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Best Late-Night Food in Austin

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Smart City
Sep 12, 2019

-Best Cheap Eats
-Best Late-Night International Food
-Best Late Night Desserts

We get it. It’s late. Like, really late. Way past socially acceptable dinner hours. But your stomach doesn’t care about that. You’d sell a limb for a slice of pizza and garlic sticks, with extra dipping sauce. Or a platter of tacos al pastor. Or a steaming, spicy bowl of pho from a late-night food delivery service — so you don’t have to put on pants, of course.

Where can you satisfy your nocturnal noshings in Capital City? We’re serving up some of the best late-night food and 24-hour restaurants in Austin. Diner fare, desserts, never-ending brunch, fusion feasts and more — if you’re craving it, Austin’s late-night food scene has it.

Austin’s Best Late-Night Restaurants

The later the hour, the better the experience at any of these Austin restaurants — some of which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

1. East Side King

1618 East Sixth Street

The Asian-fusion endeavor founded by James Beard Award-winner Paul Qui has both a brick-and-mortar outfit as well as a late-night food truck stationed in East Austin.

We recommend the latter, which drops shop outside The Liberty bar on East Sixth Street every night until quarter to 3 a.m. Dig into Poor Qui Buns with sweet hoisin-slathered pork or Chicken Katsu Meshi dripping in silky, spicy green curry sauce. Of course, you also can’t forget East Side King’s infamous deep-fried Brussels Sprouts Salad, served with fresh mint, basil, cilantro, jalapeno and more. All those greens make it healthy, right?

2. Kerbey Lane Cafe 

Multiple Locations

Kerbey Lane Cafe has it all. Some of the city’s best queso? Check. French toast, omelets or breakfast tacos? Done. A piping-hot plate of chilaquiles? All yours.

Yet it’s Kerbey Lane’s weekly pancake menu that catapults them to a late-night Austin dining hub. Choose from classics like the berry-centric red, white and blue to more creative takes like oatmeal cream pie and lemon chiffon. They even have vegan pancakes, because save the animals!

Plus, many of its locations are 24-hour restaurants, ensuring no matter what Austin neighborhood you’re in, there’s a nearby Kerbey Lane to keep you full.

3. Sam’s BBQ
2000 East 12th Street

01 sams bbq

Are you even in Texas if you don’t eat barbecue? And are you a late-night foodie if you don’t stop by Sam’s BBQ on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy some 1 a.m., fall-off-the-bone fare that’ll have you dreaming of soul food for weeks?

This no-frills spot prioritizes what it should — slow-cooked, traditional Texas-style barbecue with a slew of homemade sides. You can’t go wrong with the brisket or pork ribs, though Sam’s chicken and mutton have also been known to sell out before close. Choose two sides with any two meats to complete your late-night feast, and remember the extra napkins!

4. Gourmand’s Neighborhood Pub
2316 Webberville Road

Nestled into the trendy neighborhood of Blackshear-Prospect Hill, Gourmand’s brings together locals and tourists for classic pub fare with a homey, Texas twist.

Arrive until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to enjoy a late dinner, but stay for the eclectic tap beers and friendly staff. Menu favorites include Italian-themed sandwich the Godfather, classic Reubens and a peppered pastrami and Swiss dubbed the Orgy because it’s so hot from the peppers — get your mind out of the gutter.

5. Home Slice Pizza

1415 S. Congress Ave. (Sit-In), 1421 S. Congress Ave. (Carry-Out Window)

There’s a reason people wait over an hour for a table at Home Slice Pizza’s flagship restaurant on South Congress Avenue.

The sit-in joint, open until 11 p.m. on weekdays and past midnight on weekends, boasts some of the best New York-style slices not only in Austin, but all of Texas. And while Texans, in general, like to boast about being the best, Home Slice Pizza talks the talk and walks the walk.

Expect that no-fuss, quintessential New York-style thin crust and rich, garlicky tomato sauce to harmonize every type of late-night pizza flavor on their menu. And don’t worry: If the line truly is too long to bear, you can mosey next door to Home Slice’s takeaway stall, open Saturdays and Sundays till 3 a.m.

6. Irene’s
506 West Ave.

02 irenes

Irene’s is the perfect place to grab late-night food and drink right in the heart of Austin’s Downtown District.

