City Guide / Austin

The 15 Best Places for Outdoor Dining in Austin

By Veronica Meewes | Aug 16, 2022
Dine under Olive & June's iconic oak tree in Austin, Texas.

In a city with nearly year-round sunshine, outdoor dining is more than an option—it’s a way of life! Nearly every restaurant in Austin has some level of al fresco seating, but the ones with the biggest and best outdoor areas are undoubtedly social hubs. And while about half the year could be defined as “summer weather,” this just means we know the value of subtle mist behind a (very) powerful fan.

Whether you’re enjoying dinner with a special someone, planning a weekend brunch for a group of friends, or unwinding with coworkers during happy hour, here are our top 15 picks for the best spots in Austin for outdoor dining, including:

  • Domo Alley Gato
  • Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
  • El Alma
  • Radio Coffee & Beer
  • Tamale House East
  • Easy Tiger
  • Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
  • Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden
  • Bento Picnic
  • Kinda Tropical
  • Olive & June
  • Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
  • Little Darlin’ Tillery Kitchen & Bar
  • Yellow Jacket Social Club

Let’s get started!

1. Domo Alley Gato

This Japanese-inspired watering hole is discreetly tucked next to the East Sixth Street location of Domo Alley Gato. A separate entrance to the right welcomes guests in past a giant lucky cat and cloud cover of red and white paper lanterns before opening up to a dog-friendly patio with picnic table seating.

In addition to a menu of sake and beer (which can be ordered with a foamy “cold cap” of your choosing), you can mix and match botanical house tonics with spirits or choose one of their inspired house cocktails, such as the Kintsugi Sour with bourbon, barley shochu, citrus, honey, ginger, and Szechuan.

From 4 to 10 p.m., nosh on Japanese bar snacks like chicken kara-age, fried pork gyoza, and the karē ban ban dog, a teriyaki beef frank topped with karē chili on a brioche bun.

2. Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile

This ranch-to-table restaurant on East Cesar Chavez showcases meat from the Jacoby family’s West Texas ranch alongside comfort food developed from their family recipes (think melty mac and cheese, fluffy deviled eggs, chicken fried steak, and a decadent weekly brunch menu).

The lovely shabby-chic look of Jacoby’s dining room carries into their backyard patio, which looks out onto the Colorado River. This spot also hosts a mercantile, a shop curated with vintage home goods to peruse before or after your meal.

There’s no better place to enjoy country cooking than eating vintage dishes at a rustic farmhouse table while the golden sun sets over the river. Just be sure to save room for their strawberry layer cake or s’mores cobbler!

3. El Alma

Named after its longtime chef, Alma Alcocer-Thomas, this multi-tiered Mexican restaurant is best known for its rooftop patio, which offers a lovely view of downtown Austin from just south of the river on Barton Springs Road.

A stone staircase built into the rock formation at the center of El Alma leads to the patio, which is non-reservable and operates on a first-come, first-served basis for seating.

This restaurant does serve a full menu of fresh Mexican creations, such as the duck relleno or the adobo shrimp quesadillas, but the rooftop is the perfect spot to snack with friends on shareable plates. We recommend trying the jalapeño crab queso dip and the tuna ceviche tostadas—especially during happy hour, which runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and features $7 margaritas.

4. Radio Coffee & Beer

This South Austin coffee shop and bar has become a veritable community hub over the years and is one of the best places to get coffee in Austin. By day, you’ll find it filled with folks on laptops, but at night, the Radio Coffee & Beer vibe becomes more social thanks to near-nightly events, such as trivia and live music (including an award-winning bluegrass residency).

The expansive outdoor area includes fans and plenty of coverage from the sun, making it a comfy spot to hang out even in the summer months. Plus, three delicious food trucks make it a destination for meals throughout the day.

Enjoy one of Radio’s coffee creations with a brisket and jelly biscuit sandwich from Briscuits or with Veracruz All Natural’s famous migas. At night, try one of their local brews on tap alongside DEE DEE’s spicy Northern Thai cuisine like laab moo and pad kapow.

