Where to Eat Lunch in Austin on a Weekday

Anytime someone wants to meet for lunch during the work day, I feel tension build up as I try to think WHERE can we go this time? I’m sorry, but I can’t eat a stereotypical Austin meal: chips and queso or a BBQ brisket sandwich for lunch and then continue to have a productive day. I’m making this list on Where to Eat Lunch in Austin during the week selfishly, so I can read it weekly when I get those jitters for a lunch invitation.

RELATED: Best Brunch in Austin HERE!

Sit-Down

Bouldin Creek Cafe – Vegetarians rejoice. While it will most likely be a 15- 20 minute wait, the Buddha Bowl (with Beets, Butternut Squash, and Chickpeas) and Kool Hummus Sandwich are worth it. If you’re more of a sandwich-for-lunch type, the Kool Hummus sammie is so yummy with the star ingredients being the Housemade Hummus and Chipotle-Pecan Pesto. You can opt for black beans as a side for your meal, and you should because they are the best beans in town (never thought I’d say that). 

Epicerie – Up north on Hancock, this is a great ladies who lunch spot and very quick. I’m not usually a grits person, but the Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (made with Cheddar Grits, Shallot, Green Bean Relish, and Soft Egg) are the best I’ve ever had. I really like the basic Mixed Green Salad PLUS Grilled Shrimp. It’s a very hearty salad, heavy on the bread crumbs and crunch in each bite and paired with a goat cheese crostini. They have cured salmon toast, burger, pastrami, and chicken thighs as well. The chef, Sarah, is from Louisiana so you’ll definitely want to go for the grits (just add a side salad for some extra greens). Most importantly, they have my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie in Austin

Fresa’s on South First – This cute outdoor Mexican joint offers wood-grilled chicken and lots of salads and vegetables unlike most Tex-Mex joints in town. You can sit outside and bring kids here. I love the Jerez Salad with Chickpeas, Spicy Carrots, Pepitas; Adobo Shrimp Taco; Green Apple Guacamole; and of course, their under-the-radar ice cream! Check out my Guide to Best Ice Cream in Austin I wrote for Tribeza that includes them here.

Monger’s – Seafood is my cuisine of choice, and I’ll always order Cioppino. When you visit Monger’s for lunch, order the freshest (and largest) tuna poké bowl in town and start with the shrimp cocktail. The battered fish tacos are pretty swell, too, and you can take home some fresh seafood from their market to cook for dinner.

Kome – An unassuming, casual sushi spot that always leaves me satisfied. I can’t come here without getting the Spooky Roll. It’s the only sushi spot that has the freshest rolls that you can eat at this meal period and has the best sushi combo and affordable lunch options. Another great order is the $12 healing udon.

Joann’s Fine Foods – A SoCo staple you probably walk by every time you’re on the south side of town! They have so many options to choose from from salads and sandwiches to tacos and breakfast served all day. I like their flour tortillas for breakfast tacos or their Motel Bowl with redfish.

Josephine House – Always seasonal and delicate vegetables rotating on the quaint marble inside, you’ll want both, and the homemade golden raisin bread.

Vinaigrette – Salads, salads, salads. This place is very expensive, but at least you can fit into your desk chair after.

Bouldin Creek Cafe

Fresa’s

Loro

Hank’s – This airy, large, blogger-feel space is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, at lunch you can snag 1/2 a sandwich with a choice of tomato bisque, arugula salad, or fries for $9.

Tiny Boxwood’s – The Turkey Avocado Club with basil pesto is the reason I now need avocado on every turkey sandwich. Be sure to grab a cookie on your way out!

Two Hands – One of the only spots to grab an easy lunch on SoCo, Two Hands has pastries, salads, and various bowls. Some standouts are the Salmon Quinoa Bowl or the Brassicas Bowl (with Charred Broccolini, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Hummus, Soft-Boiled Egg, Avocado, Pickled Shallots, and Buzz Chili).

Loro Since Uchi and Uchiko are closed for lunch and Franklin’s BBQ is too long of a wait to have it be considered “lunch,” get the hybrid between the two at Loro. Brisket sandwiches, Malaysian Chicken, Pear, and Kale Salad, Coconut Rice Bowls…

Elizabeth Street Cafe – I can never decide between the Snapper Bún (with added lettuce) or the Chicken and Rice Soup.

Kinda Tropical – A little far east, but this old converted gas station (with the wall of drink fridges still in tact) offers a great menu of Mexican inspired dishes. Order the Cuban Yucca Fries with Jalapeño Avocado Dip. They are dense, comforting and will make you come back just for these with a frozen cocktail at dinner. One of my absolute favorite salads in town full of flavor is the Sesame Salad with Pulled Chicken, Local Butter Lettuce, Avocado, Peanut, Cilantro. They also have burgers, a fried chicken sandwich, and vegetarian options like a jackfruit and crispy tofu one.

