Seven Spots to Get Amazing Tamales in Austin
A fan of masa but a mess in the kitchen? Leave it to the pros.
By Emily Beyda,
8:00AM, Sat. Jan. 26, 2019
Delicious, portable, and endlessly customizable with an infinite variety of possible fillings, tamales are a crowd-pleasing treat that never gets old.
But unless you have a very loving abuela or a neighbor who goes door to door with a cooler (one of the greatest assets of local communities, in our opinion), they’re also a heck of a lot of work. Fortunately for us lazy-but-festive fans of masa, Austin has so many excellent places to pick up tamales that you’re just a quick pre-order away from filling your freezer with enough tamales to last you through 2019.
This family-run neighborhood spot is worth the drive up to Round Rock for their fantastic homemade tortillas and pastries and – yes, of course – tamales, which are spicy and simple with tender masa and a variety of savory fillings. They’re super fresh (made while you wait) and available to order by the dozen, the best possible gift to bring to any gathering. 1701 S. Mays, Round Rock.
With shelves packed with all the ingredients necessary for cooking up authentic Mexican dishes, La Finca is a great place to visit for those Austinites ambitious enough to consider making their own tamales. And for the rest of us, the restaurant at the back of the supermarket sells premade tamales to go, at the unbeatable price of $1 a pop. 9616 N. Lamar #130.
The unfussy wood paneled space of Rosie’s speaks to their classic homestyle approach to Tex Mex cooking. There’s nothing on the menu here that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize, and she’d appreciate their years-long tradition of take-home Christmas tamales, set off by a festive Santa Claus statue someone probably purchased back in 1972. 13436 Hwy. 71 W., Bee Cave.
The Guatemalan tamales served up at this unpretentious North Austin treasure are very different from the more familiar Mexican variety. They’re about twice as large, for starters, and wrapped in banana or maxan leaves – but they’re just as delicious. 6539 N. Lamar.
Not only does this delightful panadería make some of the best authentic tortillas, cakes, pan dulces, bolillo, and telera bread – used in restaurants all across Austin – and tamales by the dozen, they’re also open 24 hours a day. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll get those 2am tamales, though; when we called, they were all sold out for the next three days, so get on it if you want ’em. 1924 S. First.
What started out as a church fundraiser meal in 1963 gradually grew into a catering business in the Nineties, and then, when founder Connie Martinez finally opened her dream restaurant at the age of 63: this cozy, azure-walled, Rosedale-neighborhood favorite. You better believe they have a secret freezer full of tamales ready for customers in the know. 4516 Burnet Rd.
They’re probably better known for their (killer) breakfast tacos and live music on weekends, but tamales are in the name at Tamale House East, and they take the art form seriously. The tamales here are $1.50 each, available in flavors like chicken and tomatillo, pork, and jalapeño, bean, and cheese. Add cheese and their delicious house made mole for an additional $1.25. 1707 E. Sixth.