25 Phenomenal South Austin Restaurants

South Austin restaurants have never been better. Just when you think you’ve hit up all of the great places to eat and drink in south Austin, another great restaurant opens. 

And this restaurant scene is quite different from the new restaurants that are opening in downtown Austin, which are often backed by behemoth national corporations and operating inside of multi-million build outs at the base of glitzy new high-rise condo buildings. (Not that I don’t love a fancy downtown restaurant from time to time!) 

Maie Day South Congress
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TL;DR : Here Are 4 Great South ATX Restaurants To Get You Started

Best patio restaurant in south Austin: Fresa's Chicken. Creekside vibes, twinkle lights, delicious charcoal-grilled chicken dishes and charred sweet potatoes, tacos, salads, and the best ice cream in Austin. There are a few locations, but shhhh this one is the best! 

Best lunch spot in south Austin: Thai Fresh. Old school Austin, little neighborhood cafe, and you just can't beat their pad thai.

Best coffee shop in south Austin: Patika. Incredible coffee roasting program, skilled baristas, absolutely insane (INSANE!) scones. I could eat one every day.

Best dinner spot in south Austin: Lenoir.  Locally-sourced "hot weather food" served in their tiny and beautifully renovated bungalow house/restaurant. The backyard wine garden is the true star of the show.

Those options will get you started, but if you want more ideas, read on! Here are my top picks for the best places to eat and drink south of the river in Austin.

25 Phenomenal South Austin Restaurants

1. LeRoy and Lewis

LeRoy and Lewis

After earning the #2 spot on Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints, LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue expanded from their small South Congress Avenue food trailer to a full-blown brick-and-mortar in south Austin. The restaurant + bar has a traditional BBQ ordering system (order at the counter, get a drink, seat yourself), but the cuisine is anything but normal bbq! 

The concept is “new school bbq,” and nearly everything on the menu is just a little bit different than what you’d typically find at central Texas bbq joints. The pork hop sausage is phenomenal, as is the cauliflower burnt ends. If you’re able to visit on the weekends, try the smoked beef cheeks (available on Fridays) and their famous lamb barbacoa (available on Saturdays). 

WEBSITE | 5621 Emerald Forest Dr, Austin, TX 78745

2. Loro Asian Smokehouse

Loro Asian Smokehouse

Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue) teamed up to create this Japanese smokehouse on South Lamar. It’s grown SO popular, Loro has actually opened additional locations around Texas! Seriously…there’s typically always a wait around evening time if you don’t have a reservation. Make a reservation if you’re trying to visit with a big group! 

The interior was designed by Michael Hsu Architecture. It’s a beautiful ambiance with its soaring ceilings, live plants, and lots of windows. The covered porch has a few long tables, and there’s an additional tree-shaded patio that’s very popular in the spring and fall in Austin. 

Start with a flight of boozy slushies before venturing into the menu of rice bowls, smoked meat mains with Asian influences, and delicious desserts. This is a fast-casual concept where you’ll order at the bar and then take a seat, but make a reservation if you want to visit on the weekends. Like I said, Loro is very popular! 

WEBSITE | 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704


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This popular Austin craft brewery was named the Best Large Brewpub in America by the Great American Beer Festival 3 YEARS IN A ROW! It’s one of the best Austin breweries with food where you can enjoy a pitcher of light, crisp lagers and a few pizzas with your friends. 

ABGB has live music on the weekends. It’s pretty unique in that they have an indoor stage, which is excellent when the weather is just too hot to sit outside. But if it happens to be a gorgeous afternoon, there’s no better place to enjoy an award-winning beer than on ABGB’s tree-shaded outdoor patio. 

WEBSITE | 1305 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704

4. Elizabeth Street Cafe

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Mcguire Moorman Lambert  Hospitality now has more than a dozen Austin restaurants, but Elizabeth Street is one of their oldest and most popular! It’s a French-Vietnamese cafe in Bouldin Creek with excellent pho, banh mi, chocolate croissants, and wine. The brunch menu is very popular, but this also happens to be one of the best spots to meet up for an upscale lunch in south Austin.

WEBSITE | 1501 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

5. Aviary Wine Bar and Kitchen

Aviary Wine Bar

Aviary is not just an adorable wine bar with an outstanding natural wine selection…it’s also an absolutely incredible restaurant in south Austin on South Lamar Boulevard. If you’ve only ever considered this a wine bar, please think again! 

