Texas Hill Country

Nestled between cities like Austin and San Antonio, two foodie meccas in their own right, the Texas Hill Country is a sprawling swath of pastoral paradise that’s low-key one of the most immersive and singular dining destinations in the U.S. Marked by rolling hills, mesquite-filled forests, and bucolic farmland across quaint towns like Dripping Springs, Driftwood, and Lockhart, it’s a region as fertile as it is beautiful and as savorous as it is scenic, filled with restaurants, bars, breweries, and bakeries that showcase heritage, history, and terroir.

The Texas Hill Country is rightfully renowned as a barbecue bastion, home to quintessential Texas-style ‘cue and some of the best in the nation. It’s also known for its burgeoning wine country and wine bars and its distinct distilleries and breweries anchored on vast plots of forested land. Conveniently close to two of Texas’ biggest cities and yet agrarian enough to feel worlds away, a hungry romp through the Hill Country makes for one of the most epic food-centric road trips. From chef-driven showcases to the first sotol distillery in the U.S., here are 16 of the best places to eat and drink in the Texas Hill Country.

Tillie’s in Dripping Springs

Tillie's dining room area

Nestled on a lush ranch in Dripping Springs, at a farmland wedding venue called Camp Lucy, it doesn’t get much more picture-perfect than Tillie’s. Billed as "American Nouveau" cuisine, with all-day menus courtesy of chef Andy Knudson, the restaurant serves seasonal, locally driven dishes as beautiful as the soaring, cathedral-like dining room.

Considering its emphasis on seasonality, the menus change on a whim, exhibiting the very best — and freshest — in Texas terroir. Served inside an ornate, lofty dining room lined with timber columns and saintly statuettes, offerings include spicy Brussels sprouts with chili jam, pumpkin ravioli with lemon gremolata, grilled amberjack with Sri Lankan curry, and Texas pecan sundaes with whiskey caramel. This being wine country, there’s a robust wine list with plenty of Lone Star State representation, along with intricate cocktails made from local spirits.

Jester King Brewery in Austin

Holding beer on hiking trail

With its gargantuan parking lot and roving walkways past barns and through the woods, this Hill Country’s quintessential brewery looks more like a theme park than a beer bar — which is precisely what makes Jester King Brewery so special. Utterly immersive and enchanting, perched on the hilly nether regions of Austin, this colossal property boasts numerous beer-centric bars, a food truck, a pizza-focused kitchen, a goat barn, a hiking trail through the forest, and ample acres of fruitful farmland.

Altogether, the property boasts 165 acres of scenic splendor, filled with tons of picnic tables and space for groups, families, and beer connoisseurs. Adamant about using ingredients grown on its own farm, Jester King features rigorously seasonal beverages, like a farmhouse ale brewed with smoked malt and juniper and an imperial stout made with Hill Country well water and Texas pale malt. The food follows suit, with kale pesto pizzas with pickled radishes and cauliflower and rotating specials like ramen, biscuit sandwiches, and funfetti cake. The latest addition to the property is a permanently parked food truck serving crowd-pleasers like pulled pork sandwiches, smash burgers, soft pretzels, and black bean chili fries.

Old Fashioned drinks on table
Deep Eddy Vodka Tasting Room
Dessert Door distillery patio
Barbecue brisket and turkey platter