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The Austin Brunch Guide

PHOTO: Maggie Svoboda

It might have taken a minute, but Austin has caught up with the rest of America and is officially a full-on brunch city - not just a place to get the world’s best hungover migas. There are a ridiculous number of restaurants now serving $16 eggs, and plenty of people lining up for them.

But we’re here to make sure you spend less time standing in line for mediocre waffles and more time drinking mimosas, so we’ve compiled a guide to our top Austin brunch spots. Whether you need a great restaurant to pregame your Rainey St. adventure or are just looking for an excellent weekend meal, this guide to the best Austin brunch has you covered.

the spots

8.5
MAP

Sometimes brunch is a matter of using all your will power to get out of bed and into the nearest place that will allow you to shovel grease and carbs down your throat. But other times, it’s a little more of a thing. Maybe you’re entertaining some distant cousins in town and you’ve exhausted all other activities besides eating. Maybe it’s your birthday meal because you’ve realized day drinking is a much better plan for you. In either (or any) case, you’d be doing yourself right with brunch at Sway, where you’ll eat things like softshell crab and eggs and brioche french toast with spicy pear. Obviously, don’t skip the spicy bloody Marys.

Sick of eggs benedict and pancakes and avocado toast? Direct yourself to Sunday dim sum at Wu Chow. This is your best opportunity to sample a ton of stuff from this new-ish Chinese spot downtown - and while they don’t do cart service, they make up for it with cocktails. Take advantage of the fact that you can make reservations for brunch, come with a big group, and order everything from (best-in-town) soup dumplings to scallion pancakes to baked pineapple bao, and wash everything down with Mai-Tai’s.

7.9
MAP

If Perla’s is a shiny private yacht docked in the Hamptons, Clark’s Oyster Bar is more like a freshly-painted skiff on Cape Cod. Or at least that’s how it works in our imagination. This is the sister restaurant to the seafood behemoth that is Perla’s, and while it’s certainly still upscale, Clark’s has a slightly more casual, cooler vibe. The menu is giant - so from the huge raw bar selection to the burger, chowder, or cioppino, it’s pretty impossible not to find something to like here as you’re sitting under a striped awning drinking what should probably be champagne.

Paperboy

East Austin
1203 E 11th St
8.3
MAP

You had three too many margaritas last night and you need lots of brunch food and minimal (read: zero) brunch scene. Paperboy is your answer. These guys are serving a small but killer menu of breakfast food out of a truck, which means the only human interaction you’ll have to have is placing your order with the (very nice) staff, and weaving between people to find yourself a seat. No judgment if that seat ends up being the ground.

Launderette

Holly
2115 Holly St
8.2
MAP

Launderette looks even better in the daylight. Whether you’re out on the patio or inside the dining room, it’s hard to have a daytime meal here without wanting to move out of your own house so you can start over with a place that looks like this. And while dinner at Launderette is a sharing situation, if you’re an only child or just never got good at compromising, you’ll appreciate that you can go to town on your own burger or fried oyster florentine or pastrami hash during brunch.

8.3
MAP

One of our favorite neighborhood spots in Austin recently started doing Sunday brunch, and it doesn’t disappoint. Especially if your go-to brunch order is a burger. Just look at that thing.

Juniper

East Austin
2400 E Cesar Chavez St Ste 304

We have no idea why Juniper still flies pretty under-the-radar, but we’re not complaining that you can usually sit right down for a killer brunch with minimal-to-zero wait. This is a modern, kind-of-fancy Italian place, so it’s also probably not your every-Saturday spot. But go ahead and save it for when your parents are in town. They’ll like it.

8.1
MAP

As close as you’ll get to The Hamptons without leaving Texas. There’s something on the Perla’s menu for everyone, from the crab cakes to homemade pop tarts - come for a slightly fancy group brunch and share everything. Also don’t let them skimp on the complimentary hush puppies before the meal, they may be free but they’re definitely the best part.

Leaning on the lighter side of your typical Mexican meal, La Condesa’s West coast vibes and big assortment of margaritas make up for their small-ish portions. It’s great for impressing out-of-towners who don’t understand there’s more than one type of salsa, and that they aren’t all red. Make a reservation.

Photo: Jody Horton

Taverna

258 W 2nd St
MAP

One of the better boozy brunches in town considering its $2 mimosa and bellini situation, Taverna has a line from the minute it opens. And that’s because they serve everything you could possibly need at brunch: quality pizza and pasta, great coffee, and strong drinks.

Cafe No Sé

South Congress
1603 South Congress

One of the newer brunch spots in town, Cafe No Se in the South Congress Hotel is a place highly suited to your Instagram feed: beautiful design, beautiful light, beautiful people.

Photo: Kate LeSueur
8.5
MAP

Fact: Magnolia migas/breakfast tacos/pancakes taste just as amazing at normal brunch times as they do at 3am. It’s also one of the best bang-for-your-buck brunch situations in town. Don’t forget it.

South Congress Cafe

1600 S Congress Ave
MAP

We appreciate any excuse to plan a day on South Congress, and brunch at this longtime Austin staple is a great one. The food is modern American, and it’s crowd-pleasing all around. Get there early or plan to wait - either way you’ll find a way to use your time wisely.

