photo by Jana Birchum

Breakfast Taco

If there’s a better way to satiate a dual hankering for Tex-Mex and fresh fruit smoothies, no one’s told Austin. Owned and operated by the wonderful Vazquez sisters since 2008, Veracruz is an internationally recognized hometown hero. Start your day correctly with their famous migas poblanas tacos and cold-pressed La Jarocha juice.

Veracruz All Natural
4208 Menchaca Rd., 512/629-8238
2711 La Frontera Blvd. #320, Round Rock, 512/388-6595
111 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/665-2713
2401 Winsted, 512/665-9860
2505 Webberville Rd., 512/981-1760

Breakfast Sandwich

Bird Bird crown jewel the Queen Beak is a master class in heat and sweet: perfectly crunchy fried chicken breast sidling up to bacon-infused chipotle mayo and a peppery honey you can feel in the back of your throat, for a breakfast that will keep you full all the way to dinner.

Bird Bird Biscuit
1401 Koenig Ln.

courtesy of Bird Bird Biscuit

photo by Jana Birchum


There’s no glitch in the matrix: This level of excellence deserves its multiple accolades each year. Their stellar sushi selection changes in a blink but regularly boasts the crème de la crème of contemporary Japanese classics, exciting bluefin and uni options, and delightful menu oddities like tempura greens, candied quinoa, and five-spice quail.

801 S. Lamar


If there’s a comfort food that crosses all boundaries, it has to be tonkotsu ramen with its rich, porky broth and copious amounts of noodles. Not only was Tatsu-Ya one of the first top-shelf ramen joints in town, it also remains one of the best. With five locations and counting, there’s ramen for all.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya
8557 Research #126
1234 S. Lamar
8601 S. Congress

photo by Jana Birchum

photo by John Anderson


Winning for the second year in a row, Lin has proved its mettle in the dumpling game, wowing us with a variety of finely executed steamed or fried pillows enveloping savory meats, seafood, and veggies, including the superstar: a massive Shanghai seafood soup dumpling with an addictive broth.

Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum
1203 W. Sixth


We didn’t know it was possible to make eating your greens exciting, but Vinaigrette has raised the (salad) bar. We’re partial to the Cherry Tart salad with lemon-herb chicken; the Beet Goes On, with roasted beet and honey balsamic dressing; and the All Kale Caesar!, which put this casual eatery on the map in three cities. Pair your salad with mushroom stew for a fall twist.

2201 College Ave.

photo by John Anderson

photo by Zeke Barbaro


Proving fresh never goes stale, ThunderCloud lines its menu with cold-cut classics and coastal flavors. The Big Paul packs a carnivore's delight, while the California Club brings a touch of clean eating to the menu. They prove that slackers can still school our taste buds between daily-made buns.

ThunderCloud Subs
ThunderCloud Subs #10, 903 W. 12th, 512/322-0154
ThunderCloud Subs #3, 3200 Guadalupe, 512/452-5010
ThunderCloud Subs #2, 201 E. Riverside, 512/441-5331
ThunderCloud Subs #11, 2521 Rutland, 512/835-6458
ThunderCloud Subs #14, 3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/328-2114
ThunderCloud Subs #15, 2300 Lohmans Spur #108, Lakeway, 512/263-1620
ThunderCloud Subs #17, 5401 Burnet Rd., 512/467-9438
ThunderCloud Subs #18, 13776 Hwy. 183 N. #152, 512/258-9145
ThunderCloud Subs #19, 1807 W. Slaughter #500, 512/282-2255
ThunderCloud Subs #5, 7930 Burnet Rd., 512/451-0027
ThunderCloud Subs #6, 2308 Lake Austin Blvd., 512/479-6504
ThunderCloud Subs #8, 2801 S. Lamar, 512/443-0960
ThunderCloud Subs #9, 2021 E. Riverside, 512/445-4163
ThunderCloud Subs #20, 1110 N. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-2468
ThunderCloud Subs #28, 6920 RR 620 N., 512/335-3663
ThunderCloud Subs #31, 2500 W. Parmer #160, 512/255-2013
6105 Hwy. 290 E., 512/451-5830
3601 William Cannon #300, 512/891-6782


If you’re craving a delectable prime cut of beef, it doesn’t get any better than a thoughtfully sourced New York strip or wagyu fillet from Jeffrey’s, expertly grilled over live oak and finished in a 1,200-degree broiler, excellent on its own but available topped with complements like a marrow-roasted bulb of garlic.

