When it comes to eating here in Austin, Texas...
You’ll quickly find that if you’re not chomping on quality BBQ, you’re probably indulging with a classic Tex-Mex dish. Austin’s taco-based culinary culture is booming with a plethora of Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, and we’re here to help you find the must-try options out there.
With that said, here are some of our favorite spots to find spicy, crunchy, cheesy and fresh food in Austin, Texas. For best results, pair the aforementioned flavors with Karbach Brewing Co.'s spicy new Hella Chela beer - we can't get enough of it, especially as a partner to Tex-Mex eats.
- Contributed by Krystal Penrose -
There’s nothing better than waking up to a big Austin breakfast. When in doubt, sit down anywhere and say “breakfast taco.” Chances are it will end nicely for you. If you’re looking to start your day off right, these top Mexican and Tex-Mex breakfast spots will do the trick for you:
Photo Credit: TacoDeli / Facebook
The reigning champion of breakfast tacos in Austin, Tacodeli caters their tacos to coffee shops and corner stores all over the city. Nothing beats the freshly made real thing at the North Lamar location. The kitchen at Tacodeli is attentive to any and all dietary restrictions, offering plenty of options for gluten-sensitive and vegan folks.
3900 S Congress
This modest cantina serves traditional home-style Mexican food. With most dishes costing under $10, it's hard to pass up breakfast here. Patrons of El Borrego Del Oro rave about the tortilla soup - we recommend you add it to your breakfast taco order to mix things up from the norm.
628 E Oltorf St.
Con Madre is a game changer. Serving both breakfast and lunch tacos, this family-owned food truck promises to have madre throw in her special spices for every dish. Pair the spicy chorizo with an iced coffee-and-horchata for a killer start to any day.
Photo Credit: El Chilito / Facebook
At El Chilito, you can enjoy breakfast all day in the form of tacos and burritos featuring farm fresh eggs, and a coffee bar offering fair-trade, organic coffee and Mexican Hot Chocolate. There’s also a wide variety of specials, including classics like Carne Asada, and plenty of vegetarian options to appease the herbivores.
2101 S 1st St
It’s called “El Primo” for a reason. This little hidden treasure on South 1st cooks up some of the best breakfast tacos in town. Their “red sauce” will wake you up in a hurry. You can also grab a coffee right next door at Once Over Coffee Bar.
Brunch in Austin is a big deal. Which is why you’ll quickly notice that just about every restaurant in town turns into a party at around 10 am every Saturday and Sunday. Visit one of these Tex-Mex and Mexican brunch spots and you’ll be groovin’ to some salsa music, drinking mimosas, and eating until you’re full enough to go back to sleep for a couple of hours:
Photo Credit: Maria's Taco Xpress / Facebook
2529 S Lamar
You can’t miss out on “Hippie Church” every Sunday, where you’ll drink Agua Fresca (a traditional Mexican fruit drink) and Bloody Mary’s, eat some of the best migas in town, then dance it all off to some soulful Gospel music. Just get to Maria's early – it can get busy!
While this taco spot's original food truck will soon be vacating the E Cesar Chavez location, there are several other places around town where you can sink your teeth into a famous Veracruz All Natural taco. We recommend trying the housemade corn tortillas with any of the mouthwatering tacos, especially the migas poblanas and al pastor. Don't forget to wash it down with an agua fresca!
1900 S 1st St.
All veggie, all the time. Their veggie chorizo tacos, among many other healthy twists on Tex-Mex classics, are a must try. Plus, you can’t beat eating a tasty brunch (paired with amazing coffee) on their cute little patio on South 1st. Grab dessert across the street at La Mexicana Bakery if you're somehow still hungry.
2330 W. North Loop
Oh, Fonda San Miguel, how can you be both beautiful and delicious? The world may never know. Within this lovely oasis of a restaurant, you'll find one of the most sumptuous brunch buffets in Austin. This brunch rings up at close to $40 a person, but we promise it will be one of the best dining experiences you’ll ever have. Just a few of the freshly made delights on the menu are tamales, corn pudding, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, ceviche, and guacamole. Come hungry and you'll get your money's worth.
A Tex-Mex or Mexican lunch in Austin is usually quick, cheap, and involves some sort of alcohol (just like every meal we eat). So, expect to find that at every single one of these awesome spots to grab lunch:
Torchy’s Tacos isn’t just yummy - it’s truly an Austin staple. They get really creative with their tacos without losing sight of the classics. Our favorites include the Fried Avocado, Trailer Park (fried chicken & green chilies - get it Trashy style if you want queso on top), and the Dirty Sanchez (a loaded breakfast taco). And pssst… don’t forget to order off their secret menu.
