North Lamar Boulevard is a magical wonderland of ethnic restaurants. You can hop from country to country with abandon, sampling delights from all over the world for a quarter of the cost of a much-hyped downtown restaurant. It’s time you took a little trip to Flavor Town.
Bombay to Kathmandu Kitchen (Nepalese, Indian)
The name is a mouthful — and so are the dishes! Your visit here will yield heaping portions of pani puri, jhol momo, hakka noodles, and more. It's time to strap on your adventure pants (and think about doing a bit of food research before you go).
Kabab Food Corner (Pakistani)
Though this spot is tough to spot on its unassuming corner of Lamar, the menu makes the treasure hunt worth it. Keema paratha, goat biryani, seekh kebab, and chapli kebab paratha roll are options as well as beginner Indian (chicken tikka). It’s not fancy, but it’s legit: 100-percent hand-cut halal and no MSG.
Peace Bakery & Deli (Mediterranean)
You can buy food for the whole family (shawarma by the pound!) or opt for one of the delectable lunch specials. The portions here are huge and the prices are reasonable. Consider skipping your normal pita-and-hummus routine and indulging in beetroot salad or mouhammara.
Thanh Nhi (Vietnamese)
Some people say this is the best pho in Austin. Beg to differ? Make the drive and scope out a steaming bowl. While you’re there, take the opportunity to try the spring rolls with grilled pork and pick up a banh mi on a freshly baked baguette.
Zaytouna Lounge Hookah Bar (Moroccan/French)
A little piece of Morocco in Austin. Enjoy a cup of lovely Moroccan mint tea, smoke hookah, and nibble on desserts. You can also try your hand at petanque, the French game akin to bocce ball. Zaytouna has coffee, board games, and Wi-Fi as well. This is something slightly different than your average night out on West Sixth Street.
Tropicana Cuban Restaurant (Cuban)
Though Americans can now (kind of) go to Cuba, this might be a tad easier. Bread is baked in house and Tropicana offers mouthwatering Cuban staples including medianoches, chuletas, croquetas, tortilla Cubana, tostones, and yuca frita. Did we mention desserts? Definitely try the desserts.
College RoadHouse (Korean)
This spot is equal parts restaurant, bar, and karaoke lounge. Tucked away in a corner near a wig shop and a Payless, you can pop in for bulgogi, fish cakes, seafood pancakes, Korean fried chicken, and crazy boozy slushies. Most importantly, ladies' night happens on Wednesdays. RoadHouse!
New Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant (Chinese, Taiwanese)
Come hungry, leave stuffed. You come here for fried Dungeness crab, egg tarts, beef rice noodles, steamed pork buns, snow crab cake, shrimp toasts, Peking duck, clay pots, porridges, a vast selection of dumplings, and the ever-elusive Austin dim sum (Saturday and Sunday). And don’t you dare skip the chicken feet.
El Tacorrido (Mexican)
Breakfast tacos are $1.75 at this tiny drive-thru joint. El Tacorrido serves lunch, dinner, and late night too. Menudo is available on weekends and there's a list of carnes (meats) long enough to appease any caveman. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, take a swipe at one of the tortas or gorditas.
Balkan Cafe & Grill (Balkan)
Enjoy a glass of Croatian wine with your stuffed peppers and cevapi or special order an entire lamb to be roasted for you and 30 of your closest pals. In addition to traditional Balkan food and drink, this cafe boasts coffee, Wi-Fi, and happy hour every day. Oh, and sand volleyball.