10 Things to Eat in Austin’s International District: Check out these hidden gems on North Lamar – Food

The guava cake at Tropicana Cuban Restaurant (photo by Yasmin Diallo Turk)

Whenever I don’t know what to eat, I head up North Lamar to Austin’s International District. It has variety not found anywhere else in town and does not disappoint. Here are 10 places worth a try when you visit the district.

Selam Market and Cafe

Tucked away on the side of a small shopping center is a market selling Ethiopian essentials on one side and serving up traditional dishes and coffee on the other side. Beef Tibs, a dish of marinated beef chunks cooked with green peppers and onions and served on injera bread (gluten free when made in-house) is the specialty and definitely worth a try.

Shahi Foods

Hands down, the best samosa I have had in Austin is in a small hot box next to the cash register at Shahi Foods, the international grocery store/ Bengali restaurant. The beef samosa is perfectly spiced, but the potato and chicken samosas are almost as good.

Babylon Mediterranean Food

In the parking lot of Shahi Foods is a brand new Iraqi food truck that offers uniquely Iraqi dishes as well as traditional Arabic food truck options such as falafel and kebabs. It is all good, but the two-skewer kufta kebab wrap is a solid choice to start. (no website, located at 12410 N. Lamar Blvd.)

Tutti Frutti

A can’t-miss item on North Lamar is chocoflan, a luscious combination dessert of chocolate cake on the bottom and flan on the top. Tutti Frutti offers them in Texas-size portions that make this spot worth a visit to the International District.

Santorini Cafe

On the all-day breakfast menu at Greek restaurant Santorini Cafe is a gyro omelet. It is hearty and flavorful.


Che is a Vietnamese sweet beverage, and Bambu Che Coffee and Teas has many combinations. You can try this drink with red, white, or mung beans as well as jellies and tapiocas. The #6 Che Trai Cay is a combination of lychee, longan, red tapioca, jackfruit, pam see, jello, pandan jelly, and coconut in one drink.

Baklava House

There is a wide variety of Arabic pastries behind the counter at Baklava House, but you don’t want to miss the pistachio-filled crunchy pastry called borma.

Tropicana Cuban Restaurant

In addition to a full menu and bar, Tropicana offers a cake filled with a generous layer of guava jam. The guava cake pairs perfectly with a Cuban cafecito.

Baguette House and Cafe

When I want a banh mi sandwich, Baguette House’s #12 Cajun Shrimp Baguette hits the spot. Generous amounts of cilantro, shrimp, and jalapenos.

El Chapin Veloz

This Guatemalan food stand sells some of the best carne asada, which is marinated and grilled steak strips served with rice and roasted pepper.

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