Once again, it’s South by Southwest time.
You’ve come for the tech. The music. The movies. The networking. The brand activations. The weather (hopefully). But while you’re in Austin, don’t forget we’ve got an impressive (and growing) dining scene for you to tackle, as well.
You can’t spend all of your time at talks and screenings and shows. At some point you’re going to have to eat. Don’t be lured by free queso bars, passed appetizers and complimentary energy bars.
Take some time out and eat at one of the many restaurants and food trucks in Austin’s core. Exploring the restaurant scene can be a great way to get a feel for a city and its culture, even if you do only have 30 minutes before you have to go see the presentation of the next world-changing app.
The restaurants listed here are all located relatively close to the main action at SXSW — just a short walk, bike ride or (inset preferred method of automotive transport here) away.
Some of these restaurants may have special events and private parties during SXSW, so it’s wise to call ahead or check their website. And, while I always find SXSW a good time to slip into surprisingly uncrowded restaurants downtown, some of these spots will be impossible to get into. There’s always July.
(Click here for my complete SXSW Dining Guide.)
Bouldin Creek Cafe. 1900 S. First St. 512-416-1601, bouldincreek.com. Home to the best veggie burger in town (add the barbecue sauce), Austin’s temple to vegetarian and vegan fare impresses with dishes like portobello fajitas and zucchini migas.
Counter Culture. 2337 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-1540, countercultureaustin.com. Try the Philly cheesesteak with seitan or the jackfruit barbecue sandwich at this vegan restaurant in East Austin that also serves many gluten-free dishes.
JuiceLand. Multiple locations. juicelandaustin.com. Clever names (Clean and Soba Noodles), big flavor and veggie dishes that approximate meaty items’ ingredients (try the Super Happy Fun Bowl that tastes a lot like a spicy salmon sushi dish) at these juice and smoothie masters.
Leaf. 115 W. Sixth St. 512-474-5323, leafsalad.com. Choose from one of a variety of Leaf’s salad options, or make your own with a variety of ingredients, some of which are locally sourced.
Vinaigrette. 2201 College Ave. 512-852-8791, vinaigretteonline.com/Austin. This salad-centric restaurant off South Congress Avenue cleverly breaks down its 18-salad menu into sections like “Bright and Zippy” (featuring a Greek salad), “Savory” (featuring a kale-based Caesar), “A Little Sweet” (featuring beet and goat cheese) and “In Balance” (featuring spinach-mushroom with hardboiled eggs).