The warm, upbeat atmosphere matches the menu, with American fare like buffalo wings, nachos, fried chicken and more sure to please any palate. Sunday through Wednesdays, the kitchen stays open until midnight. Thursdays through Saturdays, those hours expand till 2 a.m., complementing the tap beers, ciders and craft cocktails served at the bar and on the patio.

7. Magnolia Cafe
1920 South Congress Ave.

Magnolia Cafe is the perfect place to satisfy those late-night hunger cravings — and with an affordable price tag to boot.

Hit up their South Congress location near the Travis Heights neighborhood for a true 24-hour late-night dining experience. Their Breakfast Anytime menu items all cost under $10. We don’t mind shelling a few extra Washingtons for their signature enchiladas, taco plate or warm sandwiches served with a side of home fries or quinoa tabbouleh. We don’t think you will, either.

8. Easy Tiger

709 East Sixth Street

There’s only one place to end a night out on Austin’s Sixth Street: bakery and beer garden Easy Tiger.

Baked goods and beer may not sound like an intuitive pairing. Yet Easy Tiger marries the two with its menu of homemade sausages and rolls, Bavarian pretzels and premium sandwich selection, all served on some of the best artisanal bread in Austin.

Get their housemade mustard with whatever you order. Even if you think you don’t like mustard, you’ll like Easy Tiger’s. Then cleanse your palate with a Bengal Spice or Mazarin cookie, still served until their midnight weekday and 2 a.m. weekend close.

9. P. Terry’s Burger Stand
Multiple Locations

03 p terrys burger stand

Few pleasures rival the taste of thick, juicy, freshly grilled burger rounding out a long night. And few Austin burger joints stay open as late — or serve up as delicious food — as homespun-chain P. Terry’s.

Head over to their north Bouldin-area joint on 404 S. Lamar Blvd. for your late-night burger-and-milkshake fix. P. Terry’s even has a vegetarian burger option as well as a breakfast burger, if those are more your thing. Add pickles and onions to your order for free, then toss in a slice of homemade banana bread. Because why not?

Best Cheap Eats in Austin

Let’s be clear here: “Cheap” in no way describes the quality of the food you’ll get in any of these late-night establishments. Each is just as delicious, impressive and inviting as their four- and five-star fine dining companions, but with way less pretension.

1. Kebabalicious

1311 E. Seventh Street (Sit-In), 300 Congress Ave. (Takeaway Trailer)

Stroll down East Seventh Street, and you’re bound to stumble onto Kebabalicious. And boy, will you be glad you did.

The flagship sit-in restaurant serves delicious Turkish-style wraps near central Austin until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re a first-time patron, don’t be shy. We recommend trying both the beef & lamb pita and the falafel wrap, served with creamy tzatziki and your choice of mild, medium or spicy red sauce. Feeling extra hungry? Throw in an order of K-Fries with tangy za’atar spices and crumbled feta.

2. Texas Chili Parlor

04 texas chili parlor

1409 Lavaca Street

Texas Chili Parlor has been a central-Austin staple since the late 1970s. Its warm, upbeat and unmistakably Tex-Mex ambiance hasn’t changed much since then, either — in a good way.

Nearly everything on the restaurant’s extensive menu is under $10. Its signature lineup of chilis come in your choice of mild to hot, though we suggest saving room for an order of Pepe’s Nachitos or tostadas washed down with a nice cold beer.

3. Bouldin Creek Cafe
1900 South First Street

Open until midnight seven days a week, this trendy Bohemian cafe serves late-night vegetarian dishes hearty enough even for the most devoted carnivores.

What’s more, it’s in one of the coolest and most walkable neighborhoods in all of Austin, south-central Bouldin. We love their tamale farmer’s plate, jackfruit tacos and soul food platter. Leave room for dessert — the vegan blueberry-lavender pie might change your life.

4. Lucy’s Fried Chicken
Multiple Locations

Lucy’s Fried Chicken is down-home, delicious country cooking, and we’re here for it, no matter the hour.

Visit either of their convenient Austin locations, on College Avenue in South Congress or Burnet Road up in Brentwood. Both stay open till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and both serve fried chicken so crispy it might make your teeth rattle. Lucy’s Fried Chicken also offers a generous happy hour alongside additional classic Southern comfort fares like boudin balls, chicken fried steak and fresh or grilled oysters.

