Attending SXSW this year and want to embark on a few of Austin’s local culinary hot spots, here are a few of my favorites in no particular order that are either located in Downtown Austin or worth trekking across town for.
24 Diner – for those of you who have been to SXSW in the past 24 Diner is located in the old Waterloo Ice location at 6th and Lamar next door to iconic Waterloo Records and yes the name speaks for its hours – it is open 24 hours serving up some of the best comfort food in Austin. The dish that gets my vote is Chicken and Waffles but check out Breakfast in Austin’s review too. They are one of the few spots in Austin that cater to the gluten free community – check out the 24 Menu for other options.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar – is located within the iconic SoCo (South Congress) district, you’ll be in awe of the burger menu at this joint. Disclaimer: it took me 20 minutes to make my decision because there were too many tasty creations to choose from. An expansive burger menu and a nice selection of local craft beer offerings makes me quite the frequent visitor. My two favorites are: Buffalo Bill and Magic Shroom. Peruse through the Hopdoddy menu yourself before you step through the doors.
Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar – a few doors down from Hopdoddy you’ll discover Perla’s where you can get some of the best fresh seafood, including the best oysters you’ll find in Austin. The bouillabaisse if a MUST try if you are on the prowl for someone light but packed full with flavor. Weather permitting, opt for patio dining under an expansive oak tree. Everytime I’ve dined at Perla’s I walk away thinking this is the best seafood I’ve had EVER. Check out the Perla’s Menu for yourself.
Stubb’s Gospel Brunch – this is a MUST make reservations kind of event – as yes I meant event. On Sunday morning, they have two seatings 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. where you can graze like a Texan eating everything from biscuits and gravy and sausage to migas. If you forget to make reservations you might be waiting in the queue with a grouchy tummy. It is truly an iconic Austin Sunday destination.
Moonshine – has a really awesome vibe and great southern great food. If you are dining for brunch have their green, eggs and ham (which are pesto eggs) or if you happen to see fried green tomatoes grace the appetizer menu – order them… trust me you will not be let down. Many of my other favorites include the corn dog shrimp and the molasses and chile cured pork chop. If those items do not tickle your fancy, check out the Moonshine menu.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen – named for the owner, Jack Allen Gilmore formerly with Z’Tejas for over 20 years, and located in Oak Hill just a few minutes southwest of Downtown Austin. You will be in for a treat regardless when you step foot into the space and cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. The appetizers are large enough to double as an entree for one or a sharable dinner for a few. It is hands down one of the best brunch spots in all of Austin – check the JAK brunch menu or check out my review out their Pimento Cheese . My recommendation… literally everything on the menu and YES it is worth the trek to Oak Hill. After all, it is only 10 minutes Southwest of Downtown.
Torchy’s Tacos – it definitely a crime to visit Austin without stepping fit inside of a Torchy’s. Labeled as “Damn Good Tacos” and after you taste one you will understand. If it were possible to put their green chili queso into an IV and enjoy it ALL day long I would do it in a heartbeat. There are locations scattered around town and even a taco truck just south of Downtown on S. 1st. If you are waiting for my recommendations it is obviously the queso paired with two tacos: The Crossroads and a Fried Avocado. Beware they are stuffed with quite a lot of ingredients so be aware you may roll out. Disclaimer: Torchy’s is a local hot spot and often has a line out of the door a packed restaurant – order online and pick up the goodness to save yourself some time.