Austin Conference Food Guide

Coming to Austin for SXSW, F1, or anything else? This food guide will show you the best spots in Austin, from a local!

austin food guide

For those of you coming to town this weekend, I put together a little list of some favorite places. Most of these are pretty close to downtown or a short cab (or sidecar) ride away…

Quick & healthy spots for lunch or snacks:
Snap Kitchen: healthy take-away food, options for any dietary concern you might have.
Whole Foods: the flagship store… this is the disneyland of whole foods-es.
Koriente: my (secret) gem of a lunch spot, I debated whether I should even post it here.

Dinner spots:
La Condessa: modern mexican, the guacamole sampler platter is a must-have.
Lambert’s: fancy bbq, I like it because there are non-meat options as well.
Second bar & kitchen: seasonal rotating menu that I’m always inspired by.
El Naranjo: my current new favorite, authentic seasonal mexican food (ie. not tex mex).
Parkside: delicious raw bar & sharable plates. Get the fluke dish & don’t skip dessert.

Dinner spots on an expense account:
Uchi/Uchiko: I have no words. And no savings account now… but it’s worth every cent.
Congress: had an amazing meal here once, paid the equivalent of someone’s rent.
Jeffrey’s: your first born might not cover the whole tab.

Instagram worthy food spots:
Elizabeth: cutest place in town, the food is really good too.
Gourdoughs: over the top heart attack doughnuts, but beautiful typography on the truck.
Josephine House: if you’re a fan of this blog, you’ll love the marble at this charming spot.
Sway: had a picturesque moonlit dinner here the other night. Ironically, I took no pictures.

Coffee:
Jo’s on second (or south congress): best people watching.
Cafe Medici: arguably the best coffee in town.
or pick up Chameleon Cold Brew at whole foods. I live on the stuff.

Late night eats:
East Side King(s): top chef Paul Qui’s trucks. I’m personally in awe of everything he does.
Justine’s: when you fly in late and are craving french food, this is your place.
Easy Tiger: super close to the hilton, amazing bread & typography.
East Side Showroom: you’re not in texas anymore when you step into this place.
Hillside Farmacy: if east side showroom is too crowded, go here instead.

Sweet treats:
Lick: organic locavore ice cream shop. Amazing vegan coconut milk options, although I doubt the coconuts are local.
Sugar Mamas: if you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen these cupcakes many a time. (vegan & gluten free options available).
Amy’s ice cream: Austin legend. Get the Mexican vanilla.

Grab drinks:
Malverde, Peche, Hotel San Jose, Weather Up, or anything on Rainey Street.

Skip out on a session:
cool off at Barton Springs
stroll down South Congress
saturday morning farmers market (eat a Red Rabbit Doughnut & a nosh from Dai Due)
kayak or stand up paddle boarding on town lake

Need more?
Here is a previous guide I wrote about my favorite food trucks.

25 comments

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  1. Megan from stetted.com
    06.05.2013

    Your post is much cuter than mine 🙂 I like that we did not share all the same places! (I hear you on Congress… we ate there once, it was amazing, and I’ll probably never be back.)

  2. I’m not going to the conference but I am DYING to get to Austin! This list is amazing. I have people ask me for Austin recs (why? I don’t know, never been) so I will point them here. Love reading your notes about the places. One day 🙂

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      06.08.2013

      come soon, it would be so fun!!

  3. Such a great overview of Austin dining spots! I live in Dallas and I am always trying to coordinate a girls trip to Austin so I’ll be sure to use this as a guide! Thanks for posting!

  4. Janie from hedgecombers.com
    06.05.2013

    I’ve just (literally!) decided to go to the London Food Bloggers conference next month… any chance you could do me a guide like this for London please! 🙂
    Janie x

  5. What a great list! I wish I were heading to the conference this weekend. I’ve still never been to Austin, though it’s on my destination list. Someday soon hopefully!

  6. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com
    06.05.2013

    I so wish I was coming this weekend!
    What a great post!

  7. Fell in love with this city the moment I stepped on UT campus my first day of school. I absolutely love everything on your list, and there are still some places I need to try! Oh, and Uchi – pricey but definitely worth it!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      06.08.2013

      I know, Uchi is my favorite restaurant of all time!

  8. Maria from twopeasandtheirpod.com
    06.06.2013

    Ok, we need to go to some of these places! Can’t wait to see you!

  9. Vanessa from withoutameasuringcup.com
    06.06.2013

    Okay…now I need to extend my trip in order to visit all of these amazing places!!
    Great guide!!

  10. James from dayoldnews.com
    06.06.2013

    Gah, a week too late! But I know I’ll be back, I’m absolutely smitten with Austin, reminds me so much of Boulder where I went to school. BTW please let me know if you are ever in LA, I’d love to take you to coffee or drinks at a favorite spot of mine!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      06.08.2013

      Oh I know! I was literally writing this when I saw your instagram that you were here 🙂 I’ll let you know next time I’m in LA.

  11. Alyssa from livinlyssa.wordpress.com
    06.07.2013

    Nooo you didn’t give away Koriente! It’s my favorite lunch spot, just two blocks down from my office. The food is not only healthy but delicious and the price is dirt cheap.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      06.08.2013

      I know, I’m sorry! I used to work 2 blocks away also and I picked up lunch there nearly every day 🙂

  12. Carol
    06.10.2013

    Can you recommend any good places for a 21st birthday dinner with good food and great drink specials. I can’t really find a place that has both for cheap.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      06.10.2013

      I’m not really sure of places that have drink specials that aren’t happy hour specials (at specific early happy hour times). Maybe look around yelp… I’m just not sure!

  13. Erika from thepancakeprincess.com
    07.30.2013

    Oh my GOSH my boyfriend and I just flew into Austin yesterday and went to Koriente for lunch and it was AMAZING. All their dishes looked and sounded so good–we split the mixmix bowl and the spring rolls and everything was just so fresh and delicious. Thanks so much for the rec! (It was the perfect prelude to Gourdough’s, which we visited for the fourth time. Holy moly.)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      07.30.2013

      so glad you liked it… wow gourdough’s 4 times 🙂

      this didn’t make it to the list (since I was gearing it toward conference go-ers, near downtown), but go to Taco Deli for lunch before you leave. Best tacos…

      • Erika from thepancakeprincess.com
        07.30.2013

        Ahhhhh just looked at their menu and it looks AWESOME–so many vegetarian options!! Too bad we left yesterday afternoon 🙁 I’m making a note for the next time we go!

        Thanks so much. You should do another post of your favorite Austin eats if you have more! I am loving your recs!

        • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
          07.30.2013

          oh ha, well, next time 🙂

  14. Andrea Clark
    09.21.2014

    Thanks so much for the great recommendations! They really contributed to a fun (and tasty) recent vacation to Austin.

  15. Nik
    02.15.2015

    you forgot the best, freshest, authentic tacos…. HABANERO MEXICAN CAFE, this place has a huge following and the best, biggest, cheapest tacos in the hot and hip 78704 zip…. Try them, you won’t be disappointed

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We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.