5. Tamale House East

The Vasquez family opened the first Tamale House in South Austin in 1958 and have run various iterations throughout the city since then. Tamale House East is the only one still in operation today and is well worth a visit for Tex-Mex comfort food and a slice of Austin history.

The East Sixth Street restaurant also features captivating secret-garden seating tucked alongside the building, filled with potted tropical plants, vines crawling up the fence line, mosaic-tiled tables, and a trickling fountain.

There’s no prettier setting in town to enjoy their homestyle tacos, enchiladas, chalupas, and Texas-sized tamales.

6. Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger, a little German-inspired bakery and beer garden that opened in a small, historic space on Sixth Street in 2012, now supplies restaurants and stores all over the city with their delicious baked goods—and has graduated to three spacious locations. The newest location features a lovely west-facing rooftop patio overlooking the lush Greenbelt, perfect for sunset viewing.

Their giant signature pretzel with beer cheese is a must, but you also can’t go wrong with any of their house-made sausages or sandwiches— and their egg sandwich (available during weekday breakfast or weekend brunch) is simply one of the best in town.

Easy Tiger is also known for its well-curated selection of craft beer from near and far, but it also offers rotating wine specials and a small (but solid!) cocktail list. Don’t forget to leave with a bag of their dreamy pastries!

7. Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

Can’t get away to the coast? A visit to Perla’s is certainly the next best thing. The South Congress staple feels like it’s set in coastal Massachusetts thanks to details like nautical stripes and weathered wood, but the twinkle light-wrapped oak tree canopy brings you back to central Texas.

Their vast menu includes one of the largest oyster selections in town, lobster rolls, fish and chips, fresh Ahi tuna, and Maine scallops seared a la plancha. This patio is also in a prime location for people-watching on a particularly bustling part of South Congress.

8. Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden

In the same spirit as nearby Radio Coffee & Beer, Cosmic Coffee & Beer takes the coffee shop-beer bar hybrid model and gives it plenty of outdoor seating plus some particularly stellar food trucks.

Grab a local beer or coffee creation (or better yet, one of their cocktails) from inside, then settle in and enjoy “new-school barbecue” from Leroy & Lewis (think Akaushi brisket, beet barbecue sauce and cauliflower burnt ends), homestyle tacos from Pueblo Viejo, or spicy lollipop chicken from Tommy Want Wingy.

Best of all, Tabbed Out makes it possible to order from your seat so you never have to leave your seat, whether you’re at a picnic table, the fire pit, or a peaceful plant-filled corner.

9. Bento Picnic

This casual eastside spot specializes in bento boxes and bowls made with local, seasonal produce, plus Japanese snacks like chicken kara-age, kabocha croquettes, tuna onigiri, and tamagoyaki. Bento Picnic also serves natural wine by the glass and bottle and carries one of the city’s widest sake selections (which are also available by the flight).

Most of the seating here is outdoors and made temperate year-round thanks to plenty of shade, fans, and mist. Linger a little longer and enjoy their gluten-free desserts before you leave!

10. Kinda Tropical

Though it may transform into a live music venue some nights of the week, Kinda Tropical can also present itself as a very chill patio space, depending on when you happen to go. True to its name, you’ll find plenty of tropical foliage and frozen drinks here. We recommend trying the Labuff Stuff, made with Still Austin gin, watermelon, mint, and lime. Kinda Tropical also serves natural wine, sake, and plenty of beer options.

This restaurant features a short but sweet menu of vaguely island-inspired fare, like Cuban yucca fries, a pulled jackfruit sandwich, and coconut tom kha fried shrimp. All of these casual eats are perfect to enjoy any night of the week on their sprawling backyard patio.

11. Olive & June

Appropriately named after Chef Shawn Cirkiel and his wife’s grandmothers, this beautiful Bryker Woods restaurant features Italian antipasti, pasta, and entrees made using local products and dictated by the seasons—think Texas peach bruschetta, summer corn ravioli with basil oil, and seared Gulf snapper with spinach, pine nuts, and lemon-garlic salmoriglio.

