Thanksgiving in Austin: Where to Find the Ultimate Feast
Whether you’re dining in or grabbing a bite to-go, celebrate the season with festive plates from lauded restaurants and bakeries
By Holly Cowart
When it comes down to it, there’s so much to be grateful for. Although at times this year has felt like 2020’s bad hangover, we were also able to once again embrace loved ones, travel to homelands and return to our favorite businesses. Some of us simply made it out of bed, and that’s to be applauded too. But in the blink of an eye, fast approaches one of our country’s favorite food-centric holidays: Thanksgiving.
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If there’s one thing we appreciate in Austin, it’s a well-made meal. Thankfully we’re surrounded by dining hotspots and talented chefs that create incredible dining experiences to match our great expectations and even greater appetites. If you’re still looking to nail down brunch or dinner plans, we’ll help you take the guessing game out of Thanksgiving and cut straight to the best part — toasting with friends and family while gathering around a truly delicious feast. Here are some fabulous options for dining out, grabbing to-go or completing the day with the perfect dessert for your holiday gathering.
Where To Dine Out
This year the hotels have it down with prix fixe menus and gorgeous city views
1. The Peacock at Austin Proper Hotel
Situated at the end of 2nd Street’s picturesque Butterfly Bridge inside Austin Proper Hotel, The Peacock is a Mediterranean restaurant with warm, inviting decor and tempting wood-grilled dishes. This Thanksgiving they’re creating a special holiday menu filled with traditional fare, decadent desserts and wine deals. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., entree plates are $46 dollars per person and dessert plates are $14 per person. Reserve your table here.
2. Summer House on Music Lane at Hotel Magdalena
Hotel Magdalena’s charming open-kitchen restaurant Summer House on Music Lane is letting guests choose their own adventure with multiple plate options per course. Whether you order a classic Thanksgiving lineup or savory prime rib, pumpkin pie or apple crisp — you really can’t go wrong. Then, walk it all off with a chilly stroll down vibrant South Congress. However, reservations are filling up fast, with limited seating still remaining for smaller parties.
3. TRACE at W Austin
W Austin’s ever-popular TRACE is preparing a flavorful three-course prix fixe meal for the season, complete with food options for every taste from Apple Cider Glazed Turkey to Roasted Stuffed Delicata Squash. Creatively festive cocktails are also on the menu, including a Pumpkin Pie Martini and Cranberry Mule. Dinner starts at $72 with seating availability for 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to book a table or call 512-542-3660 for more information.
4. Group Therapy at Hotel ZaZa Austin
Frankly we could all use a little Group Therapy to cope with the rapid arrival of the holidays. Luckily, Hotel ZaZa’s delightful downtown eatery and sky lounge is going all out with four courses of specially-made Thanksgiving dishes for $75 per person. In true GT fashion, the curated menu will offer elevated surf n’ turf favorites alongside something called “The Feast,” which features an assortment of irresistible classics with Garlic Brined Turkey Breast as the centerpiece. Reservations can be made here.
5. Carpenter’s Hall at the Carpenter Hotel
Tucked inside the enchanting, vintage-modern furniture-filled Carpenter Hotel lies Carpenter’s Hall, a cozy neighborhood joint known for globally-infused plates rooted in traditional Texas flavors. Head over with friends and family from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for a one-day Thanksgiving special composed of gravy-smothered roasted turkey breast, confit dark meat, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce.
Bonus: Geraldine’s at Hotel Van Zandt
If anyone knows how to create a fun seasonal experience, it’s Geraldine’s. Although Thanksgiving dinner reservations are fully booked up, the Rainey Street staple is hosting a Friendsgiving menu of Friends-inspired cocktails from now until December 30th. Fans of the show (and spirits) can enjoy inventive sips like “We Were On a Break” and “Ms. Chanandler Bong.” To get in the giving spirit, $1 from each drink sold will benefit nonprofit No Kid Hungry. The hotel is also offering 15 percent off of its best current rates along with two Friendsgiving cocktails on the house for those who stay overnight. Book your reservation here and keep an eye out for the return of their annual Rooftop Igloos, starting December 3rd!
