Brunch by Neighborhood

The 13 best brunch spots in East Austin

The 13 best brunch spots in East Austin

There's no better way to kick off the weekend than catching up with a few friends over a lazy meal (and a few cocktails). These 13 brunch spots in East Austin stand out for their laissez faire vibe, creative menus, versatile drink selections and good food. Whether you're looking for inventive Benedicts or comfort cooking, the east side is a hub for weekend eats.

Counter Cafe
This cheery diner serves up locally sourced daytime fare. Open seven days, the menu feels brunchy all week, dotted with familiar favorites like eggs Benedicts and biscuits and gravy, to more off-beat items like grilled quail and eggs, and polenta fried oysters. While morning cocktails and beers are available during the week, sipping on a bellini on a lazy Sunday morning is just that much sweeter. Counter Cafe offers ever-changing blackboard specials including a hot cake of the day. The bacon and pecan one was pretty killer.

Vast windows and an expansive patio (sometimes with live music) makes this airy bistro a brunch oasis. With a dozen or so menu items and a handful of sides, settling on just one dish can be challenging. We suggest bringing a few friends to share plates (and don’t worry, someone is bound to order the famed fried chicken). The bar crafts a bright, juicy cocktail list specifically for brunch, with standouts like the spicy cherry lemonade and the grapefruit mojito.

Hillside Farmacy
This quaint hideaway with vintage charm offers brunch items in addition to the regular menu on Saturdays and Sundays. Diners can start with a few freshly shucked oysters and a wasabi Bloody Mary, then progress to heartier eats such as bangers and eggs with a zesty tomato relish and caramelized onions and the equally substantial green onion biscuits and sausage gravy. Don’t think twice: ask for scrambled eggs on top.

Sawyer & Co.
Comfort fare with New Orleans flair is the name of game at this revamped mid-century mod diner. First, wake up to the vieux cafe, an ancho liquor spiced coffee. Next, ease into laid-back plates such as the Big Easy omelet with fries, ham and chili, or the banana foster French toast with butter rum syrup. Of course, you can always stick with traditional breakfast tacos, hot cakes and sandwiches, too.

The Hightower
Brunch lovers seeking something more unconventional can find punchy flavors and unusual combinations here. This bar-slash-eatery serves up eclectic small plates for nibbling and classics with a twist. Diners won't notice that the indulgent Yorkshire pudding is actually vegetarian, topped with a slow cooked egg, zucchini puree, chevre, seasonal vegetables and charcoal powder. The boudin hash and chicken 'n' waffles with ginger honey syrup are meaty alternatives. For $7, take your pick of vodka or whiskey, stroll over to the Bloody Mary bar and dress it up with a variety of condiments.

Hi Hat Public House
This neighborhood hangout and craft beer destination draws jazz enthusiasts with live music on Sundays. The weekend menu runs until 6 pm, featuring familiar favorites such as brioche French toast with strawberry mascarpone, corn beef hash, and steak and eggs with hollandaise and potatoes. While it may feel like a sin to mess with the craft brews, it’s only $1 extra to turn any beer into a michelada. Tread carefully.

Dai Due
This farmers' market fixture turned butcher shop and eatery dishes up hearty plates that pay homage to local growers and ranchers. The breakfast and lunch menu is available until 3 pm daily, making weekday brunch an accessible option. The ever-changing menu may range from turkey tamales, to a pastrami sandwich with sauerkraut. The signature Dai Due breakfast features brown rice with kimchi, fried egg and kale with optional marinated raw venison.

El Chile
As far as Tex-Mex goes, this vibrant joint does brunch right. Customary offerings like huevos divorciados, migas, and chilaquiles verdes fill the menu. To soak up the sins of last night, go for the barbacoa con huevos with braised short rib, eggs, guacamole and pico de gallo — served with with potatoes and refried beans for good measure. Finish the meal with a slice of tres leches or a fruit-filled empanada. And for $4, the "Big Ass Mimosa" is indeed impressive.

For a dog- and kid-friendly option, this spacious spot reimagines brunch classics with unconventional, regional ingredients like nopales and smoked trout. In addition to popular mainstays such as the rabbit and dumplings, and burger on housemade challah, Contigo also offers a range of goodies baked in house. To satisfy your sweet tooth, go for the pecan coffee cake with bourbon caramel or the cinnamon cake donut.

Whether it’s a special occasion or just because, laV’s refined French provisions consistently pleases diners. Start off with a brunch cocktail like the coffee Manhattan made with rye, coffee-infused amaro and maraschino liqueur. You can also sip on a bottle of bubbles picked by the sommelier for just $15. Warm scones and hand-rolled croissants pair nicely with the luscious chicken liver pâté and duck rillettes — and that’s all before the entrees. Just remember to save room for the airy brioche doughnuts.

This newcomer that brought Indian specialties to the 'hood has created an array of fusion brunch dishes. The kheema enchiladas are filled with lamb, then topped with tikka masala sauce. For a breakfast taco that’s outside the box, the eggs burji comes with scrambled eggs, masala home fries and tortillas. Kick back and sip on a hot masala chai tea or a mango mimosa on the patio.

Salt & Time
Not surprisingly, this neighborhood butcher shop and salumeria presents a meat-driven brunch menu. Odd bits like beef heart and smoked ham hock are restyled into salad and hash. Salt & Time's spin on chicken 'n' waffles swaps poultry for deep fried ribs. Wash it all down with a glass of wine or a pint from a selection of local and unusual craft beers on tap.

Eastside Cafe
This brunch list simply wouldn’t be complete without highlighting this old faithful that has been serving East Austin for more than 25 years. This charming institution for garden-to-table eats weaves Tex-Mex influence into seasonal American comfort dishes. You can’t go wrong with staples like the blueberry blintzes filled with sweetened ricotta and cream cheese and the mushroom crepes topped with a roasted tomato mushroom sauce.

Mettle brunch fried chicken austin
Ease into the weekend at these East Austin brunch faves. Photo by Melody Fury