you get the meat sweats
- Hot Luck Festival: Created by some big food and festival names, this fest features chefs, music, and plenty of good food
Take a Food Tour
I love food tours and it’s a great way to see a snapshot of a city’s best eats. Tour companies can get you into hard-to-book and busy restaurants. Plus, it’s a good group activity and you can check off some of the best places in a short amount of time. Booze tours count too! Here are some food tours to check out:
Eat through this Ultimate Bucket List
Yep, it’s a list inside of a list! Every city has dishes you should try and this is my list for Austin. Use this Ultimate Austin Foodie Bucket List and eat it all!
Did I miss anything? What are some of the best foodie experiences you’ve had?
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