Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
A perfect marriage between tacos and barbecue
While this food trailer on the edge of Austin isn't exactly convenient, the food is more than worth the little bit of hassle it takes to get here. While you can order Valentina's barbecue by the pound or in a sandwich, their tacos are definitely the way to go because you can't beat their perfectly smokey brisket on top of one of their homemade flour tortillas. Show up on the earlier side on weekends because the line can get pretty long during the lunch rush.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Colorful spot for casual Caribbean
While you might not notice this yellow restaurant as you whizz by on North Lamar, this hidden gem is most definitely worth the stop. The menu here leans Puerto Rican because chef and owner Santiago "Chago" Aponte is himself Puerto Rican, but there are also classics associated with the Caribbean as a whole. Once you sit down you are greeted with a bowl of plantain chips after which you can order one of their mofongos, pernil asado, or anything else from their incredibly well executed menu.
Museum showcasing Mexican and Latin American arts
This vibrant museum presents the Austin community with traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latin American art and culture. In addition to the numerous exhibitions they put on each year, they have also hosted the annual Dia De Los Muertos festival and parade since they opened in 1984, which makes it the longest running event of its kind in the state. The festival isn't the only way they bring art and culture into the community. As part of the museum's El Mero Muro program, artists paint murals with bilingual and bicultural messages on the side of their building, which you should check out before you leave.
Mezcaleria and agave bar above Mi Madre's
While this moody and cozy mezcal bar hidden above Mi Madre's Restaurant isn't the easiest place to find, it is a great spot for a drink. To get there, head through the School House Pub patio where you will see the stairs that will take you up to this intimate spot. While they do serve margaritas here, this is a great place to branch out and try a mezcal cocktail or a copita of small batch mezcal. If you like it here, Edgar Torres and his wife Christina own School House Pub next door while his parents run Mi Madre's downstairs.
Buenos Aires Cafe
Amazing Argentinian food with a speakeasy below
This charming and bright Argentinian restaurant is great for both lunch and dinner. It is the go to spot in the city for juicy, Argentinian-style grilled meats and delicious empanadas with their signature chimichurri sauce. Be sure to save room for dessert because their pastry case is filled with some delights. While reservations are recommended at the restaurant, they are even more strongly encouraged at at the speakeasy style bar, Milonga Room, that they operate out of their basement. This intimate cocktail & amaro focused bar with funky, vintage furniture also offers empanadas and desserts from the restaurant upstairs. If you happen to make it out to the Hill Country, Buenos Aires Cafe has an outpost out there as well.
Buenos Aires Café
Fonda San Miguel
Elegant Austin classic for Mexican fine-dining
This restaurant, that gives off the feeling of old Mexico, serves up classic regional Mexican cuisine from Oaxaca, Puebla Yucatan and Veracruz. This institution has been serving interior Mexican, including during their popular Sunday brunch buffet, since 1975. While this place is pricey, it is truly an essential Austin dining experience.