top of page

Best Places to Eat in San Marcos, TX

San Marcos, Texas is a vibrant city nestled in between Austin and San Antonio, known for its rich history, beautiful river, and thriving local food scene. San Marcos is a hidden gem when it comes to culinary delights! This charming Central Texas city offers a diverse array of eateries that cater to every taste and occasion. Whether you're a local or a visitor, there are endless options to satisfy your cravings.

A Full Day of Eats

Breakfast: Whether you're grabbing a quick breakfast on your way to work, or wandering around The Square on a Saturday morning, Babe's Doughnut Co. has the perfect breakfast options to kick-start your day. Babe's has great lattes, a variety of unique and filling doughnuts, and delicious breakfast sandwiches, including their very own Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit.

Root Cellar Cafe

Lunch: For a hearty midday meal, head to The Root Cellar Cafe. This cozy basement eatery is famous for the its eclectic menu featuring items like the Better Than Mom's Meatloaf, a Marinated Eggplant Sandwich, and a Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. Pair your meal with one of their craft beers or a refreshing iced tea.

Dinner: Cap off your day with a visit to Hays County BBQ. Renowned for its

mouth-watering smoked meats, this barbeque joint serves up everything from brisket to sausage with delectable sides like mac 'n' cheese and potato salad. The laid-back, rustic vibe is exactly what you need to live your best Texan life.

Dessert: For a post-dinner sweet treat, stop by Rhea's Ice Cream for unique homemade flavors including Goat Cheese & Raspberry Jam, Vegan Avocado Coconut, and Circus Animal Cookie. This delicious scoop on a homemade waffle cone will satisfy your sweet tooth after a full day of eats.

Weekend Breakfast Spots

Weekends in San Marcos are for leisurely strolls around The Downtown Square and floating down the San Marcos River. Here are some of the best breakfast and brunch spots to start your weekend the right way.

Jo's Cafe: This hidden cottage offers a cozy setting and a menu packed with breakfast classics including the French Toast Plate, an incredible Breakfast Burrito, and the Pancake Plate. Jo's Cafe also has a unique coffee menu with a variety of specialty drinks, making this a perfect spot to stop by for a quick coffee run before heading to the river or hitting the Tanger Outlets to shop.

Blue Dahlia Bistro

Blue Dahlia Bistro: Start your day at Blue Dahlia Bistro, a charming spot known for its European-style breakfast. Blue Dahlia offers elevated options that use organic and local products such as Vegetarian Eggs Benedict, Blueberry Blintzes, and Pearl Sugar Belgian Waffles. The quaint atmosphere and friendly service make it a perfect morning retreat.

Cafe on the Square: For a hearty and classic breakfast with that old-timey dinner feel, check out Cafe on the Square. Right in the middle of Downtown, Cafe on the Square offers delicious options including Chicken Fried Steak, Huevos Rancheros, and Buttermilk Pancakes. This is a perfect spot to sit down for a delicious meal before checking out the San Marcos Farmers Market or popping into the vintage shops that are scattered around The Square.

Post River Lunch 

Whether you spent the morning kayaking down the San Marcos River, shopping at the Tanger Outlets, or playing pickleball at Rio Vista Park, there are plenty of places to refuel for lunch. 

Alvin Ord’s: For a sandwich packed with flavor and history, stop by Alvin Ord’s Sandwich Shop. A beloved spot that has become famous for its delectable and hearty sandwiches for decades, Alvin Ord’s is committed to quality and flavor in every bite. Some must-try options include The Salvation and The Roast Beef. The casual, laid-back atmosphere at Alvin Ord’s makes it an ideal spot for a relaxed lunch with friends or a quick bite after a morning full of activities.

Ivar's River Pub

Ivar’s River Pub: Located right on the riverbank, Ivar’s River Pub offers a relaxed setting with a stunning view. Enjoy their famous River Pub Burger or the refreshing Ahi Tuna Salad. The outdoor seating area is perfect for soaking up the sun while you dine. 

Herbert’s Taco Hut: For an authentic

Tex-Mex experience, Herbert’s Taco Hut is the place to go. This family-owned restaurant has been serving up

mouth-watering Mexican dishes since 1976 and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Be sure to try the Herbert’s Special for a little bit of everything or the Beef Fajitas for delicious meat full of flavor. The warm and inviting atmosphere, coupled with the incredible food, makes Herbert’s Taco Hut a perfect lunch destination for anyone in town. 

Date Night Dinners 

When it’s time for a romantic evening out, San Marcos has several options that set the perfect mood. 

Cody’s Bistro and Lounge: This upscale bistro offers a refined dining experience with a menu that blends modern American and Mediterranean flavors. Start with the Seared Scallops and then go for the Rack of Lamb or the Grilled Salmon. The intimate ambiance and excellent wine list makes Cody’s Bistro and Lounge an ideal spot for a special night. 

North Street Curry Shop

North Street: For a more relaxed date night with incredible and unique curry dishes, check out North Street Curry Shop. Nestled in the heart of Downtown San Marcos, North Street is definitely a favorite among locals, as the warm and inviting atmosphere along with the delightful array of comforting dishes including Chicken Tikka Masala and Saag Paneer, both served with coconut rice and papadum, as well as delicious Samosas and Chicken Wings, make this a perfect spot to enjoy a special evening out, or a carryout night in. Pair your meal with one of their many craft beers or a fantastic latte to elevate this cozy date night experience.

Palmer’s Restaurant, Bar & Courtyard: Known for its Southern-inspired cuisine and beautiful courtyard, Palmer’s is perfect for a romantic dinner. Try the Crispy Brie to start, then move on to the Garlic Confit Ribeye or the Pecan Crusted Chicken paired with delicious sides chosen by the Chef, and don’t miss out on their signature cocktails. The outdoor seating under the twinkling lights creates a magical dining experience. 

San Marcos, Texas is a treasure trove of many things, including culinary delights, offering something for everyone. From breakfast to dinner, these top spots ensure you’ll enjoy every bite as you explore this charming city. Bon Appetit!   


bottom of page