1412 South Congress
This South Congress taco bar is more than food - it’s a tradition of happiness in Tex-Mex. Residing on one of the greatest stretches of road in the 512, Guero’s is the perfect place to grab a cold margarita and people-watch for a while.
Photo Credit: Papalote Taco House / Facebook
If you happen to be on South Lamar and hankering for a build-your-own-taco, don’t pass up this joint. Down at the Do512 office, this one is a frequent choice for a bite to eat on a busy day.
1924 S 1st St.
Great tacos, Mexican treats, and even more, they are open 24/7. Oh, and did we mention it’s one of the cutest little bakeries you’ll ever visit? Stop in for a nightcap of tres leches cake or sample a few fresh cookies from the bakery case.
1816 S Lamar Blvd.
Chances are no one else will tell you about this hidden treasure on South Lamar. Go for the happy hour and get one of their delicious margaritas, an order of their Choriqueso, then top it all off with the beloved Cochinita Pibil, a classic Yucatan pork dish made with spices, rice, Xni-Pec, and fried plantain chips.
photo credit: ROGER HO
501 W Oltorf St.
Their rotating $6 lunch specials are killer, but what makes Habanero stand out is their beef fajitas. Order them spicy and you’ll walk away a happy camper. Pro tip: It's cash only, come prepared (though they do have an ATM on site).
2038 S Lamar Blvd
The savory dishes at this family-owned restaurant are made by a self-taught cook with traditional family recipes that are kept close to the heart. Try their own creations: The Beef Yucatan and The Chile Ancho Relleno. Your tongue will be on fire, and your heart will totally melt for El Meson.
Want to kick back, relax and fill up on some grub after the sun goes down? These Tex-Mex and Mexican dinner spots will make your taste buds swoon. Our variety of picks give you the option to enjoy dinner in an upscale restaurant, a hole in the wall, or outside on a patio:
Photo Credit: Matt's El Rancho / FacebOOK
2613 S Lamar Blvd
Nothing beats Matt’s large outdoor patio… chances are, if you visit, you will most likely be serenaded by live mariachi music. Get a large Bob queso, a Mexican Martini (or a Shirley Temple if you are under 21) and enjoy the beautiful sights of South Austin.
Photo Credit: Polvo's / Facebook
Don’t get lost in all the Christmas lights! Go for the margaritas, stay for the salsa bar. Classic Tex-Mex in a homey, laid-back atmosphere.
614 E Oltorf St.
There are two words to describe why Curra’s is one of our favorites for Mexican cuisine in Austin: avocado margaritas. Don’t forget to try their Tacos Carnitas, too – they marinate their meat in coca cola, orange juice and milk for a day, and boy is it delicious.
photo by Roger Ho
606 Trinity St
The food and drinks from this upscale Tex-Mex restaurant and bar are best enjoyed on Iron Cactus' rooftop patio, where you can observe Sixth Street mayhem from on high. The tequila menu makes this one a great first stop for a night of downtown debauchery, but we also love to come here for a big, delicious dinner. Start with the tableside-mixed guacamole, order some sizzling fajitas, and finish with a decadent dessert (or another margarita - whatever floats your boat).
1110 W 6th St.
This small Tex-Mex chain makes the list due to their large variety of margaritas and Happy Hour deals. Make your reservation now and get ready for some zesty and innovative food. Vegan options are also available, making Z'Tejas a crowd pleaser for all.
Photo Credit: Pelons Tex-Mex / Facebook
802 Red River Street
Smack dab in the middle of a row of venues, Pelon's will be your haven of food and a place to enjoy the evening before jetting on to your next show.
1025 Barton Springs Rd.
Innovative Mexican food, art, and a rooftop deck? Come for the aesthetic and skyline views, stay for food and drinks. El Alma's flavored margaritas are out of this world. PRO TIP: book a table in advance, or you'll probably have to wait.
6406 N IH 35
Boasting "modern Tex-Mex" fare, Vivo is a great spot for happy hour (4 - 6:30 pm on weekdays) drinks and tacos. We love the margs - customize your beverage order by adding unique flavor mix-ins like hibiscus, blood orange, or prickly pear. Vegetarian options and loaded appetizers round out the food menu and make Vivo a solid choice for just about anyone.
MORE PLACES FOR GREAT TEX-MEX:
2305 E 7th St
What's your favorite place for
Tex Mex in Austin?