5. Tamale House East
1707 East Sixth Street

05 tamale house east

Tucked away just off the bustling Sixth Street Strip is a small Mexican restaurant locals can’t stop raving about: Tamale House East.

Serving their namesake dish since the 1950s, Tamale House also has an impressive array of breakfast tacos starting as low as $1.25. Other menu staples include the carne guisada flour taco and the vegetarian or chicken chilaquiles verdes. Hit up this East Side joint for a garden-patio late dinner Thursday through Saturday, when it’s open until midnight.

6. The Halal Bros
2712 Guadalupe Street (West Campus neighborhood), 419 E. Seventh Street (Downtown)

The Halal Bros serve up their signature Middle Eastern dishes for real late-night foodies.

Head to the heart of downtown Austin on East Seventh Street for chicken and beef shawarmas served with warm pita and hot sauce, open till 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Similarly, the West Campus location just north on Guadalupe keeps the kitchen going till 2 a.m. You also won’t regret the lamb kebab wrap or the Kofta over rice, the basmati base fragrant with their “secret” house-spice blend.

7. Dart Bowl Cafe
5700 Grover Ave.

Dart Bowl is an iconic Austin establishment for two distinct reasons. First, it serves housemade, from-scratch enchiladas with fresh or pickled jalapenos and onions. Second, it’s a bowling alley, one whose lanes stay open until midnight. If that combination doesn’t scream, “Keep Austin weird,” we don’t know what does. Get over there and get weird, folks.

8. El Taquito
1713 East Riverside Drive

06 el taquito

Authentic barbacoa tacos for under $3? Sign us up. On second thought, add an order of spicy chicharrones plus an al pastor taco with chorizo and pineapple. We’re salivating just thinking about it.

El Taquito, in Austin’s East Riverside neighborhood, serves up all these tacos and more until 3 a.m. Thursdays, 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and midnight all other weekdays. It’s seriously good Mexican food for an undeniably great price. Can’t beat that.

Best Late-Night International Food in Austin

As one of Texas’ premier cultural hubs, Austin is home to nearly any cuisine from any country you could name. And — lucky for you — many of them stay open until midnight or later.

1. Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Multiple Locations

There’s nothing quite like the salty, satisfying, umami bombs that are ramen bowls. Here in Austin, some of the best comes from Ramen Tatsu-Ya, the multi-location eatery dedicated to the near-sacred Japanese noodle.

Head on over to their 1600 E. Sixth Street location for your late-night noodle fix till 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The East Austin location dishes up delicious pork bone, chicken bone, miso and vegetarian ramen bowls with all the fixins’. Get spicy with the Mi-So-Hot bowl, or go for the real flavor knockout with the Tsukemen, a concentrated pork bone dipping broth served with chashu-barbecue pork, nori and more.

2. Teji’s
616 East Sixth Street

As another popular East Sixth Street foodie destination, Teji’s Indian Restaurant and Grocery stays open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, 2 a.m. on Thursdays and — for the real night owl — 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Grab dinner, dessert and groceries all in one stop. We recommend the bone-in goat korma, the creamy housemade Kadahi paneer or a special combo meal with a veggie side, naan, rice and dessert for a budget-friendly $10.

3. 888 Pan Asian Restaurant

2400 East Oltorf Street, #1A

Nestled into Southeast Austin, 888 Pan Asian Restaurant stays true to its name, cooking a wide selection of classic Asian dishes every night till 2 a.m. With such an extensive menu, 888 Pan Asian is a great late-night eatery for groups with many cravings. Don’t be surprised if your or your group have to wait for seating. While 888 Pan Asian’s venue is on the large side, it draws a near-constant stream of hungry Austin locals, especially past 10 p.m. when other area eateries close shop.

We love the shrimp fried rice, as well as vermicelli noodle selection, Thai curries and beef pho, served hot and steaming. The portions are generous, as are the menu prices, with some dishes starting as low as $6.

4. Russian House

307 East Fifth Street

07 russian house

Russian House is the only Russian bar and restaurant in all of Austin. They gladly own the title, offering over 100 vodkas and vodka-infused drinks on their spirits menu alongside hearty Russian entrees and shareables.