Aviary’s cuisine is a bit hard to pin down, but it’s mostly a New American cuisine menu with an emphasis on fresh seafood. They have raw oysters and crudo to start, smaller snacky plates like smoked trout dip or crispy potatoes, and a few larger plates if you’re wanting to enjoy a full meal with your bottle of wine. 

WEBSITE | 2110 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

6. Thai Fresh

Thai Fresh

Thai Fresh has solidified its place as the best Thai food in south Austin! Owner Jam Sanitchat is originally from Thailand, and she started this bakery, coffee shop, ice cream counter, and Thai restaurant way back in 2008. She uses her own authentic Thai recipes in the menu, serving scratch-made soups, stir-fries, and noodles to hungry Bouldin Creek guests.

Thai Fresh

Thai Fresh is still just as quirky and Austin-y as when it opened back in 2008. The furniture is a little mis-matched, and the open kitchen is between two dining rooms on opposite sides of the neighborhood cafe. It’s one of the best places to dine solo, because you seat yourself and order from the QR code at your table. But it’s also a fun spot for a big meal with friends, or an easy place to get comforting food to-go. 

WEBSITE | 909 W Mary St, Austin, TX 78704

7. Uchi

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Uchi is one of the most popular restaurants  in all of Austin, and it’s easily one of the best restaurants in south Austin. It’s a sushi restaurant located inside a “little house” (hence the name “Uchi”) on South Lamar. Chef Tyson Cole started Uchi way back in 2003, and shortly after won his James Beard award for Best Chef: Southwest. 

Uchi is an upscale sushi restaurant that wows me every single time. Every detail of the hospitality and cuisine is perfectly executed to create the most phenomenal dining experience you can get in Austin. And…you’ll certainly pay for it! This is a very expensive restaurant, so plan on booking a dinner reservation for a special occasion when you’re ready to splurge. 

However, Uchi has a happy hour menu available in the early evening hours. If you’re willing to dine early, you can easily make a full meal of their discounted plates, drinks, and desserts, and enjoy a meal at Uchi for a fraction of the price. 

WEBSITE | 801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

8. Polvos

Polvos Tex Mex

If you’re looking for the best Tex Mex in south Austin, be sure to head to Polvos! There are two locations in south Austin: the South First original and the newer location at Barton Creek Square Mall. They both have the same scratch-made flour tortillas, big fajita platters, and famous pitchers of margaritas, but the South First original location feels much more “Austin-y.” 

WEBSITE | 2004 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

9. Pinthouse Pizza

Pinthouse Piza

Pinthouse Pizza and Beer on South Lamar is one of the best restaurants in south Austin for families! They have the best pizzas, award-winning beer (lots of it!), and big, shareable tables in their dining room. This is one of the most award-winningest breweries in Austin, so it’s definitely worth getting a flight of beer to try out a few of the options they have on tap when you visit.  

WEBSITE | 4236 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

10. Patika Coffee

South Austin Breakfast - Patika

Patika Coffee has the BEST coffee program in south Austin, the most incredible scones in the whole city, and….it’s also one of the best south Austin restaurants. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, so this isn’t going to be a dinner option for you. But if you want a walk-in, no-reservation spot with a great breakfast menu, this is it. 

Start with a latte and one of those delicious scones, and then explore their breakfast menu. I love the shakshuka toast, and the chilaquiles with house-made tortilla strips. 

WEBSITE | 2159 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

11. Dovetail Pizza

Dovetail Pizza

There are plenty of excellent pizza restaurants in Austin, but Dovetail has created a little niche for itself by marketing as a neighborhood pizza spot with cocktails. It’s a friendly, small space that’s made for walk-ins and locals. On any given night of the week, there will be Bouldin Creek residents stopping by for a negroni at the bar or a quick pizza with their family before heading on their way. 

Dovetail Pizza

The fresh salads and delicious appetizers are fun if you’re able to enjoy a full sit-down meal. If now, just get one of those oval-shaped pizzas to go. They’re not really one specific style, but they’re probably closest to a NY-style pizza. (Except they're served on cookie sheets and sliced in long, horizontal pieces.) 

WEBSITE | 1816 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

12. Kelly’s Irish Pub

Kelly's Irish Pub

I tend to kind of scoff at Irish pubs when I’m traveling, because most of them are just so cheesy and kitschy. But Kelly’s Irish Pub is actually a truly authentic Irish establishment, owned and operated by an Irishman who greets you at the front door. 

