Elizabeth Street Cafe is so sweet it’ll make your teeth hurt, but it was hands-down my favourite lunch spot on my whole Austin trip. Situated down on South 1st Street, right next to a trailer park full of food trucks, the neighborhood Vietnamese café and French bakery is immediately eye-catching, with it’s candy pink and turquoise paint, striped awning and buzzing crowds.
Inside, the cute factor continues throughout the sunny dining rooms, and the mountain of baked goods in the boulangerie will set your mouth watering! It’s a from-scratch bakery that produces baguettes, a variety of croissants, tropically-inspired macarons, éclairs, cream puffs, financiers, bouchons and more – and it smells divine!
Elizabeth Street Cafe does not take bookings for less than eight, but you can grab a drink and wait on the shady porch if there is a line.
Once seated, order a 1/2 Green Tea 1/2 Lemonade (divine!) and have a gander of the menu, which focuses on Vietnamese noodles and Bánh Mì. Kick off with a couple of steamed buns stuffed with Niman Ranch pork belly.
For mains, there’s a choice of Bánh Mì (served in a homemade baguette), Phở (flat rice noodle soup), Bún (vermicelli noodle salad, served cold) and a variety of specials, from crêpes to curries. My Bún was topped with grilled McAllen Ranch flank steak, peanuts and a zesty dressing and was absolutely delicious.
Obviously you can’t leave without sampling the delights of the boulangerie – a pastel-hued lavender macaron and a pistachio éclair, plus an iced Vietnamese coffee (they also offer Stumptown Coffee and teas from The Steeping Room), and I was all set!
You’ll probably need to do a bit of walking to aid digestion after lunch, and I can recommend Roadhouse Relics, situated right opposite the restaurant… If you ask nicely, the neon artist might show you “The Bone Yard” out back…
Elizabeth Street Cafe
1501 S 1st Street, Austin, Texas 78704
Photo credit: Casey Dunn