Figuring out what to order for dinner has become a game of waving our fingers around and pointing randomly at spots on a map. It’s not a very fun game. And, it turns out, the local FedEx office does not, in fact, offer dinner service. All map games aside, Austin has some great restaurants offering takeout and delivery, and it’s one of the safest ways to explore and support the many restaurants of our city. Here are some great ideas for takeout and delivery that you can get today.
Bodhi Viet is a small food truck in North Austin with a 100% vegan Vietnamese menu, offering everything from banh mi and pho, to Vietnamese coffee and boba tea. We really liked the banh mi we had here, stuffed with a spicy lemongrass seitan, and filled with fresh vegetables that they grow themselves. And the best part is that they’re only $3, so you can throw in an order of their pineapple curry that we also really enjoyed and still get away for under $10.
The dining room at Charm BBQ Chicken in north Austin is closed, so they’re not doing barbecue at the moment. But as the name suggests, their other focus is fried chicken. And we’re happy to report that the fried chicken is exceptional, with a shatteringly crisp skin (just ask for sauce on the side so you can toss the chicken in it when you get home). The rest of the menu has classic dishes like homemade and juicy mandoo dumplings, beef bulgogi, and bibimbap that comes with instructions on how to put it together - it wouldn’t travel well otherwise.
We’d been meaning to check out the Sichuan restaurant House of Three Gorges ever since it opened right around when the pandemic first hit. We’re glad we finally made it. Everything we ordered was excellent: cumin lamb, Sichuan dry stir-fried chicken, and eggplant in garlic sauce. The pork wontons in the spicy soup were fantastic and clearly homemade. They’re located near 183 and Ohlen, in the same shopping center as Din Ho and Ramen Tatsu-Ya, and the contactless pickup was super easy.
Island Fork - Caribbean Cuisine
Island Fork in Pflugerville specializes in Caribbean food, like jerk chicken, curry goat, and escovitch fish (fried fish topped with pickled vegetables). They also have jerk-seasoned burgers and chicken sandwiches, as well as a menu of “rasta pastas” that feature creamy, Caribbean-inspired pasta sauces served over noodles and a variety of meats, like oxtail and jerk salmon. We usually get the jerk chicken here, served with coconut rice and grilled sweet plantains. Make sure to get a Caribbean soda as well - we like the Irish Moss and Ting.
The North Lamar Korean restaurant Seoulju recently launched delivery, which means that you can get dishes like Korean Fried Chicken, kimchi stew, and spicy rice cakes, alongside beer and soju delivered right to your door. We opted for two sauces on our still-crispy chicken wings: Korean Sweet & Chili and Extra Spicy Sweet & Chili. Get the extra spicy.
Usta Kababgy opened just last year on Lamar just north of Rundberg, and the restaurant is turning out some really great Middle Eastern/Halal food. The charcoal-grilled kebabs were excellent, including the Iraqi and chicken ones. The tabbouleh was bright, and the pizza-like flatbread - we got the one that’s half zaatar, half feta cheese - was fantastic. But what stole the show was the fluffy and tender house-made bread. Order extra.
Comadre Panaderia is a newish online-only bakery with modern spins on pan-Latinx sweet and savory breads. We ordered a literal mountain of things, including a pistachio concha, a pink cake made with heirloom corn, a canela roll with dulce de leche frosting, diablitos (cuernitos made with a guajillo chili), and a blueberry pay de queso. Everything was excellent, and is made with whole grains and organic, locally-sourced ingredients. We also got a six-pack of their hand-rolled flour tortillas - they were so good, we wish we had gotten more. How it works: The order form goes live Tuesdays through Wednesdays (or until sold out), with local delivery on Fridays and Saturdays in Austin and San Antonio. Payment is through Venmo. Keep an eye on their Instagram account.
The dining room at DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, the Japanese shabu-shabu place from the Ramen Tatsu-ya team, has been closed since the pandemic hit. But they did what people do these days, and pivoted. They transformed the restaurant into a takeout-only pop-up serving sandwiches that mash up the French dip and shabu-shabu, with excellent results. Our favorite is the beef sandwich with a wasabi ranch and the pork sandwich with kimchi and a curry cabbage slaw. For dipping, you can choose between an umami jus and a spicy miso (they recommend which dipping sauce to get for each sandwich). Make sure to get an order of the aptly named “Pow!tato” - a side dish with some of the most impossibly crispy smashed potato chunks we’ve ever had.
