5 to Try: Chips and Queso in Austin

Tread beyond Texan borders and you'll find yourself mercilessly struggling to locate anything evocative of legitimate chips and queso. While it seems pretty simple for anyone to concoct a savory rendition of this melted cheese and tortilla chip dish (typically paired with perfect proportions of guacamole, peppers, spinach and tomato), we unapologetically do it better here in Austin. Every time. Capitalizing on the city's varying--albeit flawless--versions of this common appetizer is a must, and we've done all the dirty work of taste-testing each yummy type, from Mad Mud to Cowboy . Calm thy fears and dig into our top 5 picks for best chips and queso in Austin.

Updated: August 02, 2010

Chips and Queso in Austin

Kerbey Lane Cafe

2606 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

This perpetual Fourth Meal standby rarely fails and has been serving up its gooey-hot Cowboy queso 24 hours a day, every day, for two decades. While service can certainly be hit-or-miss (we, too, would be annoyed with wailing 3am hungry drunkards en masse), the black bean and guacamole queso topped with pico de gallo proves well-worth the headache.


1816 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

For lovers of a lighter consistency but sharper taste, hail to the Choriqueso at this local South Austin restaurant. The homemade corn tortillas impeccably compliment the queso fresca infused with homemade chorizo and poblano peppers, and the patio with weekly live music continuously hits the spot.

Magnolia Cafe

2304 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

On weekend mornings, you can usually expect an hour-long wait, but old-school Austinites know it's worth it: the thick and creamy Magnolia's Mad Mud chips and queso are legendary.

Torchy's Taco's

1207 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

It's served in a sweaty Styrofoam cup, yes, but Torchy's green chili queso is quite arguably the best in Austin. A cheesy bath for your breakfast taco is a socially acceptable method of consumption, but (and we say this with conviction) it is best eaten within a state of solitary nirvana.

Sao Paulo's Restaurante

2809 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78705

The knock-out puff-fried chips at this Brazilian north campus gem go beyond serving as a vessel for the thick, marbled queso (and, thank heavens, are bottomless with each order).