The 13 Best Lunch Spots In Austin guide image


The 13 Best Lunch Spots In Austin

Some of our favorite places to grab lunch.

Lunches, especially on weekdays, are your one-hour respite from “I have a hard stop at 11am” and “Looping in Jeff.” It’s a chance to break free from your stand-up desk and give yourself and the one coworker you actually like an excuse for an adventure at noon. The tricky part is finding a place that’s far enough from your office that you won’t see everyone from work, but not so far that you’re eating with the people who work at Dell. Here are some of our favorite places to grab lunch while you silently question all the people who are eating out of tupperware right now.


photo credit: Nitya Jain

Komé: Sushi Kitchen imageoverride image

Komé: Sushi Kitchen


5301 Airport Blvd, Austin
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This low-key Japanese restaurant in Ridgetop is perhaps best known for its dependable nigiri and action-packed sushi rolls that you can get for lunch and for dinner. But Komé’s lunch menu has dishes that aren’t available at all during dinner, like elaborate combination lunches, filling donburi, and a comically large bento box that often elicits a “whoa.” There’s also a very good ramen menu that’s lunch-only, which just means you need to strategically plan your morning and afternoon meetings if you want to escape for a quick noodle adventure. If you show up on the later side of lunch, say 1pm, you can usually get seated immediately, especially at the long sushi bar.

If you still have stress dreams about the time you circled the block so many times to find parking that you just skipped lunch and went back to work, head to Better Half downtown. They have patio seating, a chicken burger we love, and, importantly, their own dedicated lot. When you’re done, order a coffee and try very hard not to think about how much more productive you’d be if you just posted up here instead of going back to the office.

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Texas Chili Parlor is probably one of the only spots in town where you can sit back with a Mad Dog margarita (that’s as potent as it sounds) and order a plate of enchiladas covered with a giant scoop of Texas-style chili. This place has been simultaneously functioning as a dive bar and Tex-Mex eatery since the 1970s, and there are usually a handful of people sitting at the bar that look like they haven’t moved since the restaurant’s inception. Hop in for a quick round of enchiladas if you work Downtown, but you might want to hold off on the margaritas if you’re planning on actually getting any work done after lunch.

Some days are for corporate card lunches and others are for spending less than $10 because you “accidentally” ordered an indoor trampoline last night. Truthfully, we’d ruin our budgets for Vaquero Taquero’s al pastor tacos topped with pineapple and their spiciest—but thankfully we don’t have to. All of the tacos and quesadillas are $5 or less—so it’s one of our favorite spots for an inexpensive midday meal. It’s a small space, so come solo or with the one coworker you actually enjoy seeing outside of the office.

95% of the time we find ourselves with a craving for a well-made cheesesteak, we’re heading to the trailer R&B’s in East Austin. R&B’s focuses on one type of sandwich, and one sandwich only—the cheesesteak. Sure, you can fancy it up with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles (and call it a hoagie), but you should probably just let the steak, cheese, and bread do their thing, uninterrupted. Either way, it’ll be packed full of thinly-sliced Texas ribeye on an Amoroso roll with your choice of Cheez Whiz, provolone, or white american cheese—we’re on Team Whiz, by the way.

Uroko is a casual handroll spot inside of Springdale General in East Austin with a tiny dining room that holds just a few small tables. It’s from the folks behind Kome—a place we like very much—and as a result, it feels like an even more chill version of its older sibling. It’s located inside the coworking/food hall area of Springdale General, meaning you can grab items from all the vendors in the area for a frankensteined lunch consisting of an iced latte from Medici, croissants from Julie Myrtle, and as many handrolls as you can comfortably handle from Uroko.

Most of our time at Home Slice is spent sharing giant pizzas with friends over beers and negronis, and debating which Super Mario character we’d want as a roommate. During the week, though, when you don’t have time for pizza, beer, or Princess Peach, Home Slice’s North Austin location serves quick Italian subs that are big enough to split, as well as buffalo wings and a great Greek salad. They also do pizza by the slice in case it’s against everything you believe to come here and not get pizza.

Tacodeli feels like home, if you grew up in the kind of home with consistently excellent tacos. We like it because it’s not trying to out-Tex Mex the other taco places—it’s just trying to make great food. And while you may pay a dollar or so more than the average taco, you get high-quality everything. The staff will ask how your meal was and—the kicker—wait to hear the answer. There’s a reason the line is always out the door.

This location of Jo’s is way more restaurant than coffee shop. The original location on South Congress only has a few food options, but here you can get everything from salads to melts to pretty good burgers. Try to snag a table inside because the Grackles outside are next-level aggressive.

Elizabeth St. Café imageoverride image

Elizabeth St. Café



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If it’s the first nice day of spring or you have no afternoon meetings (or you just decided none of your afternoon meetings matter and you walked out of your office with purpose), Elizabeth Street Café is the right pick for your long weekday lunch. Sit outside and order spring rolls - they’ll be a much-needed change of pace from the salads and sandwiches you ate over your keyboard all week. Allow some time at the end of the meal for an iced Vietnamese coffee before you head back to work (if you’re heading back at all).

You can’t miss Fresa’s—just look for the giant rotating neon chicken out front. Once you’re actually inside, order stuff like the Power Bol with wood-grilled chicken and enough vegetables to feel better about those two donuts you housed at the office breakfast this morning. And on the days when Austin feels like you’re walking around inside a blow dryer, you don’t even need to get out of your car. The drive-through here will make you excited to be alive. Or at least to be getting your lunch here.

Most of the time, Austin wears its Austin t-shirt proudly, but Walton’s has a different kind of Southern charm. Maybe it’s the glass case full of pastel pastries or the succulents for sale in the back. Either way, the food here is actually great—we typically go for a hot sandwich like the Pastrami (or really any sandwich involving the pretzel roll).

If you’re having the type of day (good or bad) that calls for a lunch steak, Salt & Time is here for you. This butcher shop has an excellent selection of high-quality meats, sandwiches, and salads, and lunch is particularly good. Get a burger and sit at the long bar for a quick meal, or grab a table if you have some time to linger. Don’t worry if you’re bringing a vegetarian—there’s always a daily non-meat special.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Tex-Mex Restaurants In Austin

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