K-Bop is a small restaurant on The Drag offering up a tight menu of Korean classics like bibimbap, kimchi fried rice, bulgogi, and their namesake, kimbap - Korean-style sushi rolls. The kimbap here comes stuffed with a variety of options - like cooked tuna, kimchi, and even cheese - but we like the beef bulgogi version. All of the rolls are packed full of egg, pickled daikon, carrots, lettuce, fish cakes, mayo, and a slightly-sweet rice. And somehow each bite just feels more savory than the last. They’ve also got a full menu of boba, milk tea, and smoothies.
If we remember correctly - but at this point, really, what is time and memory? - Kome’s bento box was enormous, full of many things including a sushi roll, sashimi, karaage, miso soup, a salad, and more. It was a commitment. But since the pandemic hit, Kome has changed up their menu a bit. Now there are about a dozen different bento boxes, and they’re much more manageable affairs, as they come with a main, a side salad, pickles, edamame, and a seaweed salad. We got the one with grilled mackerel filet, daikon, and ginger. We’d definitely order this again - heed their warnings about the bones though.
Kreyòl Korner Caribbean Cuisine
The Haitian food truck Kreyol Korner - off of North Lamar near Koenig - is usually open only on Saturdays, but it’s worth waiting for the weekend to roll around to try this place. Check their Facebook for the current menu and opening days and hours. Standouts from a recent meal include stuffed plantain cups and the super-tender stewed chicken combo. Also, make sure to ask for extra pikliz, the Haitian pickled vegetable relish.
Otherside Deli makes some of our favorite sandwiches in Austin, from cheesesteaks and meatball parm subs, to Italian subs and patty melts. But if you’re a first-timer at Otherside, chances are you’re here for the reuben - loaded up with their housemade pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and russian dressing, between two slices of grilled rye bread. Keep an eye on their Instagram for some fun specials, like the Outer Limit Fries that come loaded up with all of the typical reuben fillings, but on a bed of waffle fries. They’re currently accepting takeout orders from their shop near 34th and Lamar.
Paprika opened up relatively quietly back in late 2019 and has been slinging out great tacos and tortas ever since. We enjoyed the taco de carnitas and taco de nopalitos, the latter of which comes packed full of well-seasoned prickly pear cactus and refried lentils. Every taco gets paired with a specific salsa - a really nice touch that elevates the experience a bit. The menu changes a bit depending on the time and day, so take a look at their website for the most up-to-date menu information before heading over.
You might have heard about Ramen 512 and their often sold out popups - yes, the ramen was that good. But now they’ve found a permanent home, inside the new “cloud kitchen” concept Kitchen United Mix. This place currently has three options: Hakata Classic (a pork tonkotsu), the BGO (the Hakata Classic with black garlic oil), and the Sunset Red (a spicy version of the Hakata Classic). We recently tried the BGO and the Sunset Red - the broth for each was super creamy and rich, as a pork tonkotsu should be, and the spice level on the Sunset Red was in fact actually spicy. You can order the ramen ready-to-eat, or you can cook the noodles at home, with very precise instructions. Takeout and delivery are available.
Shishman Mediterranean Grill has been a go-to lunch spot of ours, for those moments when you realize that it’s 1:30pm and you’re a little dizzy because you haven’t had lunch yet. They turn out the food fast, and more importantly, the food is consistently great. Both the platters and pita sandwiches, with either shawarma, gyro, grilled chicken, or falafel are excellent. Get both the red and white sauce, and make sure to order extra homemade pita bread.
The Slab Slider Trio at Slab BBQ is exactly what it claims to be: three barbecue sliders. They’re mini versions of their much larger sandwiches: the Notorious P.I.G. (pulled pork, mustard coleslaw), the Texas O.G. (brisket, pickles, onions), and the Chicken W.A. (smoked chicken, coleslaw). But just because they’re smaller doesn’t mean they don’t pack the same flavor punch. And at $12, it’s a perfect lunch for those of us afraid of a singular sandwich commitment. Why have just one sandwich when you can have three, each one better than the next?
On the northwest corner of Republic Square in downtown Austin is Salt & Time Cafe, a new all-day cafe with outdoor seating from the people behind the popular East Side butcher shop and restaurant, Salt & Time. We picked up some sandwiches, including the Jambon Beurre, featuring mezcal-glazed ham, dill pickles, and a very French amount of salted butter, all on a demi-baguette. It’s enough to make you do things like wear a beret, smoke Gauloises cigarettes, and go on strike (for more sandwiches like this).
