The Best Restaurants for Lunch in Austin, Texas

© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Culture Trip
9 July 2020

No one can keep Austin weird on an empty stomach – so make your lunches more than a mere pitstop by checking out some of our favourite restaurants in the Texan capital.

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Operating out of the old Hillside Drugstore from the 1950s, Hillside Farmacy has become the premiere brunch spot in Austin. Although renovated with sleek interior design, the restaurant has kept some of the aesthetic of a 1950s pharmacy to give patrons a vintage yet modern feel. The brunch menu is simple but perfectly executed. The mouth-watering brulee grapefruit works as a perfect segway from coffee and juice to the main course, which is often the Big Brekkie or the blueberry pancakes.

Restaurant, Mediterranean, American, $$$
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A clean, sharply designed restaurant complemented by brunch, lunch and dinner menus that will leave you full but wanting more is the aptest description for Launderette. The East Austin restaurant tucked away in the mostly residential Holly neighborhood is still a little bit of a hidden gem but word is quickly getting out. For brunch, try the pork shoulder hash with a side of zucchini bread. For dinner, go for the Bucatini.

Bar, Food Truck, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Odd Duck, Austin, Texas, USA.
Odd Duck first opened as a food truck in 2009 intending to serve only local Austin ingredients | Courtesy of Odd Duck
With a menu inspired by the Texas seasons, you can’t go wrong at Odd Duck. This local restaurant on South Lamar serves their signature Pig Face Rolls, which is exactly as advertised – with a surprisingly flavorful twist. Try the classic southern fried chicken with pickled green beans, and on hot summer days enjoy fresh watermelon with a side of hummus.

Bistro, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Enoteca Vespaio Enoteca Vespaio, a smaller portion of the popular Vespaio, is a bistro inspired café in the heart of South Congress. Enoteca was created to fulfill the wishes of Vespaio’s faithful customers. They wanted a place where they could enjoy the food they love in a more relaxed setting, and with more variety. Unlike its counterpart, Enoteca serves not only dinner, but lunch and Sunday brunch as well. Vespaio is often praised for their use of in house ingredients. They make everything from cured meat to pasta and bread right in the restaurant. Enoteca does a great job of bringing fine Italian dining to the comfort of the laid back Austin vibe

Cafe, Restaurant, Pastry Shop, American, $$$
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California inspired Café No Sé opened during the summer of 2015 and has been a huge hit ever since. Built into the South Congress Hotel, Café No Sé embodies a popular attitude in Austin, eat local and eat fresh! Under Amanda Rockman, a 2015 James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist and a participant in the Bravo television series ‘Top Chef: Just Desserts’, the popular restaurant serves fresh baked pastries and bread every day. With its sleek design and fresh ingredients, Café No Sé is the perfect place for a casual lunch with a west coast vibe.

Restaurant, Bar, Seafood, $$$
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Clark’s Oyster Bar, Austin
Clark’s Oyster Bar, Austin | Courtesy of McGuire Moorman Hospitality

From the same hospitality company that brought you Perla’s, Clark’s Oyster Bar is a small, chic West Austin seafood favorite that specializes in a wide range of fresh oysters and a to-die-for brunch menu. The atmosphere is small but inviting and is an excellent place to relax on the patio and enjoy a carefully crafted martini or cocktail. If oysters aren’t your thing, definitely check out their lobster rolls or crab cakes. Even if you’re just not in the mood for seafood, be sure to check out their savory burgers that are packed with juicy flavors.

Food Truck, Mexican
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Breakfast Tacos | Courtesy of Pueblo Viejo

There’s a constant debate about where to find the best breakfast tacos in Austin, but Pueblo Viejo’s no-frills trailer has yet to disappoint. For just $2.50 each, you can start your morning off right with one of their specialty offerings, like the Taco Don Chago, which comes with beans, cheese, bacon, and avocado. Or create a custom taco for around the same price. Pueblo Viejo is known for more than their breakfast, though; stop by for a quick lunch and grab the Taco Nes, made with steak, chorizo, grilled onion, and fresh cilantro and lime.

Bar, Market, Restaurant, Sushi, $$$
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If you’re looking for some good sushi, make your way to Komé Sushi Kitchen, located on Airport Boulevard. This casual and comfortable restaurant and its Japanese-style interior will surely add to the overall dining experience. As for the food, Komé’s Hakata Ramen enjoyed a gleaming endorsement from Top Chefcontestant Paul QuiUchiko in a 2011 article by Condé Nast Traveler. Try another Komé favorite off the lunch menu: Chirashi sushi, complete with tuna, salmon, and striped bass, complemented with wasabi and rolled to perfection at the hands of Komé’s experienced chefs.
These recommendations were updated on July 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.