Smack-dab in the middle of Texas, vibrant, fun-loving Austin shatters most stereotypes about the Lone Star State. With world-renowned music festivals, massive art conventions, and hip galleries, creativity pulses through the capital city and extends to its food scene.
Whimsical, casual eateries abound in Austin; no need to pull out fancy button-downs or make advanced reservations. Instead, the city’s best bites are likely to be served from a food truck or inside a bowling alley.
Keeping with the creative themes, Austin’s cuisine draws influence from all over the globe. Of course, there’s a hefty sprinkling of Southern comfort food, BBQ, and Tex-Mex — this is Texas, after all — but you’ll also notice plenty of Asian and Mediterranean flavors, upscale steakhouses, sweet shops, and, well, a little of everything else, too.
Although it’s technically not a type of food, brunch could easily be listed under “foods Austin is well-known for.” Brunch in Austin is practically a lifestyle, with the question not being if but where you’re eating this weekend. This list of ATX brunch hotspots fittingly includes a little something for everyone, spanning every corner of the city.
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Best Brunch Spots in Austin
Located in buzzy, open-air Domain Northside, Bakery Lorraine serves a dazzling variety of classic breakfast dishes, pastries, and coffee drinks — all made from scratch. The bakery’s bread makes for incredible renditions of breakfast classics such as French and avocado toast.
The vibes are North Austin casual: a large, open, bright industrial space with counter service and a smattering of tables. Don’t leave without trying a macaron (tasty and Instagram-worthy) or fruit tart, baked to perfection using classic French techniques.
Gloria’s, a Salvadoran mini-chain with several locations throughout Texas beyond the one at The Domain, serves up a distinct Latin flair. Expect a festive, upbeat atmosphere that includes after-hours weekend dancing. It’s a great place to let loose, and the brunch happy hour certainly helps: $5 mimosas in three flavors are the perfect boozy accompaniment.
The restaurant’s brunch menu focuses on Tex-Mex classics with a pronounced Latin touch. Think breakfast tacos, brisket huevos rancheros, and tres leches waffles (an absolute must!).
Voted Eater Austin’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year, Better Half is a casual all-day spot that cooks up a killer brunch. The restaurant serves up innovative stunners like waffle-iron hash browns with coffee & cream gravy or pumpkin French toast with apple cider caramel. Better Half’s food is daydream-worthy, but that’s only where the delights begin.
The coffee here is near-perfect, the cocktails delicious, and the famed cauliflower tater tots alone are worth stopping for. The decor is clean and bright, and the space also has a dog-friendly patio. Just west of downtown near Ladybird Lake, Better Half is the perfect weekend brunch spot after a lakeside stroll with your pup.
Want a delicious brunch any day of the week, any time of day? Magnolia’s is your spot. Open since 1979, the usual brunch fare suspects are all here: large omelets, breakfast tacos, and to-die-for pancakes. On top of that, there are plenty of crowd-pleasers, including queso (an underrated brunch food), benedicts on the weekends, and mimosas.
Such a comprehensive approach to brunch comes at a great price; most dishes aren’t much more than $10, and portions are generous. With an expansive patio on buzzy South Congress, Magnolia’s truly accommodates any brunch craving, anytime.
The Peached Tortilla followed a quintessentially Austin trajectory: it started as a food truck and relatively quickly expanded to multiple brick-and-mortars. Its main location is in central ATX, but there are several others, including one in the airport. Thankfully, nothing about the Asian-spun dishes coming out of Eric Silverstein’s kitchen got lost in translation during the expansion.
Dishes here are inventive, tasty, and unlike any other brunch fare in Austin. They’re creative yet comforting, as seen in the crab cake benedict made with kimchi and a red curry hollandaise or the chicken katsu sandwich with fermented honey. The setting perfectly matches the bites — vibrant and vivacious, a perfect foodie-focused brunch spot. Outside of brunch, don’t miss Fried Chicken & Whiskey night every Wednesday.
An elegant brunch set in even more elevated surroundings, Mattie’s offers a picture-perfect meal worth the splurge. Located in a 19th-century colonial-style mansion in lively Zilker, the setting here will transport you right out of the city. About 20 peacocks roam the grounds, there’s an expansive garden to stroll through, and old-growth oaks provide the perfect backdrop for photo ops.
