Can’t Miss Eats in Austin

Emma Bittner

Austin is known for a lot of things; being weird, incredible live music, a good time, and good eats. When you go to Austin, one thing is for sure, and it’s that you won’t have a bad meal.

With options ranging from vegan to authentic Texas barbecue, Austin rarely disappoints in terms of the food scene. While most places are your typical brick and mortar restaurant, many of the hidden gems are food trucks dispersed around the city. The list of phenomenal food in Austin is endless, but these are some of the can’t miss mouthwatering eats that the city has to offer.

Arlo’s

Arlo’s is one of the hidden gem food trucks I mentioned before. With four different locations, Arlo’s brings top-notch vegan burgers, tacos, Frito pie, and mac ’n cheeze to all edges of the city. While I don’t follow a vegan diet, I always splurge and stop at Arlo’s on my way home from class to satisfy a burger craving. Not to mention, the mountain of tots that come as a side are easily shareable and out of this world.

Providing both a quick on the go meal or a nice sit-down and chat dinner, Arlo’s is one of the top tear vegan stops in Austin you can not miss.

Gourdough’s

Whether it’s at their food truck, Gourdough’s Big. Fat. Donuts., or their restaurant, Gourdough’s Public House, you won’t leave disappointed after a meal at Gourdough’s. With a unique take on sandwiches, all served on donuts as bread, the sweet and savory combos Gourdough’s has cooked up never disappoints. My favorite, the Mother Clucker Donut, is a new take on chicken and waffles as it has fried chicken strips atop a glazed donut with honey butter. While at first of many of their options seem like strange flavor combos, your tastebuds will thank you later.

Gourdough’s not only is an Austin staple but helps keep us weird.

Don Japanese Kitchen

Previously a brick and mortar restaurant on Guadalupe, but now a food truck located in West Campus, Don Japanese Kitchen, is not only incredibly delicious but extremely affordable. With a line usually wrapping the food truck courtyard behind the UT Co-Op, Don is best known for its $5 bowls of Don chicken, pork, or fish paired with rice, seaweed, and spicy mayo. I was once a Don virgin too, but since having my first Don chicken, I haven’t looked back, and it is now a weekly occurrence. Don is one of the most underrated food trucks in the Austin area but has quickly gained popularity among students and faculty.

Via 313

I am usually a Domino’s thin crust exclusive pizza enthusiast and was skeptical of this deep-dish pizza, but I have since changed my ways. The authentic Detroit style pizza is worth the made to order crust wait time and makes my mouth water just thinking about it. If you’re like me and thick crust, deep-dish pizza isn’t your style, don’t worry. Via 313 has an extensive menu that also includes gluten-free options, thin-crust pizzas, and delicious salads.

The three Via 313 locations provide a little Detroit cuisine to all nooks and crannies of Austin.

Tomodachi Sushi

Hidden in north Austin, Tomodachi Sushi brings a whole new level to a traditional sushi dinner. Between their iconic special rolls, such as the Ex-Girlfriend and Who’s ur Daddy?, the atmosphere, Tomodachi Sushi, or Tomo, as the regulars call it, is one of the can’t miss sushi spots in Austin. Sitting at the sushi prep bar and watching the rolls be prepared is not only my favorite part of Tomo but gives you a behind the scenes glimpse at one of the best sushi meals.

Dirty Martin’s Place

Open and flipping burgers since 1926, Dirty Martin’s Place is a historic hole in the wall well-known for their greasy specials. Whether it’s for a cold beer after a long day or a mouthwatering Kumbak burger, Dirty Martin’s always hits the spot. In addition to their iconic diner-style menu, they also have Dirty Daily Drink specials that can’t be beaten. Keeping the tradition alive, Dirty Martin’s is a go-to for students and alumni.

Catfish Parlour

I’ll admit I was unsure about Catfish Parlour at first, but I was proven wrong. Catfish Parlour has both a north and south Austin location and looks like something straight out of Hart of Dixie. In addition to their hormone and antibiotic-free catfish, delectable hush puppies, and bottomless salad bar, an electric green tartar sauce is served on the side. The neon green jalapeno tartar sauce seems skeptical at first, but to this day is the best tartar sauce I’ve ever had. Catfish Parlour is a slice of Texas comfort food that can’t be beaten.

Texas French Bread

Brunch is my favorite meal of the day, and it doesn’t get much better than Texas French Bread. In addition to their decadent pastries and breads, their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus do not disappoint. Whether you are looking for a french toast to satisfy your sweet tooth or Austin’s best pimento cheese sandwich, Texas French Bread is your one-stop-shop for an eclectic blend of French and Mediterranean cuisine. If their incredible menu isn’t enough to convince you that they are a place you can’t miss, Texas French Bread doesn’t accept tips because they are dedicated to paying their employees a living wage, providing paid sick leave, and access to health care.

Photo Credits:

Arlo’s: photo courtesy of David Brendan Hall; Austin Chronicle
Gourdough’s: photo courtesy of Gourdough’s
Don Japanese Kitchen: photo courtesy of David Brendan Hall; Austin Chronicle
Tomodachi Sushi: photo courtesy of L G.; yelp
Dirty Martin’s Place: photo courtesy of Veronica Meewe
Catfish Parlour: photo courtesy of  Nick Simonite; AAS
Texas French Bread: photo courtesy of Whitney Arotegui