Russian House’s menu is extensive, so come hungry and open-minded. You could start with premium Russian caviar tasting selection, move onto borscht, stuffed trout and potato dumplings, then end with a warming Kiev cake topped with meringue and walnuts. Sip, chow and chat in the cozy and atmospheric spot until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and midnight the rest. Live music, dancing and special events are frequent, so check ahead of time to know what you’re stepping into.

5. Ceviche7
Unit HP, 502 West 30th Street

Ceviche7 is known as one of the best food carts in a city filled with food carts. Period. It’s also one of the few spots serving authentic Peruvian cuisine well into the night — most days until or even past midnight.

If signature ceviche isn’t your thing, try the Peruvian-style fried rice, arroz chaufu or the lomo saltado with marinated beef tenderloin. While the menu is small, the flavors aren’t. Bring a friend or two to show off your food cart-finding skills, and ceviche the night away.

6. Lama’s Peruvian
611 Trinity Street

We’re keeping the Peruvian appreciation going with another late-night hot spot, Lama’s Peruvian in Austin’s Downtown District.

Lama’s is a can’t-miss food truck conveniently located right off the bustling nightlife of East Sixth Street. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. until 3:15 a.m., it’s also a dinner-only kind of place. They serve their pork belly and lime-marinated chicken sanguches, or sandwiches, on fresh bread with fries and an array of homemade dipping sauces. Don’t forget a side of fried plantains!

7. Opa! Coffee & Wine Bar
2050 South Lamar Blvd.

08 opa coffee wine bar

Who doesn’t love a coffee shop open far past the time any sane person should be drinking coffee?

Opa! Coffee & Wine Bar balances out the caffeine with an extensive vino, spirits and Mediterranean-inspired menu. Double-fist Greek souvlaki skewers in one hand and a rich glass of Malbec in the other, plus other options like sangria pitchers, shareable small plates and their special house Greek coffee. Lights stay on until midnight seven days a week.

8. Justine’s Brasserie

4710 East Fifth Street

Are you someone who just needs a crepe at 1 a.m., gosh darn it? Justine’s Brasserie is the place for you. No judgment.

Justine’s serves classical French cuisine in a hip, cozy bistro atmosphere until 2 a.m. every night except Tuesday. The chefs gotta get their sleep too, right? Sit out on the fairy-light-speckled patio with steak, frites, mussels and a glass of red or white from their impressive wine list. You may even forget which side of the Atlantic you’re on.

Best Late-Night Dessert in Austin

Sweet tooth keeping you up? No problem! Austin has more than its fair share of late-night dessert hotspots ready when your midnight sugar cravings kick into overdrive.

09 best late night dessert

1. La Mexicana
1924 South First Street

La Mexicana makes some of the best Mexican pastries and cakes in all of Austin. Even better, it also understands concha, nino envuelto, fruit empanada and homemade praline cravings don’t strike during “normal” hours.

Stop by this top-rated Mexican bakery 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While you’re there, you might as well pick up fresh, from-scratch flour tortillas. They need a home, too.

2. Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery
4909 Airport Blvd.

Doughnuts at midnight? Do-nut mind if I do!

Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery starts baking at 8:45 p.m., ensuring you can get fresh, still-warm-from-the-fryer doughnuts every night. No more sorting through whatever stragglers are left over from this morning at your nearby grocery store — you’re above that!

Perennial flavor favorites at Mrs. Johnson’s include Boston creme, apple fritter, blueberry cake and maple. The simplicity of a freshly iced chocolate or glazed doughnut is heaven itself.

3. Prohibition Creamery
1407 E. Seventh Street

Prohibition Creamery is what happens when you 13-going-on-30 your ice cream addiction. Classic scoops, sundaes, malts and shakes transform into their boozy best selves, with flavors that vary by the day and are available until midnight Tuesday through Sunday.

Must-tries on the menu include prickly pear mezcal, whiskey chocolate and smack-your-tongue sweet buttered pecan rum ice cream. For the full sugar rush, opt for the Rumchata a cold-brew-and-cinnamon horchata shake or the sublime creme de menthe and chocolate liqueur grasshopper.

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