South Congress and South First

With one of the biggest and best patios in town, bold and beautiful pizza pies, and an on-site brewery, it’s no wonder this warehouse spot has become a favorite hang spot. Sourcing from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and other local farms, the possibilities are endless.

1305 W. Oltorf

We don’t want to get too much into Lana Del Rey’s business, but maybe if she had a restaurant like Alcomar nearby, she wouldn’t experience so much “Summertime Sadness.” With an effortless interior, achingly fresh seafood, and heady margaritas, chefs Alma Alcocer-Thomas and Jeff Martinez preside over an instant pick-me-up.

You could easily play hipster food bingo with Café No Sé’s menu (Avocado toast? Check! Kale salad? Yup!) but the execution here is flawless, simultaneously excessive and elegant. #foodporn-worthy bites for the Instagirl in your life that taste good enough that you don’t mind putting up with her.

1603 S. Congress

How to land a deal: Take your client to Central Standard. Sit at the glistening bar, away from the hubbub of the dining room. Order one Standard Platter stocked with oysters, lobster, and clams, an order of the decadent potato bread, and two seriously boozy Salted Caramel cocktails. Clink your glasses and sign on the line. You tycoon, you.

1603 S. Congress

John Anderson

John Anderson

This beloved hang spot might have the best mascot in town: a queen of pies with rockin’ ’stache and a sly wink. She knows why she rules – her New York-style and Sicilian pizzas are above reproach, and the garlic knots can build empires. But that doesn’t mean she won’t treat you like royalty too.

1415 S. Congress

It’s hard to resist the sirens’ call of a big juicy handcrafted burger, especially from a place that offers endless variations in toppings and proteins. Even though this Austin original opens its fourth location soon, it still packs the house – proving that craft burgers are more than just a trend.

1400 S. Congress Ste. A-190

John Anderson

A rare affordable date spot in a crowded high-dollar dining scene, Lenoir’s three-course prix fixe remains the best value and one of the most dazzling meals in town, with dishes like masa-stuffed quail and cold crawfish salad defying categorization without confusing taste buds.

1807 S. First

Like Buccellati engagement rings or the Olsen twins, good things come in small packages. Case in point: chef Yoshi Okai’s 12-seat tasting table in the South Congress Hotel where every detail – from the napkins to the impeccable omakase – has been carefully considered. It’s not cheap, but treat yo’self.

1603 S. Congress

John Anderson

Shopping is hard work, but SoCo has a time-honored respite. A diner space adjacent to neighbor-with-the-best-sign Austin Motel for 70 years, this revamped space offers the best in tasty, consciously sourced and created eats and drinks. Rest your weary dogs, support local farms, and get in some stellar people-watching.

1224 S. Congress

Sway’s extensive menu means there’s never a lack of exciting dishes to try, even though we can’t seem to forgo our favorites like prawn miange and blue crab fried rice. (We’ve learned to come with a group and share all the dishes.) Chef Martin Wilda’s special menus, celebrating events such as the recent Songkran, as well as a new brunch menu, ensure we keep coming back.

1417 S. First

John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

This may be one of Austin’s oldest and most reputable vegan and vegetarian restaurants, but even omnivores can’t get enough of the Renedict and sweet potato and pecan tamales at this longtime favorite. Between the ever-changing exhibits by local artists and the blueberry cornbread, brunch will be worth the wait! Inducted in 2018.

1900 S. First

Despite the many new pizza places that have popped up around town since it first made a splash, Home Slice still packs the house with both out-of-towners and locals. The reason? Hot, fresh, New York-style pies that haven’t lost their luster in more than a decade. Inducted in 2017.

1415 S. Congress

John Anderson

A SoCo staple from before it was called SoCo, the elegant eatery takes its name from the buzzing dining room. It’s classic Italian, with walls of wine, in-house butchery, a long list of house-made delights, and thoughtfully sourced ingredients. We love the calamari fritti arrabbiata, Scampi con Salsa all’Aglio, and the Sicilian cheesecake, so very much. Inducted in 2016.

1610 S. Congress

South Lamar and Barton Springs

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