Restaurants

Expert-recommended eats for Austin City Limits

If you're looking to go beyond the festival food stands and sample some excellent local Austin grub, we’ve got you covered.

Austin has often been called the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and for good reason. This Friday, October 2nd, Austin will kick off its annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

Although the festival grounds will feature many local food stands, if you’re looking for something a little less casual or just wanting to sample some excellent local Austin grub, we’ve got you covered with our 10 favorites.

Our #1 restaurant in Austin features world famous ribs and other delicious meats. You’ll want to get to this spot early – lines often stretch in excess of 3 hours. “Proprietor Aaron Franklin is to barbecue as homebrewers are to beer," says Blackbook. "He has created his own niche with craft brisket on par with the dispensaries in legendary Lockhart.”

“If any one restaurant defines the laid-back, somewhat goofy Austin aesthetic, it's probably Shady Grove," says Fodor’s. Featuring live music events and green chili cheeseburgers, this spot located on Barton Springs road just off Zilker Park is the perfect place to bring dates, friends, or families.

Popular since 2003, this place is best for weekend brunches and drink specials. Gayot agrees, “South Congress Cafe's surprisingly affordable menu combines Southwestern flair with more European traditions.” Serves an excellent fusion of Mexican and Southwestern food popular with the locals.

Conveniently located off of The University of Texas at Austin, in downtown Austin, this restaurant is your best bet for enjoying some delicious Indian cuisine set in digs that feel “modern” and “somewhat fancy.” (Zagat)

“This classic burger shack is very Austin. It opened its doors as Sammie's Drive-In in 1939, serving the traditional-style Texas burger with lettuce and onions.” (Frommer’s) You can also choose from several different types of meats, from regular beef to buffalo.

"Hop" and "doddy" represent a union of beer and burger. Craft beer and burgers, that is, at this exciting and pure Austin burger joint with equal parts “laid-back slacker” and “metropolitan hipster” vibe. They craft burgers from Angus or Texas Akaushi beef, or select from meats such as bison, lamb or ahi tuna.

An Austin classic. Features a free nacho bar and excellent drink specials. Conceirge.com says “Chuy's food is pretty straightforward Tex-Mex but it compensates for a lack of surprises with gargantuan portions and gregarious service.” The original location, on Barton Springs, is located just a short drive away from Zilker Park.

Famous for their doughnuts, “Austin’s favorite over-the-top donut destination recently expanded on its food truck fame with this new bricks-and-mortar café, where diners can get their favorite perforated pastries topped with everything from chicken fried steak to beer battered oysters.” (Fodor’s)

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