Foraging Near Zilker

1) Chuy's With hubcaps, colored lights, and a velvet Elvis, this is Aus­tin-style Tex-Mex at its tacky, funky best. It's almost always busy, but the chips and creamy queso are worth the wait. 1728 Barton Springs Rd.

2) THE PICNIC A curated selection of some of Austin's best food trucks – including Turf N Surf Po' Boy, Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?, and the Mighty Cone. 1720 Barton Springs Rd.

3) Baby Acapulco South Great enchiladas and multi­flavored margaritas that should come with warning stickers: "Muy bueno!" 1628 Barton Springs Rd.

4) JuiceLAND This friendly and popular juice bar near Barton Springs offers fresh juices, smoothies, froths, and nondairy ice cream. You'll feel better on the way out than you did going in. 1625 Barton Springs Rd.

5) Shady Grove Take advantage of the beautiful outdoor seating area and hot dogs all year round in a family-friendly setting. We're partial to the green-chile cheeseburgers with mountains of onion rings. 1624 Barton Springs Rd.

6) Austin Java Cafe & Bar Beyond the morning cup o' joe, Austin Java offers an array of sustenance plus luscious desserts. 1608 Barton Springs Rd.

7) Uncle Billy's Brew & Que The barbecue sauce is outstanding on their tender sausage and ribs. After a day at Zilker Park, enjoy great service and cold, house-brewed beers on tap. 1530 Barton Springs Rd.

8) JULIET RISTORANTE This new Italian contender offers an elegant dining room and one of the best patios in Austin. Try the negroni flight if you just can't make up your mind. 1500 Barton Springs Rd.

9) SOUTH AUSTIN SOCIAL Tucked behind Thom's Market, SAS features some strong contenders for Austin's food truck crown – including Boca, Gibroni's, Unity Vegan Kitchen, and Gemma Love. 409 Jessie.

10) Green Mesquite BBQ One of Austin's favorite barbecue dives – it may look seedy, but the menu is extensive and the food is terrific. 1400 Barton Springs Rd.

11) P. Terry's Burger Stand Burgers fashioned from hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus beef, Buddy's Natural Chicken, fresh-cut fries, and milkshakes. Sit at a picnic table on the patio. Dogs get a free biscuit. 404 S. Lamar.

12) Flour and Vine This place has garnered fans of the Texas flat-iron steak and crawfish mac and cheese. 300 S. Lamar.

13) El Alma Cafe y Cantina Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas' take on casual Mexico City cuisine is approachable, affordable, and delicious. Brunch includes Huevos Franceses, eggs and spinach resting on corn pudding, or Huevos Revuel­tos. Throw down a Mim­osa Feliz and don't miss the cochinita pibil or the gorgeous views from the upstairs patio. 1025 Barton Springs.

14) TERRY BLACK'S BBQ As the mural says in the dining room, here "Brisket Is King." The pork ribs are a treat too. 1003 Barton Springs Rd.

15) Sandy's Hamburgers Some say the corn dogs and fries are the tastiest in South Austin, and others say the burgers are the best buy in town. We're mostly interested in the frozen custard, malts, and soft-serve. 603 Barton Springs Rd.

16) Threadgill's World HQ is just a shout away from the former Armadillo World Headquarters. The menu is packed with solid home-cooking options, and there's a brunch buffet on Sundays. 301 W. Riverside.

17) Zax Restaurant & Bar American bistro cuisine here: fluffy crab cakes, classic Caesar salads, and meaty burgers with bleu cheese. Try the build-your-own Bloody Mary at brunch. Then, if you can still read the menu, go for the steak au poivre or pan-seared duck breast. 312 Barton Springs Rd.

18) Aussie's Grill & Beachbar In addition to great appetizers and pub fare, Aussie's offers big-screen TVs and beach volleyball courts out back. 306 Barton Springs Rd.

19) Southwest Bistro Located on the second level of the Hyatt Regency's atrium, this place draws raves. Maybe it's SWB's commitment to local produce and meats that makes it a local favorite. 208 Barton Springs Rd.

20) Uchi The sushi ranges from fresh scallops, tuna, and unagi to negitoro rolls, seaweed, chicken, and salad, and all are highly rated. Reservations recommended. 801 S. Lamar.

21) ODD DUCK Chef Bryce Gilmore revives his Odd Duck trailer with this brick-and-mortar starring seasonal, farm-fresh food prepared via wood-fired oven. 1201 S. Lamar.

22) Barlata Tapas Bar You'll find lots and lots of innovative small plates, as well as overflowing paella pans at this popular South Lamar spot. 1500 S. Lamar.

23) Sazón With a grade of A for the chile relleno, you should feel adventurous for the rest of the menu. For fans of dishes made with the corn fungus huitlacoche, this place is a must. 1816 S. Lamar.

24) El Mesón Casual lunches, dinners, and Sunday brunches feature traditional, regional Mexican dishes, with some of the best salsas around as well as an extensive tequila selection. 2038 S. Lamar.

25) Barley Swine This nationally acclaimed gastropub offers small plates of skillfully prepared seasonal and local foods. 2024 S. Lamar.

26) Henri's By day, this cheese shop has some serious food mojo bubbling forth. Culinary Institute graduate Andy Means has flair, which is obvious from the spot-on wine and cheese/charcuterie pairings, and from the originals emerging from the kitchen. 2026 S. Lamar.

27) Lick Lavender, salted caramel, and caramelized carrot & tarragon are just a few flavors at this all-organic, all-Texas ice cream parlor. 2032 S. Lamar.

28) Opa! A canopy of trees protects this dog-friendly open space. Play bocce, table tennis, or just relax and enjoy Greek treats such as spinach pie and moussaka. 2050 S. Lamar.

29) Olivia Excellent American regional cuisine based on what's fresh from local farmers and ranchers, paired with a full bar. For dessert, try the duck egg crème brûlée with huckleberry. 2043 S. Lamar.

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  


ACL Fest 2015

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