Austin TX has some of the best food in the world. As a Houston based company only about 2½ hours away from Austin, we’re very lucky to have an Austinite on the team to give us tips on the best food in the city. This is especially helpful during SXSW (where we have a Trade Show booth, come check out our Spontaneous Pop-Up Display, Stand 1546!). Since nearby food spots are sure to be extra crazy at this time of year, we asked him to list his favorite food stops outside of downtown (and hopefully away from the crowds!). Here’s his list, just as he originally sent it to us:
(A) Tacodeli – My favorite taco place! They have a whole list of tacos to choose from, each with a unique flavor and look. Most importantly, you MUST order the chips and queso… I’ve found no other molten cheese that can compare! One downside: they’re only open for breakfast and lunch (sadly, they close at 3:00pm every day).
(B) Trudy’s – A tex-mex place known for their Mexican Martinis. One Mexican Martini is much larger than it sounds, since the fancy martini glass comes with a separate shaker filled with “the rest” of your drink. If you’re as classy as me, you can have them hold the glass and just put a straw in the shaker! Keep in mind, this is a serious drink, and they cut you off at two. The food is also great (try the stuffed avocado for a ridiculously rich and tasty meal), though full disclosure, I don’t think I’ve ever tried the food before getting halfway through my drink…
(C) El Arroyo – A tex-mex restaurant known not only for their food, but also for their sign! It’s great for happy hour, with a large variety of cheap frozen margaritas. Since their 5th street location will probably be packed, their second location is up north off of Far West Blvd is just as good (without the sign, unfortunately).
(D) Salt Lick BBQ – One of Austin’s most famous BBQ joints. If you want some serious Texas BBQ, and you don’t mind a 30 min drive south (assuming no traffic), then the Salt Lick is what you want. It’s one of those things you have to taste to understand. And as it should be, it’s BYOB… bring your cooler(s)!
(E) Rudy’s BBQ – For everyday bbq, Rudy’s is my favorite. You order meat by weight here, and they give it to you on a large piece of paper. Plates would only get in the way. The BBQ sauce is AMAZING, and the sides are just right.
(F) Hopdoddy Burger Bar – This is the “fancy” burger place, with lots of different burgers on the menu along with daily specials that keep things interesting. It isn’t surprising to see a line forming out the door (during non-SXSW times!), but things tend to move pretty quickly. It isn’t cheap: expect to spend $10+ for the burger alone, and you’ll probably want to add fries, along with a drink from their full bar, to your order. Keep in mind, the burgers are giant and great for splitting.
(G) Mighty Fine Burgers – Simple menu, delicious burgers! They focus on one thing, and they do it right. I strongly recommend the milkshakes, but only if you have enough willpower not to finish the whole thing before your burger is ready… It's not easy to do.
(H) Uchiko – Now, I’m not really a sushi guy, but this place is amazing! I went with a small group and tried lot of different dishes. Everything was great! That being said, it’s a pretty expensive restaurant. If you want a great meal and are willing to pay for it, Uchiko won’t disappoint!
(I) Madam Mam’s – My favorite Thai place, with great food and huge portions! I tend to be boring and stick to the Pad Thai (I can’t help myself, it’s delicious!), but I have ventured out a few times and have never been disappointed. I’ve only been to the Guadalupe location, which is probably still a bit too close to the SXSW crowds. I’m betting the north location is just as good!
(J) Kerbey Lane Cafe – The 24/7 cafe that serves breakfast anytime (and other stuff too). They have consistently great food, and they’ve managed to capture that “Austin atmosphere” that everyone loves (even at their strip mall location, which is impressive). A great place to go any time of day or night!