The menu is pretty much what you’d expect - shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and fish & chips. The bartenders are all required to go through training to learn how to properly pour a Guinness for optimal frothy, creaminess. And the rest of the beer list is a good representation of authentic Irish pub drinks. 

There’s a cozy wooden bar inside, as well as a few booths. And the back patio (formerly Winebelly, RIP) is also a great spot to enjoy a delicious Irish feast on a cool Austin evening. 

WEBSITE | 519 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704

13. Ovenbird


Ovenbird is a coffee shop and cafe in south Austin. They serve pastries and coffee and breakfast items, as well as sandwiches later in the day.

Although it mostly looks like a coffee shop from the outside, Ovenbird’s breakfast menu is quite robust. They have breakfast tacos, oatmeal, french toast, and then an even bigger weekend brunch menu available on Saturdays and Sundays. For lunch, they have soups, sandwiches, as well as cocktails, wine, and beer. 

WEBSITE | 6501 S Congress Ave UNIT 211, Austin, TX 78745

14. Lenoir


Todd Duplechan’s “hot weather food” south Austin fine dining establishment is the perfect spot for an upscale date night or a celebratory meal with a group of friends. The menu rotates with the seasons and ingredient availability, but you can always expect an interesting selection of natural wine, mediterranean-inspired food that’s sourced locally here in Texas, and some of the best hospitality in Austin. 

Dine in the teeny-tiny indoor bungalow dining space if you want something incredibly unique, or opt for the gorgeous tree-shaded back dining space if you’re in the mood for a patio meal in Austin. 

WEBSITE | 1807 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

15. Maie Day

Maie Day South Congress

This chophouse in the South Congress hotel is from the same team behind Olamaie, the James Beard Award-semifinalist southern restaurant that’s oh-so-famous for those delicious biscuits. 

Maie Day South Congress

You won’t find the biscuits here at Maie Day, but you will find absolutely phenomenal shareable steakhouse sides, locally-sourced cuts of prime meat, and legit the BEST slice of chocolate cake in Austin. 

WEBSITE | 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

16. Juliet Italian Kitchen

Juliet Italian Kitchen

Now with two locations in Austin, Juliet Italian Kitchen has a Barton Springs location that’s delightfully cool, serving scratch-made Italian pasta dishes, small neapolitan pies, and Italian grilled dishes. The happy hour is phenomenal, and you’ll definitely want to order the aperol spritz. It’s their own special recipe and easily the best aperol spritz in Austin! 

WEBSITE | 1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

17. June’s All Day

June's All Day

June’s All Day is a little neighborhood cafe located on South Congress Ave. It feels casual and intimate, yet they have an incredibly robust wine list, upscale cuisine, and a Parisian atmosphere. June's is perfection. 

The sidewalk bistro is a fun spot to stop by during your day of shopping on SOCO. Order that rosy pink burger and shoestring fries and a glass of bubbly, or try their delicious matzo ball caldo and a big glass of red. 

WEBSITE | 1722 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

18. Perla’s


Perla’s is from the same hospitality company as June’s, but it’s an entirely different feel. It still has that welcoming, casual energy to it, but Perla’s is a big, beautiful coastal seafood restaurant. Without a doubt, you have to dine on the patio here. It’s the best patio on South Congress! 


Order some raw oysters and a fun cocktail to start, and then get one of their grilled seafood platters or a fresh po’boy with fries and an ice cold beer. 

WEBSITE |1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

19. Fresa’s Chicken

Fresa's Chicken

Fresa’s Chicken  on South First is, to me, the epitome of Ausin dining: prickly pear margaritas, spicy grilled chicken with homemade corn tortillas, a creekside patio, hundred-year-old live oak trees, twinkle lights, fresh ice cream. 

There aren’t many restaurants in Austin where I can dine again and again and again and seemingly never get tired of it, but Fresa’s is one. The healthier salads and bowls are great if you need a protein pick-me-up for lunch, or indulge in happy hour queso and margaritas if you just want to chill. Their shareable grilled chicken platters with all the sides are perfect for a big group dinner in south Austin. And 100% get that ice cream for dessert - the flavors rotate, but the banana cream pie flavor is the best if it’s there. 

WEBSITE | 1703 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704,

20. Carpenters Hall

Carpenters Hall

Located in the cool and trendy Zilker boutique hotel Carpenter Hotel, Carpenters Hall is the lunch and dinner restaurant that was named “best new restaurants in America” by Bon Appetit when it opened in 2019. 

