Only The Best: Top Five Austin Texas Food Carts For SXSW Visitors

As we all know Austin is about to be swarmed with tourists in town for SXSW. A lot of these friendly out of towners are going to need sustenance to maintain their decadent lifestyle of wine, food and song.

This article is for these sybarites.

The current hot trend in Austin (and lots of other cities) is food cart dining. My top 5 carts, in no particular order, follow:

La Canaria: I’ve been eating from taquera Maria’s tiny kitchen for years. Homemade tortillas, best gorditas in town, great posole and long operating hours make this a good option for SXSW visitors.

E 51st St & Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

Three Little Pigs: One of the old lions of Austin’s fine dining scene is now in his own cart as chef/operator. Chef Raymond Tatum’s ethos is to honor the entire pig from the nose to the tail by eating it. My favorite items on his menu are the Pork Belly, Meatloaf with Collards and Grits and his Thai Green Curry Noodle with Roasted Pork Butt. Meats are sourced from Niman Ranch. As an added bonus Chef Tatum is in the parking lot of a very well-stocked wine store: East End Wines

1209 Rosewood Ave
Austin, TX 78702


Chef Bryce Gilmore has handed the reigns over to his brother so that he may concentrate on his brick and mortar operation; Barley Swine. I haven’t been to Odd Duck since Chef Gilmore left but reports confirm that there has been no drop in quality. All Texas based sourcing with amazing pork dishes, grits, cheeses, eggs and greens. Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in Austin have come from Odd Duck.

1219 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

La Flor: Best hand patted (a vanishing art) corn tortillas in Austin, best desebrada in Austin, top flight salsa and a careful rendering of the classics put Chef Angela’s kitchen near the top of Austin’s food cart scene.

4901 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78745

El Taco Rico: Some may find it odd that the best Mexican restaurant in Austin is a cart in a laundry mat parking lot. I don’t. Chef Yolanda Sanchez-Cornejo’s pressed corn tortillas are the finest in town, her barbacoa is San Antonio-quality, which is to say world-class. She also puts out the best tostada in the city and her breakfast tacos are the best I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. Austin has a world-class Mexican restaurant…and it’s in a cart…in a laundry mat parking lot. Deep Fried Mourning Dove Enchiladas anyone?

810 Vargas Rd
Austin, TX 78741


Added March 2012: East Side King (In parking lot of The Grackle) One of my new favorite food carts. They’re religious on honoring their hours-an oddity in the fly by night world of Austin food carts. The food is insanely good. They offer two vegetarian options  (eggplant and/or mushrooms) that are as good as any meat-based dish in town. Coming from a rampant omnivore that is the highest praise I can accord a restaurant. However, the chicken karaage and pork belly dishes stand near the top of my favorite plates of food in Austin.

1700 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

There are well over  a thousand food carts in Austin currently. This is just a tiny, scratching of the surface of this vast scene. Countless other trailers race about town with quality  varying  from dismal to truly great. I’ll put hot links in comments below for some other good websites documenting this part of Austin’s restaurant scene.

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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13 Responses to Only The Best: Top Five Austin Texas Food Carts For SXSW Visitors

  1. RL Reeves Jr says:
    Never heard of dishola before but they have quite a bit of cart information

  2. RL Reeves Jr says:


    Austin culture east of highway 35

  3. CarterB says:

    I tried La Flor Saturday morning. I went gringo and got a bacon and egg and potato and egg taco (too early for “lunch” meats for me). They didn’t ask and I didn’t offer and I got flour tortillas by default. I’d rate both tacos as ok. Presumably I should get corn and the meats you suggest next time…

  4. RL Reeves Jr says:

    Angela’s breakfast tacos are fine but she’s a meat expert. I haven’t had her flour tortillas in forever because her hand patted corn are extraordinary.


    If you make your way back down there be sure and try her desebrada.



  5. RL Reeves Jr says:


    SXSW chimes in along side with austin food cart news for sxsw visitors

  6. Tony says:

    Cool write up! You should def. try Tacos Selene for some authentic tacos. They have everything from pastor to tongue. It’s by far one of my favorite trailers in town. You’ve inspired me to go to Taco Rico though. Do you know where I can get more info about them?

  7. RL Reeves Jr says:

    I like Tacos Selene and have written about it in the past. However, Yolanda over at El Taco Rico takes the taco to an entirely different level.

    El Taco Rico is at 809 Vargas, she’s been written about quite a bit both here and on the rest of the internet. She’s closed on Monday

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