Troy is a Mediterranean restaurant near Spicewood Springs and Mesa Drive, with some really tasty foods and a new takeout menu that mostly features their dishes that travel well. We really liked the Iskender kabob - it’s a giant serving of grilled gyro meat, covered in tomato sauce and melted butter, served with a big scoop of yogurt. There’s some pita bread underneath it all, and it takes on a really interesting texture after it’s had some time to soak up all the tomato, butter, and meat drippings raining down upon it.
In a parking lot off Manor Road, Abo Youssef is a food truck that’s putting out some of our favorite Mediterranean food in Austin right now. We usually grab a chicken shawarma wrap, but we went with the Mix Grill Plate this time. It comes with a few giant scoops of grilled lamb and chicken kabob on a bed of rice, with a generous amount of hummus and tabbouleh salad on the side. The portions here are really big - this lasted us two full meals.
Blink and you might miss this little food trailer on East 12th street, which has some of the best Mexico City-style street tacos in Austin right now. Cuantos Tacos has a tight menu of classics like suadero and beef cheeks, as well as a few less-common options, like buche and longaniza. Everything can be made as tacos or quesadillas, and at $2 and $5, respectively, the prices are affordable enough that you can probably try a few items off the menu. We like just about everything they carry, but our favorites are probably the champiñones quesadillas and the suadero tacos.
Ordering takeout from Franklin Barbecue is one of the absolute best things you can do for yourself and for the lucky people you like enough to share with. We can also confirm that this barbecue tastes just as good without the usual five-hour wait/tailgate. To order, you just select a day and time (lunch hours only) up to one week in advance on their site, pick your meats (in 1 lb increments, except for links of sausage), and remind yourself that spending this kind of money is worth it when you get to eat this brisket. The pick-up situation is easy, too - staffers will bring your order right to your trunk. Get it home as quickly as you can, have the lunch spread you deserve, and spend the rest of the day knowing you made excellent decisions.
We love a lot of things about La Fruta Feliz - their barbacoa de chivo (barbecue goat) is a favorite on tacos, and their al pastor is excellent - but if you’re looking for a really good and hearty lunch, their torta is a clear winner. Coming in at a massive 12 pounds (don’t fact check us on that), it’s packed full of meat - in this case, al pastor - and veggies for just under $5. They also have a huge fruit and veggie juice list, so go ahead and throw on a Digestivo (papaya, orange, and carrots) to help you get it all down.
The menu at Gossip Shack consists of just a few items - chicken, waffles, and waffle fries. But everything they offer, they do exceptionally well. Their wings are some of our favorite in town, due in large part to their unique offering of flavors, like jerk chicken or their signature CPR (Cajun, parmesan, ranch). And those are exactly what we got - large, perfectly fried chicken wings coated in Cajun spices, ranch seasoning, and enough parmesan to make a bowl of spaghetti jealous. Orders can take a while and they often sell out before their stated hours, so call ahead and get your order in ahead of time.
We’re working on a guide to takeout Happy Hours, and the Windsor Park neighborhood restaurant Hank’s has a very solid offering. Every day from 3-6:30pm, you can get very good and very inexpensive frozen palomas, frose, and frozen margaritas - they’re $5 each. Order online, and pick up at their convenient drive thru takeout window. Instead of racing home with your frozen cocktails - drive safe - it’s perhaps better to bring a cooler.
The dining room at Joe’s Bakery, the family-run East Side Tex-Mex staple, is closed. For now they’re sticking to a drive-in model (you can’t even call ahead or order online). You park, waitstaff comes out and asks if you need a menu, they take your order, and the food comes out fast. We recently got an order of breakfast tacos (migas con todo and a bacon, egg, and cheese) as well as a side order of carne guisada and a whole bunch of their fluffy homemade flour tortillas. Everything was excellent, as always. You don’t even need to ask for their spicy salsa - they’ll put so many containers in your takeout bag that you’ll have leftover salsa for days and days.
Lechonera El Pachango specializes in roast pork - something they’ve proven to do exceptionally well in the short month that they’ve been operating out of a seemingly-abandoned gas station on East MLK. We weren’t sure what we wanted to try when we pulled up, so we decided to just go with our nose (and a little guidance from the owner). We ended up walking out with a plate of slow-roasted pork, rice with peas, and yuca with pickled red onions. The pork was juicy and topped with a sauce made from a bit of the marinade and lime that we couldn’t get enough of. The yuca con mojo comes out in a stewed-consistency, making it fork-tender and bursting with tangy flavor. And the rice was the perfect intake-vehicle for all of it.
