• September 10, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Chowing Down in the ATX: Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Family Restaurants in Austin – A Local’s Perspective

The Lone Star capital, Austin, Texas, is globally recognized for its vibrant live music scene, stunning landscapes, and most importantly, its diverse culinary spectrum which is steeped in rich history and traditions, infused with innovative flavors from all over the world. This guide to the best family restaurants in Austin is your backstage pass to the foodie paradise this eccentric city is.

A Taste Sensation in Every Direction

Austin’s food scene transcends beyond the usual, and the city offers an incredible array of family dining options that skilfully blends tradition and creativity. Here’s the ultimate lineup for a food-filled family adventure in Austin from a local’s perspective.

Kerbey Lane Cafe

Embedded in Austin’s dining scene since 1980, Kerbey Lane Cafe is a true gem. This family-owned and operated eatery, renowned as “Austin’s favorite eatery”, offers a homestyle menu with a delightful Texan spin that invites patrons any time of day or night.

  • Why it stands out: Open 24/7, Kerbey Lane Cafe offers a relaxed, down-to-earth setting perfect for family outings. The menu is infused with locally-sourced, seasonal items that cater to diverse dietary preferences.

  • Must-try: The cafe’s famous queso is a comfort food that’s become an Austin classic, while their fluffy, fresh buttermilk pancakes are a breakfast revelation.

  • Kid-friendly: The restaurant offers a ‘kid-tested’, nutritionally balanced menu, featuring mini pancakes, grilled cheese, and more.

Phil’s Ice House

Aim for an old-school, laid-back family meal at Phil’s Ice House, a friendly neighborhood burger joint that truly spoils for choice with their selection of regionally themed burgers.

  • Why it stands out: Sporting a playful, iconic 50s vibe, Phil’s Ice House oozes nostalgia while offering some of the city’s best burgers – topped, stuffed, and seasoned to perfection.

  • Must-try: The Violet Crown Burger is an absolute crowd-pleaser, featuring blue cheese crumbles and wing sauce. To complete the pleasurable dining experience, save room for Amy’s Ice Cream, available onsite.

  • Kid-friendly: The restaurant offers a special kids menu and a dedicated fenced playground, ensuring the little ones are entertained.

Wander Around the World of Flavors

Let’s venture to other, more exotic family dining options that certain adventurous palates would appreciate.


An Austin institution, Chuy’s lets families embark on a culinary journey through authentic Tex-Mex cuisine in a kitschy, vibrant atmosphere that captivates all ages. Celebrating over three decades of service, Chuy’s dishes out generous servings that satisfy even the heartiest appetites.

  • Why it stands out: Chuy’s embraces its Tex-Mex heritage with colorful, fun decor and an eclectic menu brimming with homemade salsa, hand-rolled tortillas, and fresh guacamole.

  • Must-try: The Big As Yo’ Face Burrito leaves no room for imagination, just sheer culinary delight, as does the famous Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken.

  • Kid-friendly: Chuy’s offers a robust kid’s menu, bursting with Tex-Mex basics that steer clear of stronger spices while maintaining an authentic taste.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya

The crew at Ramen Tatsu-Ya passionately crafts drool-worthy bowls of ramen. They’ve created a hub where families can enjoy traditional Japanese ramen noodle soups in an urban Austin setting.

  • Why it stands out: Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s meticulous preparation of broth, noodles, and toppings brings an authentic slice of Japan to Austin, bridging cultures through food.

  • Must-try: The signature Tonkotsu Original, with its cottony-soft pork belly and tender noodles, proves why Ramen Tatsu-Ya enjoys a cult following.

  • Kid-friendly: Ramen Tatsu-Ya offers Budō ramen, a kids meal with a gentler broth and fewer toppings, ensuring young diners enjoy this unique cultural journey.

Craving For Some Sweet Endings?

Austin’s dessert landscape mirrors the city’s eclectic spirit, promising a delectable immersion into diverse flavors.

Sweet Ritual

Navigating dietary restrictions while satisfying a sweet tooth is a tricky task, but Sweet Ritual seals the deal. This little gem, boasting a myriad of plant-based frozen delights, has become a dessert haven for families.

  • Why it stands out: Sweet Ritual specializes in crafting tantalizing dairy-free, vegan ice cream using various bases like almond, coconut, and sunflower seeds.

  • Must-try: Despite its cheeky name, Unicorn Poop is a clear winner with a colorful combination of edible glitter-sprinkled ice cream.

  • Kid-friendly: Housing almost 16 varieties of ice cream and sundaes, Sweet Ritual offers options that kids (and kids-at-heart) will adore.


Forced to choose between doughnuts and meals? At Gourdough’s, you can have both – combined! These aren’t traditional doughnuts; they’re hearty, meal-sized doughnuts replete with sumptuous topping selections.

  • Why it stands out: Gourdough’s uses doughnuts as a creative canvas, pushing the boundaries of typically sweet indulgence to include delightfully savory options.

  • Must-try: Consider The Mother Clucker Donut, topped with chicken strips and honey butter – yes, it’s as quirky and delicious as it sounds!

  • Kid-friendly: Gourdough’s offers a unique donut decorating option that will keep the tiny tots entertained while they satisfy their sweet tooth.

Austin-Proud: Local Bites Showcasing Austin’s Rich Culinary Tradition

A true taste of Austin wouldn’t be complete without these next two establishments, embodying the city’s culinary heart and soul.

Franklin Barbecue

Standing as a beacon of BBQ perfection, Franklin Barbecue is more than an eatery; it’s a pilgrimage destination for barbecue lovers worldwide ever since its opening in 2009.

  • Why it stands out: Franklin Barbecue gained global recognition for its slow-smoked meats, especially the brisket smoking process that lasts for nearly 18 hours over oak wood.

  • Must-try: Almost everything on the menu is a masterpiece, but the Brisket and the sandwich called Tipsy Texan are legendary.

  • Kid-friendly: The casual, communal dining setup of Franklin Barbecue makes for an excellent family bonding experience.

Güero’s Taco Bar

An enduring presence in Austin’s food scene since the 90s, Güero’s Taco Bar honours traditional Mexican food with its wide array of tacos, margaritas, and vibrant salsa bar.

  • Why it stands out: Güero’s Taco Bar blends freshly made tortillas with premium fillings, solidifying its place as the city’s top taco destination.

  • Must-try: Don’t miss the Al Pastor Taco and the divine Margaritas (for grown-ups naturally).

  • Kid-friendly: Güero’s offers kid-approved tacos, quesadillas, and a dedicated children’s menu.

This guide to the best family restaurants in Austin delivers the local’s perspective, whetting your appetite to explore the city’s robust dining scene. So put on your explorer’s cap, gather your loved ones, and embark on a culinary adventure through Austin’s culinary landscape that’s bound to be a gustatory delight. Welcome to Austin, where every meal is a joyous family feast. Austin’s kitchen is forever open, ready to serve you your most unforgettable meal yet – an Austin style rendezvous!

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

Receive the latest news

Get the Inside Scoop!

Austin’s latest events and eats, straight to your inbox. Subscribe now!