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30 Things You Have to Eat and Drink This Summer in Austin

By Megan Giller
May 19, 2014

Welcome to your Best Summer Ever. From now until Labor Day, be sure to consult our Austin summer page, a one-stop resource that will be regularly updated with the season's best restaurants, dishes and more.  

There are more than a few sunny months of summer ahead, and you’ve got your work cut out for you on the eating and drinking fronts. What dishes and drinks define summer in Austin? We combed the city with this question in mind to come up with this list of 30 essential summer treats. Use it as your back-pocket guide for the coming hot, sweaty months and set yourself up for the Best Summer Ever.

1. Michelada at Hotel San Jose
2. Oysters at Perla’s
3. Cilantro-lime ice cream at Lick
4. Barbecue at Opie’s
5. Mango-habanero margarita at Takoba
6. Blueberry-basil jam at Confituras
7. Sno-cone at Casey’s New Orleans Snow Balls
8. Aguas frescas and tacos at Veracruz All Natural
9. Hama chile at Uchiko
10. Papaya salad at East Side King, Thai Kun
11. Iced tea at Steeping Room
12. Caprese salad at Andiamo
13. Overproof Punch at Pleasant Storage Room
14. Frozen margarita at Chuy’s
15. Watermelon-agave popsicle at Good Pop
16. Lobster roll at Garbo’s
17. Frozen banana at Bananarchy
18. Fireman’s 4 at Draught House
19. Goat Sliders at Whip In
20. Local meats at Salt and Time
21. Ice cream sandwich at Coolhaus
22. Sour Beer at Jester King Brewery
23. Crudo at La Condesa
24. Bibb salad at Bufalina
25. Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
26. Drinking vinegars at Sway
27. Green Drink at Food for Fitness Cafe
28. Ode to Michel Bras at Qui
29. Lobster ceviche at Fonda San Miguel
30. Scarlet Lantern at Bar Congress

  • Michelada at Hotel San Jose

    The outdoor oasis at the chic boutique hotel boasts killer micheladas, served poolside or at the table along with some snacks.

  • Photo by: Flickr/Kellie CA

    Oysters at Perla’s

    Slurp like a pro at the iconic South Congress seafood restaurant, and sneak in some people-watching on the patio while you’re at it.

  • Cilantro-lime ice cream at Lick  

    The South Austin ice cream shop uses local ingredients to make unusual native flavors like cilantro-lime and beet-mint.

  • Photo by: Robert Jacob Lerma

    Barbecue at Opie’s

    Barbecue during the summer is a Texas tradition, and Opie’s stands out for its solid, consistent smoked meats, air-conditioned interior and close proximity to Krause Springs.

  • Mango-habanero margarita at Takoba

    Strike back at summer with this sweet-and-spicy take on a classic, and order some queso and tacos while you’re at it.

  • Photo by: Casey Woods

    Blueberry-basil jam from Confituras

    Local jam, jelly and preserve maker Stephanie McClenny outdoes herself every year with this decadent yet simple variety using local ingredients. Also check out the award-winning bourbon-brown sugar-peach flavor.

  • Photo by: Flickr/Cecy01

    Sno-cones at Casey’s New Orleans SnowBalls 

    Continue the tradition and head to Airport Boulevard for a sno-cone with more syrup in more flavors than you thought possible. Add cream to go really over the top.

  • Photo by: Spencer Selvidge

    Aguas frescas and tacos at Veracruz All Natural

    It may be hot as all get out, but that watermelon agua fresca will cool you down, and that migas taco will haunt your dreams.

  • Hama chile at Uchiko

    Chef Tyson Cole’s tasting is cool yet spicy, with ponzu sauce and orange supremes on the side of fresh Japanese yellowtail topped with delicate slices of Thai chiles.

  • Photo by: Deana Saukam

    Papaya salad at East Side King, Thai Kun

    Chef Paul Qui brings his twist to the traditional Thai papaya salad with crispy catfish, cabbage, long beans and sticky rice under som tam sauce at his trailer behind craft cocktail bar Wonderland.

  • Iced tea at Steeping Room

    Take a break from shopping at the Domain for a daily iced tea in flavors like peach black, tea mocktails like the Island Dream (coconut green tea, pineapple syrup, pomegranate juice) and tea smoothies like the chocolate-chai freeze.

  • Caprese salad at Andiamo

    The best way to indulge in those summer tomatoes is to pair them with fresh mozzarella and basil, plus a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic.

  • Photo by: Natalie Paramore

    Overproof Punch at Pleasant Storage Room

    Catch up with friends over community-style punch bowls like the Commodore and Bay of Figs at the new Caribbean-themed restaurant and rum bar.

  • Frozen margaritas at Chuy’s 

    The famous frozen original and strawberry-swirl margaritas are only eclipsed by the massive, free queso bar (with all the fixin's) from 4 to 7 PM every weekday.