Despite the small space - Lula Mae’s is located in a small gas station off Airport and 38 ½ St. - this place manages to put out some really great barbecue, with side dishes that are tasty enough to order on their own. We really like the brisket and the pork chop - the latter of which is served as a giant, whole chop with a smoky exterior and a juicy center. You can get all of the meats by the pound, in combo-plates, or as a sandwich.
Thai Thani is easy to miss. It’s a food trailer behind another food trailer behind a gas station on Manor Road. But if you manage to find your way there, you’ll be greeted with some really great Thai food. We went with a chicken pad thai this time around, and the portion was enough to last us a couple of meals. But if you’re looking to round out your meal a little more, we also really like their pad see ew and stir-fried basil beef. And if they have their mango with sticky rice dessert, it’s the perfect closer.
Vic & Al’s is the new Cajun restaurant from the people that brought you the ever-popular Italian food trailer, Patrizi’s. We really like the po-boys, especially the super-tender blackened catfish and the Cochon De Lait, which has a sauce that’s almost like tonkotsu broth. The vacuum-packed, pre-made cocktails are also fun, including the very good made-for-summer Orange Drink (it’s very orange, but it also has tequila). Vic & Al’s is open for both takeout and delivery.
We usually find ourselves at Xian for their excellent hand-pulled noodles, but they also make some really solid sushi. We got the Sushi Plate this time, with eight pieces of assorted nigiri and a spicy tuna roll to round things out. It’s an already-affordable sushi box that gets even cheaper if you order it during their lunch special hours. Of course, if you really want to get the full Xian experience, you should probably get the sushi and some noodles. You’ll be full for a week, but it’ll be worth it.
As you might guess from the name, Artipasta serves fresh pasta, and it’s possibly some of the best in town. We got the tagliatelle with the house meat sauce as well as the casarecce with basil pesto, and both were excellent. It’s located in the spacious Thicket Food Park in South Austin - it was so chill and tranquil that we sat down at one of the picnic tables and just ate our takeout there. Pair it with a San Pellegrino and pretend like you’re in Italy - it’s not like we’ll be allowed to travel there anytime soon.
Carpenters Hall at the Carpenter Hotel has switched to takeout only, and they’re selling a cold fried chicken picnic for two or four. For $28, the picnic is not an insignificant amount of food, consisting of a half chicken (with a ranch dressing and spicy honey), potato salad, roasted green beans, and a cabbage slaw. Plus two very good chocolate chip cookies. You will have leftovers.
We recently wrote about the lechon asado loaded fries from Cuba512 in our best loaded fries in Austin guide, but if you’re not feeling potato-inclined, there’s a number of other great Cuban dishes you can get here, including the classic El Cubano that we really enjoyed. It’s filled with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard - all on pressed Cuban bread. No fancy tricks or ingredients here, just a simple, classic sandwich done well. Their downtown location is currently closed, but their South Austin location off William Cannon and West Gate is open for takeout. Bring it home, make yourself a nice rum cocktail, open up all the windows, and pretend you’re on vacation somewhere tropical.
Evangeline Cafe - in South Austin, near Brodie and William Cannon - has a great menu of Cajun classics, but where they really shine is with their po-boys. They have most of the standard offerings here - roast beef, shrimp, catfish, oyster, and crawfish - the last of which we went with. It comes on fresh-baked French bread, dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a few different sauces that you can choose from, including the ever-mysterious “Evangeline sauce” (we still don’t know what it is). Eat it on a humid Summer afternoon like we did, you’ll feel just a little bit more like you’re in Louisiana.
Ever since they originally opened, Ramen Tatsu-Ya has been vehemently anti-takeout. But then the pandemic hit, and they pivoted to takeout-only (and have stayed that way ever since). We recently picked up some of their ramen and it tasted just like how we remembered it at the restaurant. The toppings and noodles come in their own container (that way the noodles don’t get soggy), and the broth is packed in a deli pint container that’s thoroughly wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent in-car disasters. The instructions are clear: heat the broth, do not boil, then add the broth to the noodles and toppings. And with three locations in Austin - north, east, and south - ramen is never too far away.