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 by rounding up all of the great places to eat on South First street in Austin. 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!’
1. Little Thai Food Truck
A solid option for Thai take-out in Austin. They only accept cash, and you can call ahead so your order is ready right when you show up.
1207 S 1st St | WEBSITE
2. 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 | WEBSITE
3. Thai Fresh
It’s just a little bit off of South First street, but this coffee shop/Thai Restaurant/gluten-free bakery (I know, they do it all, but it’s all really well done) has my favorite Pad Thai in the city.
909 W Mary Street | WEBSITE
4. Gordough’s Big. Fat. Donuts. Airstream
NOT the place to go if you’re trying to be even remotely healthy… 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 | WEBSITE
Also see: where to eat the best donuts in Austin
5. Fresa’s Chicken
Ooh, how I adore this place! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been for breakfast tacos, lunch, and dinner! Chow down on wood-grilled chicken, homemade tortillas, rice, beans, grilled vegetables, and yummy salads for a satisfying and healthy meal.
Little-known fact: they also make their own ice cream, and it’s some of the best in Austin. You can buy a scoop to eat, or get a whole pint to take home.
1703 S 1st | WEBSITE
6. 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 | WEBSITE
7. 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 | WEBSITE
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, WEBSITE
Also see: 21 Best Date Night Restaurants in Austin
9. 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 | WEBSITE
10. 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 | WEBSITE
11. 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 | WEBSITE
12. 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 | WEBSITE
13. 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 | WEBSITE
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 | WEBSITE
15. 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 | WEBSITE
16. El Primo
These are on my list of the best tacos in Austin. 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 | WEBSITE
17. Manoli’s Ice Cream, Pastries, and Cake
Stop by this trailer for deliciously creamy ice cream and homemade European cakes and pastries, all made completely from scratch.
603 W Live Oak St | WEBSITE
18. G’s Dynaminte Deli
I love this little deli at the corner of Oltorf and South First! It’s a gem of a place and every South First street stroll should include a grilled sandwich, coke, and chips from G’s deli.
2312 S First St | WEBSITE