The Hyde Park neighborhood covers an L-shaped portion of central Austin west of Interstate 35. This historic Austin neighborhood is packed with cozy, tucked-away cafes and lively sit-down restaurants. Here are our favorite places to eat in the area.
The neighborhood’s most famous namesake, Hyde Park Bar & Grill, was opened in 1982 by The University of Texas at Austin alum Bick Brown. The restaurant is most famous for its amazing French fries, and the award-winning menu offers daily specials and classic comfort food. Hyde Park Bar & Grill has since expanded to another location in south Austin, but there is just something special about the original site. It may be the giant statue of a fork situated in front of the restaurant, often holding different things on its prongs, a landmark for the neighborhood.
You simply can’t miss the large, fire engine-colored house that has been made into Salvation Pizza. A great place for families (and dogs!), Salvation Pizza has a laid-back atmosphere. Patrons seat themselves on cushioned outdoor furniture or inside near the fireplace or the bar. The New Haven-style pizza can be made with practically any topping and is baked on dough made from scratch. The restaurant also sponsors local businesses KUT Radio and Live Oak Brewing Company, as well as Austin charity A Glimmer of Hope.
Dolce Vita is a lovely coffee shop, bar, and dessert parlor. The venue offers both an indoor space and a heated patio. Dolce Vita’s vibe is both chic and comfortable; it’s the perfect date spot. The coffee shop also has seasonal items (because the fall season calls for Dolce Vita’s pumpkin gelato). It also supplies other delicious desserts, including crème brûlée of various flavors and macaroons on paper doilies that are unbelievably cute. Molto bene!
ASTI’s menu goes all around Italy and celebrates trattoria cooking. The word trattoria describes an restaurant that is casual, for easy-going folks and families, with foods that are unassuming on the outside but divine to taste. Keeping to Italian traditions, ASTI proudly serves more than 60 wines, including off-the-menu specialties. The restaurant’s interior is sunny and retro-chic, and it makes for a great place for date night once the sun sets.
The vegan haven of north central Austin, Mother’s Café is known for its sweet atmosphere and savory veggie burgers. The restaurant’s variety of dishes, everything from vegan enchiladas to barbecue tofu to the famously delicious pies, has appealed to customers since 1980. Many of the ingredients are supplied locally and are organic. Mother’s food is authentic and flavorful. Foodies can also take their order to-go or hang around for an early weekend brunch. The restaurant also offers vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Known as ‘the first coffeehouse in Austin,’ Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery serves its customers wonderful espresso and sugary sweets with delight and charm. Previously located on Austin’s famous Drag, Quack’s has been turning out baked goods made from scratch for many years. The ingredients are all-natural (nothing is frozen and there are no additives or preservatives), and the coffee beans are locally roasted. This quaint bakery is the best place in Hyde Park to satisfy a sweet tooth.
One might overlook Thai Kitchen when passing by on Guadalupe Street. The restaurant is quite plain on the outside, with no flashing signs or strings of lights, but that’s part of what makes Thai Kitchen so great. It’s all about the incredible food, no commercial nonsense. The meals are fresh and fairly priced, putting cheap takeout and ostentatious restaurants to shame. The variety of dishes ranges from mild to super spicy. Don’t forget to order the sweet Thai tea.
This list would not be complete without a food truck true to Austin’s eclectic nature. Biscuits + Groovy combines ’70s funk with southern comfort (all of the menu items are named after famous singers of the era). It puts a special twist on classic biscuits and gravy, allowing customers to choose from a variety of toppings and fillings. Biscuits + Groovy also supplies homemade jams, sold on the buttermilk biscuits or by the jar. All items are fresh and made to order.
The original Hyde Park Marketplace strip on Guadalupe has been converted to accommodate many new shops and cafes, including New World Deli (stylized as NeWorlDeli). This neat cafe is not only a sandwich shop but a hub for local musicians, with live music nights and poetry readings. The meats are freshly roasted in-house, and there are both cold and grilled deli sandwiches. The menu also has burgers, soups and salads, and homemade sides. NeWorlDeli’s renowned Reuben is a must for Hyde Park diners.
One frequent FoodHeads customer described dining at this quaint restaurant: ‘It’s like eating at your grandmother’s house.’ When asked, many people had different responses to what their favorite menu item is, from the sandwiches to the soups to the cupcakes. It’s all delicious. The comfy space, has a comfortable patio and seating inside the renovated house, and it even encourages BYOB! FoodHeads only serves breakfast and lunch; start your day in Hyde Park right at FoodHeads.