A Culinary Tour of Texas: Exploring the Best Places to Eat

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Embark on a delicious adventure as we explore the best places to eat in Texas, from vibrant cities like Austin and Houston to charming towns in the Hill Country. Uncover the ultimate foodie destinations!

With its vast landscapes and equally expansive culinary scene, Texas offers a smorgasbord of dining experiences that reflect its rich cultural heritage and modern innovation. From smoked brisket to fine dining, every corner of the Lone Star State offers something unique. Here’s an in-depth guide to some of the best places to eat across Texas, including the charming and often overlooked town of Tomball.

1. Austin—A Hub of Culinary Creativity

Austin stands at the forefront of Texas’ food revolution, boasting an array of dining experiences that capture the city’s youthful spirit and innovative vibe. The city’s food truck parks, like The Picnic on Barton Springs Road, offer everything from Venezuelan arepas to gourmet donuts. For barbecue enthusiasts, a visit to Franklin Barbecue is essential—just be prepared to wait in line for what many consider the best BBQ in America. Meanwhile, sushi lovers can find nirvana at Uchi, where Chef Tyson Cole combines local ingredients with traditional techniques, securing a James Beard Award for his efforts.

You’ll discover some of the best places to eat in Texas are at Austin’s Food Truck Parks. Photo by RoschetzkylstockPhoto via iStock by Getty Images

2. Houston—Diverse and Delicious

Houston’s culinary scene is as diverse as its population, one of the most ethnically varied in the nation. Its food offerings reflect this diversity, from the Vietnamese crawfish boils in Little Saigon to upscale dining at James Beard Award-winning restaurants like Doris Metropolitan, where high-end butchery and modern flavors meets Middle Eastern heritage to elevate the Texas steakhouse. Houston is also home to a vibrant Indian community, and restaurants like Kiran’s offer an upscale take on classic Indian dishes.

Chef Karan Verma of Houston’s Kiran’s restaurant. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

3. San Antonio—Rich in History and Flavor

San Antonio’s culinary scene is steeped in the flavors and traditions of Tex-Mex cuisine, but there’s much more to the city than just tacos and enchiladas. The historic Pearl Brewery has been transformed into a culinary destination, with top-notch restaurants like Cured, where Chef Steve McHugh cures his own meats. To taste the city’s signature Tex-Mex, visit Rosario’s, which offers classic dishes with a contemporary twist in a vibrant atmosphere. As you experience the international flavors in San Antonio, it’s easy to see why it is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

San Antonio offers great dining opportunities. Photo by Jill Robbins

4. Tomball—Small Town, Big Tastes

Tomball may be small, but its food scene is mighty. 403 Eats brings together an array of gourmet food trucks serving everything from Southern comfort food at Queenie B’s Soul Food to Cajun-Mex cuisine at Mega Meltz. Tomball’s brick-and-mortar restaurants are equally impressive, with spots like Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue, where they craft chocolate by day and smoke brisket by night, drawing food enthusiasts from all over the region.

5. Fort Worth—Where Cowboys Dine

Fort Worth offers a taste of Texas’ cowboy culture, best experienced through beef-centric culinary offerings. Riscky’s BBQ, a century-old institution, serves up some of the best ribs in the West. For those seeking a more refined cowboy experience, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, by Chef Tim Love, combines rustic dishes with exotic ingredients like wild game.

When you check out the dozens of restaurants in downtown Fort Worth, you’ll see why the city is one of the best places to eat in Texas. Photo by travelview via iStock by Getty Images

6. El Paso—Gateway to Mexican Cuisine

El Paso serves as the culinary bridge between Texas and Mexico, offering authentic Mexican dishes beyond the typical Tex-Mex fare. L & J Cafe, a local favorite, offers dishes incorporating traditional Mexican ingredients with Texan tastes, like their famous chile relleno. For a modern take, ELEMI, an artisanal taco restaurant, uses heirloom Mexican corn to make their tortillas from scratch, providing a fresh take on the classic taco. And don’t forget to try the margaritas!

The spicy margarita at ELEMI is topped with a charred habañero. Photo by Teresa Bitler

7. Corpus Christi—Seafood by the Gulf

No culinary tour of Texas would be complete without sampling the fresh seafood of Corpus Christi. Water Street Oyster Bar, a longtime favorite, offers fresh oysters and sushi, while the more casual Snoopy’s Pier provides fried fish platters in a laid-back dockside setting.

It’s a vacation, so bring on the fried seafood platters and a local beer. Photo by Catherine Parker

8. Lubbock—West Texas Flavor

Lubbock might be known for its music and vineyards, but it’s also home to a burgeoning food scene. Triple J’s Chophouse & Brew Co. offers locally sourced steaks and house-brewed beer, providing a true taste of West Texas. Discover fine dining with a Texas twist at The Nicolett, where Chef Finn Walter serves up delicious seasonal dishes. For those seeking something a bit different, Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque in nearby Wolfforth ranks as one of the best BBQ spots in the state, according to Texas Monthly.

Enjoy fine dining in Lubbock, TX, at The Nicolett with house wines by McPherson Cellars

9. The Hill Country—Rustic and Refined

The Texas Hill Country, with its rolling hills and sprawling vineyards, offers a rustic yet refined culinary experience. Restaurants like Otto’s German Bistro in Fredericksburg highlight local ingredients through a German lens, while The Leaning Pear in Wimberley serves Hill Country-inspired dishes in a picturesque setting.

10. Dallas—Big City, Big Flavors

Dallas exudes a cosmopolitan flair, reflected in its sophisticated dining scene. Dallas caters to refined palates, whether the upscale steakhouses like Nick & Sam’s, where prime cuts and extravagant sides reign, or the experimental tasting menus at The Mansion Restaurant. The city is also a breeding ground for innovative chefs like Misti Norris, whose restaurant Petra and the Beast brings natural ingredients from farm, forage, fermentation, and fire to your table.

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Navigating Texas’ Culinary Landscape

When exploring Texas’s vast culinary landscape, it’s essential to remember that dining out here is not just about sustenance—it’s about experience. From the high-end eateries of Dallas to the food trucks of Austin and the historic flavors of San Antonio, each locale offers its own distinct taste of Texan hospitality and innovation. Whether you’re craving slow-smoked brisket, fresh Gulf seafood, or innovative fusion cuisine, Texas’ diverse food scene delivers with flavor and flair. We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more of our favorite things to do when you visit Texas and more of our favorite restaurants worldwide.