Olive & June‘s patio is one of the most impressive in town, with seating spread across multiple levels and shaded by the boughs of a grandiose 200-year-old oak tree. Patrons can enjoy half off beer and cocktails during happy hour, which is held Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 6 p.m.

12. Better Half Coffee & Cocktails

Luckily, this all-day cafe on West 5th Street is open from early until late, because you never know when you’ll find yourself with an insatiable craving for their amazing food. Their breakfast sandwiches are downright perfect, with a fried farm egg on a house English muffin with crispy hash browns, arugula, and smoked paprika or aioli. If you head here later in the day, try their juicy cheeseburger with cauliflower tots and beet ketchup before finishing off with a homemade burnt Basque cheesecake with cherries for dessert.

Better Half‘s outdoor seating areas just kept growing and growing during the pandemic, but this place still fills up, especially during weekend brunch. Don’t miss their reverse happy hour each day from 9 to 10 p.m., when burgers and draft cocktails drop to just $6 each!

13. Little Darlin’

When Little Darlin‘ first opened in deep South Austin, it was known more as a live music venue, but this massive bar quickly began drawing folks for its food and drink. The weekday lunch menu leans more toward comfort, with options like a meatloaf sandwich or BLT on Texas toast, while their daily dinner menu expands into offerings like apple-stuffed pork loin or crispy Korean-glazed tempeh.

Weekend brunch brings all the classics you’d want to see, from fried chicken and waffles and biscuits and gravy to avocado toast and a veggie-packed frittata.

Tuck into one of the wooden booths inside and enjoy a game of pool afterward, or sip on a frozen drink while you eat at one of the tree-shaded picnic tables in their massive yard. Bonus: You’ll more than likely get to enjoy some free live music while you dine!

14. Tillery Kitchen & Bar

Located on East Cesar Chavez Street, Tillery Kitchen & Bar is a modern craftsman-style new build featuring shaded backyard patio seating that overlooks the Colorado River. The menu offers classics with a global twist, which means your table can share Wagyu frites, coconut curry with chicken skewers, and ponzu-glazed pork lettuce wraps. A good amount of crawfish also appears on the menu in the crawfish cakes, crawfish. mac and cheese, and smoked crawfish dip.

For your first drink there, we recommend ordering their signature sage margarita. Also, if you come early for happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 3 to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, be sure to stay and watch the sun sink below the treeline.

15. Yellow Jacket Social Club

Yellow Jacket opened as a cozy, divey neighborhood bar, started adding food to their repertoire, and soon had full-fledged lunch, brunch, and dinner menus. Not only are the prices more than reasonable for East Austin, but it’s also one of the few places in the area you can get late-night food.

For brunch, their shrimp and grits are a must, alongside a Bloody Mary. Their Cuban beef sandwich is a crave-worthy, hearty meal any night of the week, and they also have simple salads, mezze plates, and even a classic Frito pie served right out of the bag. The best part? You can enjoy any meal here surrounded by trees in their dog-friendly picnic grove.

Thinking about moving to Austin?

To fully take advantage of our city’s incredible dining scene, browse Landing’s fully furnished apartments in Austin. We offer apartments throughout the city so you can sample the area’s best dining scene and soak up the amazing year-round weather.

Looking for more places to eat and drink outside in Austin? Check out our blog post, “A Local’s Guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Austin.”

Veronica Meewes

Veronica lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes about food, beverage, travel and lifestyle for a number of media outlets and brands. She's currently working on her fourth book project, a drinks guide to Austin, and her work has appeared in Forbes Travel Guide, Food & Wine, Texas Monthly, Tasting Table, GOOD, PUNCH, The Today Show, The Local Palate, Cosmopolitan, Vera, Serious Eats, EatingWell, Austin Monthly, Fodor's, Vinepair, Texas Highways and more. When she's not seeking out the best food and drink around the globe, you can find her hiking, swimming, doing yoga, enjoying all the live music Austin has to offer, and exploring with her pup Banjo. Follow her on Instagram @wellfedlife and visit