The question of where to find the best brunch in Austin, Texas, is a hot topic. Based on years of experience, I've put together this list of my top picks for brunch around town.
These recommendations mainly focus on American-style brunch menus, which tend to be heavy on eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, French toast, etc.
Additionally, a restaurant's interior design and ambiance are always crucial to me, which goes double for brunch.
Getting a group of friends or family together can often take a lot of coordination. Picking a unique place will make your brunch experience that much more memorable.
Are you hungry yet? Good, me too. Feast your eyes on the best brunch places in Austin!
1886 Cafe & Bakery
Head to the 1886 Cafe & Bakery in the Driskill Hotel at 6th and Brazos Street for a blast from the past.
The Victorian-style cafe offers an all-day brunch menu with ingredients sourced from local Texas farms and producers.
On more than one occasion, I've ordered the Hippie Hollow with scrambled eggs, spinach, feta, tomatoes, and toast.
Try the Paris Texas Benedict with two poached eggs, brie, ham, croissant, hollandaise sauce, and country potatoes if you're in the mood for something decadent.
A Texas-shaped pecan waffle, huevos rancheros, avocado toast, and quiche Lorraine are a few more brunch menu items available at this great place.
Brunch hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., daily
604 Brazos St, Downtown Austin, driskillhotel.com
Related: Best Austin Bakeries
If it's the best Sunday brunch in Austin you're looking for, then look no further than Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill.
Housed in a mid-19th century stone building, one of the oldest in Austin, Texas, Moonshine serves an excellent menu of Southern dishes.
Until 2020, Moonshine Grill was known for offering an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, which was my first experience eating there.
- Country ham
- Green chile cheese grits
- Baked macaroni with pimento cheese and bacon gratin
- Crostinis with goat cheese, honey, grilled peaches, and pecans
- Red velvet chocolate chip cookies
- All three varieties of mini-muffins
As of 2022, brunch is a la carte and, therefore, a little more costly. But, the food is just as good, with options like steak and fried egg hash, pulled pork and Johnny cakes, and a cornflake chicken biscuit sandwich.
At the historic downtown location a few blocks north of Lady Bird Lake, seating is available inside or outside on their covered patio (which has large fans).
There are also two small bars, one in the front and one off the patio. Arrive early to avoid a wait.
Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays
303 Red River St, Downtown Austin, moonshinegrill.com
10525 W Parmer Ln, North Austin
Their signature buttermilk pancakes with blueberry maple compote and creme fraiche are the bomb.
I didn't even eat blueberries before I tried them on these pancakes, and now they're a regular part of my diet. Thanks, Launderette!
I recommend ordering the day's pastry to nibble on while you make other decisions.
Brunch cocktails include mimosas by the glass or carafe, Bloody Mary, tequila spritzer, and sbagliato.
The current brunch menu features nine specialties, priced from $16 for the biscuit sandwich to $22 for a black rice bowl with labneh and crispy skin salmon.
Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
2115 Holly St, East Austin, launderetteaustin.com
Related: Breakfast at Magnolia Table
Hillside Farmacy was one of the first restaurants I ate at in East Austin when I moved to the city, and I consider it one of the best places for Saturday brunch.
The building was initially a drugstore in the 1950s, owned by Doc Young and his family. In the 1970s, it fell into disrepair.
The Hillside Farmacy team fully renovated it to open their restaurant, winning a Preservation Austin Award. In 2019, it was designated as a Texas Historical Landmark.
The attention to detail is impressive, from the Pinterest-worthy interior decor to the plant-filled patio.
The weekend brunch menu features farm-to-table fare. Diners have a choice of snacks to start, including brulee grapefruit, a charcuterie plate, and a crab cake.
There are a few salads and a half-dozen entrees, like buttermilk pancakes with Mexican vanilla and Gulf shrimp and grits. Raw oysters and shrimp are available daily, too.
The drink menu is extensive, with homemade fountain sodas such as the refreshing hibiscus lemonade available on their own ($5), with CBD (+$3), or with alcohol ($9).
A house punch with gin, cava, hibiscus syrup, and grapefruit juice is available by the glass ($5) or carafe ($20). Mimosas are also available by glass or carafe.
Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
1209 E 11th St, East Austin, hillsidefarmacy.com
And the award for "best boozy brunch in Austin with a skyline view and Latin music" goes to the Mexican restaurant Gabriela's.
The back patio with a view of downtown is where you want to be while munching on queso and sipping $5 margaritas.
The DJ playing live music (reggaeton, salsa, and pop) will bring back memories from your last trip to Latin America.
The brunch menu at Gabriela's is one of the smaller ones on this list, but nearly everything is made from scratch daily. And at just $9 to $12 per entree, it's a great value.
