Hey there, foodies! Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to explore the vibrant streets of Austin, Texas when visiting my parents, who were doing a cross-USA road trip! While it was a family trip, we still got to do some fun stuff and eat some delicious food. From mouthwatering BBQ joints to delightful pastry shops, Austin has quite a bumpin culinary scene. So, grab your appetite and get ready for my personal list of 5 must-try restaurants in this charming Texan city.
1. Salt Lick – A BBQ Haven
Address: 18300 FM Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619
Let’s kick things off with a true Texan treasure – Salt Lick. This place gets the number one spot because it’s iconic, and for good reason. My dad visited a few years ago and talked about it regularly until he was able to visit again. If you’re a barbecue aficionado like my pops, or simply love good ol’ comfort food, this place is an absolute must-visit. Situated just outside Austin, the Salt Lick has been perfecting the art of slow-cooked meats since the ’60s. It has a cool set-up in that it feels like a giant mess hall, and you can see the meats getting cooked at the center of the room. The aroma of smoky goodness fills the air as you dive into tender, juicy brisket, sausages, and ribs that practically fall off the bone. The rustic charm and mouthwatering flavours make it a quintessential Texan experience.
What we got: Between the 4 of us we got a bit of everything… All of it AMAZING. Pictures are my happy-as-can-be father with the all-you-can-eat option on the left, and my brisket sandwich on the right.
2. Gourdough’s – Donuts Gone Wild
Address: 1503 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Of course, I had to check out dessert spots too! Located in the heart of Austin, Gourdough’s whips up donuts that transcend the ordinary. These aren’t your typical glazed or powdered varieties – we’re talking about gourmet donuts loaded with toppings that’ll make your sweet tooth do a happy dance. From the “Mother Clucker” with fried chicken and honey butter to the “Fat Elvis” with banana, bacon, and peanut butter icing, these innovative creations are a treat for both your taste buds and Instagram feed. Plus, it’s in a sweet little airstream trailer and has an awesome seating area with games to play while you wait for your donuts to be freshly made.
What we got: Fat Elvis (weird but good), Nutty Valentine (my fav), Black Out (my dad who loves brownies said it was perfect), and Squealing Pig (not so much my vibe).
3. La Patisserie – Parisian Delights
Address: 602 W Annie St, Austin, TX 78704
I can’t say that I expected a Parisian style bakery in Texas, but here it is! I can honestly say that La Patisserie is the best French bakery I’ve been to outside of Paris itself. Nestled in the charming South Congress neighborhood, this cozy bakery exudes Parisian flair with its delectable assortment of pastries and treats. From delicate macarons to buttery croissants, this place does it all and does it WELL. It’s the perfect spot to indulge in a leisurely breakfast or a midday pick-me-up while soaking in the eclectic Austin vibe.
What we got: A bit of everything! The choc caramel pecan tart and lemon meringue tart were some of my favs.
4. Tiny Pies – Sweet & Savory Handheld Happiness
Address: 5035 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
Have a penchant for pies? Tiny Pies has got you covered. This adorable bakery is all about celebrating the joy of handheld pies, both sweet and savory. From classic fruit-filled delights to creative concoctions like the “Chicken Pot Pie” and the “Browned Butter Buttermilk Pie,” these mini treats pack big flavours. The cozy atmosphere and the fact that every pie is handmade with love make it a truly heartwarming experience.
What we got: Apple Crumb (photographed below), Texas Two Step, Key Lime (we fought over this one…), Chocolate Cream, and my favs… the savoury pot pies!
5. Terry Black’s BBQ – Tradition Meets Taste
Address: 1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
When in Austin, BBQ is non-negotiable, so yes… we went to more than one. Situated near Barton Springs, Terry Black’s BBQ is rooted in a rich tradition of Central Texas barbecue. The inviting aroma of smoked meats will lure you in, and once you sink your teeth into their brisket, sausage, and ribs, you’ll understand why BBQ here is taken so seriously. The laid-back setting and the dedication to time-honored techniques create an unforgettable culinary journey.
What we got: Brisket, ribs, green beans, mac and cheese, potato salad, and corn bread.
There you have it, folks – my personal picks for the 5 must-try restaurants in Austin, TX. From finger-licking BBQ to sweet indulgences that’ll satisfy even the best of bakers, this city has it all. So, whether you’re a local looking for a new spot or a fellow traveler planning your Austin escapade, be sure to add these gems to your foodie itinerary. Happy eating!