Whether it’s sweet or savory, cheese-based or carb-based, or any other delicious combination, nothing feels more like the gastronomical equivalent of a warm fuzzy blanket than comfort food. And, at the crossroads between TexMex and Southern-style favorites, you better believe that Austin has plenty of the yum-yum goodness to go around. While queso, brisket, and biscuits are an obvious given, the food scene in Austin also offers enough diversity for patrons to indulge in all kinds of cuisines. So, break out your sweatpants with the most generous elastic waistline, clear your schedule for a serious post-meal nap, and get ready to hit up our favorite spots for comfort food in Bat City.
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Related: Best Luxury Apartments in Austin, TX
Where to Find Comfort Food in Austin
Address: 2401 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702
Restaurant Overview: At its best, good comfort food evokes nostalgic memories of time spent with family, from pasta made by nonna, to Dad’s famous mac and cheese. And, at la Barbecue, every piece of melt-in-your-mouth brisket that emerges from their smoker is infused with this familial heritage. Co-owner, LeAnn Mueller, earned her pit-master chops as a child, growing up at her father’s famous Taylor, Texas barbecue mecca, Louie Mueller Barbecue. Even though LeAnn now owns a place of her own worthy of a line around the block, her techniques pay tribute to her family and her German lineage. Plus, her meats will send your taste buds on a pork-based journey to paradise.
What to Eat: Going to a Texas barbecue joint and not ordering brisket is considered a crime in the Lone Star state. Luckily, at la Barbecue, they offer it in three equally lip-licking forms: standard sliced, as chili, or on a sandwich generously topped with house-made pickles and onions.
Address: Various locations
Neighborhood: Various neighborhoods
Restaurant Overview: Italian food in Texas often gets a bad rap, especially considering the refined pizza and pasta palates of all the former Northeasterners that now call Austin home. However, for nights when you want to get into a serious cheese-and-pepperoni couch coma, local Detroit-style pizza palace, Via 313, is here to deliver (literally) all the greasy, crust-filled tastiness you crave. For folks that may not know, Detroit-style pizza features square slices, with a chewy crust covered in the kind of crisped-up pieces of parmesan that you’d normally find in a bag of cheese crisps. Via 313’s take on this pie technique proved so popular, they now dish out their comfort-food classic in five locations around the Austin area.
What to Eat: If you’re looking for a traditional bite of pizza, nothing hits the spot better than The Detroiter, which features two kinds of pepperoni — smoked, which they layer under the cheese, and natural casing, which goes on top of it. For more adventurous eaters, dive into the sugary-salty masterpiece that is The Cadillac, which features gorgonzola, fig preserves, prosciutto, parmesan, and a balsamic glaze.
Bird Bird Biscuit
Address: 2071 Manor Rd Austin, TX 78722
Restaurant Overview: When it comes to comfort food, butter is king — and, perhaps, no food better understands this key ingredient in humankind’s well-being than the classic Southern biscuit. And, here in Austin you won’t find better examples of this flaky, doughy staple than at East Austin’s Bird Bird Biscuit. It’s not just Austinites who believe that their long morning lines for chicken-based sandwiches are worth the wait either; this place was recently named the 5th best place to eat in all of America by Yelp. Don’t worry though, even while you wait to order your biscuit delight, the folks at Bird Bird will make sure you still feel the love in their house (and in their dough) — they often hand out free samples of their Dough-Doughs, their biscuit doughnut holes tossed in cinnamon sugar, to hungry folks in line.
What to Eat: Starting your Monday off with one of Bird Bird Biscuit’s Lovely Day breakfast sandwiches is all but a guaranteed cure for the Sunday Scaries. The dish includes their classic biscuit, topped with house-made chicken sausage, free range-eggs served over medium, basil pesto, and a hunk of melted cheddar cheese.
Address: 6929 Airport Blvd Austin, TX 78752
Restaurant Overview: Rainy days in Austin may be few, but, when the news calls for storms, your first stop before the downpour hits should be Sazan Ramen. The depth of flavor achieved in their broths feels like an upgraded version of the soup your parents would make you on chilly Saturdays back in the day — and, this time, nothing you’re slurping comes from a can. And, on those days when a weather alert doesn’t beckon you home, their modern, yet inviting digs are the perfect place to sip on some Sapporo and dig into their curry-rubbed Indomitable Chicken Wings while you wait for your noodle-based main course.
What to Eat: The black color of their Ma-Yu Ramen may look tough on the outside, but, on the inside, it’s a tasty sweetheart. The creamy broth, made from a mixture of chicken and pork, is accented with the tangy and fuzzy flavor of black garlic, then loaded with red cabbage, bamboo shoots, green scallions, an umami egg, and your choice of chicken or pork chashu.
Matt’s El Rancho
Address: 2613 S Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78704
Neighborhood: South Lamar
Restaurant Overview: No list of comfort food in Austin would be complete without at least one TexMex option — just like no list of the best TexMex in the city would be complete without mentioning Matt’s El Rancho. A legitimate city institution, Matt’s has been around since 1952, and generations of Austinites have kept their expansive dining room packed every night since. From burritos, to enchiladas, to chile rellenos, to a whole page of margarita options, Matt’s delivers on every taste front imaginable. In classic TexMex fashion, they’ll set down a huge basket of chips and a variety of salsas on your table from the moment you take your seat, with plenty of free refills to come.
What to Eat: The famous Bob Armstrong Dip, named after the former Texas land commissioner who frequented Matt’s, represents the ultimate queso in a city famous for melted cheese. The queso’s layers of seasoned taco meat, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo will have you licking the bowl it comes in — and then ordering another one.
Stopping for drinks after your meal? We’ve got you covered. Find the best margaritas, the best breweries, or the best dive bars with the help of our local experts. Or, if you’re still hungry, head to one of Austin’s best brunch spots next weekend.
Find Your Dream Austin Apartment
You can support your comfort food habit with a blissfully relaxing new home in Austin near all of these delicious places. And, we can help you find your new, comfortable digs for free. Tell us what your dream luxury apartment looks like, and we’ll find the best options for you while you eat your way through this list of restaurants. Then, once you feel stuffed to the brim, take those comfort food sweatpants back to your cozy new apartment and crash on that plushy couch.