  • Watermelon-agave popsicle from Good Pop

    Cool down with an all-natural popsicle at places like Thom’s Market, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and Royal Blue Grocery.

  • Lobster Roll at Garbo’s

    Here in Texas we get our lobster rolls from trailers that roam the city, like this one with beautiful Maine lobster flown in daily.

  • Frozen bananas at Bananarchy

    Try the Arrested Development–themed specialties like the GOB (two bananas double-dipped in chocolate with extra nuts) or make your own with dips like peanut butter and toppings like coconut and Oreos.

  • Fireman’s 4 at Draught House

    Pair two Austin traditions together by drinking the city’s unofficial summer beer at the city’s unofficial old-school neighborhood beer hangout.

  • Goat sliders at Whip In

    We thought we were over sliders too, but then we tried these Windy Hill goat patties with roasted jalapeño and feta on warm naan with fries.

  • Local meats at Salt and Time

    Nothing says summer like grilling in the backyard, so pick up locally sourced steaks from the butcher shop and restaurant and make some memories.

  • Ice cream sandwiches at Coolhaus

    The only way to improve housemade ice creams like Nutella with almonds is to serve a giant scoop between homemade cookies in flavors like peanut-butter-Cap'n-Crunch, straight out of the trailer.

  • Sour beers at Jester King Brewery

    Make a day of it and head to the luscious outdoor brewery for a selection of sour beers and stand-out pizza from Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza.

  • Crudo at La Condesa

    They call it ceviche on the menu, but we like to think of the artful small plates as tiny bites of fresh fish with accoutrements, like the Aguachile with cobia, ginger chicharrones, chile water and morenita oil.

  • Bibb salad at Bufalina

    The flawless Neapolitan pizza draws huge crowds at this East Austin spot, but don’t overlook simple menu items like the bibb salad with basil, mint and cream, made with local ingredients.

  • Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá

    Drink your mezcal the traditional way, with orange slices dusted with sal de guano, at the secret mezcal bar above Whisler’s.

  • Drinking vinegars at Sway

    Keep it cool and tart with the Thai version of Italian sodas: drinking vinegars in flavors like tamarind and pomegranate over ice with sparkling water.

  • Green Drink at Food for Fitness Café

    Green juice meets sweet slushy in this detoxing yet delicious drink with aloe vera, lemon juice, kale, parsley, ginger, cayenne, honey and pineapple. The cafe’s peanut-buttery smoothies aren’t to be missed either.

  • Photo by: Spencer Selvidge

    Ode to Michel Bras at Qui

    Enjoy the spoils of the season with this colorful small plate from chef Paul Qui, featuring local, “hyperseasonal” produce like radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, wood sorrel, amaranth and more, usually with a chilled vegetable dashi poured artfully over the top.

  • Lobster ceviche at Fonda San Miguel

    Make it a special occasion and dip into the Wild Canadian lobster with mango salsa and avocado in the lush indoor bar area.

  • Photo by: Jody Horton

    Scarlet Lantern at Bar Congress

    We’re not sure which part will make you feel cooler: the Downtown spot’s hip atmosphere or this cocktail with El Tesoro Anejo tequila, Bitter Braulio Apine amaro, strawberry-black-fig shrub and malic acid.

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Places Mentioned

Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar

Seafood • SoCo (South Congress)

Food25 Decor23 Service22 Cost$47
 
 
 
Opie's Barbecue

Barbecue • Spicewood

Food24 Decor19 Service23 Cost$18
 
 
 
Takoba

Mexican • East Austin

Food23 Decor22 Service20 Cost$22
 
 
 
Uchiko

Japanese • Rosedale

Food28 Decor27 Service27 Cost$78
 
 
 
Wonderland

Cocktail Bar • East Austin

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
The Steeping Room

Health Food • The Domain

Food23 Decor21 Service21 Cost$17
 
 
 
Andiamo Ristorante

Italian • North Austin

Food25 Decor17 Service24 Cost$56
 
 
 
Pleasant Storage Room

Bar • Warehouse District

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Draught House Pub & Brewery

Pub • Rosedale

Atmo.26 Decor21 Service21 CostM
 
 
 
Whip In

Indian • Travis Heights

Food22 Decor21 Service20 Cost$19
 
 
 
La Condesa

Mexican • 2nd Street District

Food24 Decor25 Service22 Cost$37
 
 
 
Bufalina Pizza

Pizza • East Austin

Food27 Decor21 Service23 Cost$29
 
 
 
Sway

Thai • Bouldin Creek

Food27 Decor24 Service25 Cost$50
 
 
 
Fonda San Miguel

Mexican • Allandale

Food26 Decor27 Service25 Cost$44
 
 
 
Bar Congress

Bar • Austin

Atmo.25 Decor25 Service22 CostE
 
 
 
 
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