Menu highlights include chilaquiles, chorizo gorditas, and rum-flavored French toast.
Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays
900 East 7th St, East Austin, gabrielasdowntown.com
Related: Best Speakeasies in Austin
For the best Southern brunch in Austin, go to Mattie's. The renovated, century-old former farmhouse is in beautiful condition, inside and out.
The wrap-around porch of this historic mansion offers a picturesque setting for brunch, as do the interior (and air-conditioned) dining rooms and bar.
Start sweet with the buttermilk biscuits (with seasonal butter and local honey) and a plate of lemon poppy brioche doughnuts with blueberry cream cheese mousse.
Milk Punch French Toast with griddled bread pudding, Chipotle Pork Chilaquiles, and Fried Chicken Eggs Benedict will all vie for your attention under the entrees.
I went with a brioche French toast with candied pecans, fresh berries, and bourbon-maple syrup from a previous menu.
I don't order French toast often, but this preparation may change that as it was incredible.
Try the 1965 Milk Punch with sweet vanilla cream, bourbon, cognac, rum, and nutmeg if it's the boozy brunch you're looking for. It's available in a five-ounce serving or by the carafe.
And don't forget to watch the resident peacocks that roam the grounds, including an all-white albino.
Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
811 W Live Oak St, South Austin, mattiesaustin.com
Cafe No Se
Cafe No Se has been one of my favorite brunch places in Austin since it opened in the South Congress Hotel.
The interior design is bright and modern. The floor's blue and white hexagonal tilework adds color and creates an interesting photo backdrop.
Freshly baked goodies are $4 to $6 each and include a parmesan chive scone and a pistachio apricot cake.
There are a half-dozen salads and bowls to choose from, including a yellow tuna poke bowl I've ordered several times.
I can also vouch for their breakfast sandwiches, served with potatoes and arugula salad (pictured above).
Entrees include avocado toast, a smoked salmon bagel, lemon-ricotta hotcakes, and a cowboy breakfast. We're in Texas, after all.
Along with Launderette, Cafe No Se offers some of the best desserts in town.
Brunch hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily
1603 South Congress Ave, South Austin, cafenoseaustin.com
"Everybody knows, everybody goes," says the motto of Magnolia Cafe, which celebrated its 43rd anniversary in 2022.
Magnolia Cafe is the perfect place for a taste of old Austin before the tech companies arrived.
The original location on Lake Austin Blvd opened in 1979, and they expanded to South Congress 10 years later, in 1988.
This diner-style restaurant features an extensive menu, including breakfast any time of day (until 2020, they were open 24 hours a day).
I recently stopped by for Saturday brunch and ordered the daily special -- blackberry cheese pancake with real maple syrup and a banana pecan pancake recommended by the waitress behind the counter.
The pancakes are the size of a large dinner plate. Seriously, one pancake will fill you up!
And at only $6.50 for a short stack (two pancakes), it's the best value dish of any place I've been in this article.
But beyond the French toast and breakfast tacos, what sets Magnolia Cafe apart is the friendly vibe and funky decor.
On the weekends, go early, as a line out the door is standard. Seating at the counter is first come, first serve.
Brunch hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., eight days a week
1920 S Congress Ave, South Austin, magnoliacafeaustin.com
Chef Iliana de la Vega recently won the 2022 James Beard Award for Best Chef in Texas.
At her restaurant, El Naranjo on South Lamar Boulevard, she serves traditional Mexican food in a casual setting.
Tortillas are made in-house daily with heirloom corn imported from various parts of Mexico. Bread is baked on the premises, too.
When I visited for brunch, Kel and I shared the oh-so-delicious melted Oaxacan cheese with corn tortillas, and I tried their Huevos Benedictos, two poached eggs over a corn and cheese gordita with hollandaise sauce.
Other options include Huevos Rancheros, chilaquiles, quesadillas, enchiladas, and tlayudas. If you're a coffee drinker, there's a spiced Mexican coffee you might enjoy.
Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays
2717 S Lamar Blvd STE 1085, South Austin, elnaranjorestaurant.com
Related: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Elizabeth Street Cafe
If you're looking for a break from the typical American brunch menu, try Elizabeth Street Cafe, a Vietnamese cafe and boulangerie (French bakery) by MML Hospitality.
Jumpstart your day with a hot or iced Vietnamese coffee, or ease in with one of their green, black, or white teas served in a 14-ounce teapot.
Fresh pastries, including sweet and savory croissants, Kouign-Amann, eclairs, and beignets with housemade preserves, are served daily.
Appetizers include spring rolls, ginger-chili oil dumplings, and Niman Ranch pork belly steamed buns (which I can vouch for).
I prefer the banh mi sandwiches on the house-baked baguettes to the pho (rice noodle soup), though they've got that too.
