Austin is famous for a lot of different things: music, barbecue, being the current coolest city to move to (although anyone who’s lived here for more than five years will tell you that’s always been the case).
But what people don’t realize is that Austin should also be famous for its breakfast. Between breakfast tacos, migas, and countless places that serve the most important meal of the day all day, Austin is a certifiable breakfast mecca.
So how do you know which places to prioritize? Whether you’re meeting your boss before work, eating with friends, or grabbing a solo meal - here’s where you’ll find the best breakfast in Austin.
Quite literally a hidden gem, Forthright is tucked in the San Jacinto center right off Cesar Chavez. Once you find it, order the buttermilk waffles and avocado toast. Add the iced cashew milk latte and you’ve fully started your day off right - it basically tastes like melted ice cream. Forthright might be new, but it’s already proven itself a weekday breakfast MVP, especially if you live or work downtown.
A cute neighborhood house turned restaurant in Allandale, Epicerie is just as easy on the eyes as it is good for the stomach. Serving up breakfast Wednesday through Saturday, Epicerie’s menu might not be the longest, but what they do, they do very well (our go-to is the breakfast sandwich). If you need to meet someone for a semi-professional breakfast, Epicerie would be perfect.
Cafe No Sé
With its fancy takes on classic breakfast foods (think bagel and lox board, ricotta hotcakes, and quinoa porridge), Cafe No Se inside the South Congress Hotel is one of the better new spots in town for a morning meal. The design of the place is also extremely attractive, so you’ll be greeted with good looks along with your first cup of coffee. Sit outside and people watch as the tourists hang out along South Congress and the rest of the world goes to work.
Snooze is an absolute zoo at peak weekend brunch times, so hit this place for a weekday breakfast instead. They have a ridiculously large menu of morning crowd-pleasers, so anyone you’re meeting will be able to find something they want to put their mouth around. And if you’re having a rough time making hard decisions? The french toast and breakfast burrito (ask for both sauces) are guaranteed to do the trick. Come hungry, leave happy. And probably in need of a nap.
A longtime Austin tradition and staple, Kerbey Lane is at the very top of the pack when it comes to breakfast in Austin. From pancakes to migas, Kerbey has it all - even serving queso as a socially acceptable option in the AM. Our favorite location (and the one with the most charm) will always be the original, inside a converted craftsman on Kerbey Lane. But they’ve gotten their formula down at their other six locations too.
photo credit: Jordan Haro
There are so many excellent breakfast taco spots, but Tacodeli is most well-positioned for weekday breakfast ease. For one, there are a ton of them. But they’ve also got their breakfast tacos down to an absolute science - whether you’re looking for something hearty (get the sirloin, egg, and cheese) or on the lighter side, Tacodeli is always a guaranteed winner. Our advice: take the extra few minutes to eat in the restaurant - they’ll still have you out of there in no time, and breakfast tacos are much better when you’re not eating them in traffic.
When we say “24 hours” your first thought might not be an 8am breakfast on a Tuesday - but in addition to late-night drunk food and hungover brunch, 24 Diner is also perfect for a regular old breakfast. Come for the coffee and stay for the waffles, add some fried chicken and you’re looking at brunch during the week. The breakfast platter is also a win if you’re feeling indecisive, and the yogurt and granola parfait will suit those who are trying to maintain some semblance of health.
The Best Brunches in Austin
A more traditional breakfast spot, Counter Cafe’s simple diner setup and classic menu make it great for a low-key breakfast situation. Somewhere between the steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy, and hot cakes, you’ll feel right at home here. If you’re dining solo, grab a spot at the counter and do like they did in the 40’s (or whenever it was that people actually ate a real breakfast before work).
When you first think of Irene’s, two things come to mind: fancy toast and that fluorescent sign. But what deserves just as much attention is their housemade butterscotch almond-cream coffee. Irene’s is a strong move for just about any meal or situation - and that includes a killer breakfast. Stop by their window in the early AM and go for the savory bacon toast to feel better about the fact that you’re on your way to work.
Located in one of Austin’s most charming neighborhoods, inside an even more charming house, Josephine House is ideal if you have one of those jobs where you can “work remote” and start your morning off at a slower pace. Really enjoy that first cup of coffee and sit outside on the patio - especially when the weather is on point. Menu-wise, there’s everything from highly fancy cereal to huevos rancheros, and you really can’t go wrong here.
Upper Crust Bakery
A pastry and a coffee really can’t be considered a real breakfast. Unless you’re talking about a pastry from Upper Crust - specifically the Upper Crust cinnamon roll. This thing is not only massive, but also incredibly good, and worthy of any morning that deserves a real treat. If you’re looking for something on the more savory side, they also do a great quiche.
Their “breakfast anytime” motto pretty much says it all, but the food and always-homey feel is what really seals the deal at Austin’s best 24-hour spot. You could come here every day for a month and probably not get sick of your options here - but our go-to is always a breakfast taco and a pancake. Or the huevos. Or the love migas.
Paperboy is dedicated solely to the art of excellent morning foods, and it’s at the top of our short list when anyone asks us where they should be eating breakfast in Austin.
photo credit: Mica McCook
Bouldin Creek Café
Bouldin is the one-stop shop for all things breakfast if you’re a vegetarian or enjoy eating like one sometimes. The renedict is one of our favorite plates and usually runs out in about a few hours, which is just another reason to hit this spot before work (though if you call in “sick,” they also serve breakfast all day). The spiced oatmeal with apples is also great motivation to get out of bed.
Keeping the East Side caffeinated and fed, Cenote is a great spot to get some work done outside, people watch, and enjoy breakfast food much better than anything you’d expect from a typical coffee shop. Wash it down with one of the green juices from the fridge and you’ve officially started your day off “healthy”.
photo credit: Mica McCook
Tamale House East
Our official candidate for best migas in Austin (get the chipotle option), Tamale House East is best enjoyed at breakfast. This place is no-frills, but its cute, Mexican-tile covered interior and patio make it a great low-key option for eating with anyone, particularly out-of-towners who are about to have their minds blown when they discover what migas are.
If you don’t know, now you know - Juan is, and always will be an Austin favorite for weekday hangover cures. The Don Juan is what this place is known for, but if you’re not quite ready to tackle what is probably the world’s largest breakfast taco, everything is good here - particularly the stuff that contains chorizo. If you haven’t eaten breakfast here, then you haven’t partaken in one of Austin’s greatest pastimes.