Proud Mary – This menu is tiny but mighty and leans heavy on the breakfast items! There’s a variety of lunches to choose from including Eggs on Toast, Miso Leek Toast, and a Sesame Noodle Bowl.

Elizabeth Street Cafe

Joann’s

Fast Casual/Order At The Counter

Casa de Luz this Ayurvedic, holistic haven isn’t for everyone, but each friend I’ve brought to this vegetarian, macrobiotic “safe house” is forever changed and intrigued. $14 for soup, salad, entree of the day. I recommend going on Wednesday’s for their guacamole tacos.

Local Foods – Originally started in Houston, Local Foods is new-ish to the 2nd Street District, and earned its way to the top of my list because of it’s Gulf Seafood Sandwich and Peanut Butter Cookie.

Malibu Poké – It’s hard to find good poké here, but I love this easy spot that adds kale and brown rice. Simple and great tuna.

Koriente – This pan-Asian downtown spot has a lunch special that includes pickles and soup with your entree. Portions are large and everything is centered around vegetables and rice whether it be a curry, bibimbap or saute. I like the Obake Bowl A with Chicken and the soft vegetarian rice paper rolls to start. Also, try a cinnamon iced tea for something different.

Aster’s Ethiopian – This lunch buffet of authentic Ethiopian pleasantly surprised me. I really enjoy the Gomen (Ethiopian style collared greens) and Alicha Miser (split lentil).

Better Half Coffee & Cocktails – It’s a good place to work and have a meeting and it wouldn’t be awkward if one person wanted to order food and the other just wanted to have a coffee. Go for the Gulf Redfish Torta, Summer Salad PLUS Pulled Fried Chicken, and always order a biscuit.

Home Slice Pizza – You might be a pizza person and enjoy a slice here, but I will always choose the turkey sandwich.

Swedish Hill – Probably one of the easiest spots to make a last minute lunch plan. The rotisserie chicken, cold salads in their refrigerated case, or the Clarksville Crunch (with Kale, Cauliflower, Almonds, Seeds, and Tahini) are exactly what I’m looking for in a light lunch. I like to grab their Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie on my way out.

The Meteor – The coffee meets bike shop also has delicious lunch options and an extensive wine selection. Go for the Chicken Shawarma Bowl or The Meteor Logical Bowl (with Greens, Rice, Avocado, Carrot, and Tahini Sauce) on my list. If you’re looking to REALLY indulge, order the Falafocaccia Sandwich. It’s exactly what it sounds like, delicious falafel between two slices of salty/crunchy focaccia.

The Well – If you’re looking for a healthy downtown spot, I love coming here for the locally sourced ingredients. My go-tos are the Overnight Oats with Fresh Fruit and Housemade Granola (which is grab and go) or the Salmon served with Lentils and Chickpeas. You order at the counter, and can order to-go or sit down.

The Well

Lou’s Bodega They have it all: sandwiches, salads, and the creamiest custard with delicious toppings. There are locations on Barton Springs and Caesar Chavez. Both are counter service style, and the Barton Springs location has a cute lake house vibe in the back porch room.

Food Heads – I love a half-soup, half-sandwich situation for lunch. This old Austin spot satisfies that craving and my need for a no fuss plan. I enjoy the Eggplant Sandwich, but be sure to add chicken!

Lou’s

Swedish Hill

Honest Mary’s – If you’re up by the Arboretum, this is the only place I’m going to allow you to go. Everything is fresh as can be, love the ahi tuna, and the vegetables are oh, so carefully picked and cooked. You can trust your health with them! There is also a Burnet location now.

Walton’s Fancy and Staple – It’s like Austin’s version of a New York deli (but not). You order at the counter among sandwiches, salads, and they have a dessert case. If you are sick of your Whole Foods runs on 6th, this is just around the corner.

Kinda Tropical Interior

Koriente

Casper Fermentables – This place is full of homemade and fermented breads like bagels, sourdough, focaccia, and even kombucha. It’s also a great place to work while you have lunch.

The Soup Peddler – If you’re feeling sick, too hot to eat anything, or just need a smoothie, I’m down with this joint! I like the Earth Shaker (mango, pomegranate, beet, carrot, spinach, lemon, parsley. Also, grab a to-go kale salad with golden raisins and sunflower seeds.

ATX Food Co. – If you can’t tell, I’m bias to a healthy lunch! You can find that here with their extensive selection of smoothies, elixirs, power bowls, and tacos. Get anything with the butternut squash.

Food Truck

Ziki

Rosita’s Al Pastor – Fun taco spot with a covered seating area. I actually like the flour tortillas better than the corn, and it’s fun to watch them make it in the window. Gordita’s and tacos!

Ziki – With various food trucks around town, the standout from this menu is the Smash Burger with feta cheese and fig jam. I don’t usually go for a lunchtime burger, but I can’t say no to this one.

Saigon Le Vedure – Shake up the salad/power bowl lunch routine with Vietnamese from here. They have locations on both the east side and up north.