At some point during dinner at Veracruz Fonda & Bar, you’ll probably forget that you’re in a square in the middle of a 700-acre, master-planned community between an Irish pub and a corner of Mueller that feels like it’s been under construction for almost as long as Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. If the name Veracruz sounds familiar, that’s probably because the mini-chain of trailers have become synonymous with migas and some of the best breakfast tacos in Austin. Either that, or you got an A in high school geography, and you know all about how this restaurant is inspired by the coastal Mexican state. Veracruz Fonda takes everything you love about breakfast tacos—freshness, execution, and attention to detail—and expands it into an all-day menu that’s just as good for a quick breakfast as it is for Happy Hours, date nights, or a dinner with friends.
Despite the perpetual construction surrounding it, Veracruz Fonda is situated on a picture-perfect corner of the pedestrian-friendly part of Mueller that feels every bit as dreamlike as you’d expect to see in an architectural rendering with smiling families and cute puppies that never age. The patio—lined with metal planters and decorated in bright and pastel colors—is the big draw here. Still, there’s also a welcome sense of escape that comes from sitting in the large, dark dining room, outfitted with massive murals and hanging woven lanterns.
If you’re here for breakfast, get the migas taco to discover what made Veracruz the legends that they are in the world of early morning dining. Otherwise, start with an order of shrimp ceviche to kick things off on a bright and refreshing note. Then, Tetris together a tabletop full of picadas, panuchos, tamales, and large plates. Unlike the trailers that focus on tacos, here they just make up a small portion of the menu—the rest is a series of Veracruz-inspired dishes, including sauteed head-on shrimp doused in a rich and spicy chipotle salsa, enchiladas with a bitter, slightly fruity mole Veracruzano, or a deep-fried whole fish that takes up half the table like a crispy, edible centerpiece. And since this is a proper restaurant, that means there’s also a full bar, complete with frozen margaritas, house cocktails, low-intervention wines, and draft beers.
Stepping out of Veracruz Fonda, and back onto the streets of Mueller can be a bit jarring. Maybe it’s the stark contrast between the family-filled parks across the street from the dark, lively dining room of the restaurant, or maybe those extra House ‘Ritas just pack a pretty strong punch.
Melon Aguas Frescas
Every bit as refreshing as it is vibrant and colorful, this is one of the best ways we’ve found to combat a warm afternoon. It’s not too sweet, really allowing the melon to shine. You can also get it with a shot of mezcal, but we like this enough on its own.
El Tradicional Breakfast Taco
These are what made Veracruz the legends that they are, and they’re great. Still, if it’s your first time at Veracruz Fonda, stick to the rest of the menu since these are available at other locations across town.
Simple and refreshing, the ceviche comes served with a few thick-cut housemade tortilla chips and a cute little pitcher of hot sauce that you’ll want to drizzle over the top of each bite.
These come packed full of tender, heavily spiced pork adobo, and slowly unwrapping the banana leaf that surrounds it all and wafting in the aroma of warm masa inside feels like opening up a present on Christmas morning. It’s tender enough to shred with a fork, and tasty enough that you’ll want more than one bite. Grab a couple of tamales to share with the table, or just order one for yourself.
Rich, bitter, and a bit fruity, the mole here is some of our favorite in town. It’s complex enough that you’ll want to taste it a few times on its own, and it goes especially well over a few cheese-filled enchiladas.
The cochinita pibil at Veracruz Fonda can be ordered in taco form or plate form. We usually get the taco so that we can sample more of the menu, but if you’re a big fan, you might want to consider the plate—with a generous portion of slow-roasted pork, and a handful of fried plantains that feel almost like sweet palate cleansers between bites.