Foodie Parent’s Guide: Where to Eat in Austin with Kids
So many kitschy patios and beer gardens. Tacos, tex-mex, barbecue, and international flavors too.
It’s pretty simple. Austin=Good Food. And not just good food…good, unpretentious food. Which is exactly why taking the kids to explore Austin’s food scene is so darn easy!
Any time we visit a new city, I make myself a “food list”. For Austin, that list just kept growing and growing! There were so many cool places I wanted to try and simply not enough time to get to them all!
Suffice it to say, I haven’t eaten everything in Austin yet, but it’s on my list.
Here’s a few of our favorite foodie stops in Austin (that also happen to be kid-friendly), along with a few recommendations yet to be explored!
Coffee & Mornings
Seventh Flag Coffee | This cozy space sits across the street from the food trailer park on South 1st, so you can pair your quality cup of coffee with a big fat Gourdough’s donut. Bonus – they also serve a limited selection of Tacodeli breakfast tacos.
Magnolia Cafe | This Austin staple, open 24 hours, is about as no-frills as it gets. For a classic Austin breakfast, go for the migas.
Jo’s Coffee | Located on South Congress, Jo’s is home to the “I Love You So Much” mural, so you’ll probably be headed that way anyway. Combine an early morning visit with a cup of joe on the airy patio.
Tacodeli | Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s a chain, Tacodeli is often disputed as having the best tacos in Austin. And the breakfast tacos, in particular, are extra loved.[irp]
Lunch & Brunch
Elizabeth Street Cafe | French-Vietnamese food might not be the first thing on your Austin foodie list, but it should be! This beautiful, airy spot on South 1st has an amazing menu to suit all tastes. We loved everything we tried, from spring rolls to banh mi to pho (and don’t forget about the fresh baked French pastries too)! There’s even an incredible kids menu for adventurous little eaters. Next time we’re in Austin, I’ll be back for brunch to try their breakfast banh mi!
La Barbecue | While Franklin BBQ may be the most recognizable name in Austin barbecue, we didn’t have hours to camp out in line with a toddler. Instead, get your barbecue fix at the equally amazing La Barbecue. Sure, you’ll still face about an hour-long wait (come shortly before 11 to minimize your wait time), but trust me, it’s worth it. Be sure to be extra gluttonous and try a little of everything – brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausages, the works!
PS. La Barbecue is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan your visit accordingly.
Veracruz All Natural | Another contender for the best tacos in Austin, we sadly didn’t make it to Veracruz All Natural, the original taco truck now with it’s own North Austin storefront. But I couldn’t not mention it given it’s stature on the Austin taco scene.
Banger’s | Another place we loved was Banger’s on Rainey Street. The Rainey Street Historic District is a super cool part of Austin, tucked in between downtown, Lady Bird Lake, and I-35. Along the street is a collection of old bungalow homes that have been turned into backyard bars and restaurants with ample patio space. And since we wouldn’t be doing the nightlife scene in Austin, a lunch visit to Banger’s seemed like the next best thing.
Aside from a super comfortable, homey setting, the food at Banger’s is amazingly crafted. We enjoyed a few of their “exotic” sausages like the Duck, Bacon & Fig, along with the German potato salad and jar o’ pickles (a must!).
PS. You can make a reservation at Banger’s by emailing the restaurant. For lunch, it isn’t really necessary, but on weekends and evenings when they’re busier, you may want to have one just in case.[irp]
La Condesa | One of our fancier meals out, La Condesa is located downtown and serves modern Mexican food. We went on good authority that they had one of the best margaritas in Austin (which they did!). It’s on the pricier side for Austin dining, so we stuck to tasty appetizers like the Acapulco ceviche.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar | Another we missed this time around, Hopdoddy seems to be all the rage in Austin right now, as we saw many-a-lines wrapping out the door of their South Congress location. Suffice it to say, they must be doing something right in there!
Guero’s | I wouldn’t say Guero’s food is anything to particularly write home about, but if you can combine a meal with their kid-friendly outdoor live music (Wednesday-Sunday), then it’s totally worth it.
South Congress Cafe | I wasn’t sure what to expect out of South Congress Cafe, so I was quite surprised by how sophisticated the menu was! As evidenced by their website, the restaurant is pretty old school, with the decor feeling like a mid-90’s throwback. But they know how to do food right, and for a nice dinner out, it’s casual enough inside to bring the kids.
Licha’s Cantina | Though we didn’t get to sit on the sunny front yard patio (thanks to a massive downpour upon arriving!), Licha’s was another favorite dining experience of ours. I’m a sucker for an old house turned restaurant, and once again, Licha’s hit the mark.
The most exciting thing at Licha’s, though, was the food. Inspired by traditional recipes originating from Mexico City, we tried unique dishes we’d never had before (despite our incessant love of Mexican food), including Sopecitos, Huaraches, and a mushroom queso. We came early for their $5 happy hour and ate like kings for under $30![irp]
Take Out/Casual Nights In
Home Slice | By the slice or the whole pie, Home Slice’s to-go shack next to their original location on South Congress makes take out a breeze. Bonus tip for parents – you can order beer or wine to go too!
Torchy’s Tacos | Torchy’s can be super busy, but it’s worth the wait for their incredibly delicious variety of tacos. My personal favorite was the trailer park, extra trashy. Whatever you do, you must get the queso. Visit either their outpost of South Congress or food truck on South 1st.
Sway | Sway’s beloved modern Thai food may be tough to experience with kids in tow. Luckily for tired parents, they make take away simple, so it’s the perfect alternative for something different on a night in.
Amy’s Ice Creams | In between perusing the shops of South Congress, stop into Amy’s for a sweet treat. The Mexican vanilla is a staple favorite.
Hey Cupcake! | Why do all of Austin’s best sweet treats seem to be served out of an Airstream trailer? I won’t question it.
Gourdough’s | Big. Fat. Donuts. That’s indeed what you’ll get. We ordered two (silly us) and spent the rest of the evening flattened out on the couch of our Airbnb.
Great…now I’m hungry again. Time to plan our next trip to Austin!
What are some of your favorite Austin eats?
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