Tex-Mex

Do you love Tex-Mex food? We do too, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy Tex-Mex cuisine in Austin. We've diligently scouted out the top eateries, and we've listened to our readers and their reviews of Austin restaurants. We share the places that get great buzz, like Chuy's, and we showcase the ones that have proven themselves over time, like The Oasis. We also point out good neighborhoods for Tex-Mex restaurants in Austin - East Austin, for instance. When the craving hits, we'll make sure you get your fix!

10 Cisco's
More than once, Cisco's has been called the type of place that makes Austin the city it is. Family-owned, it opened in the '50s and quickly became the spot for breakfasting politicians. The crowd is a bit more diverse these days, but the food remains just as good. One whiff of homemade biscuits and spicy migas, and you'll be hooked. If you're tired of the eggs-and-salsa drill, sample picadillos (rolls filled with zesty ground beef) as an alternative. At lunch, fajitas, enchiladas, and the like take the forefront. Casual and super friendly, the place also comes with charmingly outdated decor and family photos. (512-478-2420)

9 Maudie's Cafe
A small local chain, Maudie's is a quintessential Tex-Mex joint, relaxed and welcoming. It offers all the comfort foods Austinites crave: fajitas with fixings, cheese enchiladas, burritos galore, and nachos with beans, cheese, jalapenos, and onions. The only item a little out of the ordinary is the beans, which are 100% fat free and vegetarian. Since Maudie's is popular and accepts no reservations, expect a bit of a wait most nights. (512-473-3740)

8 Chuy's
Chuy's is a real local favorite, and its colorful, whimsical decor features an Elvis shrine, lava lamps, and approximately 1,000 wooden fish dangling precariously from the ceiling. New Mexico chilis are grilled up front and served in many of the tasty Tex-Mex dishes, and Southwest enchiladas come stuffed with smoked chicken and cheese and crowned with a fried egg. (512-474-4452, 888-439-2489)

7 Trudy's South Star
Although Trudy's regularly wins awards at Austin's annual Hot Sauce Festival, plenty of other factors make it one of the city's most consistently busy restaurants. In addition to a lively after-work bar scene, it has a casual atmosphere that's entirely family-friendly. Menu highlights include taco salads, "create your own" enchiladas, and a spicy chicken-stuffed avocado topped with green chile sauce and cheese. A good place for breakfast, too — try Mexican eggs Benedict for proof! (512-326-9899)

6 El Azteca
Since 1963, this family-owned restaurant has been welcoming hungry guests with fantastic, homestyle Tex-Mex cooking. The owners are active in the community and have amassed a large contingent of friends and well-wishers, so the place has a wonderful local feel. You'll find familiar items like enchiladas and burritos, of course, but you should also venture towards unusual options, like cabrito flautas, carne de puerco chipotle, or barbacoa de cabeza. Dishes tend to be spicy, so keep an ice-cold cerveza or margarita close at hand! (512-477-4701)

5 Habanero Mexican Cafe
A satisfying kick in the taste buds awaits diners at this authentic Mexican cafe. In fact, it's safe to say that if you can't take the heat, you should probably stay out of Habanero, where even the fresh salsa packs quite a punch. Perfectly-battered chile rellenos, crave-worthy gorditas, fajitas with mesquite-grilled chicken and arguably the best breakfast tacos in Austin -- it's all delicious, it's all fresh and it's all cheap. Welcome to spice paradise. (512-416-0443)

4 Vivo
Vibrant colors, bold artwork, and an enviable patio (complete with outdoor fountain) set the scene at this well-attended restaurant, which is a favorite for grown-up pursuits. The lively place is great for satiating your craving for a margarita or sampling the signature puffy-fried tacos, filled with beef picadillo, tofu, chicken, and more. You can also try grilled chicken or skirt steak, fajitas, a variety of enchiladas, or a hearty combination plate. The food has a reputation for being healthful, and you can accompany it with a michelada (an iced, seasoned beer) or a glass of sangria just to even things out. On weekend evenings, the place can get busy and be quite animated! (512-482-0300)

3 Baby Acapulco
Recognized for several years in a row by the "Austin Chronicle" for serving the best margaritas in town, you'll find this casual restaurant among the popular Barton Springs strip of eateries. Dozens of varieties of the famous cocktail are offered, including banana, pink passion, and pineapple. The best seat in the house isn't actually in the house but on its outside patio, where you can enjoy traditional Tex-Mex fare while people-watching. (512-474-8774)

2 Texican Café
Casual, fun Texican Cafe combines the best of Mexican and Texan cuisines to phenomenal effect. Begin your culinary adventure with trademark jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and fried in a crispy potato crust. Main courses include Tex-Mex standbys like taco salad and chimichangas as well as traditional Mexican dishes like roasted cabrito (young goat) and pork tips in chile sauce. The place is popular, so expect a wait at peak times. (512-506-9900)

1 The Oasis
This restaurant, perched above Lake Travis, affords spectacular views. In fact, incredible vistas of the Hill Country are standard, and you'll definitely want to come in time to watch the stunning sunsets. The menu capitalizes on local tradition and promises a mix of Tex-Mex and American dishes. Give yourself over to sizzling fajitas, or try fish tacos, crawfish etouffee enchiladas, or a ranch chicken wrap. A series of more than 40 outdoor decks ensures that everyone gets a great seat. Don't forget to order a margarita or two! (512-266-2442, 512-266-9242)

Maps and Directions

1
Cisco's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Neighborhood: East Side
COST: $
2
Maudie's Cafe 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly
Neighborhood: West Austin
COST: $
3
Chuy's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Latin, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly, Take Out
Neighborhood: Barton Springs District
COST: $
4
Trudy's South Star 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Neighborhood: SOUTH AUSTIN
COST: $
5
El Azteca 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly
Neighborhood: EAST END
COST: $
6
Habanero Mexican Cafe 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Catering, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: SOUTH AUSTIN
COST: $
7
Vivo 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Group Friendly, Live Music, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Neighborhood: East Side
COST: $
8
Baby Acapulco 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Latin, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Catering, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Live Music, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Neighborhood: BARTON SPRINGS DISTRICT
COST: $
9
Texican Café 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Latin, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Neighborhood: Cedar Park
COST: $
10
The Oasis 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Latin, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: Lake Travis
COST: $$