Living in Austin for the majority of my life, I’ve had the blessing and the curse of easy access to queso whenever I want. It's a blessing because it is quite possibly the best invention out of the state of Texas. On the flip side, it's a curse because if I could have my way, I’d dine on queso for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and end up the size of ten people. That being said, take a look at the top 10 queso spots in Austin from a native Austinite and a queso veteran. For those less fortunate (out-of-staters), queso is not simply “melted cheese”. See, and taste, for yourself.
1. Torchy’s Tacos
Not only does Torchy’s make damn good tacos, but their queso is by far the best in Austin. Or anywhere for that matter. The Green Chile Queso has a dollop of guacamole, topped off with Diablo Sauce, Torchy’s famous hot sauce, queso fresco, and cilantro. I would definitely go just for the queso.
2. Magnolia Café
If you’ve found yourself at this 24/7 diner, then there’s no way you haven’t tried Mag Mud — queso with avocado and pico de gallo. You can also get it with beans, which people love but personally I stick with Mag Queso (without beans). You can satisfy your queso craving any hour of the day at Magnolia Café and it just so happens to be one of my favorites.
3. Matt’s El Rancho
Matt’s Famous El Rancho’s Bob Armstrong Dip is mouth-wateringly sinful. Like really, really good. Matt’s El Rancho is an Austin icon, and this dip is part of the reason why. A savory queso with beef, pico, and guacamole will definitely leave you satisfied. Maybe a little too satisfying, but it’s well worth it.
4. Abel’s on the Lake
Yet another Austin favorite restaurant. (Hmm… maybe there’s a reason to this pattern.) Abel’s on the Lake offers vegetarian style queso, with a generous addition of guacamole and, sour cream, Their Queso Especial comes with spicy taco meat, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Either way, you’re #winning.
Another Austin staple Tex-Mex restaurant, Chuy’s has one of the best tasting quesos in town. With just the right amount of spiciness, kick things up a notch by mixing it with their free, fresh salsa and you’ve got yourself some queso compuesto. On weekdays, their happy hour includes free queso in their salsa bar! So, what are you waiting for?
6. Kerbey Lane
Those in West Campus are no stranger to Kerbey Lane, the 24 hour diner on The Drag that is always crowded, whether it's 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. Besides being known for their pancakes, the Kerbey Queso is perhaps it's most popular menu item. This white cheesy goodness comes with pico de gallo, guacamole, and cilantro. Of course, you can order it without, but why would you mess with a good thing?
Maudie’s is one my personal favorite Tex Mex restaurants in general, and their queso might just be one of the reasons. With several Austin locations, Maudie’s offers regular queso and queso compuesto. This is the most classic queso, and I promise it won’t disappoint.
8. El Mercado
El Mercado loves their college customers, so thank you El Mercado waiters and waitresses, you guys are far too kind. If you have the chance to make it to El Mercado and satisfy your Tex Mex addiction, I suggest ordering their queso. Bet you didn’t see that coming! It’s got enough kick without being too overpowering and frankly I could just have that for dinner if only spring break wasn't looming so near.
9. Cantina Laredo
For a fun GNO or BroNO (is that a thing?), head to Cantina Laredo in downtown Austin. But don’t leave the establishment without ordering their queso. Top Ten in Austin, people, top ten.
10.Tacos & Tequila: TNT
Tacos & Tequila: God’s gift to this world. But truly, their queso is to die for. Yeah, I know, cliché but seriously try it. They have the options of classic, beef chorizo, spicy mushroom, and spinach artichoke. So many options you might just have to share with their Queso Flight. You can also dip skewers of spicy Sriracha chicken, steak, rojo shrimp, or veggies. YUM.
Bon appétit! Sorry for making you gain the Freshman 15 – maybe the Queso Quince? – all over again. Actually, I’m not sorry.