South Congress Restaurants
Café No Sé
1603 S Congress Ave., South Congress
If you’re after something substantial, Café No Sé is open all day, but the weekday breakfast is our favorite. The space is big and bright, with wooden tables, wicker chairs, and outdoor seating. The menu falls somewhere between healthyish and decadent, so you can order, say, the gluten-free paleo granola one day and ricotta pancakes with pecan butter the next.
1400 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Go to Perla's on South Congress for seafood and top-notch oysters. (It's run by chefs/restauranteurs Larry McGuire and Thomas Moorman and their Austin power group that's responsible for Lamberts, Clark's, and Josephine House, to name a few.) The inside of the restaurant is beautiful, but if you want to people watch while you're in Austin, sit outside here.
June’s All Day
1722 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
With the style of an old-timey diner—only much more polished—June’s (which owner and renowned restaurateur Larry McGuire named after June Rodil, their master sommelier) is a lighthearted spin on French bistro cuisine. From breakfast to dinner, their offerings are all fresh, delicious riffs on classic French comfort foods like bone marrow bolognese and steak-au-poivre, adding into the mix quintessentially Austin touches like chalupas for breakfast. And of course, their wine-and-beer list is on point—and abundant—with selections from all over the world, as well as local brews. (P.S. Their patio is dog-friendly.)
1412 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Güero's is one of those places that's on every visitor's hit list. In a town where margaritas, tamales, and enchiladas are fuel, this South Congress taqueria doesn't disappoint. (It helps too, that they've been around since 1986.) Service is friendly and the vibe is lively and casual. On Sundays, it's practically a ritual to nurse a hangover in the restaurant’s Oak Garden with an order of migas—a plate of scrambled eggs, tostadas, and pico de gallo. There's a vegan menu, too.
1603 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
The brass accents, black and white tiles, and sleek furnishings at South Congress Hotel’s American grill feel both modern and classic. The best dishes are indulgent, like the Central Standard’s cheeseburger, which is served with cremini mushroom butter, aged cheddar, and smoked bacon. The pastry chef Amanda Rockman (who was previously at Nico Osteria in Chicago) makes a compelling argument in favor of saving room for dessert, though: her tarts, cakes, and corn fritters can make eyes water. The warm wraparound patio has an enticing weekday happy hour, too, with half-off drinks and select food dishes.
Elizabeth Street Café
1501 S. First St., South Congress
Austin's South First is a gem of a street and this is one of the top highlights. A Vietnamese café plus French bakery, Elizabeth Street Café combines the best of two worlds. The bakery makes two different kinds of baguettes daily (order the bánh mì to try), croissants, and a variety of pastries including macarons. Stumptown is the house coffee, and you can get traditional Vietnamese coffees with classic café du monde chicory. In addition to bánh mì, the restaurant also serves spring rolls, pho, and spicy curries. The interior is exquisitely pretty, clean, and bright, decorated with oversized framed mirrors and divided by an open arch. The chic neon touches on the side patio follow suit.