13 Best Restaurants in South Congress, Austin

January 4, 2022

Looking to find some of the best restaurants, shopping, and art in South Congress around Austin? Check out South Congress, the trendy neighborhood in South Austin that keeps getting better and better year after year. With new additions of luxury stores and delicious restaurants, the avenue is on its way up.

South Congress has everything from authentic tex-mex, with some of the best Queso in Texas at Güero’s Taco Bar, to fresh omakase sushi in a dark, moody atmosphere at Neighborhood Sushi. Mixing the new and the old, South Congress keeps the best of the best around.

Magnolia Cafe has been open and serving steaming hot pancakes to patrons since 1979. But, it also sits right next to The Salty Donut, a trendy new donut spot that was new to the neighborhood this past Fall.

South Congress is a mix of quirky and stylish, coming together into the perfect representation of Austin’s unique vibes.

List of the Best Restaurants in South Congress:

1 – Hopdoddy Burger Bar

1400 S Congress Ave Suite A190, Austin, TX 78704

Hopdoddy is more than just your average burger joint. Offering a huge selection of beef, chicken, bison, fish, and plant-based burgers, the burger spot is definitely a people-pleaser. Personally, my favorite menu items are the many choices of French fries. Whether you’re craving crunchy sweet potato or rich truffle parmesan, there is a French fry for everybody.

2 – Magnolia Cafe

1920 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Given the fact that Magnolia Cafe was the first restaurant I went to in Austin four years ago, it says something that I keep going back again and again. And surprisingly, I order something new each visit! The menu’s variety is vast, best known for the huge burgers, mouthwatering sandwiches, and countless breakfast options. The pancakes are to die for, gingerbread being a personal favorite.

3 – Aba

1011 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

If you’re looking for a fancier sit-down dinner that won’t break the bank, Aba is the spot to hit. The atmosphere is beautiful, with an expansive patio filled with greenery. But the food is truly what makes Aba stand out. A tapas-style mediterranean restaurant, each plate is made to share, and there is no shortage of delicious flavor.  Some menu necessities: the whipped feta is salty, creamy goodness, balanced out by the warm, savory pita bread; the village salad is one of the best I’ve had, with chunks of crunchy cucumber, sweet tomato, and creamy feta; the brussels sprouts, drenched in harissa honey- go try it. Now.

4 – June’s All Day

1722 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

A little piece of Paris right in downtown Austin, this eatery is a delicacy. June’s All Day serves light french fare all day long, keeping it classic with their Salade Verte and Steak au Poivre. You can’t go wrong with some of the more modern twists, specifically the HUGE Matzo Ball Caldo and rich Fried Chicken Sandwich. There’s really nothing better than sitting under an umbrella outside of June’s, sipping a crisp glass of rose and snacking on delectable French cheeses on a summer afternoon.

5 – Neighborhood Sushi

1716 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Right around the corner from Junes, past an unassuming parking lot entrance, sits one of the best sushi spots in the city. Neighborhood Sushi serves some of the freshest sushi I’ve ever tasted in a comfortable setting, using simplicity to their advantage. Get a bunch of dishes to share, or try out the omakase- the chef decides what to serve you! Some of my personal favorites are the yellowtail tartare, kaluga caviar roll, sweet corn nigiri, and the spicy tuna roll.

6 – Café No Sé

1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

A classic brunch and dinner spot in the South Congress Hotel, you can be sure your meal will be exactly how you like it! Though there’s sometimes a long wait due to the fact that you can’t make brunch reservations, Café No Sé is always worth it. The staff is attentive, giving the best recommendations, and no matter how many substitutions or changes you have for a dish, it will always come out just right. The cafe scramble and kale salad are my top choices, but I’ve heard some rave reviews about the avocado toast and quinoa bowl as well. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu!

