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.
You won’t find breakfast tacos on the Sunday-only brunch menu at the downtown Modern Mexican restaurant Comedor, and that’s okay. What you will find are things like a plate of Mexican-inspired breakfast pastries, a pambazo torta, and chilaquiles. Also on the menu is the McPlancha, their riff on a McGriddle but with a homemade English muffin, scrambled egg, and an arbol sauce. It’s so good you’ll temporarily forget breakfast tacos even existed.
When your friend wants to meet your new dog and you want to meet their new baby, check out Sour Duck Market, the new spot from the team behind Odd Duck and Barley Swine. This place is counter service-only and has a large outdoor patio area that’s perfect for really anyone, dogs and infants included. Their menu stays the same all day, but there are certain things that are best on weekend mornings, like the breakfast sandwich and green chile hash. If you’re not in a breakfast mood, they also have shareable vegetable dishes and a wagyu burger. Just make sure you don’t skip the pastry case.
During the week, Better Half is a great place for Happy Hour or a midday coffee, but on the weekend it becomes a full-on brunch spot. We’re not totally sure where they hide the kitchen, but they manage to make a really solid fried chicken biscuit and a granola bowl with greek yogurt, if you want something on the lighter side. It gets pretty busy so come early, order at the counter, and claim a picnic table in their backyard.
In the middle of an endorphin rush, you agreed to go to brunch with six people from your exercise class. Once you realize this means balancing a long list of dietary needs, you start contemplating bailing and switching gyms entirely. Head to Hank’s in Windsor Park instead. They have plenty of space both indoors and outdoors, so it shouldn’t be hard to get a table, and since the menu has things like avocado toast and a veggie burger alongside pasta and a fried chicken sandwich, everyone will be able to find something. And, for when you inevitably take a group picture to show your favorite instructor, the space has plenty of natural light and plants.
The crowd at Holy Roller is there for the biscuit-based brunch foods, the daytime bar scene, and the punk rock soundtrack. Everyone will probably seem about 10% cooler than you and have a tattoo they regret. Try the fried chicken with honey butter or the grilled cheese, and save room for the housemade desserts, like their spin on a choco taco, or the Horchata cake.
Tiny Boxwoods looks like it came straight from a Williams-Sonoma catalog. The people here tend to be more dressed up than your average brunch-eaters, but you won’t mind putting on a button-down shirt, because the food holds up. There are sort-of-healthy options like avocado toast and chia seed pudding, but this is also a great place to get a BLT or burger - and the chocolate chip cookies are famous for a reason. Just make a reservation if you want to sit on the patio.
Cisco’s is one of the only original Austin joints still standing, and you’re here for a Tex-Mex breakfast. The owners would probably rather you didn’t even think of this as a “brunch” spot - coming here is about appreciating things the way they were in the ’70s. So on a weekend, there’s nothing better than a “late breakfast” of huevos rancheros with fajita steak or a migas plate, followed by a biscuit with honey and butter. Keep an eye out for photos on the walls of Austin politicians like LBJ - they were known to shake hands, kiss babies, and lobby for their agendas over breakfast at Cisco’s in their day.
It’s primarily patio space at the almost-nauseatingly-charming French-Vietnamese Elizabeth Street Cafe, so when you make your plans for brunch, be ready to eat outside. While you can order pho and spring rolls from their regular menu, the specialty breakfast items - like sticky rice with ginger sausage and poached eggs, or a fried egg, pork belly, and avocado banh mi - are the way to go. If you believe in eating dessert after breakfast, go for the brioche french toast with blueberries and ice cream as a final course. Or pick up some macarons on the way out.
There are plenty of other brunch spots on South Congress, but June’s, with its checkered floors, jukebox, and dog-friendly patio, outshines them all. The menu is impressively varied, with options like Matzo Ball Caldo (a matzo ball soup spiced up with jalapenos and avocado) and sourdough pancakes. Our preference here is to choose dishes like those two, which you might not find elsewhere. If you want something really filling, get the fried chicken sandwich. Just hope some of this place’s effortless cool rubs off on you as you leave.
Six days a week, Emmer & Rye is a dinner spot with interesting, farm-to-table dishes, some of which come to you via dim sum cart. On Sunday mornings, they do brunch, with a new completely new menu every three months.
Mattie’s has the type of wraparound porch you might design for your dream house. This restaurant in a historic mansion is hidden away in Bouldin Creek, and has been serving brunch since the ’40s. A recent renovation has only made it more pleasant, filling the patio, lobby, bars, and main dining rooms with the kind of vintage decor that looks authentic but doesn’t smell like mothballs. The food has the same upgraded old-school feel, with grits, biscuits, and fried chicken all available. And while they probably didn’t serve kale salad back in the ’40s, know that you’re paying tribute to Austin’s history just by dining here, no matter what you eat. Say hi to the peacocks, too.
Post up at the bar of the original (and tiny) Counter Cafe for quick service and a reliably great meal. The breakfast tacos here are inexpensive, and they also do greasy-spoon food, like biscuits and gravy, pretty well - not to mention a surprisingly good crab cake. And it’s one of the few places in town where you can still get old-school diner coffee. So if you happen to come at a time when it’s packed, just hang out with your cup of coffee and wait it out.
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 upscale 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-Tais.
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 feel. 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.
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 excellent 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cenote is one of our go-tos 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.
A classic Austin spot for breakfast foods served all day. Kerbey is casual, comfortable, and serves what are arguably the best pancakes in town.
Hillside Farmacy is perfect for most situations, and that includes occasions when you are looking for a truly great brunch. 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.
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.
Quiche, donuts, eggs benedict - everything on this menu is good. Contigo is a brunch go-to not just for the food, but also for the feeling that you’re actually eating brunch on a ranch.
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 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.
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.
We love Lucy’s. Come for the laid-back atmosphere, come for a 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 four that’s only $25).
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.