Food & Drink

Keepin’ it Casual: 16 Must-Try Restaurants in Austin!

When it comes to dining out in Austin, there are plenty of options to choose from. But sometimes, you just want a casual spot where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy some good food without breaking the bank.

Whether you're in the mood for burgers, tacos, or something else entirely, there are plenty of casual restaurants in Austin that are sure to satisfy your cravings.

What makes a restaurant "casual"? For starters, it's typically a place where you can show up in jeans and a t-shirt without feeling out of place.

The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, and the menu usually features classic comfort foods that are easy to eat and share. But don't let the relaxed vibe fool you – many of these spots are run by top-notch chefs who take their food seriously.

So, where should you go for the best casual dining in Austin? That's what we're here to help you figure out. We've scoured the city for the best spots to grab a quick bite or settle in for a leisurely meal with friends.

From hole-in-the-wall taco joints to trendy gastropubs, we've got you covered. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the best casual restaurants in Austin.

1. Caroline

Caroline
621 Congress Ave. Suite 101, Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Caroline is a modern American restaurant that serves classic American fare and mod coffee house drinks.

The restaurant offers breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner in modern surroundings with cocktails, craft beer, and wine. The food is superb, and the service is excellent.

The menu includes deviled eggs, beet carpaccio, roasted shishito peppers, chicken schnitzel, mushroom Bolognese, and blueberry crumble dessert. The restaurant has a casual bar area upstairs and a coffee bar and nice restaurant downstairs.

The atmosphere is relaxing and welcoming, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Caroline is a great spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and the restaurant is definitely worth visiting.

2. Corner Restaurant

Corner Restaurant
110 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Corner Restaurant is a modern and casual Texan restaurant located in a hotel.

Their menu offers a refreshing take on Texan cuisine with dishes like zucchini cornbread, bacon-spinach salad, and chipotle-honey salmon.

The food is well-prepared and delicious, with the braised short rib dish being a standout. The restaurant also has a great ambiance and friendly staff.

It's a perfect place to check out if you're in town and looking for some good food and a relaxed atmosphere.

3. Stella San Jac

Stella San Jac
310 E 5th St., Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Stella San Jac is a contemporary Southern eatery and lounge that offers modern Southern cuisine in a streamlined space with an open kitchen and live acts.

The restaurant has a calming atmosphere with dim lights and modern decor.

The menu offers a variety of dishes, including Avocado Toast, Chicken Caesar Salad, Steak Frites, and Chorizo & Potato Tacos. The portions are large, and the prices are reasonable.

The staff is friendly and attentive, and the service is great. Stella San Jac is a must-visit place for those who want to enjoy delicious food in a modern ambiance.

4. Moonshine Grill

Moonshine Grill
303 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Moonshine Grill offers contemporary comfort food and cocktails in a historic home with a patio.

The menu features shareables, sandwiches, burgers, and a large selection of entrees with traditional southern flavors.

The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, with friendly and helpful staff who provide great service. The restaurant also offers a bar and event venue for those looking to host a gathering.

If you're in the mood for upscale southern comfort food, Moonshine Grill is definitely worth a visit.

5. Odd Duck

Odd Duck
1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (Google Maps)

Odd Duck is a must-visit casual restaurant for foodies looking for a unique culinary experience. The menu rotates regularly, showcasing a variety of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

The open kitchen and farm-to-table concept are a testament to their commitment to quality ingredients. Vegetarian and pescatarian options are available.

The service is friendly and knowledgeable, and the staff pays attention to detail. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the 90s hip hop music adds a nice touch. Don't miss out on the cast iron cornbread, pork loin, and Wagyu burger.

The Sweet Potato Mochi donut is a perfect way to end your meal. Odd Duck is a great place to celebrate a special occasion or to explore the possibility that food offers.

6. Paperboy

Paperboy
1203 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Google Maps)

Paperboy is a warm and hip restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch, and cocktails. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and a beautiful rooftop dining area.

The food is high quality and cooked deliciously. The service is fast and outstanding. The restaurant can get busy, so it is recommended to make a reservation.

The cinnamon French toast is a must-try sweet treat. The restaurant also has a takeaway window where you can get coffee and pastries while you wait for a table.

All in all, Paperboy is a great place to have a delicious breakfast or brunch in a cozy and beautiful atmosphere.

7. Taco Joint

Taco Joint
134 E Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78704 (Google Maps)

Looking for a casual restaurant that serves great tacos at a reasonable price point, with vegan and vegetarian options available too, then look no further than Taco Joint.

With plenty of seating both inside and outside, Taco Joint is a great spot to enjoy a quick lunch or dinner.

The staff is friendly and the service is fast. The homemade tortillas are delicious and the salsa bar is a must-try.

If you're looking for a new go-to spot for amazing tacos, give Taco Joint a try!