7 – Two Hands

1011 S Congress Ave Suite 170, Austin, TX 78704

Another great brunch spot that also offers dinner is Two Hands Restaurant. Founded in New York City with a focus on sustainable farming and healthy cooking, Two Hands brings SoHo, New York to SoCo, Austin. It’s a great spot to bring friends visiting the city. It’ll be great fuel for a day of shopping in the neighborhood. I would have to recommend the Brassicas Salad or the Salmon Quinoa Bowl. Definitely end the meal with the Banana Walnut bread, sweet and rich and topped with a delectable whipped espresso mascarpone.

8 – Joanne’s Fine Foods

1224 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Head right across the street from Two Hands and you’ll find Joannes Fine Foods, a funky diner-style restaurant in the lobby of the iconic Austin Motel. Eating at Joannes feels like you’ve stepped back in time, with quirky 70s decor and authentic tex-mex menu options. Whether getting your night started there with their extensive cocktail list, or recovering from your night out with their large Mexican breakfast plates, Joannes will do the trick. After your meal, hit up the Austin Motel bodega. Their groovy selection of clothing and decor is unlike anything else you’ll find on the avenue.

9 – Perla’s

1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

If you’re a seafood fan, Perla’s is made for you. With extensive brunch, lunch, and dinner menus, this idyllic seafood establishment is an amazing choice for any meal. The gorgeous beachy atmosphere makes for an enjoyable occasion, while the food choices are unmatched. For brunch, you can’t go wrong with the Crab Florentine. Hits the spot whether you’re craving breakfast or seafood. For lunch or dinner, the Cold Bar is always a pleaser, with everything from ahi tuna tartare to a vast assortment of oysters. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation at Perla’s, you won’t regret it.

10 – Güero’s Taco Bar

1412 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Everybody from your toddler niece to your 80-year-old grandfather will love Güero’s Taco Bar. Sizzling hot fajitas, traditional tex-mex tacos, crave-worthy queso, undeniably delicious margaritas, and more, Güero’s has it all. Whether you sit inside in the main room, or outside on the rustic patio, your experience will be a good one. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the live music in their Oak Garden every Wednesday-Sunday! Check out their website for each week’s lineup.

11 – Home Slice Pizza

1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Unlike great authentic tex-mex, one thing you definitely don’t expect to get in Texas is good pizza. But, Home Slice Pizza is here to change that stereotype! Being from Connecticut, I’ve had my fair share of unreal pizza (Frank Pepe’s is in New Haven, CT… I mean, come on!), and I can honestly say Home Slice stands up to some of the best. The classic red-and-white decor, glass coke and beer bottles, and marquee letter signs are reminiscent of New York City pizza joints. Plus, the pizza is really just as good. Grab a slice while you’re shopping, or bring a whole pizza home to the family. I know it may sound strange, but DEFINITELY try out the iconic eggplant pie. It’s like eggplant parm on a pizza!.

12 – The Salty Donut

2000 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

I’ve got to admit, I’m a purist when it comes to donuts. I’ll always choose a classic glazed or powdered sugar donut when it comes down to it, and am typically wary of the trendy donut shops popping up all over. But, The Salty Donut exceeds all expectations, taking the innovative route but without overdoing it. Not only are the donuts unbelievable, with mouthwatering flavors including Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake, Brown Butter and Salt, and Cornflake Cereal Milk and Honey, but the coffee is also a must-try. The Cinnamon Cereal Milk Latte and Maple and Brown Sugar Cold Brew are flavorful and a great pick me up.

13 – Jo’s Coffee

1300 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

I couldn’t compile a list of the best restaurants on South Congress without including Jo’s Coffee. I know what you’re going to say, a coffee shop isn’t a restaurant! Well, I beg to differ when it comes to Jo’s. Their delicious selection of breakfast tacos, sandwiches and baked goods are the perfect snack to complement a day of shopping. But obviously, the bell of the ball here is their coffee. Known as the Iced Turbo, Jo’s signature drink is sweet and creamy with hints of both chocolate and hazelnut. After you grab your Iced Turbo and breakfast taco, don’t forget to snap a shot at the famous “I love you so much” street art on the side of the building! It’s an Austin must.