The cuisine is casual hill country fare, like roasted pecans and cashews to snack on with your natural wine, zingy salads, and various cheese and charcuterie boards. The burger here is awesome. Try the seafood or steak dishes, like their delicious diver scallops with chestnut puree, or the grilled Texas redfish. 

The dessert menu typically has a few options on it, but I haven’t found anything more delicious than their homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Order an extra one to bring home and enjoy the next day!) 

WEBSITE | 400 Josephine St, Austin, TX 78704

21. Home Slice Pizza

Home Slice Pizza

Home Slice is one of the most recognizable Austin restaurant brands, and yet it’s still one of the best local spots for NY-style pie. Fame hasn’t gone to its head! 

These are just really good, classic, giant pizzas that are cooked to order in their brick oven. No need to get fancy here. Just order a slice of pepperoni pizza and an ice cold coca-cola from their walk-up window and enjoy it at their sidewalk cafe on South Congress. 

WEBSITE | 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

22. Cafe No Se

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We’ve already talked about Maie Day, a restaurant inside South Congress Hotel, but there’s another little restaurant inside this boutique hotel that’s worth visiting as well: Cafe No Se. If you want a weekday breakfast spot in Austin or a beautiful place to enjoy a fresh lunch salad, Café No Sé is gorgeous.

WEBSITE | 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

23. Proud Mary Café

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Proud Mary Cafe is a Melbourne-inspired cafe that started in Portland before opening an additional location in Austin. Their coffee-roasting program is well acclaimed, but since this isn’t a guide to the best south Austin coffee shops, let’s talk about their food! 

The breakfast and lunch menus at Proud Mary rival the best in the city. These aren’t your typical American breakfast dishes like eggs and bacon or pancake platters. Instead, the ingredients are a little more unique. The ricotta hotcakes are served with vanilla poached apples, whipped sour cream, coconut and oat crumble, and apple and thyme syrup, with a little garnish of parsley on top. And the pork and watermelon salad, made with tamarind glazed crispy fried pork belly, watermelon and cucumber salad, peanuts, fried shallots, sesame, mint, cilantro, and nam jim dressing, is a totally new lunch concept for Austinites who are used to tacos and burgers.

WEBSITE | 2043 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

24. Odd Duck

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Similar to Uchi, Home Slice, and Tacodeli, Odd Duck is one of those “Austin institutions” that people who are in the foodie scene just know about. Odd Duck really put Austin on the map as a restaurant destination with their approach to farm-to-table ingredient sourcing and whole animal butchery. The South Lamar brick-and-mortar is lovely, with a vintage/chic flair and a big open kitchen concept where you can watch the chefs prepare you food. Try to reserve seats at the bar/chef’s counter if you enjoy watching everyone working in the kitchen while you eat. It’s a fun show! 

WEBSITE | 1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

25. Spicy Boys

SPICY BOYS at Zilker Brewing

Spicy Boys food trucks are all over Austin now, which is a testament to how delicious these fried chicken sandwiches are! Of course, fried chicken isn’t a very hard sell…it’s inherently delicious. But Spicy Boys adds a pan-Asian flavor profile to it with massaman mayo, sichuan peppercorns, and panang curry and Malaysian flatbread as a side. 

WEBSITE | 440 E St Elmo Rd g2, Austin, TX 78745

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I LOVE SOUTH AUSTIN! All of these south Austin restaurants that I shared have a certain amount of quirkiness to them. 

Take, for example, the Polvo’s location on South First Street. It’s commonly regarded as the best Tex Mex in Austin, and I’ve been there more times than I can count.

And when I try to explain the vibe to people who aren’t from here, I struggle. “It’s tiny with a low ceiling! It has an awesome patio…with plastic folding tables and chairs…” and then I just kind of fall short of words. Because how can you explain the AWESOMENESS of Polvo’s in south Austin, complete with its weird plastic folding tables on the patio and bass-thumping tejano music played at all hours of the day, without just visiting it? 

South Austin is so great, y’all. 

I hope this guide to the best south Austin restaurants inspires you to get out there and explore as many as possible! Many of these restaurants are in the popular ‘04 area code, but some of them are a bit further south. 

Be sure to use the map to find one of these restaurants near you, and don’t forget to share it with a friend!

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