Our time in Austin was divided between eating, nightlife, music, and sightseeing, which seems to be the norm for locals. Austin buzzes with energy at all times of the day and night — it was so fun to escape into a different world for our long weekend.
Instead of trying to break things down day by day, I’ve decided to showcase our favorite dining options in this post, and our favorite things to do in the next. Of course, we only spent five days in Austin, so this is by no means a complete guide. But I can say that our friends’ and the numerous Uber drivers we spoke to (as a result of not renting a car) gave us a generous amount of local advice.
Here are our favorite restaurants and food trucks in Austin!
The Fan Favorite: Torchy’s Tacos
This was the most recommended restaurant that popped up on our radar by far. Everyone seems to love Torchy’s. Like many restaurants in Austin, it started as a food truck and turned into an Austin establishment.
Austin tacos, it should be mentioned, are not Los Angeles tacos. They’re not small and simple, unassuming and often surprisingly spicy. They’re in your face. They’re massive, and they own it. Torchy’s tacos are no exception.
My boyfriend and I went for the “taste a lot, finish nothing” philosophy, which was especially fun at a restaurant like Torchy’s, where there’s so much variety.
I loved “The Democrat,” though I’ve heard amazing things about the fried avocado too.
Let’s not forget the queso — it stole the show for us.
Lightly spicy with fresh cilantro and the perfect melted consistency, it was all we could hope for.
The Romantic Night Out: Chez Nous
Chez Nous is a sweet, small, unassuming French restaurant located just off of the wild West 6th Street. There’s no reservations, no computer system, and an extra dose of slow-paced, relaxed romanticism.
I can’t go without saying that Chez Nous prepared the absolute best filet I’ve ever had. It was cooked perfectly, with light seasoning and deliciously snappy haricot verts on the side. Sigh. And I almost didn’t order it! Doesn’t it always work that way? The best meals seem to sneak up on you.
The Classic Choice: Moonshine
Moonshine is exactly the kind of restaurant I pictured being a mainstay in Austin before we visited. It’s open and airy, with a menu full of classic comfort food and a bar full of, well, everything you could ever want (even if it’s just brunch).
We kept it light with chicken fried steak and fried chicken & waffles (hah!) and enjoyed a carafe of mimosa as well. In other words, this was probably our most indulgent meal. But it was Valentine’s Day brunch and we were vacationing and blah, blah, blah. ;)
A spicy little appetizer while we waited for our table.
Just look at that. I barely made a dent in the waffle, but I didn’t have as much trouble with that fried chicken… ;)
The Gritty Choice: East Side King
My boyfriend and I both have a serious affinity for Asian food, so we were excited to give East Side King, an Asian fusion truck, a try. The truck was tucked behind a dive bar on East 6th Street, which set the ambiance perfectly.
There are a number of these food trucks parked permanently behind bars in Austin, which I think makes so much sense! Bar food is overrated, guys. ;)
It felt like the kinda place where the cool kids eat. Haha.
Just check out those wings! My personal favorite? The adobo, which is actually one of my boyfriend’s favorite Filipino dishes. This is the kind of truck where you should get a wide assortment of menu items and share, so that you get a taste of them all.
The Home Cooked Feel: South Congress Cafe
I ate at South Congress Cafe (located in the ever-hip South Congress neighborhood) for a late brunch, when I’d split off from my boyfriend for a few hours. The waiter was incredibly friendly and helpful, and the food was just exactly what I was hoping for — delicious and creative, but extra comforting.
If I lived in Austin, I could see eating at South Congress Cafe all of the time. It seemed like the kind of place where the waiters learn your favorite order.
Tip: You can order the carrot cake french toast as a side! It’s pretty sweet for an entire dish, but perfect as a mini-dessert. :)
See you soon with the rest of our Austin adventures!