The Best Foodie Destinations in Texas

Pecan Lodge is a top spot for barbecue foodies in Dallas, Texas
Pecan Lodge is a top spot for barbecue foodies in Dallas, Texas | © Jorge Garrido / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Rachel Nipper
7 October 2020

As the second most populous state in the US, Texas has a lot to offer – especially for foodies. From barbecue in Dallas to tacos in El Paso, here are the best spots in the Lone Star State for local culinary experiences.

Dallas for barbecue

Home to several of the state’s best barbecue joints, Dallas is the prime destination to satisfy your Texas barbecue needs. Lockhart Smokehouse serves mouthwatering Central Texas-style barbecue with the motto “No Forks, No Sauce,” while Pecan Lodge is a must-visit spot with a standout dish – the “Hot Mess,” a large sweet potato with South Texas barbacoa and chipotle cream. Meanwhile, other delicious joints include Slow Bone, Off the Bone and Mike Anderson’s BBQ House.

Once you’ve filled your belly, let your food coma set in at one of the city’s top hotels or Airbnb rentals.

Austin for food trucks

Austin is a well-known foodies’ paradise, and both locals and visitors flock to the myriad food truck parks throughout the city. From Korean cuisine, tacos and fried chicken to cupcakes, ice cream and donuts, the possibilities at Austin food trucks are, well, endless. Visit Gourdough’s truck to try one of many unique and delicious donuts, like the Fat Elvis (grilled bananas with honey and peanut butter icing) or the Son of a Peach (peach filling with sugar, cinnamon and a cake mix topping). The East Side King food truck is popular for its Asian fusion, serving dishes like beet home fries, Brussels sprouts salad and curry buns, while other fantastic food trucks include Kerlin BBQ, Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts and Kebabalicious.

You can nibble on your food while strolling around the city, or bring it back to a home-away-from-home at one of Austin’s Airbnbs.

Houston for brunch and burgers

As the most populous city in Texas, Houston unsurprisingly offers some of the best culinary destinations in the state. When hungry for a mouthwatering burger, look no further than Houston’s myriad burger joints. Lankford Grocery flips all sorts of different burgers, such as a wasabi burger or a Greek burger, while other notable places include Kenny & Ziggy’s and Bernie’s Burger Bus. Also famous for its many incredible brunches, Houston is home to 51 Fifteen Restaurant & Lounge, serving Belgian waffles, homemade biscuits and frittatas, and Baby Barnaby’s Café, serving barbecue brisket, eggs benedict and salmon omelettes.

And if one delicious brunch isn’t enough, book a night at a Houston Airbnb or in one of the best places to stay so you can do it all again the next morning.

El Paso for tacos

If there’s one good reason to visit El Paso, it’s tacos. Chico’s Tacos, in particular, is an El Paso tradition and a must-visit for any foodie; the tacos at this diner-like joint are unique in that they are rolled, fried and covered in a tomato chili sauce and cheese. Dig into them alongside Chico’s much loved crinkle-cut fries and unique twists on hot dogs, burgers and burritos.

And even if tacos are the main El Paso attraction for you, be sure to check out the many other great things to do and places to stay in the city.

Brenham for Bluebell ice cream

A well-loved Texas tradition, Bluebell ice cream is known by many as a staple of the Texan diet. The Bluebell Creamery in Brenham, Texas, offers tours of the functioning ice cream factory, diving into the history of the Bluebell company and its everyday methods and operations. From the blending of ingredients to the packaging and storing, this tour features an interesting insight into the manufacturing of the Texas ice cream. The tour also includes a walk through Bluebell’s quaint gift shop and – of course – a generous sampling of its product.

If you’re in Brenham for a weekend away, the area has plenty of comfy Airbnb rentals available, ranging from sleek apartments to cottage retreats.

San Antonio for fine dining on the River Walk

San Antonio’s famous River Walk is lined with great restaurants for foodies, but our top pick is Biga on the Banks, serving “very New American cuisine.” One of the highest-rated restaurants on the River Walk, Biga on the Banks is a definite component of any Texas foodie’s bucket list. The fine-dining experience here stems from native North Londoner chef Bruce Auden’s delectable culinary skills and creativity. Auden’s menu changes daily, but previous menus have included such offerings as house apple-smoked salmon nachos, yellow lentil curry soup, mustard-crusted Australian lamb rack, amaretto crème brûlée and Texas peach soup.

After you’ve savored a delicious meal at Biga on the Banks, sink into a comfy bed at one of San Antonio’s best places to stay and sleep it all off.

Christina Collins contributed additional reporting to this article.

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