When you think “downtown”, you probably think “business district,” but this certainly isn’t the case for Austin. Downtown Austin houses a lively culture and many fine dining and unique restaurants. Check out our selection of its best restaurants here.
Restaurant, American, $$$
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Texas Capital is Parkside, a restaurant with American cuisine and a world-class knowledge of drinks. Parkside’s food menu features classic dishes such as salmon, steak, and duck breast but prepared in an innovative and intriguing way. Also on the menu are small plates of calamari, marrow bones, and oysters from the East Coast. Parkside also offers a lovely patio view of downtown Austin, which is the perfect accompaniment for any dish.
Roaring Fork is an American cuisine restaurant in the InterContinental Hotel. Located in the middle of downtown Austin, Roaring Fork provides an atmosphere that unites both the city’s business life and its night life. On the menu is another union of cuisine that leads to a combination of upscale yet rugged American cuisine. Roaring Fork uses both wood ovens and open flame grills to give their food the same great American spirit of the Old West.
Smack dab in the middle of downtown is Austin’s old-school hamburger joint, Hut’s Hamburgers. Hut’s has been making fresh, Texas-raised beef burgers since 1939, plus they offer alternatives such as buffalo, chicken, and even 100 per cent vegan burgers so everyone can enjoy, Since they’ve been around for so long, Hut’s has burgers dressed to fit every appetite.
For dynamic food and an experience to match, look no further than Second Bar + Kitchen. This one-of-a-kind restaurant combines seasonal ingredients and local products to create new and natural American cuisine. From small plates to entrees to their weekend brunch, Second Bar + Kitchen provides the hip and modern dishes to match the style you feel when you walk in.
Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue offers an upscale BBQ experience in a relaxed, laidback, and historic Texas environment. Lambert’s serves as both a bar, restaurant, and music venue, using a refurbished general store as their space. On the menu is slow-cooked barbecue and modern Texascooking for lunch, dinner, and brunch.
Bar, Restaurant, Diner, American, Pub Grub, Contemporary, $$$
Moonshine Grill, Austin | Steve Snodgrass/Flickr
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill serves the southern comfort food that your grandma would make but with an upscale and contemporary twist that can only be found in downtown Austin. Like Lambert’s, Moonshine is also a refurbished shop from the 1800s, but the two provide completely different experiences. Moonshine makes you feel like family, and so does the classic food with an innovative take.
A beloved Austin favorite, Wink Restauranthas upscale American dining that is inspired by local culture. In addition to a daily menu, Wink offers five-course and seven-course chef’s tasting menus, so you try a different dining experience at Wink. Wink also has a vegetarian tasting menu, and even non-vegetarians can appreciate Wink’s pure and flavorful food.
Sandra Bullock’s very own basement bistro, Bess Bistro, makes our list! This bistro has creative menus that change with season and an interior to match. Bess Bistro has a speakeasy style with a romantic feel. Patrons can fall in love with the blown glass chandeliers just as easily as they can fall in love with the inviting and local food. Bess’s menu is home to classic, upscale Americancuisine, from their Berkshire pork chop to their shrimp in a buttery creole sauce. Make sure to try the pastries at Bess Bistro; you’re in for a treat.
Fabi + Rosi is slightly further from downtown Austin, but we had to include them. Fabi + Rosi is the place to get European meals in Texas made from locally grown and sustainable ingredients. At Fabi + Rosi, you can taste how much they care about quality. Whether you’re eating their escargot or their schnitzel, Fabi + Rosi serves you local food European style, making them stand out from the barbecue and southern food that many expect from Texas.
Frankis just plain fun and specializes in exotic hot dogs, from antelope to vegetarian and everything in between. Frank has you covered when it comes to hot dogs, but they don’t stop there. Frank helps to encourage the local art scene by hosting a mid-month concert featuring local musicians. Their Sunday Brunch and mammoth Bloody Marys are definitely unmissable.