Unfortunately, I completely forgot to check back here and missed the great reviews above. However, I did still manage to have some excellent food in Austin which seems to have a ton of places - definitely worth a foodie trip. Here is my reviews over several days earlier this week. We started at Torchy's Tacos, a local chain, very good chips, salsa and guacamole. We had this at 3-4 different places and it was always good. We got a bunch of different tacos and they were hit or miss. Very good was the fried catfish? taco and the blackened salmon. The barbacoa and chicken were so so. The fried avocado that my vegetarian Austin native family member loves was not good IMHO. Kids were happy with cheese quesadillas from the kid's menu. The cocktails were also hit or miss - the mojito riff lacked alcohol whereas the other one we had was fine but forgettable as I can't remember 😉 For breakfast, we had Biderman's Bagels conveniently located in the heart of downtown on 8th st, off Congress. They are classic Jewish bagel place with nice chewy, fresh bagels in a variety of flavors. Great late lunch at Fresa's on 1st St south of the river (there is 1 other smaller location across town N of the river) - like many Austin places they have a nice outdoor area. This was one of the best with big trees casting shade over the whole space. Service was ok despite a bit of an unnecessary wait for a table when there were a ton empty but food was delicious. The best chips, salsa and guac we had were here. Kids' loved their cheese quesadillas. The wood-grilled brussel sprouts subbed for meat in the variety of fresh and cooked veggie bowl including sweet potato were delicious. The shareable side of wood-grilled cauliflower with onions, chillis and a shallot vinagrette was amazing and ample. I told our vegetarian who lives nearby that would get this to go every other day. The chicken taco was very good. I got the citrus grilled chicken platter which comes with fresh flour tortilla, grilled onions and chillis, and beans and rice (I got the black beans - so good and white rice since I don't do bacon in the pinto and mexican rice). Very good make your own taco style. This place is just wonderful I wish it was in my neighborhood. (although I still think the tacos I had last week at Taqueria Habanero on 14th St in DC can easily hold their own with any of the tacos I had in Austin). Dessert at Sugar Mama's nearby was pretty good if you like cupcakes or rich treats. My kids' cupcakes were so rich they said they were defeated by them. My bourbon pecan bar was small and for good reason - very sweet and good. Better dessert was Amy's Ice Cream, another local chain that has multiple locations including one in the middle of the airport terminal, really good ice creams with lots of fun and traditional flavors. Very creamy. I tried a bunch of flavors on two occasions and my favorite was a special, Beehive Crunch (or something similar) which was vanilla, cinnamon, honey ice cream with pecan pieces. One Amy's spot that we went to off a main road on the west side of town is a combo with Phil's burger place so you can get burgers, corndogs, chicken tenders, fries, etc (big menu with lots of options but we didn't try it) - it has a nice playground outdoor space for kids to entertain themselves. Wonderful BBQ at Terry Black's BBQ close to the south side of the river, near Zilker Park. We went on a weekday night around 730pm and had to wait 30 minutes or so but it was worth it. We only had the brisket but it was a great mix of spice on the bark, smoky moist meat with some but not too much fat. When we got to the cashier/meat carver, we asked for brisket and she said oh do you like burnt ends and showed up a lovely specimen and I immediately said YES! We also got another good amount of brisket from the center. It was really nice having both because they were equally smoky but the burnt ends had extra rubbed spice and a bit more fat whereas the thin slices of regular were meatier and a bit more mild. They have 3 different BBQ sauces but we only tried the original which was a good standard sauce but the meat was so flavorful, it didn't need it. Also really good were most of the sides we chose: garlicky and medium (not too soggy) cooked green beans, really good cornbread, and mayo slaw. The only disappointment was the peach cobbler which was blech - the cobbler crust was so so but the peaches were cloying sweet mushy peaches probably from a can and then overcooked in overly gelled sauce. There is a nice indoor and nice outdoor seating and like most Austin BBQ it is all counter service. They also have a nice little bar you can order from while in line so you can sip beer, wine, or in my case an Austin cider in anticipation of your meal. For the tea lovers - head to the Steeping House, a small cafe restaurant with a very long list of teas and surprisingly good long menu of food (beyond good pastries). I ate a very nice vegetable korma with reddish grains with spicy tofu, good soft scones that come with tasty strawberry preserves. I had a nice bite of the vegan caesar salad with cashew? dressing. PopBar for dessert was good and different. It is a western/middle US chain. It is downtown and sells sorbets (so so) and gelato (better) popsicles that you then choose to dip whole or half in a variety of chocolates and then can add toppings that stick to the dips. Another night we had good if you are in the area but not destination Italian in the heart of downtown at La Traviata. Started with some nice salads and then good chicken parm, a special 3 cheese ravioli was light and good, and linguine with truffle oil sauce and mushrooms was good. Good vietnamese and desserts at Elizabeth Cafe on 1st St south of river (not far from Fresa's) - decent spring rolls with a variety of choices that comes with very nice dipping sauces (PB, avocado, and vinegar), then the chicken thigh bun on vermicelli noodles was only so so - well made with fresh ingredients but lacking a bit of flavor. Better was the avocado and sprout banh mi (they have lots of variety) which was pretty classic banh mi on great rolls. Dessert - sorbets and beignets were rather good. Beignets were like small puff pastries that were sweet but not coated in powdered sugar as elsewhere and come with a nice jam to top them with. We ate several breakfast items at Caroline's downtown because it was in our hotel the Marriot Aloft - most were good. The Go Green Smoothie was a fave, the cream cheese frosting topped cinnamon roll was hit (although the roll was a bit crispy, not doughy soft as usual and which I prefer), interesting lemon curd topped kougin aman, very good and standard pain de raisin, their egg, black bean breakfast tacos are a few small bites of goodness with the added ranchero salsa, the spinach, roasted poblano and egg white breakfast sandwich was also good. Skip the lemon cake and chocolate zucchini bread. Pancakes were decent. Another fun dessert place was Baked Bear a bit hidden next to the downtown Trader Joe's in the Shellholm old power plant complex - good ice cream and cookies and lots of encouragement to make your own ice cream sandwich. Unless you have a big appetite, I recommend get a nice scoop with just one warmed up cookie on the side (lots and lots of different options here including brownies too). My kids both loved the bright blue dyed Bear Batter flavor - cake batter ice cream with brownie or cookie bits in it. I liked the blackberry crumble ice cream with the salted peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. No regrets. We also had a very nice meal at the downtown Flower Child which is a national chain that just opened a DC location near the IMF/Foggy Bottom. I got the 3 vegetable sampler with great spicy eggplant (this one was really good and worth a trip), good sweet potatos, and ok indian charred cauliflower along with their spicy BBQ tofu strips - also good. The salads were not as exciting but good. We enjoyed the immense candy selection (with lots of regional and retro options) at Big Top Candy in the middle of South Congress strip. Lastly, we sampled the surprisingly good options at the airport. The East Side Pies made to order personal pizzas were rather good and we only had plain cheese for the kids. To the left of it was slow but good (much slower than you'd expect for airport food) Fly Chicken or some similar name which had great meaty chicken tenders. Of course we also had another round of Amy's Ice Cream. I had heard very mixed reviews of the Salt Lick BBQ location in the airport and passed it up - but I was tempted to bring home the ready for travel whole brisket for $80.
Not food related but also caught some good music at the dive bar C-Boys on the southern end of South Congress.