Austin is the capital of Texas, and it is located centrally in the state. The University of Texas calls Austin home, so this vibrant city is filled with young college students. It’s well known for its music scene, with many bars and venues devoted to showcasing country, blues, and rock and roll music. The city also has plenty of parks and lakes, making it a great spot for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. The local motto is “Keep Austin Weird”, which is a call to promote diversity and to keep local and independent businesses in the city- so there’s plenty of unique shopping to do. And, of course, Austin is known for excellent food, including barbecue and Tex-Mex. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best casual restaurants in Austin, Texas, so leave your three-piece suit at home and prepare to enjoy some excellent cuisine in a relaxed environment.
1. Mother's Cafe
Posted by Mother's Cafe & Garden on Wednesday, 20 June 2018
We’ll start our list off with Mother’s Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant that’s been around since 1980. Located in Hyde Park, Austin’s oldest neighborhood, the restaurant specializes in comfort food. Relax with a big plate of mushroom stroganoff or dig into a flavourful Jamaican stir fry. They also serve brunch on the weekends, complete with mimosas. Try the breakfast tacos or indulge your sweet tooth with a stake of pancakes. They’ve also got an excellent dessert menu. In addition to being a great place for veggies, they’ve also got allergen menus, so speak to your server if there’s anything you need to avoid.
Address: D4215 Duval St, Austin, TX 78751, USA
Website: Mother’s Cafe
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:15am - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 10pm
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
For a true American diner experience, Austin’s 24 Diner is a great place to go. Open 24 hours most days of the week and situated in the heart of downtown, they offer classic diner food with a twist: a focus on farm-fresh ingredients. Try southern classics like chicken and waffles or biscuits and gravy. If breakfast foods aren’t your thing, enjoy a burger or sandwich. They also serve up fabulous milkshakes, including the indulgent peanut butter and chocolate. And if you’re a vegetarian, don’t fear because they have great veggie options on the menu.
Address: 600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, USA
Website: 24 Diner
Opening hours: Thurs - Tues: open 24 hours; Wed: 6am - 1am
3. Salty Sow
The meat lovers out there will love the Salty Sow. Hailed as a snout-to-tail restaurant, you’ll find locally sourced meats in this creative and modern restaurant. You can start your meal off with duck fat fries or truffles devilled eggs. For a main, try candied pork belly or blackened redfish. Do be sure to leave room for dessert- try the beignets or the creme brûlée. The menu certainly feels fancy, but it’s rustic setting allows you to unwind and simply enjoy some good food.
Address: 1917 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722, USA
Website: Salty Sow
Opening hours: Sun - Thurs: 4:30pm - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 4:30pm - 11pm
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Justine’s is a French restaurant which is situated in an old bungalow. It’s got a small menu with a focus on serving up the best French food, but rather than feeling hoity-toity, you’ll feel more like you’ve stepped into a hip bar. One of the restaurant’s best features is its outdoor patio, which Austinites flock to. In terms of their menu, you can indulge in French classics like Moules Frites and steak tartare. There are also daily plates written on the chalkboard, so do check what the chef is cooking up each day.
Address: 4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702, USA
Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 6pm - 2am; (closed on Tues)
Launderette takes its quirky name from the fact that the restaurant sits in a converted gas station and laundromat. Located in the hip East Side neighborhood, it’s very cool inside, with an industrial and shabby chic interior. The menu is American fare with influences from around the world. From beet hummus to pierogies and pork ribs to grilled octopus, it’s got a small but exciting menu. It’s a great spot for brunch as well, serving up dishes like a fried egg BLT and sunshine bowls filled with veggies. There’s also an eclectic dessert menu, so we highly recommend saving room for something sweet!
Address: 2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702, USA
Opening hours: Sun - Thurs: 11am - 2:30pm, 5pm - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 2:30pm, 5pm - 11pm
6. Chez Nous
Chez Nous will have you feeling like you’ve been transported to Paris. And while it does have the hallmarks of a romantic bistro- lace curtains and fresh flowers on the table- it certainly isn’t a pretentious place. It’s situated on a street known for its rowdy bars, and your meal doesn’t have to cost a fortune: Chez Nous offers a three-course prix fixe menu for just over USD 30. From pan-seared sea scallops to confit duck legs, the chef brings you the best of French cuisine with local ingredients.
Address: 510 Neches St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Website: Chez Nous
Opening hours: Tues - Fri: 11:45am - 2pm, 6pm - 10:30pm; Sat - Sun: 6pm - 10:30pm (closed on Mon)
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
For Mediterranean fare, look no further than MezzeMe. It’s set up like a fast-food restaurant, with the aim of serving up fresh food in a casual setting. It’s got an assembly line set up, where you choose a base (grains, pitta, or greens), then a protein, and of course, toppings like hummus and tabouleh. It’s the perfect place to go if you want excellent Mediterranean food with no-frills. And there are plenty of options for the veggies out there.
Address: The Triangle, 4700 W Guadalupe St Suite #9, Austin, TX 78751, USA
Opening hours: 11am - 10pm (daily)
8. Iron Works Barbecue
If you’re looking for some classic barbecue without the frills, look no further than Iron Works Barbecue. Housed in a building which was, you guessed it, originally an iron workshop, the restaurant opened in 1978 and has been delighting Austinites since. It’s about as Texas as you can get: good food, a rustic atmosphere complete with red checkered table cloths, and family-owned. For a hearty meal, try the barbecue plates: beans, potato salad, pickles, and of course, your choice of barbecued meat. You can also enjoy a sandwich or Texas chili in the winter. For a true Texas experience, look no further than Iron Works Barbecue.
Iron Works Barbecue
Address: 100 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Website: Iron Works Barbecue
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 9pm (closed on Sun)
9. Odd Duck
Odd Duck got its start in a food truck, and today offers a restaurant full of vintage decor and an inviting patio to sit on. The chefs serve upscale southern food but don’t go thinking this place is too fancy for you. With a farm-to-table ethos, you’ll feel like you’re eating a home-cooked meal made by your grandma. Try the goat chili or head-on shrimp, each served with an interesting mix of vegetables. They’ve also got an excellent cocktail menu if you fancy an adult beverage with your meal.
Address: 1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Website: Odd Duck
Opening hours: Mon - Thurs: 11:30am - 10pm; Fri: 10:30am - 11pm; Sat: 5pm - 11pm; Sun: 10:30am - 10pm
10. Juan in a Million
Last but certainly not least is Juan in a Millian. It serves up excellent Mexican breakfast foods at low prices, but the quality certainly isn’t low. They’re committed to serving their customers simple, homemade food, and almost everything in their kitchen is made from scratch. The restaurant has been open since 1980, and it has remained a family-owned business since. They’ve got an excellent range of breakfast tacos, or order larger plate-like huevos rancheros.
Juan in a Million
Address: 2300 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702, USA
Website: Juan in a Million
Opening hours: 7am - 3pm (daily)
So many options in Austin
Austin offers a great variety of restaurants, and it certainly has plenty of casual places to offer. From vegetarian fare to French food and diner food to classic barbecue, there’s something for every palate out there. So pick your favorite and prepare to have some happy tastebuds.
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