The University of Texas campus area has some of the yummiest and cheapest eats in town. Whether you are a student, an Austin resident, or someone just passing through town, you will enjoy the following restaurants near the UT campus.
Terra Burger is a locally owned and environmentally conscious fast food restaurant featuring all-natural and organic food products. The restaurant also serves fair trade coffee. If you like sustainable green energy and grain-fed beef, this is your restaurant. While it's tasty, food here is a little pricey for fast food, coming in at more than $10 for a burger, fries, and a soda.
A deliciously wonderful variety of tacos are offered at Torchy’s. You just can’t go wrong with tacos such as the Trailer Park, the Democrat, and the Dirty Sanchez. Their chicken is all-natural, free from hormones, preservatives, and steroids. They offer killer breakfast tacos. While they offer pork, shrimp, beef, and chicken tacos, they are also veg-friendly, with items such as the fried avocado taco. Torchy's also offers a variety of fiery sauces to top things off.
Boomerangs is home to Australian meat and veggie pies. The pies are made from scratch and fresh baked. Eat in-store or take them on the road with you (they're very portable). The restaurant also serves Australian beers. The hearty pies are reasonably priced at $5 for veggie and $5.50 for beef or chicken. A must-try item is the beef and cheese pie. Savory ground beef is combined with a gooey mix of cheese and stuffed inside a flaky pie crust. Be sure to dip it in some barbecue sauce. Consider taking home a few frozen pies to heat up at home.
Pluckers is extra special to the university community because it was started by two University of Texas students back in 1991. The restaurant’s specialty is its spicy (and sweet) wings dipped in your choice of a variety of sauces. Some sauces to try are: Dr. Pepper, Gold Rush, and Medium Hot. Holy Macaroni is by far the standout appetizer, but if you’re hungry go for the Appetizer Sampler and have a taste of everything. The fried pickles are also well-loved. Wings can be enjoyed in the restaurant, taken out, or delivered.
Sushi Niichi is the only affordable sushi I think I’ll ever recommend. You get a meal that could be priced much higher at a rock-bottom price. This restaurant has the feeling of a family-owned operation with no fuss. Their menu features a variety of roll options. The service is quick and polite. Happy hour is 4-6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
Hot SlicesDespite its recent name change (formerly Slices and Ices), this small pizzeria hasn’t changed much. The friendly staff and delicious New York style pizza has made it a favorite of students and faculty for years. Pizzas offered change slightly day-to-day, but cheese and pepperoni pizzas are always on the menu. When it’s available, the eggplant parmesan pizza is a crowd pleaser. The frozen lemonade is the perfect treat on a hot August day.
Cuatros is an affordable hot spot to drink a beer and watch a game on one of their many extra-big screen TVs. It’s in the heart of West Campus and is always packed on game day. There is ample outdoor seating in an open-air patio, so bring your dog. The menu consists of burgers and fajitas. Check out the full bar and drink specials. Be warned that finding parking can be tough.
Madam Mam’s has been a staple on The Drag for many years. It offers a wide variety of Thai dishes, all moderately priced. Service can be slow and inattentive, but the delicious and spicy Thai food makes up for it -- especially the pad thai.
Big Bite doesn’t close until 4:00 a.m. There’s a reason. It’s the place to go after a night downtown to satisfy the late night munchies. Pizza, burgers, steaks and wings are one the menu, but people go to Big Bite for their Phat sandwiches. This restaurant puts nearly every fried food imaginable in a bun. Imagine fried cheese, chicken strips, and, all drizzled in marinara or ranch on a sandwich. All sandwiches are less than $10.
Kerbey Lane is a campus staple. The Kerbey Queso is restaurant’s best known menu option. It’s a vat of melted white cheese with generous nougat of fresh guacamole hidden beneath the surface. It’s a flavor sensation. Their specialty pancakes would make plain-ole buttermilk embarrassed. Some favorites include: apple cinnamon, strawberry, and other seasonal options, such as pumpkin. Kerbey Lane has seasonal menus, which I highly recommend ordering off of. This restaurant is vegetarian and vegan friendly.