The weather is warm, the sun is out and it’s time for swimming, sun-bathing and summer fun. From kayaking and paddle-boarding to boating and fishing, the inviting waters of Austin have plenty to offer locals and tourists alike. And when you work up an appetite from all the lake leaping and river romping, there is a mouth-watering medley of delicious restaurants, grills and bars that you can boat, paddle or even swim to. So for all the sun-worshippers and lake-lovers, here’s a list of outstanding restaurants right by the water.
The Oasis – Lake Travis
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Texas, The Oasis is an enormous lakeside restaurant on a stunning 500-acre lot of land perched right by Lake Austin. What began as just a simple ranch house in 1979 has grown to one of the largest restaurants in the world, seating a whopping 2,500 guests! This amazing property is highly sought-after for weddings, special events, and amazing dinners with one-of-a-kind views. The Oasis offers live music, a gift shop filled with trinkets from the Sunset Capital of Texas and a smorgasbord of lunch, dinner and drink options. On the menu you’ll find Tex-Mex style comfort food and good ol’ American cuisine like the Comanche Burger, Chipotle Baby-Back Ribs and Chopped Brisket. So while you’re in Austin visit the Oasis and see one of the most stunning and mammoth restaurants in Texas!
Tip: Try their new Starlight Terrace Dinner menu for a romantic evening by the water.
Abel’s on the Lake – Lake Austin
Located right by the clear waters of Lake Austin, Abel’s on the Lake is a classic all-American restaurant that offers great happy hours, a tap selection of over 60 beers, views for miles and a stick-to-your-ribs menu to keep you full for hours of lake fun. Lovingly referred to as “American food with a Texas drawl”, the menu at Abel’s includes a unique blend of coastal-style cuisine, Tex-Mex, Cajun-fusion and classic American. Some popular menu items include the Louisiana Shrimp Boil, Fish Tacos and Fried Chicken. Abel’s also has a fantastic weekend brunch menu to get your Saturday started right, with decadent breakfasts like Fried Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp Bacon & Cheddar Grits and Buttermilk Pancakes.
Tip: Join the Yomosas Club every Sunday at 10AM for chi-aligning Hatha Yoga with an $8 breakfast taco bar and $2 mimosas.
Ski Shores Cafe – Lake Austin
Located right on the waters of the Colorado River, Ski Shores Cafe is a casual, warm-weather hangout that features frosty drinks, tasty pub food, live music Saturdays and Sundays and fantastic happy hours every day with specials like Margarita Monday, Texas Craft Beer Tuesday and a fun Family night every Friday. The menu at Ski Shores features traditional American food mixed with sea fare and Tex-Mex, with delicious dishes like the Border Burgers, Fried Catfish Basket and Chicken Fajita Tacos. They even have a few meatless options for the vegetarians like the Black Bean Burger and Garden Fresh Salad.
Tip: For a family-friendly fun Friday, visit Ski Shores for a movie by the water with free S’mores for the kiddos.
Lucy’s on the Lake – Lake Austin
A more upscale take on the beloved Austin fried chicken franchise, Lucy’s on the Lake is a gorgeous family-friendly restaurant on Lake Austin that offers outdoor dining with a children’s area, live music and events, an excellent drink menu and delectable fresh dinners for all food fans. While Lucy’s on the Lake still has the classic buckets o’ chicken that they’ve become famous for, they also offer a menu that is slightly more refined, with dishes like wood-fired fresh grilled oysters, Ruby Red Trout Salad and Fried Chicken Spaghetti, along with plenty of cholesterol-packed deliciousness like the Drunken Catfish Sandwich, Chicken Fried Steak and Mac n Cheese.
Tip: Try one of their tasty specialty cocktails like the Hee-Hawlapeno, Front Porch Tea and Lake Cooler.
Ernie’s on the Lake – Lake Travis
Receiving a fresh makeover from the old Carlos n Charlie’s, the charming summer spot Ernie’s on the Lake is a multi-level bar and grill located on the Emerald Point Marina grounds of Lake Travis. This party-friendly lake hangout offers scrumptious snacks, live music, an extensive drink menu and seasonal events for unending fun in the sun. Whether you’re coming from land or water, Ernie’s is easy to access with complimentary docks and plenty of parking. Their delicious menu boasts amazing American cuisine with dishes from land and sea like burgers, loaded fish tacos and fresh oysters. Ernie’s is great for families, friends, parties and hungry lake-goers alike.