Austin, Texas – Magnolia Cafe South

Restaurant: Magnolia Cafe South
Cuisine: American/Breakfast/Brunch/Tex-Mex
Last visited: July 21, 2010
Location: Austin, Texas (South Congress/SoCo)
Address: 1920 South Congress Ave
Price Range: $10USD or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: 2
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 5
Additional comments:

  • Popular for students
  • One of Austin’s most popular diners
  • Very popular to locals
  • Local favourite
  • Austin, Texas feel
  • Line-ups at peak hours
  • Classic American diner/breakfast with Tex-Mex options
  • Popular for breakfast tacos
  • Comfort food
  • Very casual
  • 24 hour breakfast
  • Hangover joint/hangover food
  • Kid friendly
  • Budget friendly
  • Free parking
  • Open 24 hours 7 days a week

**Recommendations: Presidio eggs benedict, gingerbread pancake, omelettes (didn’t try, but looked awesome!) and the big breakfast taco is supposed to be good too

Magnolia Cafe South, popularly known as Magnolia Cafe is one of Austin, Texas’s most famous and popular diners. Kerby Lane also in Austin, Texas would be it’s rival (I’ve actually been to Kerby Lane a couple years ago, and I like their pancakes better though). However, Magnolia Cafe is still one of THE breakfast joints to hit up if you’re traveling in Austin.

It’s very casual, has a very local feel, and busy any time of day. It’s independently owned and serves up traditional homestyle American diner comfort food and some Tex-Mex options like migas and breakfast tacos. It’s like an independently owned Austin version of a way better Denny’s if that makes sense? (I don’t have anything against Denny’s either)

This is not their full menu, but just their breakfast specialties available Monday-Friday 7am-11am. They also have a regular 24 hour breakfast menu with omelettes and traditional breakfasts. I really wish I tried an omelette because I saw a lot of people ordering them and they looked great! It was a very thin egg crepe with LOTS of stuffing, it was huge and very stuffed.

Although they are most popular for breakfast, brunch, or late night munchies, Magnolia Cafe also serves up lunch and dinner. It’s one of those places where it feels like everyone knows everyone. The food isn’t the best EVER, but it’s good, fresh, made upon order and well worth the wait. It’s hearty portions of  fancy homemade food without the fancy price. Magnolia Cafe is a must-do brunch and a great Austin experience.

On the table:

**Presidio Eggs Benedict5/6

  • Two poached eggs, tomato slices, sliced avocado, & melted Swiss with hollandaise. Served on English toasted muffin and home fries $6.39


  • This was delicious! It was a very hearty and rich egg’s Benedict that will tie you down straight through lunch. It was all ooey gooey and the cheesy mixed in with the Hollandiase which made the whole thing so much richer. The egg was perfectly poached and nice and soft. It was a super saucy egg’s Benedict. The added avocado was a Southwestern twist and it reminded me of the California Benedict from Milestones.

  • It’s made with lots of fresh ingredients, several wedges of avocado, thick slice of  Swiss cheese and tomato. There’s no skimping on quality, ingredients or portions here.


  • The hollandaise was very creamy and very buttery and it almost tastes like they mixed sour cream into it. There’s quite a tang and it’s more than just lemon. Maybe they used buttermilk to get it so thick?
  • I wish the English muffin was more toasted though because it did get very soft from all the heavy ingredients. I was missing a nice crunchy or crispy bottom to break up the textures a bit, but for $6 I’ll let it go.
  • The side of “home fries” were fried red potatoes and they were also delicious! They’re well seasoned and taste like creamy mashed potatoes with skins that snap off as you bite into them. They’re perfectly tender, not dry at all and very flavourful.

Lucia’s 2 Taco Deal2.5/6

  • Your choice of 2 tacos: Egg and potato, egg and cheese, egg and bean, bean and potato, bean and cheese $3.39
  • I ordered egg and potato and egg and bean, but ended up getting egg and potato and egg and BACON!
  • Breakfast tacos are really popular in Texas, but I guarantee they’re probably better at a Mexican restaurant than at Magnolia Cafe. They’re quite regular here, but still cheap for $3.39 and they’re well stuffed in large white flour crispy grilled up tortillas.

  • Egg & Bacon Taco2/6 This was just a regular bacon and egg taco. The eggs are done really well though! They’re really silky soft and scrambled but almost folded like n omelette. The bacon was actually a tad dry and most of it was crispy.

  • Egg & Potato Taco3/6 This one was actually quite delicious. Again they scrambled the eggs really well here and they’re very silky and soft. I think they put a lot of milk in it, but they still have lots of egg flavour. The red potatoes were same as the side hash and they were mashed up in the taco and tasted like creamy buttery mashed potatoes with egg. It was great.
  • The tacos really need the salsa though, which wasn’t authentic Mexican at all, but still does the job okay. It was slightly spicy with minced tomatoes, onions and cilantro. They could have done a fresher salsa.

Fancy Pancakes – 4/6

  • A short stack (2) of your choice of whole wheat, gingerbread, buttermilk, or cornmeal. Choose one fruit or pecans in each pancake $3.89
  • I chose buttermilk and gingerbread which are the most popular and recommended choices. They didn’t offer me the fruit/pecan choice and I totally forgot to ask about it.
  • The Gingerbread Pancake4/6 was much better than the buttermilk pancake. I could taste a lot of nutmeg and some cinnamon. It was easily spiced, and very slightly sweetened. It was quite fluffy, but I much rather have the pumpkin pancake from Kerby Lane. You still need syrup to eat with these ones and I think they would have been great with pecans, especially the gingerbread one.

  • The Buttermilk Pancake2.5/6 was fluffier than the gingerbread pancake, but not nearly as flavourful. It was actually very bland and there was a slight tang from the buttermilk.

  • It was quite fluffy, but comparing traditional style pancakes it’s not as fluffy as the amazing MASSIVE pancake from Grizzly Manor in California. I also liked the Kerby Lane buttermilk pancakes better than Magnolia Cafe’s.

Granola, Fruit & Yogurt- 2/6

  • $5.50
  • NOT my order, also the healthiest thing on the menu.
  • I guess the fruit was fresh… the yogurt wasn’t their usual yogurt because they had ran out. This yogurt they gave us was extra tart and extra runny.
  • They could have easily done a better job with the granola too. It was so regular – toasted oats, a couple raisins and a few sunflower seeds. It was more like toasted oats than granola – no clumps of granola.


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