With an average of 228 sunny days a year, Austin is the perfect place to dine outside. Here we bring you some of our favorite patio restaurants in Austin.
On the northern edge of the Bryker Woods neighborhood, just off of West 35th street, you’ll find Olive & June, an Italian eatery with an inviting 3-stories of patio space. You’ll feel like you are perched in the grown-up version of your childhood tree top hideaway as you feast on Mediterranean delicacies with a Texan twist. Don’t miss out on the generous weekday happy hour, which offers 50% off on select beverages and all appetizers until 6:30 p.m.
This unassuming hipster hangout is one of the hot spots in the newly revamped 78702 zip code (previously mentioned in our blog as one of the trendiest zipcodes in Austin). Shrouded in bamboo and shaded by oaks, the pup-friendly outdoor space makes you feel as if you are miles away from the city. Relax and enjoy a cold drink and some tasty, reasonably priced grub. While the Frito pie is a delicious and guilty pleasure, the menu accommodates healthier eaters with a variety of salads and sandwiches to choose from.
Just above the Tom Miller Dam, on the eastern edge of Lake Austin, Mozart’s coffee offers a spacious deck to take in lakeside views. Mozart’s opens early and stays open late, so it’s equally perfect for a peaceful morning cup of joe or a late night dessert run with decaf. In December, Mozart’s puts on a delightful and impressive holiday light show at the top of every hour.
Named after the head chef and co-founder Alma Alcocer, El Alma serves up delicious Mexican dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can’t miss the Sunday brunch here, replete with Bloody Marias and breakfast tacos. Aside from the food, one of the best features of the restaurant is the flora-filled hillside deck space that lures you to stay for just one more round of margaritas.
Tucked along a small inlet of Lake Austin near 2222 and 360, County Line on the Lake has been offering Texans delectable BBQ and a taste of Texan culture since 1975. Bedecked inside with Texas paraphernalia, one of the charms of this place is the audio perpetually playing in the bathrooms that teaches non-Texan patrons “how to speak Texan” by expanding their vocabulary to include such terms as “y’all” and “fixin’ to”. If you’re overwhelmed by the level of Texan inside, mozie out to the deck to enjoy the view of the lazy creek that is home to many a turtle and occasional boats passing through. The place even offers turtle food if you are eager to feed the turtles who swarm for easy eating.
The inspiration for this place was a ranch by the same name in South Texas. The owners loved the original ranch so much that they decided to bring it with them to Austin and open this restaurant on the fringes of the now booming Mueller development. The open concept restaurant is almost entirely outdoors, with just the kitchen, bar and a few tables actually under a roof. Most of the seating consists of long rustic tables with string lights overhead and a gravel floor that makes you feel like you’re dining in the middle of a ranch. The menu boasts carefully crafted versions of favorite foods such as the melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheese with housemade brioche and scrumptious beef tongue hash.
Along the winding and hilly Mount Bonnell Drive, overlooking the opulent Lake Austin mansions, is a little bar called Dry Creek Café that is so unassuming that you might miss it the first time you drive by. A friendly, seasoned bartender greets you with a smile as she hands you a beer and tells you to grab a koozie from the colorful pile by the door. Upstairs on the deck, you can take in the sunset while the juke box hums with old tunes. A great place for hanging out on a unhurried Saturday afternoon, this place is so popular by word of mouth, it doesn’t even need a website.
The original sits in Westlake Hills, at the corner of Bee Caves and 360, with a 2nd location in Lakeway and a 3rd that just opened downtown on 6th street with views below of Shoal Creek. The original may be our favorite, with its massive deck, brilliant string lights, and laid back atmosphere. The Grove offers an assortment of fine wines, with some available to try by the flight, and has a menu that’s sure to whet your appetite.
Central Market on N. Lamar
You don’t often think of spending a relaxing evening at a grocery store, but Central Market is an exception. Inside, this grocery offers a foodie’s paradise of fresh produce, the finest meats and cheeses, a wine collection sure to satisfy even the pickiest palette, and a bakery with some of the best tortillas in town. Outside, a two-story patio overlooks a stage where bands will often play several times a week and a playground for the smaller customers. This is a fun place to go for a bottle of wine (you can buy it in the store and have it uncorked at the cafe) or for a gathering of the whole family. It’s a great place to go when you don’t feel like getting dressed up to go out.
This new restaurant took over the space on Barton Springs previously occupied by Umama Mia and completely transformed it. As you come in from the parking lot (yes, it has its own parking!) you are ushered into an inviting outdoor oasis that is for the most part shaded by awnings and trees so you won’t fry in the scorching Texas sun. If you’d rather sit inside, you’ll be equally delighted by the careful attention to detail that makes the space feel refined but appealing. The menu offers Italian inspired dishes sourced from right here in central Texas.
Even though summer is drawing to an end, you still have plenty of time to get out and enjoy one of these great patios before any cold weather hits, and we hope that you will!
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