Street fried rice, Singapore noodles, and sticky rice with ginger sausage and eggs are a few of their specialties. There's a brioche French toast with brown butter syrup for something sweet.
Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
1501 S 1st St, South Austin, elizabethstreetcafe.com
Josephine House is the sister restaurant of Jeffrey's, one of Austin's best restaurants.
Per their website, "the Clarksville cottage features a small marble bar for coffee or cocktails, intimate tables in the dining room, shady nooks on our patio, and a grassy front lawn for lounging."
My friend Laura and I opted for outdoor dining in one of the "shady nooks" on the patio for our brunch -- a peaceful spot to eat with friends, family, or someone special.
Fresh pastries include vegan blueberry banana bread, a Nutella morning bun, and Goat Cheese Swirl Brownie.
Opting for savory over sweet, I ordered the huevos rancheros (pictured above) with a cappuccino. My friend went with the lemon ricotta pancakes with strawberries & blueberries, cultured butter, and maple syrup.
Both dishes were excellent. I don't get over to the west side as often as other parts of Austin. If I lived closer, this would be my go-to weekend brunch spot.
Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily
1601 Waterston Ave, Clarksville, josephineofaustin.com
Better Half Coffee and Cocktails
Better Half is a casual, all-day restaurant serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays and brunch on the weekends.
The restaurant opened in February 2018 and was named Eater's Restaurant of the Year in Austin by December.
Run by the same three friends who began Wright Bros Brew and Brew in East Austin, Better Half offers a more extensive food menu and more space, thanks to a large outdoor patio.
Specialty coffees include a cardamom clove latte and a rosemary lavender latte.
Prefer alcohol? Draft tequila and vodka cocktails are made fresh daily, or try the pink sangria on tap. Then there's the Desert Door Sotol slushee.
Brunch entrees include a signature breakfast sandwich with crispy hash brown, a chicken biscuit with jalapeno-honey butter, and waffle iron hash browns with coffee and cream gravy.
Brunch hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
406 Walsh St, Clarksville, betterhalfbar.com
Related: Best Coffee Shops in Austin
Central and North Austin
Pacha Organic Cafe
Speaking of my friend Laura, she was the one who recommended I try Pacha Organic Cafe.
Pacha prides itself on using 90 percent organic ingredients, primarily sourced from local farmers. The quality and care in their food are evident, making it a great brunch spot.
The signature pear, bacon, and scallion pancake is a novel combination and one worth going back for again and again.
Additional breakfast items include French toast, Tex Mex Migas, tacos, omelets, and grilled sandwiches.
Brunch hours: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday
2915 Guadalupe St Suite A, Central Austin, pachacafe.com
Tiny Boxwoods began in Houston and expanded to Austin in May 2017 with a mission to "make each and every experience a memorable one."
The beautiful restaurant and garden cafe in the Bryker Woods neighborhood of Central Austin helps the three friends and business partners behind the restaurant achieve this goal.
Begin your brunch with a pastry board before moving on to breakfast favorites like blueberry pancakes with whipped honey butter and avocado toast with smoked salmon. For a taste of Mexico, get the migas or chilaquiles.
Tiny Boxwoods is known for its divine chocolate chip cookies, so don't leave without trying them or taking a few to go.
There's also a goat cheese cheesecake with strawberry balsamic sauce on the current dessert menu, which sounds fantastic!
Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays
1503 W 35th St, Central Austin, tinyboxwoods.com
No list of the best brunches in Austin would be complete without mentioning Hank's in the Windsor Park neighborhood.
Named after the grandfather of a co-owner, Hank's offers California comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus brunch on the weekends. Everything is made in-house, including the bread, pasta, and pastries.
Mimosas are available by the glass and carafe, and there's a surf and turf Bloody Mary with shrimp and bacon for the adventurous drinker. I'm fond of their frozen cocktails.
I can also vouch for the avocado toast with poached egg and feta, fried egg sandwich with gruyere and bacon, and a cheeseburger with sharp cheddar.
Additional brunch dishes include Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, shrimp 'n grits, and a giant hot fried chicken sandwich on a brioche bun.
The signature Chantilly cake is a dessert lover's dream and large enough to share among two to three people.
Thanks to its expansive covered patio, Hank's is an excellent option for brunch al fresco. Alternatively, there's a plant-filled dining room and coffee shop if you prefer air-conditioning.
Walk-ins are welcome, but I recommend a reservation for brunch.
Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
5811 Berkman Dr, Ste. 100, Austin, hanksaustin.com
Whew, I know that was a lot of delicious food to consider! If you're still with me, thank you for reading about my picks for the best brunch in Austin, Texas.
I'll be updating this list annually as I continue to try new brunch restaurants.