The Best Queso in Austin: My Top 5 Picks

June 6, 2013

It seems that something called Blog con Queso should have a Top Queso List…so here’s my Best Queso in Austin roundup. This list changes sometimes, but these seem to always end up on top. If you’re in Austin, and you’re craving some queso, here are my Top 5…in current order.

1. Bob Armstrong Dip from Matt’s El Rancho. This one doesn’t ever stray far from the top. Matt’s El Rancho isn’t hip or fancy or even outstandingly interesting or anything. It’s old school Austin and this queso is just the best. It does have meat in it though, so you have to be okay with that.

Here’s the story: Bob Armstrong was a Texas politician who walked into the restaurant kitchen one day and asked for something different for an appetizer, something not on the menu. The owner’s son (who is also named Matt) just threw everything he could think of into a bowl and covered it with queso. Bob loved it, went back to the Capitol and told everyone about it… and people began coming in and asking for “that Bob Armstrong dip that’s not on the menu.” Thus, a legend was born.

And here’s the recipe if you want to make it at home. (I can never make it at home as well.) This is straight from Matt Martinez “Mex Tex” a cookbook of traditional Tex-Mex taste. If you don’t own this book, you should. (Go ahead and buy it right now, right here.) You’re welcome.

2. Kerbey Queso or Cowboy Queso from Kerbey Lane Cafe. The original Kerbey Lane (on Kerbey Lane) is just up the street from where my parents used to live and I’ve spent a lot of time there. So, there’s something about this queso that tastes like home to me. You can get it straight up, or the Kerbey Queso adds avocado and tomato (which is my fave) and the Cowboy Queso adds black beans too…which is awesome. They have great chips too.

Another good thing about Kerbey Lane Cafe is that your dining partner can have S’mores Pancakes while you eat queso. My dining partner always enjoys that part.

3. Diablo Sol Food at Maudies. Maudie’s represents normal Austin to me. I don’t think anyone who doesn’t live here ever goes here. Maybe. But while there are many more “Austin” places to go, this is the one place that my Austin friends hit for margaritas and queso after a long day. In other words, I’ve heard the phrase, “Screw it, let’s go to Maudies,” more than twice this week.

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4. Mag Mud from Magnolia Cafe. This reminds me of Austin in the 1990s. And Magnolia Cafe on South Congress is an institution…it’s also something you should for sure experience after midnight…that’s when it really gets good. Trust me on this.
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5. Green Chili Queso at Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue. This is the new one on my list. Both for BBQ and for the Queso. The BBQ is good and recommended. Pricy, but recommended. The green chili in the queso is added in the perfect amount and this is one I’ve been craving recently. It’s worth checking out.

The photo above is Hula Hut on Lake Austin. You can read more about it here.  

So there’s my queso list. Want to know some of my other Austin recommendations. Here you go:

Top Things to Taste in Austin:

Top 5 Tacos
Best BBQ in Town
3 Exceptional Margaritas
Best Chips and Salsa
Top 5 Austin Food Trucks
The Best Little Sushi Joints in Texas
Two Perfect Scoops
Cocktails at the Eastside Showroom
Catfish at Shady Grove
Fill Your Picnic Basket at Jo’s

Have any other Austin favorites? Let me know!

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  • Reply Barchbo June 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

    When I was pregnant, my doctor put me on a high-fat, no-carb diet and I took to eating queso by the bowlful. I fell in love with Zocalo queso con carne though I do love a good Bob Armstrong dip.

  • Laura Harrison Mayes
    Reply Laura June 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Barchbo, I have never had Zocalo queso. I think we’ve found our first summer to do list item.

  • Reply alicia June 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Dude… We (myself + two Whimseybox team members) moved from Houston to Boulder, CO in March and the #1 thing everyone misses about TX (more than their family!) is the queso.

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  • Reply Natalie Larch March 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    where’s torchys tacos at???????

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