Grab and Go
Where to pre-order your Friendsgiving showstopper or snag last-minute day savers
1. Hoover’s Cooking
Even if you’re farther away from family than you’d like this year, Hoover’s is preparing a home cooked holiday feast to feed the soul, available for carryout through November 24th. Turkeys come roasted, smoked or fried with 15 varieties of sides — choosing one is guaranteed to be impossible. But if there’s one thing you absolutely can’t forget to take home, it’s a made-from-scratch pie or cobbler. Place your order by calling 512-479-5006 or emailing email@example.com, with possible delays in response depending on availability.
2. Old Thousand
If traditional isn’t really your jam, Old Thousand is the perfect stop for an out-of-the-box dinner idea. Both the 11th Street and Burnet Road locations are offering Lucky Family Meals this Thanksgiving filled with modern takes on Chinese-American recipes like General Tso’s Chicken, Xiao Mian and Beef and Broccoli. There’s even a vegetarian option, with both Family Meals feeding up to four. Pre-order for pick up by November 24th by calling 737-222-6637.
They had us at Honey Butter Pull-Apart Rolls. This lovely laid back spot on Holly Street is taking the everyday Thanksgiving traditions and giving them an upgrade with an expansive list of limited-time offerings. Choose between the Bone-In Turkey Breast or Beef Tenderloin meal – plus an array of à la carte sides and dazzling desserts. You have until November 22nd (or until it’s sold out!) to put in a pre-order, which can be done online or by phone at 512-382-1599. Pick up is on November 24th from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Even though dine-in reservations can be harder to come by, you can still enjoy some of Aba’s delicious Mediterranean cuisine from the comfort of home. This year, the buzzy South Congress restaurant is serving up a holiday-inspired takeout menu ideal for two, four or six guests at $59.95 per person. Place your order by November 21st, with pick up and delivery available on November 24th between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5. Terry Black’s BBQ
To be honest, it’s never a bad time for barbecue. And Terry Black’s BBQ on Barton Springs is making it easy to feed even the largest of family gatherings with their Holiday Packs, ranging from $78 – $148. Choose from whole brisket, whole racks of beef or pork spare ribs, or of course whole turkey breast, with a side of frozen pumpkin pie and a bottle of BBQ sauce. Orders must be placed at least 48 hours in advance, with pick up available until November 23rd.
Thank Goodness for Dessert
The cherry on top of any perfect holiday meal
1. Capital City Bakery
This wonderful East Austin bake shop has topped the charts for years with their elegantly decorated confections and delectable breakfast items. For Thanksgiving, they’ve whipped up an assortment of classic pies — with vegan and gluten-free options — available for order from now until November 21st.
2. Texas French Bread
Aside from its striking interiors and cravable bites, this time-honored eatery is also known for from-scratch holiday pastries that never disappoint. Think outside the pie tin and sample an impressive variety of treats from loaves of sweet and savory breads to unique tasting tarts, cakes, cookies and more. Get your orders in by 12 p.m. on November 22nd for arrival just in time for Thanksgiving.
3. Bakery Lorraine
Indulge in some truly dynamic seasonal flavors at Bakery Lorraine. Stop by the Domain NORTHSIDE location to pick up a Cranberry Apple, Roasted Pumpkin, Dutch Apple or Whiskey Pecan Pie, each $26. While there will be some limited pies available to pick up on a first come, first serve basis, the last day to pre-order is November 22nd.
4. Julie Myrtille Bakery
Julie Myrtille pastries are almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Although some of the Thanksgiving mainstays are already sold out (see you next year Pear Almond Pie), there’s still a mouthwatering array of vibrant sweets that are sure to brighten up any holiday table. The bakery will need at least 48 hours notice, with pick up taking place November 22nd to 24th, between 9 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. Try the Carrot Cake, Strawberry Tart or Chocolate Mousse before they’re gone!
5. Quack’s Bakery
No matter which location — the 43rd Street Bakery, Captain Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse or Lady Quackenbush’s Cakery — Quack’s is easily a neighborhood favorite. For Thanksgiving they’ve put together an enticing menu of desserts, including thirteen different types of freshly baked pies. Better yet, pick up is available from now until November 24th, making it easy for last minute grabs that still stand out.