1204 W. Lynn

courtesy of Jeffrey's

Chicken-Fried Steak

Hoover's take on the Southern comfort food classic features a fork-tender seasoned steak coated in a crispy, golden-brown crust. Served with creamy gravy made with bacon fat and chicken stock, it's homey and satisfying, an avatar of Southern comfort itself. Don’t forget the fluffy mashed potatoes on the side.

Hoover's Cooking
2002 Manor Rd.


The JewBoy burger is best because of the meat: Owner Mo Pittle takes the time to cook onions right into his 80% lean, 20% fatty patty (ground by hand at Longhorn Meat Market) before nestling it into a soft Martin’s potato roll. Then there are those El Paso-inspired toppings, as meaty and cheesy and spicy as you can stand.

JewBoy Burgers
5111 Airport

photo by John Anderson

courtesy of P. Terry's

Veggie Burger

Some veggie burgers present as aggressively plant-based and – we’ll say it – holier-than-thou. P. Terry’s, not so much: This is a plausible dupe of their wildly popular beef burger, including the special sauce. In other words: fast food, elevated, and inhaled in five bites or less.

P. Terry's Burger Stand
404 S. Lamar, 512/473-2217
3303 N. Lamar, 512/371-9975
4220 W. William Cannon Ste. B-200, 512/358-0380
8515 Burnet Rd., 512/420-9242
3311 RR 620 S., 512/263-9433
204 W. Ben White, 512/462-4998
12301 N. MoPac, 512/719-4810
12018 Research, 512/257-0990
701 Capital of TX Hwy. S., Bldg. H, 512/306-0779
1551 Hwy. 71 E., 737/209-0059
5900 N. Lamar, 512/814-0129
13770 Hwy. 183 N., 512/219-9992
1800 E. Oltorf, 512/284-8137
12901 N. I-35, 512/531-9683
517 W. MLK, 737/212-0420
515 Congress, 512/473-8722
8600 S. I-35, 512/487-5103


To earn top rank for Austin’s best taco and best breakfast taco is a huge win, and these flavor geniuses are so deserving. With five locations across Austin, you’re always within reach of the happiness-inducing shrimp macha taco and Doña Reyna mole negro taco. Buy an extra to share and you’ll have a friend for life.

Veracruz All Natural
4208 Menchaca Rd., 512/629-8238
2711 La Frontera Blvd. #320, Round Rock, 512/388-6595
111 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/665-2713
2401 Winsted, 512/665-9860
2505 Webberville Rd., 512/981-1760

photo by Jana Birchum

photo by John Anderson


Do you want to know the perfect order at Eldorado Cafe? It’s a plate of Esme’s Magic, three corn tortillas filled with savory mashed potatoes, topped with ancho chile sauce and shredded lettuce and cabbage. Sub cheese ‘n rice for the Eldorado rice, get a house marg to drink, and you’re in comfort-food heaven.

Eldorado Cafe
3300 W. Anderson


Again, Austinites thoroughly agree that the best pizza in town is what emerges from the stupefying heat of Home Slice’s brick oven: their New York-style Neapolitan. The crust is always the perfect chewy-crisp texture that makes every slice of your slice of pizza perfectly foldable. Have it your way or go tried and true; there’s no wrong answer.

Home Slice Pizza
1415 S. Congress, 512/444-7437
More Home Slice, 1421 S. Congress, 512/444-7437
501 E. 53rd, 512/707-7437

photo by Zeke Barbaro

photo by Lauren Johnson

Ice Cream/Frozen Treat

Wherever you are, you’re not far from an Amy’s, the homegrown chain that brings real panache to the business of scooping ice cream. Menu stalwarts Mexican vanilla and the deliciously bracing Zilker Mint Chip are on Amy’s Mount Rushmore, for sure, but save room for the seasonal specialties, too. (Here’s looking at you, pumpkin butterscotch brownie!)

Amy's Ice Creams
1012 W. Sixth, 512/886-5737
2805 Bee Caves Rd. #416, 512/883-4187
10000 Research #140, 512/886-5955
AUS: Amy's Ice Creams, 3600 Presidential Blvd. #20, 512/530-2918
1301 S. Congress, 512/440-7488
4477 S. Lamar #790, 512/886-5998
13265 Hwy. 183 N., 512/918-2697
5624 Burnet Rd., 512/886-6153
9600 S. I-35 Ste. 400-C, 512/399-8030
12800 Galleria Cir. Ste G-150, Bee Cave, 512/262-9447
2901 S. Lamar, 512/447-2697
2002 Manor Rd., 512/551-8225


Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle