Guide to Eating Low FODMAP in South Austin
Vibe: hopping upscale Mexican
Good for: special occasions
I’m usually mistrustful of any Mexican food trying to be fancy. Tacos are supposed to be straightforward and cheap after all. El Alma is pretty much the only exception to the rule. I think it’s because they’re not trying too hard – the food is just really good and I’m willing to pay a but more for that 😉
My standard order: tacos obviously. The pato, lamb barbacoa, and carne asada are all amazing. Remember to ask for no onions! Also heads up: a lot of their drinks, especially the margaritas, have agave syrup which is high in FODMAPs (fructose). Ask for no agave (promise the margs still taste as good without it)!
Vibe: backyard brewpub
Good for: dinner with a group
ABGB is a combo brewery, music venue, and pizzeria. And they have pretty good gluten free pizza and a sweet outdoor space.
My standard order: they have some rotating specials that usually have unusual / different ingredients that I’ll usually get. Just watch out for (and ask for your pizza without) things like apple, onions, shallots, and garlic!
Vibe: quirky & hip
Good for: lunch with a friend
Marc isn’t a big sushi fan, so this is my go-to lunch spot when he’s not involved 😉. It’s a super cute little spot, and they’ve got some cool & unique art in the space too.
My standard order: I’m super boring when it comes to sushi, so I’ll order whatever’s the closest to salmon and avocado haha. Note: if you’re watching your FODMAPs avoid tempura for obvious reasons and anything with lots of sauces.
Vibe: Hip burger joint
Good for: Lunch or dinner when it’s nice outside and you’re not starving (expect to wait in line)
Hopdoddy is an Austin classic, and the original location – with its around-the-building line – is an experience you shouldn’t miss. In case you’re not familiar: it’s counter service and they don’t take reservations, so there’s usually a line out the door and around the corner. Don’t let that intimidate you though – it’s never taken us more than 30-45 mins in line and they’ve got their system down.
My standard order: They’ve got great homemade gluten free buns here. I’m a burger minimalist (actually I’m a food minimalist in general), so we usually get either the Thunderbird (no pico or aioli) or the Continental Club (no sundried tomato, mayo, or onion).
Vibe: Authentic Italian gelato shop
Good for: sweet midday snacks
We all know I love Italy, and I’m pretty sure I read about this place before we even moved to Austin. Now, obviously gelato isn’t low FODMAP. But it’s all about quantity, and I choose to use my FODMAPs on gelato 😆. I’m picky about it too, and this stuff is the real deal.
My standard order: Always get two flavors. You’ll usually find me with stracciatella and something unusual. Or coffee. Also note: I’ll always get a cup, because while I do spend FODMAPs on gelato, I DO NOT waste them on cones 😉
Vibe: Cozy Italian comfort food
Good for: Nice dinner or date night
This is actually two restaurants – there’s Vespaio Ristorante and Enoteca Vespaio, it’s more casual sibling. Both are great and serve legit Italian food, and as a bonus: Vespaio Ristorante serves really good gluten free pasta!
My standard order: Um, everything is delicious, but you can’t go wrong with cacio e pepe or bolognese.
Vibe: Quirky-cool tacos
Good for: Lunch, quick dinner
I’ve got mixed feelings about Torchy’s — we actually haven’t eaten there since they closed down their original food truck location, which was the best IMO. They’ve got a ton of other locations now (even in Denver!) and while I’m happy for them, I am sad the food truck is gone. All the new shiny buildings just seem odd to me 😂
That’s a personal problem though, and you really can’t visit Austin without a trip to the world famous taco joint. For something close to the original vibe visit the first brick & mortar, and for a more modern feel visit the newer location on S Congress.
My standard order: Some of my favorites are the green chile pork, republican, & mr. orange. (I usually get two.) All on corn tortillas, and without onions or pico (which has onions). I’ll usually leave on cheese and cilantro and ask for them without any other sauces too.
Vibe: Bright & airy entree salads
Good for: Lunch
Vinaigrette is a fairly new find for me, but as someone who gets salads often out of necessity (they’re easy to make low FODMAP), I get excited when I experience a salad that’s ACTUALLY good. And that’s exactly what Vinaigrette does. Think simple but interesting ingredients already combined for you (because let’s be honest, if I’m the one making the salad there’s only a 50% chance the random things I put in there are actually going to be good together), and tons of options.
My standard order: I think I got the Cherry Tart, without the cherries. 😂 But any are easily low FODMAP! Just watch out for ingredients like apples, onions, shallots, or creamy dressings.
Real South & Other
These places are not technically in Austin, but they’re worth a visit and still some of our faves!
Jester King Brewery
Vibe: Modern farm with beer
Good for: Afternoon jaunt, hanging out with friends
Jester King was practically brand new when we moved to Austin, and it’s been fun to watch them grow and add to their property. What was once just a brewery and some picnic tables in the middle of nowhere is now headed towards full-blown farm status, complete with goats, hops, and I think maybe fruit trees. And apparently rabbits are next. If you’re into beer definitely do the brewery tour and nerd out with the brew masters as they tell you about spontaneously fermented brews and the like. Or just grab a glass and chill under the trees!
My standard order: I love that they do smaller taster pours – really 12oz of beer is my limit before I don’t feel well – and this lets me try a couple! They’re always changing out their selection and they always have some funky ones as well as a few slightly closer to “normal” (but don’t come here expecting a lager). Everyone is super nice and happy to let you taste or explain the selection to you before you commit.
They also are expanding their restaurant and I had some sourdough with the best butter last time we were there too!
Treaty Oak Distillery
Vibe: Hill country ranch
Good for: When you’re done at Jester King 😉
Just down the road from Jester King is Treaty Oak, if you’re more into liquor than beer (or if you want both haha). It’s a similar vibe to Jester King, with lots of land, picnic tables, and yard games.
My standard order: If you’re a gin person, definitely try their gin. It’s made with local spices and is a nice changeup from the standard gin taste! They’ve also got a restaurant, but it looks like they’ve changed the menu since I’ve been there last! The food we got there in the past was good though.
Vibe: Backyard BBQ
Good for: Celebrations with a group, when your fam visits
While I’m not going to argue that Salt Lick comes anywhere close to the best barbecue in the area (see Lamberts for that), the experience is not to be missed. Think “park in a big gravel lot, byob, and hang out while you wait for your table to be called. Come hungry but not starving, as you will definitely have to wait like 30-45 mins.
My standard order: Everything? I’ve always been here with a group and we always share several plates. I’d go for the brisket, sausage, ribs and/or turkey!