The food at Mattie’s is Southern-inspired with a distinct Texan twang. Standouts include biscuits with chorizo cream gravy and chipotle pork chilaquiles. When you go, make a quick detour to one of the city’s iconic “Greetings from Austin” murals, just a few blocks away.
A self-described ‘mothership of awesome,’ Punchbowl Social has bowling alleys, karaoke rooms (yep, entire rooms), a full bar, video arcades, and, best of all, delicious brunch.
Punchbowl Social’s secret culinary weapon is James Beard award-winning chef Hugh Acheson, whose mission is to serve more Texas-centric food. Sample chicken and biscuits with red chile honey or bread pudding French toast with candied pecans and bacon. The large hybrid restaurant entertainment venue has locations downtown, and in the Domain, so it’s easy to get your brunch fix from anywhere in the city.
This wildly popular food-driven eatery still feels like a neighborhood gem. Made-in-house popovers and biscuits, plus superbly-cooked meats and unique accompaniments, attract regulars, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a large patio out back, a great family-friendly environment. And for any wine and beer lovers, once you see the drinks menu, it’ll be hard to pass on ordering.
F&D is located in the Northloop area, and its reputation has garnered numerous appearances on shows including Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, as well as Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. This is a fairly rare exception to the no-reservations-needed rule; unsurprisingly, Foreign & Domestic gets busy.
In this retro-chic eatery nestled into East Austin’s Holly neighborhood, it’s all about the aesthetic. The food is absolutely delicious, but it’s gram-worthy, too. Snap pics of your modern Americana fare, like the Rainbow Bowl with beet hummus and a bounty of colorful veggies or delightfully fluffy pancakes with crème fraîche.
The Launderette also has a special cocktail brunch menu and an extensive wine list. Prices here are a bit higher than other Austin brunch restaurants, but for the sleek environment and won’t-find-anywhere-else dishes, it’s worth the splurge. You may want to make a reservation, as it can be hard to get in.
With yard games, comfortable seating throughout, and several TVs tuned to sports, Culinary Dropout is the ideal hangout spot for casual meetups at Domain Northside. The wildly popular restaurant and bar serves Texan-accented Southern classics during weekend brunch, like Fried Chicken and Biscuits, Southwest breakfast bowls, and a unique pork BBQ Hash.
Prices at Culinary Dropout won’t break the bank, and there’s a solid list of locally-focused draft beers, cocktails, and spirits. They’re fun to order, too: “We’ll have a ‘Two Birds, One Stone(d)’ and a ‘Safety Meeting,’ please.”
Want to develop meat sweats, listen to live music, and drink a beer during brunch, all in a world-famous setting on Rainey Street? Banger’s is the Austin brunch joint for you. A real local institution, Banger’s has well over 50 delicious beers on tap, with a heavy focus on Texas brews.
On the special brunch menu, served only on Sundays, Banger’s is truly a celebration of meat. You can order a sausage sampler, bacon beignets (try ‘em, trust me), or a house-cured bacon flight. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a carnivore; there are a few options for vegetarians, too. The mushroom toast on thick-cut sourdough is a standout.
And for the grand finale at Banger’s, order a ‘MANmosa,’ the ultimate Instagram-worthy brunch beverage. Coined “the official beverage of professional brunch enthusiasts,” a MANmosa is an entire bottle of champagne in a massive mug, topped off with a splash of OJ. It’s so large and potent that Banger’s limits customers to one MANmosa per day and requires it to be ordered with food.
Looking to shake up the usual weekend brunch options? Head to Jade Restaurant for delicious and super affordable dim sum. Served in the traditional Chinese-American style featuring tableside cart service, load up on fried wontons, various dumplings, and steamed buns. Your table will be full of delectable-smelling baskets before you know it, and your group will be satisfied.
The environment at Jade Restaurant is simple yet cozy, and if there’s a wait, it usually isn’t long. Located in Davenport Ranch, it’s a bit out of the city core, but that means less of a crowd to contend with. Plus, it’s only minutes away from scenic Pennybacker Bridge.
Sometimes, you just want the most budget-friendly yet still delicious option. For those occasions, there’s Bird Bird, with its fresh, fluffy biscuits artfully crafted into massive sandwiches.
