South First Street is the younger, quieter sister to South Congress. Unlike SoCo, which was once a major highway through Austin and now attracts throngs of visitors (tourists AND locals!) every single day, South First has never been quite as popular of a destination. The sidewalks are a little smaller, the street is narrower, and there aren’t as many densely packed shops and restaurants.
But if we’re looking at quality over quantity, I’m hoping to change your mind about this little street’s worth. After all, South First is one of the three major North/South streets in Austin (SoCo and S Lamar are the other two), and its traffic, high-rise apartment development, and selection of beautiful restaurants are making it scream ‘LOOK AT ME!’
(Restaurants are listed in order from north to south.)
1. Torchy’s Tacos Original Trailer
This is THEE original Torchy’s Taco food truck that started it all! The line can be a little crazy, but it’s worth it to be able to tell everyone that you ordered your chips and queso at the original.
1311 S 1st, torchystacos.com
Perfect for date night! Sway is an upscale Thai restaurant that also happens to serve one of my favorite brunches in the city. My favorite place to sit (if the weather is nice) is in their beautiful outdoor garden. If it’s too hot outside, the chef’s counter has a view of the kitchen so you can enjoy dinner and a show.
1417 S 1st, swaythai.com
3. Elizabeth Street Cafe
One of Austin’s favorite (and most instagram-able) restaurants! This darling French/Vietnamese cottage serves breakfast every day of the week (be sure to order a croissant) and some of the best bowls of pho you’ll find in town.
1501 S 1st, elizabethstreetcafe.com
4. Regal Ravioli
This food truck has been around for years. It’s perfect for those nights when you need a big plate of carbs in front of you while you binge-watch The Bachelor. Call in and order to-go, or enjoy it at the covered picnic tables in front of the food truck (BYOB).
1502 S 1st, regalravioli.com
5. Gordough’s Big. Fat. Donuts. Airstream
NOT the place to go if you’re on a diet… These donuts are no joke! They’re the size of my face and covered in all sorts of crazy toppings. My favorites are the Mama’s Cake (Yellow Cake Batter Filling With Chocolate Fudge Icing) and the popular Fat Elvis (Grilled Bananas & Bacon With Peanut Butter Icing & Honey).
1503 S 1st, gourdoughs.com
6. Seventh Flag Coffee
Ready to caffeinate? Seventh Flag is an adorable bungalow-turned-coffee shop that offers delicious espresso-based coffee drinks (they use rotating roasters) and batch brew (no pour-overs here), as well as lots of tasty pastry and breakfast items. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, making this a popular spot to meet up with a group. Be sure to try their avocado toast!
1506 S 1st, seventhflagcoffee.com
7. Fresa’s Chicken
Ooh, how I adore this place! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Chow down on wood-grilled chicken, homemade tortillas, rice, beans, grilled vegetables, and yummy salads for a satisfying and healthy meal.
1703 S 1st, fresaschicken.com
8. Dolce Neve
This is another place that I should probably have part-ownership in by now… I’ve been so many times! It’s a teeny gelato shop opened by three Italians who have a passion for making the best gelato you’ll find in Austin. Some flavors are there to stay, and some are rotating. Whenever they have their fromage blanc with apricot jam I make sure to get a scoop.
Dolce Neve is so popular, they opened a second location in Houston.
1713 S 1st, dolcenevegelato.com
9. La Patisserie
Photo by Kiera Jane
You definitely need to stop in here for some of the best macarons in Austin. I wrote an entire blog post about this place and the woman who started it, which you can read here! I adore La Patisserie and, yep, once again I’m guilty of eating here way too often!
602 W Annie, lpaustin.com
This small and intimate restaurant is one of my first recommendations when someone asks me where they should splurge on a date night in Austin. It was opened by a husband/wife team who care about sourcing locally and producing quality food. The wine selection is superb. If you don’t want to splurge on a full meal, you can enjoy 1/2 price bottles of wine in their adorable wine garden from 5-6:30 Tue-Sun.
1807 S 1st, lenoirrestaurant.com
At Alcomar, you’ll find Mexican seafood at its best! I can’t get enough of their ceviche verde, octopus tostadas, and lobster enchiladas. (Psst: this is another GREAT happy hour spot with food and drink specials every day from 3-6 pm!)
1816 S 1st, alcomaratx.com
12. Bouldin Creek Cafe
Vegetarians: this one’s for you! Although, I have to say…I’m not vegetarian but I still adore this place. Bouldin Creek Cafe has been in Austin for a long time, and it’s one of the most beloved healthy restaurants in the city. They want to show everyone that vegetarian and vegan food can be both satisfying AND healthy.
1900 S 1st bouldincreekcafe.com
13. Soup Peddler and Juice Bar
When I first moved to Austin, I was confused: is it soup, or is it juice? Well….it’s both! Soup Peddler makes cold-pressed juices, filling smoothies, and homemade soups and grilled sandwiches. It’s my go-to spot when I need something healthy for lunch. (Oh, and don’t tell anyone I said this, but sometimes I skip the healthy stuff and just get one of their “super-baked cookies” from their fridge.)
501 W Mary, souppeddler.com
14. Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
Photo by Kiera Jane
This adorable bakery is owned by Olivia O’Neal, winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! Everything is made from scratch….the batter, the fillings, the frostings, EVERYTHING! The cupcakes are insane, but be sure to try the pie, cakes, cookies, and bars, too.
1905 S 1st, sugarmamasbakeshop.com
15. Churro Co.
Photo by Kiera Jane
This food truck is the only place in Austin where you can get churros that are completely made from scratch. Turns out it’s quite the time intensive process to make them…. (Read all about my visit to the Churro Co right here!) These warm, sweet, chewy treats are the perfect things to enjoy after wandering through the shops on South 1st.
1906 S 1st, churrocoaustin.com
16. La Mexicana Bakery
La Mexicana has been a staple on S 1st street for decades. They’re famous for their homemade flour tortillas, Mexican pastries, custom cakes, and breakfast/lunch/dinner Mexican food available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Seriously. This place is never closed.
1924 S 1st, la-mexicana-bakery.com
LOVE ME SOME POLVO’S! They have some of the best homemade tortillas, breakfast tacos, margaritas, and giant tex-mex plates in Austin. I’ve never talked to someone who doesn’t love Polvo’s, and that’s probably why this place is always packed!
2004 S 1st, polvosaustin.com
18. Once Over Coffee
Once Over Coffee was one of the first third-wave coffee bars in Austin. They have a beautiful patio overlooking Bouldin Creek. It’s one of my favorite places to sit on a cool spring day and read a book.
2009 S 1st, onceovercoffeebar.com
19. El Primo
You can enjoy some authentic Mexican tacos at this cash-only beloved taco truck. Their pastor is one of the best in the city!
2011 S 1st, elprimomex.com
This guide to classic Austin restaurants was written for the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance 2018 City Guide. Check out all of the guides to the best food in the city here!