As a member of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance, I am joining a team of fellow foodies in creating a City Wide Dining Guide detailing the best of the best Austin has to offer. This post is all about the best places to grab a late night bite with favorites discovered through personal research (eating) and a very scientific survey of fellow AFBA members.Looking for a place to cure those wee morning cravings after a night on the town? Here are a few top picks of places to eat great late!
24 Hour Spots:
24 Diner – Helmed by Chef Andrew Curren (contestant on Top Chef Texas ), 24 Diner is anything but a traditional greasy spoon. The menu is filled with American comfort staples like chicken and waffles, omelets, and biscuits and gravy, but every ingredient is locally sourced and seasonal and every dish is slightly reinvented. The restaurant’s design reflects its concept; it is rooted in 50s Americana but with a modern and forward-thinking attitude. Top pick for a late night breakfast is a huge frittata ($12), which can easily be shared with friends. 24 Diner is a great place to eat any time of day and most certainly the best around the clock spot in town.
24 Diner. 601 North Lamar, Austin, TX 78703 (Next to Waterloo Records)
Bennu Coffee – The newest 24 hour shop on the block is Bennu Coffee located on Austin’s East Side. The coffee shop serves plenty of Fair Trade cups of Joe to keep customers bright eyed and bushy tailed no matter the time of day. Bennu Coffee outsources its dining options to some of Austin’s very best local vendors which keeps the shop stocked with a nice variety of food options. Choices include Tacodeli Tacos, Russell’s Baked Goods, Fricano’s Deli sandwiches, and Hoboken Pie pizza slices.
Bennu Coffee. 2001 E. MLK Blvd, Austin, TX 78702. 512.478.7800.
Whataburger – Always fresh, never frozen Whataburger is good any time of day, but somehow taste even better after a night on the town. Whether it’s a chicken honey biscuit, a taquito, or a Whataburger with cheese, a stop by the Texas chain is an excellent decision. Don’t forget to ask for extra packets of fancy ketchup to dip those addictively salty fries in!
Whataburger. Various locations; see site for details.
La Mexicana Bakery – Located on South First Street, La Mexicana Bakery is home to the most authentic Mexican baked goods in town. It’s also part food mart, part money mart, and part late night dining destination. There is something about a late night taco from La Mexicana that helps soften the blow of too many cerevas. I’m pretty sure that’s because grease is a key ingredient in these delicious and cheap delicacies.
La Mexicana Bakery. 1924 South First Street, Austin, TX 78704. (512) 443-6369
Magnolia Café & Kerbey Lane Café – Magnolia Café and Kerbey Lane are two longstanding favorites for late night dining. One too many visits to both places during college left this little lady with a lifetime of fatigue. However, for those looking for a great spot to unwind at the end of a night, either place will fit the bill. Hopefully one day soon I can reinvegerate myself for a few return visits. No one can stay away from Magnolia Café’s Mag Mud Queso or Kerbey Lane’s famous pancakes for too long!
Magnolia Café. 2304 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin, TX, 78703 or 1920 South Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704.
Late Night Eating Spots:
Justine’s Brasserie – One of the best places to feast on traditional French food anytime of night is Justine’s Brasserie. With a kitchen open until 1:30am, late night fine dining is at its best when it includes a bowl of Justine’s outrageously delicious French onion soup ($6) or steak tartar ($16). Between its mouthwatering menu, reasonable prices, and right amount of French flair, it is one of the best romantic date spots in town. However, don’t let the romance in the air fool you; Justine’s is also a go to nightlife destination for Austin’s hippest residents. The East Side’s Parisian outpost only gets more lively and raucous into the witching hour, thanks in part to stellar libations such as Justine’s French 75s. Service can have its ups and downs, even more reflective of Justine’s authenticity, but hey, that’s just part of the charm! The vibe at Justine’s is raucous and lively, even more so as the night wears on. The main complaint I always hear about Justine’s is the location, set in far East Austin. True it is a destination, but everyone’s favorite East Side Parisian escape is definitely worth the drive.
Justine’s Brasserie. 4710 East 5th Street Austin, TX 78702. (512) 385-2900.
Max’s Wine Dive – Naturally one would expect a restaurant known for fried chicken and champagne would be game for late night dining. Max’s Wine Dive actually sweetens the deal with a reverse Happy Hour beginning during the last two hours of service Monday through Friday. Stop by Max’s en route from the bar to enjoy special prices on bar snacks like Mussels ($7) and Duck Nachos ($7). The wine bar’s famous fried chicken isn’t on the menu, but Max’s gourmet take on the Southern comfort food is still well worth the order.
Max’s Wine Dive. 207 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701. 512.904.0111.
Kebabalicious – Famous for their Turkish style wraps, Kebabalicious is a perfect place to ward off hunger pains while fighting for a taxi downtown. The falafel isn’t overly greasy and plenty flavorful. The house favorite is the beef and lamb kebab ($6.55 reg/$8.25 lrg). Soft pita bread is stuffed with mixed shwarma and topped with veggies and Kebabalicious’ secret spicy red sauce. Kebabalicious is a filling late night pick me up that is less of a gut check compared to other late night snacks. Kebabalicious has two locations downtown, but only one open late. Stop by the food truck on 7th & Trinity between 9pm-3am to get your late night fix.
The Best Wurst – One of Austin’s first and most famous food trailers, Best Wurst, was doling out late night eats on 6th street long before trailers and street food were considered Austin haute cuisine. Touting sauerkraut as a magical hangover cure all, The Best Wurst has garnered a loyal stream of followers over the years. Presumably most customers are more interested in a post beer snack than sauerkraut’s medicinal value, but regardless the reason for a visit there is no question The Best Wurst knows how to serve a good brat.
The Best Wurst. Corner of 6th & San Jacinto/Corner of 6th & Red River.