It would be really sad and dangerous if all you consumed was the free sweet tea vodka and energy drinks during your time at SXSW. Austin is not only a Tex-Mex paradise but also a vegan/vegetarian food mecca if you’re into comida sana. If you’re visiting Austin for the first time, you’ll quickly learn that real tacos are cheap and that this whole time you’ve been bamboozled– charging $5 for a taco is an actual sin. With the help from a few Austin foodies and as an ex-Austinite, I present you with a list of some recommendations on where to grub. If the list is heavy on the margaritas and tacos, sorry but not sorry!!!

Buen provecho – and please add any other recommendations in the comments section. See you in Austin!

1

Veracruz All Natural Tacos

This is the taco trucks of all taco trucks. You can’t go wrong with an al pastor taco, but really every single taco kicks ass here. The aguas frescas are a little pricey at $4 pero son ricas. There are 3 locations the demand is so high.

Veracruz Tacos
1704 E Cesar Chavez
1403 East 7th St @ East Seventh Eats
4208 Menchaca Rd. @ Radio Coffee & Beer

2

Takoba

This is a tight brunch or happy hour spot with a romantic ambiance and a beautiful patio. Their spicy mango-habañero margarita is on point, and they have mezcal cocktails. The owner is from Aguascalientes and brings that legit Mexican flare to the food.

Takoba
1411 East 7th Street

Photo via Amanda SG.

3

Mr. Natural

This is a vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free haven where there is a special vegetarian Tex-Mex section. Sunflower tamales exist here and they are bbbbbbomb. Order them in the tamale plate or the soya guisada–their vegetarian take on carne guisada. Licuados and jugos are also on the menu. Props to the spinach pineapple agua fresca

Mr. Natural
1901 E. Cesar Chavez St.

 

4

Mi Madres

A sweaty tall glass of horchata with a plate of spicy migas, huevos rancheros or chilaquiles. If you have an undying hunger, the beef fajita burrito stuffed with fries is a great way to kill yourself slowly with Tex-Mex. The cafe de olla is pretty damn good as well.

Mi Madres
2201 Manor Rd.

5

Taco Window on Manor (formerly Taco Mex)

This is a taco window, not a taco truck. The taco de nopales con huevo is the best, and they’re so, so fresh. People rave about the fish tacos, and the green sauce? I’ve seen Facebook posts about the green sauce.

Taco Window
2611 Manor Road

6

Tyson's Tacos

They serve breakfast tacos all day, and if you’ve never heard of a breakfast taco (many New Yorkers haven’t) they are what will power you through your SXSW adventures. Their tacos also have the best names: the “White Girl” is a basic potato, egg, and cheese taco. lololol. Also, some of their tacos have crushed Takis inside. Yessssss.

Tyson’s Tacos
4905 Airport Blvd.

7

Juan in a Million

This is a really popular Mexican breakfast spot. They have a huge taco called the Don Juan, and Juan is always there giving out handshakes.

Juan in a Million
2300 East Cesar Chavez St.

8

La Condesa

This is a bit fancier spot than the rest. They have a great happy hour with very yummy cocktails. I’d get the watermelon elderflower martini. I’ve also heard great things about the ceviche and elote.

La Condesa
400A West 2nd Street

9

Mother's Cafe

This is really an Austin brunch staple. It’s very easy to forget to eat during SXSW but if you start your day here, you will be good to go. Everything is organic and vegetarian — a good balance for all that free alcohol you’ll be ingesting.

Mother’s Cafe
4215 Duval Street

10

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Alright, so how could I make a list of Tejano foods and not mention BBQ? This place truly blends your Mex with your Tex. They have “traditional” BBQ like brisket, pulled pork, and mesquite bbq chicken while also offering fajita, carnitas, pollo or brisket with lime and guacamole twists.

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
600 West 6th street

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