A Waco Local’s 12 Best Restaurants in Town

best restaurants waco tx

As a self-pronounced food connoisseur, I love getting to know where I live through the local restaurants. I have spent the past three years living in Waco, TX, and I have seen it all.

With all the tourist places and the chain restaurants, it’s hard to know where to go to really get a sense of a bustling town like Waco.

If you find yourself in the Waco area and are looking for something a little extra ordinary, this list of my personal favorite restaurants in Waco is for you! Organized by what you’re in the mood for!

Map of My Best Restaurants in Waco

Best Italian: Baris

A lesser known favorite of mine is a small mom and pop Italian restaurant. With amazing prices and even better food, every person I have taken to Baris is blown away.

Their famous “Tortellini Pink” never disappoints, and they have a huge selection of different authentic Italian pastas. The table bread rolls are bigger than my fist, and they serve wonderful pizzas and calzones.

  • Location: 904 N Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76710
  • Website: Baris

Smallest local shack: Franklin Avenue Mac House

For a unique on the go option with delicious options, I love stopping by the Franklin Mac House, where you can either choose from their own unique specials or build your own macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese.

Each meal is made to order, fresh and hot, and every bite is out of this world. The mac is really packed into the bowls, so you really get your money’s worth, and the flavor is incredible.

This charming stand-alone shack is a great drive-through option while also providing a small patio space for those wishing to enjoy their meal outside.

Overall, Franklin Mac House is ideal for a gourmet grab-n-go with a homemade feel.

  • Location: 3428 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76710
  • Website: Mac House

Best Boba: Cha Community aka Waco Cha

If boba is your vibe, then you’ll love Waco Cha, part of the Cha Community with locations in Waco and Temple. Nestled in a small nook outside of downtown Waco, this shop has a quiet, fun environment – perfect for grabbing some tea and chatting with friends. They offer a selection of different bobas, specialty milk, green teas, and even lemonades.

The welcoming and calm atmosphere makes the tea taste even better in my opinion. Whether you are looking for a quick stop for something to drink or looking for a great place to sit and relax, Waco Cha is the place.

  • Location: 1001 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701
  • Website: Cha Community

Most creative: Fabled Bookshop & Cafe

What’s better than a great cup of coffee? Enjoying it while reading a good book!

Fabled cleverly combined the two with a coffeeshop inside a bookstore. While the front of the shop showcases its cafe and coffee, the back winds around rows and rows of books. You’ll also find plenty of seating throughout to accommodate your sipping, studying, or reading.

With drink names inspired by classic novels and tall shelves filled with a variety of books, this shop creates a unique experience worth exploring.

Best Variety: Union Hall

Sometimes having options is good, and Union Hall is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a little bit of everything.

Inside a warehouse space, you will find 10+ vendors independently selling a variety of cuisines, including Tex Mex, ice cream, Thai, burgers, Italian, and an assortment of drinks including tea and boba.

My favorite vendor inside Union Hall is Whizbang’s Hamburgers, who only operate in Waco. Since there are so many great options, I have yet to try every vendor at Union Hall. However, that hasn’t stopped me from trying!

  • Location: 720 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701
  • Website: Union Hall

Best Vibes: Dichotomy

Located in the heart of downtown Waco, Dichotomy serves up a variety of drinks. From coffee to spirits, you’ll find it all in a pleasant indoor and outdoor setting, perfect for a study session or meeting up with friends.

The environment reminds me of a friendly pub, with wooden furniture and a cozy feel as you walk in.

Tasty Tex Mex: Hecho en Waco

This restaurant instantly catches the eye with white exterior and beautiful murals displayed on each wall. Hecho en Waco serves up authentic Mexican food along with classic Tex Mex, and it especially hits the spot on Taco Tuesdays.

Their menu incorporates brunch, lunch, and dinner, and offers an extensive drink selection. The outdoor seating is one of the best features, looking out on downtown and the famous Magnolia Silos.

Although Hecho en Waco does tend to get busy on the weekends, it is a great place to find authentic food right in the heart of Waco.

  • Location: 300 S 6th St b, Waco, TX 76701
  • Website: Hecho En Waco

Best Exotic Burger: Twisted Root Burger Company

This burger restaurant is very easy to find while driving through Waco… just look for the  massive mural painted on the front of the building, showing a burger apocalypse!

Twisted Root is very unqiue, with only a handful in Texas and a very unusual selection of burger options, including veggie, turkey, free range Texas wagyu, buffalo, and chicken. Each specialty burger has a unique flare, but you’re welcome to build your own creation as well.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of pickles, this is your stop. Inside they have barrels of different flavored pickles, from “bread and butter” to “ranch.”

This shop is one of my favorites for a funky and fresh burger where I can try something new every time.

Most Popular: Magnolia Table

Popularized by the HGTV hit Fixer Upper, Magnolia Table offers upscale dining with farm to table breakfast and lunch.

The menu includes fresh options with American cuisine, fresh juices, and pastries from the local Silos Baking Company.

For this one I would recommend booking a reservation. (Walk-ins have a pretty low success rate, especially during the weekend.) With demand like that, you can bet that the food is stellar.

Whether you’re a fan of Fixer Upper or not, this is definitely one of Waco’s staple restaurants that’s worth the wait.

Best authentic pizza: Moroso Wood Fired Pizzeria

As one of the more upscale restaurants in Waco, Moroso is the place to go for authentic wood fired food. The warm atmosphere is ideal for a date night or late brunch.

In addition to artisan pizzas, Moroso offers a brunch menu for those who can’t wait until dinner. My personal favorite pizza off their menu includes sopressata, pancetta, and italian sausage.

P.S. – I would highly recommend their dessert menu, they know how to end the night nice and sweet.

Best drinks: HTeaO

Only found in Texas, HTeaO provides a huge variety of sweet and unsweet teas to try, and their happy hour (2pm-4pm) is my favorite part of the day.

Whether you’re on the go and stop by the drive thru, or head inside to create your own unique combination, HTeaO has something for everyone. Any time I am in the mood for a sweet drink, HTeaO is where I am headed. Sizes range from small to huge (yes, it is even bigger than you think) and I love trying out new combinations like blueberry, mint, and peach.