Downtown-let's face it, a large portion of SXSW activity happens near the convention center, so eating close by makes it all a little easier.
SouthBites-this is a trailer collective curated by Paul Qui (see East Side category below) that includes local eateries, regional food trucks and one from Ohio. The list includes: Cazamance, East Side King, Chi’lantro, Dock & Roll Diner, Hey Cupcake!, Sugar Shack BBQ, The Peached Tortilla, The Seedling Truck, Foreign & Domestic (all from Austin). Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (from Ohio ice cream guru Jeni Britton Bauer), Phamily Bites and The Waffle Bus (Houston), DUK Truck (San Antonio) and The Butcher’s Son (Dallas). Open March 8 -16, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. at the corner of Driskill and Rainey streets. No SXSW badge required ($).
2nd Bar+Kitchen-new American food offering small plates to share or large plate entrees including rotisserie selections, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Excellent bar ($$). FUB post.
Congress-Using the best available ingredients, Chef David Bull offers a three-course menu and a seven-course tasting menu, creating some of the best food in Austin ($$$). FUB post.
Caffe Medici-Some of the best coffee in town with breakfast goodies too. Downtown location is in the Austonian ($). FUB post.
Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden-upstairs is the bakery with pastries, coffee, baked goods and downstairs is the beer garden with sausages, pretzels, full bar and craft beer with outdoor seating along Waller Creek ($-$$). FUB post.
Backspace Pizza-now open for lunch and dinner, this little pizza joint is from Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside and Olive and June. Some say it is the finest Neapolitan pizza in town ($$).
La Condesa- Authentic modern Mexican from Executive Chef Rene Ortiz, with a fun bar upstairs at Malverde ($$). FUB post.
Farmer's Market at Republic Square-always a great place to get breakfast or lunch on Saturday mornings. FUB post part 1, 2 and 3 ($).
Jo's-perfect for coffee, breakfast and lunch ($-$$).
Hopdoddy-gourmet burgers with fresh local and regional ingredients ($-$$). FUB post.
Home Slice-solid NY style pizza in a funky environment with a small outdoor space in back ($-$$).
South Congress Cafe-a wide menu of Continental fare with a southwestern flair ($$).
Enoteca--wonderful Italian bistro from the creators of Vespaio ($$).
SOFI (South First Street)-so many restaurant's (new and old) in a short section of S. 1st.
Sway-relatively new to the neighborhood, this is modern Thai by way of Australia from Rene Ortiz ($$-$$$). FUB post.
Elizabeth Street Cafe-One of many great restaurants from Larry McQuire. This is French Vietnamese in a cute little converted house with some outdoor seating ($$). FUB post.
Polvos-large plates of honest Tex-Mex with killer margaritas ($-$$).
Lenoir-gorgeous little space from husband and wife team Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher that offers a prix fixe menu ($$-$$$). FUB post.
Bouldin Creek Cafe-great vegetarian food with a wide ranging menu that will please everyone ($-$$).
SOLA (South Lamar)-lots to see and do in a concentrated area.
Barley Swine-Bryce Gilmore's local, seasonal, innovative food presented in small plates. Now taking reservations on certain days ($$-$$$). FUB post.
Lick-small batch ice cream using fresh ingredients from local/regional farms; unusual flavors ($) FUB post.
Henri's-sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie boards, wine ($$). FUB post.
Uchi-the king of sushi in Austin ($$$).
Juiceland--technically on Barton Spring (close to S. Lamar). A good way to hydrate and refuel ($).
East Side-many events happening for SXSW in this part of town.
Hillside Farmacy- breakfast, lunch, dinner in this quaint spot that emphasizes local farmers ($$). FUB post.
Justine's-very cool, very tasty French joint on far E. 5th ($$).
Franklin Barbecue-if you are ok with waiting in line for a while (get there early, lunch only), this is the place to go for bar-b-que while in town ($$).
Cenote-the place for coffee on the east side ($).
Off the Beaten Track (various locations across town not mentioned above)-break away from the madness and head to a different section of Austin.
Uchiko-little sister to Uchi, billed as Japanese farmhouse dining and sushi ($$$). FUB post.
Kome-high quality sushi and Japanese food at a reasonable price ($$). FUB post.
Ramen Tatsu-ya-the best ramen in town ($-$$). FUB post.
Houndstooth Coffee-serious, quality coffee ($). FUB post.
Avenue B Grocery-an old-timey grocery store and deli, with sandwiches wrapped in butcher paper ($).
Fabi & Rosi-delicious European food at a non-European price ($$).