Josephine House

1601 Waterston Ave
MAP

Located in a ridiculously quaint craftsman house, Josephine’s space feels less like it’s in the middle of Austin and more like you’ve just walked down to a beachfront hotel lobby. And the outdoor space is even more pleasant. When a restaurant is this good-looking, it can be hard for the food to measure up - but not in this case. You really can’t go wrong with any of the menu, but we have a hard time turning down the Josephine Rice Bowl.

Photo: Maggie Svodoba

Weather Up

1808 E Cesar Chavez St
MAP

You’ve probably hit Weather Up for their excellent cocktails, but the brunch here is also worth knowing about. Think hearty options involving biscuits, bacon, and cheese, and aesthetics to impress any visitor. Sit in the backyard.

Cenote

1010 E Cesar Chavez St
MAP

Cenote is one of our go-to’s for any great, casual meal on the East Side. Get yourself a (really big) coffee cup, grab a seat outside, and prepare to stay a while. Free wifi means you can treat yourself to an excellent brunch even if you’re doing work on a weekend.

Photo: Eric Pohl

Kerbey Lane Café

3704 Kerbey Ln
MAP

A classic Austin spot for breakfast foods served all day. Kerbey is casual, comfortable, and serves what are arguably the best pancakes in town.

8.4
MAP

Looking for something a little less predictable and a little more authentically Austin? Check out Hillside. We love their fried egg sandwich and top-tier mac and cheese, and it’s a pretty perfect place to drink outside as long as it isn’t 100 degrees.

Blue Dahlia Bistro

1115 E 11th St
MAP

We’re partial to any place that puts almost everything on a piece of bread. There are a couple of Blue Dahlia locations around town, but our favorite is on East 11th thanks to the greenhouse-looking space. The plants not only provide lots of oxygen (key for eating ridiculous quantities of food), but also make for a zen atmosphere for unwinding before the start of your week. Laugh at the absurd line at Franklin’s down the road while you eat your tartine.

“Sunday Funday” might have been invented at Banger’s. If you’re in search of a party time brunch spot, look no further. Banger’s is actually a bar, so as long as the drinks are flowing you might accidentally end up staying here all day. Be responsible - order some sausage.

8.4
MAP

Quiche, doughnuts, eggs benedict - everything on this menu is good. Adding a modern twist to classic brunch staples, we love Contigo for just about any occasion - not just because of the food, but also because of its ranch-style outdoor seating covered in Christmas lights. Reminder: make it a point to get here soon.

8.3
MAP

With a vibe somewhere in between a ranch and a country club, Jacoby’s is a great option for any special occasion brunch. Its homey interior, big back covered porch, and grassy yard (not to mention the fact that it’s on the river) all make you feel like you’ve escaped the city - but Jacoby’s is a destination you don’t have to go farther than East Cesar Chavez to enjoy. Get the chicken fried steak.

7.1
MAP

A local favorite for all Austin vegetable-lovers, Bouldin Creek Cafe’s vegan and vegetarian options are good enough to please even people who wouldn’t typically trust a breakfast without eggs and/or chorizo.

Odd Duck

Bouldin / South Lamar
1201 S Lamar Blvd
8.4
MAP

Odd is correct, but so is delicious. Serving up smaller portions than your average Texas restaurant, you’ll want to order to share and try a little bit of everything. Don’t let names like ‘Cucumber Parfait’ and ‘Cabbage Pancake’ scare you - these pairings sound absurd but these folks know what they’re doing. Sit outside if there’s not too long of a wait, the porch is where it’s at.

Photo: Richard Casteel

Cantine

South Lamar
MAP

Cantine could easily survive financially on their Fried Goat Cheese alone. Thanks to its South Lamar location, there’s a lot to do in the area - so feel free to explore while you wait out your table. Or just get a hummus plate and hang out at the bar - that works too.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

303 Red River St
MAP

Another all you can eat goldmine, Moonshine is a temple of Southern cooking and all things good. You’ll be torn between the breakfast and lunch options, but the good news is you can get them all. Be prepared to leave Moonshine a heavier individual than when you sat down.

Photo: Matt Lankes

Chez Zee

5406 Balcones Dr
MAP

This all-American classic brunch is worth the hike a few exits up Mopac. The menu is practically a short story, so if you can’t find something to satisfy everyone in your group, it’s time to find new friends.

8.2
MAP

We love Lucy’s. Come for the laid-back vibe, come for the picnic table meal, but most importantly come for the fried chicken. Most items are family-style, so bring a group and share everything (like the bucket of fried chicken for 4 that’s only $25).

6.6
MAP

More hungover than you thought possible, but promised to have brunch with your parents? 24 Diner is the compromise your morning needs. Show up in your pajamas, order yourself the insanely good chicken & waffles, and let Mom and Dad appreciate the slightly more upscale environment.

Gloria's Latin Cuisine

300 W 6th St
MAP

Gloria’s drinks are strong - which is why so many people start their weekend day drinking off here. Gloria’s has a great space for large parties, but it usually gets packed so make a reservation. The chips and salsa are free and come with a homemade black bean dip, but save room for a bowl of queso and a spinach and chicken quesadilla.

Epicerie

2307 Hancock Dr
MAP

Hidden in a residential section of North Austin, this restaurant inside a house has permanent good vibes. And the power to make you very excited to eat quiche.

Photo: Maggie Svoboda
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