Gaby’s Guide to Austin, TX

I’ve been obsessed with Austin for the last 4-5 years and there’s no sign of it ending anytime soon.

Each time I visit this fun/weird/awesome city there’s a new restaurant that I love, a new bar with killer cocktails, or a new kind of doughnut that is sure to rock my world! I’m changing things up a bit here on What’s Gaby Cooking when it comes to travel. Instead of giving you a play by play of what I ate while there, I’m rounding up some of the can’t miss places to inspire your next trip. From hotels, to restaurants, to bars, to things to do between meals… it’s all here so you’ll be armed with an epic list of must-do things while in town!

Gaby's Guide to Austin, TX


To Eat/Drink:

Frankin BBQ – BBQ joints in Austin have cult like followings, and I’m partial to Franklin! It’s a must-visit if you’ve never been. Here’s the deal… go early. Right after breakfast, and then wait in line for a few hours until you get to the front and can order up a storm. Bring your friends, a game, or something fun to pass the time because it’s well worth the wait!

Licha’s Cantina – Austin is my favorite place to eat an obscene amount of tacos! And the tacos (and margaritas) at Licha’s are on point. As is their front and back patio seating – uber cute!

Uchiko – Japanese Farmhouse style dining at Uchiko is going to cost you a pretty penny but it’s going to be one of the best meals you’ll eat in town! Tyson Cole, owner and mastermind behind Uchiko and Uchi, along with his wicked staff of chefs will impress you from start to finish!

The Clay Pit – Just because we’re in Austin doesn’t mean we’re going to eat tacos the entire time (although I totally could if given the opportunity!) The Clay Pit is one of my favorite stops for some seriously great Indian Food. It’s the perfect place to take a big group of friends (who aren’t afraid of some spice) and chow down. Just be sure to ask for extra sides of each sauce, because they are so good you’ll want to drink them!

East Side King – This outstanding food truck is my go-to for late night dining. Their Thai Chicken Karaage and Poor Quis Buns are out of this world. Plus it’s situated right out back to a bar if you need a cocktail or two to accompany your meal.

Buffalina Pizza – hands down my favorite place for artisan pizza in Austin. You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu and the restaurant itself is so cute! It’s perfect for a date night or a group outting! Just be sure you leave plenty of time to wait for a table because they are always packed!

Amy’s Ice Cream – Summer time in Austin is HOT!! And I grew up in Arizona so I can handle the heat. But a stop at Amy’s is pretty much the perfect way to cool down. Opt for a double scoop, it’s the right thing to do!

Tacodeli – Go for the breakfast taco, but be sure to order just about everything else they make. I think breakfast tacos need to be a way of life across the world, and Tacodeli needs to lead that movement! The Migas Taco is pretty much the best thing ever invented!

Gourdoughs Doughnuts – This place will literally knock your socks off. They are the creators of some of the most inventive doughnuts I’ve ever seen or tried and it’s absolutely not to be missed if you have any kind of sweet tooth! My personal favorite are Miss Shortcake (a strawberry shortcake doughnut doused in cream cheese icing and plenty of fresh strawberries), and Granny’s Pie (Caramel, Pecans, Bananas & Graham Cracker slathered over a doughnut)

La Condessa – Happy Hour at La Condessa is quite the scene and the cocktails are fun! They also have some of the best chips and salsa in town! (that’s coming from the professional chips and salsa eater in me!!)


To Stay:

Hotel San Jose – without a doubt this is my favorite hotel in Austin… and probably all of Texas. The beds are beyond comfortable, you’ll probably never want to get up! But you have to because Hotel San Jose has the world’s cutest patio. Not to mention, you’re going to want to be best friends just everyone who works here. They are all awesome!

Hotel Saint Cecilia – St. Cecilia is the sister hotel to San Jose, so it goes without saying how wonderful it is! It’s a bit more posh and more expensive, but extra fab and totally worth it if you want to splurge!


To Do:

Allen’s Boots – Need a pair of cowboy boots? Allen’s has pretty much every boot under the sun. I just purchased my first pair last time I was there and it took me a solid 48 hours to make a decision. I was in and out of the store more times than I can count. Allen’s has a little (or a lot) of something for everyone!

Happy Hour at Hotel San Jose – it’s basically not optional. This is something you HAVE to do when you’re in Austin. And if it’s spring or summer, be sure to order their house sangria… because it’s quite possibly my most favorite sangria on earth.

Zilker Botanical Garden – Okay you’ve got to spend your time doing something other than eating and drinking, right? Zilker is super cute – plus I’m a little obsessed with Botanical Gardens no matter what city I’m in! So I think it’s a fun stop so you can walk off a few of those calories from all the eating!

City Guide / Austin, TX

City Guide // Austin, Texas

City Guide: Austin Texas

City Guide // Austin

Hotel San Jose: Austin, TX

Hotel San Jose: Austin, TX

Hotel San Jose: Austin, TX

Hotel San Jose: Austin, TX

And… if you’re super lucky… you’ll run into Tim Riggins! And if you do, tell him I say hi!


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  1. I love love love Austin! La Condesa’s margaritas are fantastic too. I really hope you tried Cuvee Coffee somewhere…?

  2. I’ve lived in Austin for 5 years now, and I don’t ever regret moving here. I love your list, and I completely agree. Have you been to Blue Dahlia or Sway? Also Paul Qui’s new restaurant just opened, and I am dying to try it QuiAustin.

  3. Yay Austin is the best! It’s usually not as humid as it’s been lately I swear. I second Hotel St. Cecilia- their bar is adorable and a little more off the beaten path. La Condesa does make the best cocktails ever- and their elotes are so delicious! Really all the food in austin is awesome. You can’t go wrong!

  4. It makes me so happy that you love Austin so much! It’s such an amazing city. And La Condesa.. mmm! So delicious, every time. I’m excited for your sister to become an Austinite!

  5. Austin and the Hotel San Jose are so, so effortlessly cool! Tell me you walked up S. Congress and had the migas at Geuero’s! Yummmmmmm…

  6. I am totally smitten with Austin too! Love your recap, and I can’t wait to go back and stay at Hotel San Jose! I am so there!

  7. Fingers crossed that we randomly bump into one another in Austin because I may have a teensy girl-crush on you. 🙂 In a totally non-creepy way, promise!! #Austinite

  8. I was just in Austin and fell in LOVE! I also stayed at Hotel San Jose! I’m trying to convince hubby for us to move there 😉

  9. Thank you for posting this – very helpful. For 2016, are there any updated recommendations in Austin, Texas you recommend we stay at or visit?

    1. Updating this next week!! Here are my current favorites!

      Veracruz – Migas
      Home Slice
      Amy’s Ice Cream
      Odd Duck
      Taco Deli
      Elizabeth Street Cafe
      La Condessa – margaritas
      Sway – get EVERYTHING
      Franklins BBQ – brave the line and get everything
      Licha’s Cantina – chips and guacamole
      Torchy’s Tacos – queso
      The Clay Pit – family style indian food
      Buffalina – Pizza
      Uchi – best Sushi ever
      Blender and Bowls
      East Side King – Brussels

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