Fried chicken sammies are the restaurant’s mainstays, but another local favorite is the Bird Bird Bacon, which has a bacon-infused chipotle mayo in addition to bacon, egg, and cheese. A simple order of a biscuit with homemade blueberry jam is also very easy on the wallet but incredibly satisfying.
Bird Bird has two locations, one in the Chestnut neighborhood in East Austin and one in Brentwood. Notably, both locations use an order-ahead model, where customers order online or from a kiosk onsite, then head to the pickup window.
Sampling Mexican food in Austin is an absolute must, including at brunch. Tamale House East is an Austin institution, open on East 6th Street since 1958. While the tamales live up to their moniker, that’s only the start.
Sample Migas, an Austin specialty based on a tortilla chip and egg scramble. There are also excellent chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, both of which are wallet-friendly at just $10. The restaurant aesthetic is both charming and rustic, and the vibe is welcoming and casual. It’s easy to see why this Austin classic continues to be perennially popular.
How to get to Austin
Getting to Austin is a breeze. Bergstrom International Airport (locally referred to as BIA) has an ample selection of daily flights. If there are no great flight options in terms of time or expense, you can also fly into Dallas-Fort Worth International, one of the largest airports in the US. The drive time between BIA and DFW is just over three hours.
Flying + Bus
Driving to Austin
As is often the case in Texas, driving may be the best method of transportation to Austin with regard to both cost and flexibility. With its central location in the state, Austin is within an easy drive of several major cities.
- Houston: 2.5 hours
- Dallas: 3 hours
- Oklahoma City: 5.5 hours
Other Top Activities in Austin
For panoramic vistas of the city, Colorado River, and the outskirts of Texas Hill Country, climb the steps to the top of Mt.Bonnell. While it does get crowded, it’s easy to find a quiet corner to yourself.
You’ll soon see why Austin is called the live music capital of the world. At any given time, you’ll find (literally) hundreds of local venues showcasing artists. Stroll around the Red River District, East Austin, and South Congress to catch a performance spontaneously, or book a trip during Austin City Limits or SXSW to catch world-renowned festival headliners.
For a taste of authentic Austin flair, stroll down South Congress browsing the shops and eateries. Try on some Old West cowboy garb at Allen’s, rifle through racks at the quirky boutiques, and grab a frozen treat at the famous Amy’s Ice Cream.
Blanton Museum of Art
University of Texas’ impressive collection of modern art spans various periods and continents while also featuring the work of talented alumni. Make sure to stop by Ellsworth Kelly’s, a unique light sculpture, for an Insta-worthy photo op.
Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
Strolling the trails near this pedestrian bridge makes for a pleasant afternoon. An attractive riverside green space, there are numerous photo ops with the Austin skyline as the backdrop. This park provides a breath of fresh air right in the city center, as well as a perfect viewpoint for watching Austin’s famous Mexican free-tailed bats, the largest urban bat population anywhere. From mid-March to early fall, watch for the thousands of bats to fly out from underneath the Congress Bridge at dusk.
Soak up the sun or swim at America’s largest urban swimming pool. Fed by four natural springs, the water temperature in Barton Springs consistently stays around 70 degrees year-round. The clear spring pool in Zilker Park is the perfect retreat on sizzling Texan afternoons.
With its amazing foodie culture, it should come as no surprise that Austin has a fantastic beer scene. Not only are the beers delicious, but most breweries also have family-friendly environments perfect for lazy afternoons. Drive to Jester King, just outside city limits, for beautiful Hill Country views, goats, and a vineyard-like environment — but with hops. In the city proper, Blue Owl is known for its delicious sours and buzzy atmosphere. And last but not least, swing by Batch for the peaceful patio, house brews, and fresh kolaches.
Despite having a population of over one million, Austin still retains a vibrant, fun-loving college-town vibe. The city is significantly less spread out than others in Texas and, therefore, easier to navigate. Cluster your time around happening neighborhoods like East Austin, Rainey Street, or South Congress, where you’ll be able to enjoy several of the city’s hottest restaurants.
And remember: many of Austin’s best bites are served from food trucks and holes-in-the-wall, so never dismiss a place based on appearance alone. There’s always an exciting new gem to discover in Austin; this lively cultural hub is full of surprises!