Award-Winning Restaurants Within Walking Distance of the ACL Music Festival
Step away from the music for a taste of Austin
This reco list – pulled from First Plates, our annual list of 100 restaurants defining Austin now – is perfect for dining outside of the ACL Festival grounds and includes South Lamar, Barton Springs Road, South Congress, and South First. (Check out even more – including Downtown and East Austin – First Plates recos online.)
Carpenters Hall400 Josephine St., www.carpenterhotel.com
Explore Texas' many influences in this chic, updated-vintage spot with dishes like chicken schnitzel, Gulf Coast seafood, and strawberry hand pie.
High Note300-A S. Lamar, www.highnoteatx.com
This Kerbey Lane Cafe offshoot calls themselves "a healthy, boozy place to eat, drink, and live well," and we'll be damned if that's not exactly what they are.
It's Italian Cucina1500 S. Lamar #110, www.itsitaliancucina.com
Owner and chef Al Fini brings back edible inspiration from frequent trips to Northern Italy and fuses the Old World with the new one he's created in his restaurant.
Juliet Italian Kitchen1500 Barton Springs Rd., www.juliet-austin.com
Juliet's menu of scratch classic Italian-American fare includes treasures like spaghetti Bolognese, $16 prix fixe lunch, and rosé all day at brunch.
Loro2115 S. Lamar, www.loroaustin.com
The love child of Franklin Barbecue and Uchi/Uchiko owners is a celebration of East-meets-Central Texas.
LeRoy & Lewis121 Pickle Rd., www.leroyandlewis.com
It's traditional 'cue done even better, with alternative cuts of meat and modern twists on side-dish classics that keep winning awards year after year.
Pinthouse Pizza4236 S. Lamar, www.pinthousepizza.com
Pinthouse's pizza is, in fact, a downright excellent complement to any of the joint's biting IPAs: cheesy with a generous portion of those curled pepperonis. Mmm, IPAs and cheese.
Ramen Tatsu-ya1234 S. Lamar, ramen-tatsuya.com
Behind these delightful bowls of wonder, it all comes down to the noodles. Slurping them here is a singular experience.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.1305 W. Oltorf; www.theabgb.com
The ABGB is the perfect joint to please both the beer snobs and the pizza snobs in your life, so you're not going to regret visiting the reigning national "Large Brewpub of the Year" three years running.
Joann's Fine Foods1224 S. Congress, www.joannsaustin.com
Elevated diner fare meets Tex-Mex in this midcentury setting on SoCo. Dine on classic enchiladas and chicken-fried steak, then enjoy cocktails poolside.
Lenoir1807 S. First, www.lenoirrestaurant.com
This romantic treasure's warm-weather food – inspired by Indian, Thai, Italian, and Mexican cuisine – is perfect for sitting in the wine garden (with half-price bottles during happy hour).
Bouldin Creek Cafe1900 S. First; www.bouldincreek.com
One of Austin's oldest and most reputable vegan/vegetarian restaurants. Even omnivores can't get enough of the Renedict or the sweet potato and pecan tamales.
Mattie's811 W. Live Oak, www.mattiesaustin.com
Mattie's manicured mansion lawns, creaky floors, and preening peacocks make a dinner here feel special; thankfully, their Southern cuisine and excellent wine list match the setting.
Otoko1603 S. Congress, www.otokoaustin.com
Only 12 coveted seats occupy this SoCo omakase haven where celeb chef Yoshi Okai fuses locally sourced goodness with the best fish jetted in from Japan. If you forgot a rez, have a cocktail at the bar, Watertrade, and dine at one of the other great spots nearby.
Sway1417 S. First, www.swayaustin.com
At Sway, lights are dimmed, seating is intimate, portions are shareable, and dishes pack heat, creating spiced-to-thrill flavors. Blue prawns and toasted cashews elevate classic dishes like pad thai, and fresh tropical drinks incorporate ingredients like galangal.
Güero's Taco Bar1412 S. Congress, www.guerostacobar.com
For over 30 years, the Lippincott family has been perfecting a menu rooted in Mexican street food with Texan flair – we see you, tacos al pastor – and the Austin party vibe could not be more apparent than on their 20-deep specialty margarita menu.
Home Slice Pizza1415 S. Congress, www.homeslicepizza.com
Classic Austin: 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. (Their North Loop location was our pick for No. 1 restaurant this year.)
Hopdoddy Burger Bar1400 S. Congress Ste. A-190, www.hopdoddy.com
Be it through beef, lamb, chicken, or veggie, Hopdoddy has cast a spell on this town. Aside from all things ensconced in a bun, try the fries with green chile queso, dangerously delicious Doble Fina margaritas, and that killer Caesar salad with fried chickpeas.
Vespaio1610 S. Congress, www.austinvespaio.com
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 Sicilian cheesecake so much.
Uchi801 S. Lamar, www.uchiaustin.com
Setting the gold standard for Austin cuisine for years, this fine-dining spot serves intricate and exquisite renderings of Japanese cuisine.
Odd Duck1201 S. Lamar, www.oddduckaustin.com
Odd Duck played a starring role in putting Austin on the U.S. food map, serving up vivid, inventive dishes on a colorful palette.
Dee Dee4204 Manchaca Rd., www.deedeeatx.com
This plucky little truck serves incredible Northern Thai street food, including pork skewers, spicy papaya salad, and cooling mango & sticky rice.