Award-Winning Restaurants Within Walking Distance of the ACL Music Festival

Step away from the music for a taste of Austin

Loro (Photo by John Anderson)

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 Hall

400 Josephine St.,
Explore Texas' many influences in this chic, updated-vintage spot with dishes like chicken schnitzel, Gulf Coast seafood, and strawberry hand pie.

High Note (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

High Note

300-A S. Lamar,
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 Cucina

1500 S. Lamar #110,
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 Kitchen

1500 Barton Springs Rd.,
Juliet's menu of scratch classic Italian-American fare includes treasures like spaghetti Bolognese, $16 prix fixe lunch, and rosé all day at brunch.


2115 S. Lamar,
The love child of Franklin Barbecue and Uchi/Uchiko owners is a celebration of East-meets-Central Texas.

LeRoy & Lewis

121 Pickle Rd.,
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 Pizza

4236 S. Lamar,
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-ya

1234 S. Lamar,
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;
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 Foods

1224 S. Congress,
Elevated diner fare meets Tex-Mex in this midcentury setting on SoCo. Dine on classic enchiladas and chicken-fried steak, then enjoy cocktails poolside.


1807 S. First,
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 Cafe

1900 S. First;
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.


811 W. Live Oak,
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.


1603 S. Congress,
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.


1417 S. First,
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 Bar

1412 S. Congress,
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.

Photo by John Anderson

Home Slice Pizza

1415 S. Congress,
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 Bar

1400 S. Congress Ste. A-190,
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.


1610 S. Congress,
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.


801 S. Lamar,
Setting the gold standard for Austin cuisine for years, this fine-dining spot serves intricate and exquisite renderings of Japanese cuisine.

Odd Duck

1201 S. Lamar,
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 Dee

4204 Manchaca Rd.,
This plucky little truck serves incredible Northern Thai street food, including pork skewers, spicy papaya salad, and cooling mango & sticky rice.

Check out our daily ACL coverage with previews, reviews, interviews, photos, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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