8. Salty Sow

Salty Sow
1917 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Google Maps)

Salty Sow is a casual restaurant that serves up snout-to-tail American dining, with an emphasis on braised, poached, and stewed dishes. The restaurant has a cozy yet sophisticated ambiance, with rustic wood paneling, vintage decor, and dim lighting.

The menu offers a variety of dishes, from small plates to entrees, all made with high-quality ingredients and served with an inventive twist.

The roasted Brussels sprouts and braised pork belly are standout dishes. The cocktail menu is also worth mentioning, with a great selection of craft cocktails and an extensive wine list.

The exceptional service adds to the overall dining experience. Salty Sow is a must-visit for anyone looking for delicious and inventive American cuisine in a laid-back setting.

9. Dai Due

Dai Due
2406 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Google Maps)

Dai Due is a farm-to-table restaurant that serves locally sourced food. They offer a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The service is friendly and attentive.

The restaurant has a cozy ambiance and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating. The menu features meat-centric dishes and exotic options.

The prices are on the higher side, but the quality of the food justifies it. The patio area is beautiful and provides a natural shade.

The restaurant also has a butcher shop. Dai Due is a great choice for those looking for a unique dining experience with fresh and flavorful food.

10. CAVA

Cava
515 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

CAVA is a Mediterranean restaurant that offers customizable bowls, pitas, and salads. The food is fresh, healthy, and bursting with flavor.

The staff is friendly and provides excellent service. The restaurant has a casual atmosphere with plenty of seating.

The menu is reasonably priced, making it a great option for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.

If you're looking for thoughtful and tasty Mediterranean food, CAVA is definitely worth checking out.

11. SPREAD & CO

Spread & Co
1601 W 38th St, Austin, TX 78731 (Google Maps)

Looking for a cozy spot for breakfast or lunch with great quality food and a good kids menu in the city, look no further than SPREAD & CO.

This casual restaurant offers beautiful, healthy, and delicious food that is made with care and health in mind. The staff is friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun, with both indoor and outdoor seating options available.

With a small but diverse menu that includes grazing boards, sandwiches, burgers, breakfast dishes, and other comfort fare, there's something for everyone at SPREAD & CO.

Don't miss out on trying their signature garlic bread with ricotta, pine nuts, and honeycomb, or their Croque Oui Oui with prosciutto, caramelized onion, melty raclette cheese, and a perfect sunny-side up egg on top.

12. Garbo's Lobster @ Meanwhile Brewery

Garbo's Lobster @ Meanwhile Brewery
823 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Garbo's Lobster @ Meanwhile Brewery is a seafood restaurant that serves fantastic lobster rolls.

The food is simple but delicious, and the curbside service makes it a great lunch option for those working in the area.

The only downside is the lack of easy parking, but it's worth the effort to try their mouth-watering lobster rolls.

13. Smash ATX

Smash Atx
213 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Looking for a fun and casual spot to grab some food and drinks with friends in Austin, Texas?

Check out Smash ATX! This restaurant has a unique twist: ping pong tables for guests to play while they eat and drink.

The atmosphere is lively and fun, with great music and a cool vibe. The staff is friendly and attentive, making sure that guests have a great time.

The food is also excellent, with tasty options like homemade fries, gourmet flatbreads, and delicious wings.

Whether you're looking for a casual lunch spot or a fun night out with friends, Smash ATX is definitely worth checking out!

14. Launderette

Launderette
2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702 (Google Maps)

Launderette is a retro-chic cafe located in a converted gas station/Laundromat. The menu features gourmet New American fare made with unique and thoughtful ingredients.

The staff is friendly and professional, providing attentive service. The cozy interior is modern and relaxing, making it a great spot for a casual dinner or special occasion.

The food is outstanding, and the cocktails are tasty. The desserts are a must-try, especially the seasonal sorbet.

Although a bit expensive, the overall experience is worth it. Launderette is a top spot in the city for a memorable dining experience.

15. The Heel of the Boot

The Heel Of The Boot
at Wanderlust Wine Collective, 702 Shady Ln, Austin, TX 78702 (Google Maps)

The Heel of the Boot is a must-visit for anyone craving delicious Italian food.

The pasta is cooked to perfection and the sauces are authentic and flavorful. The portions are generous and perfect for sharing.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, making the dining experience even better. The self-serve wine wall is a unique feature that adds to the overall ambiance of the restaurant.

Whether you're dining in or taking out, The Heel of the Boot is a great choice for a casual Italian meal.

16. Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco
522 Congress Ave. Suite 100, Austin, TX 78701 (Google Maps)

Velvet Taco is a casual restaurant that serves up a delicious mix of tacos with an eclectic twist.

The menu offers a variety of unique flavors, including Korean pork, Chicken Masala, and waffle and fried chicken tacos. Vegetarian options like the cauliflower, paneer, and tofu tacos are also available.

The staff are friendly and provide fast service. Prices are reasonable, making it a great spot for a quick bite.

The red velvet cake is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. Velvet Taco is a great option for those looking for a new and flavorful taco experience.