Matt’s El Rancho

Tex-Mex
legendary
Worth driving from anywhere!
Save

At Matt’s, you have to try not to have a good time. The bustling south Austin Tex-Mex landmark, founded in 1952, is an irresistible place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and some legendary queso with family and friends. Colorful paintings of the Virgin de Guadeloupe and bullfights adorn the walls, along with portraits of the founder, Matt Martinez, in his champion boxing days; and rhythmic conga drums playing in the background add to the festive atmosphere. Even with several spacious dining rooms plus an outdoor patio, Matt’s tends to be crowded and loud, part and parcel of being “famous,” as the restaurant’s familiar sign boasts. If you arrive during peak times, expect at least a twenty-minute wait.

The wait gives you an opportunity to enjoy one of Matt’s signature Knockout Martinis at the bar. A twist on the classic margarita, this “martini” is made with reposado tequila, fresh lime juice, and Cointreau, and served in a personal shaker with a chilled martini glass garnished with olives. A word to the conscious consumer (who wants to remain conscious): these drinks live up to their name. They pack a serious punch, justifying their $11 price tag.

Fresh salsa and a basket of thick, crunchy tortilla chips arrive on the table as soon as you sit down. Be sure to order the most popular dish, the Bob Armstrong queso dip, named after the popular former Texas Land Commissioner. This bowl of rich melted cheese is served with savory ground beef and a generous dollop of creamy guacamole. Pro tip: stir some salsa into the queso for an extra kick of dry heat and acidic brightness. This dish is so popular that bumper stickers shouting “GIMME A LARGE BOB!” can be purchased at the restaurant’s merchandise counter, along with t-shirts, mugs, and cookbooks. A small “Bob” can easily be shared between two to three people, and a large is recommended for four or more, but no one’s stopping you from eating one all by yourself. The stuff is addictive!

For a classic entrée, you can’t go wrong with a Matt’s Special: two enchiladas (mix it up with beef and chicken) smothered in green enchilada sauce, melted Monterrey cheese, and queso. Is this overkill? We think not. As a general rule, the more cheese, the better.

Another favorite is the Chile Relleno, a meaty pepper battered, fried, and stuffed with tender al carbon beef (an off-menu selection but highly recommended) and covered with tomatillo sauce and — you guessed it — gooey melted cheese. The dish sets itself apart by its garnish of Texas pecans and raisins, which adds a delicious sweetness that balances the tang of the sauce.

If tacos are your thing, don’t miss Tacos Asadero. House-made corn tortillas wrap around savory beef tenderloin, thick Asadero cheese, sweet caramelized onions and rajas, sliced poblano peppers with cream.

Note: Lunch specials are served Monday through Friday from 11am to 3pm for $7.95 each. Brunch is served on weekends 11am to 3pm, featuring Tex-Mex classics such as huevos rancheros and migas. Matt’s is closed Tuesdays.

What to Eat
Matt’s El Rancho, Knockout Martini
Knockout Martini
Must-Try
Matt’s Knockout Martini really does pack a punch.
Matt’s El Rancho, Chile Relleno
Chile Relleno
Must-Try
LBJ's favorite chile relleno
Matt’s El Rancho, Matt’s Special
Matt’s Special
Must-Try
Matt's Special, from scratch with fresh ingredients
Matt’s El Rancho, Tacos Asadero
Tacos Asadero
Must-Try
Tacos feature mild ‘asadero’ cheese.
Directions and Hours
open now
SundayCLOSED
Monday5am - 8pm
Tuesday5am - 8pm
Wednesday5am - 8pm
Thursday5am - 8pm
Friday5am - 7pm
Saturday8am - 12pm
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Salt Lick

    Driftwood, Texas

    In the Hill Country west of Austin, the Salt Lick is a theme park of BBQ, serving a full range of smoke-cooked meat with all the fixins. A Texas legend!

  • Opie’s BBQ

    Spicewood, Texas

    A family BBQ in the small town of Spicewood, Opie’s is a perfect example of the no-frills Texas attitude for which people drive miles away from the metropolis.

  • Billy’s on Burnet

    Austin, Texas

    Billy’s is an Austin favorite restaurant where wings are superb and the Uptown Burger, topped with bacon marmalade, avocado and blue cheese, is unforgettable.

  • Texas Pie Company

    Kyle, Texas

    The Texas Pie Company bakes individual as well as full-size pies. Lemon chess is a standout, as is strawberry cake crowned with fruit-flavored frosting.

  • Dean’s One Trick Pony

    Austin, Texas

    Delicious modern burgers and popular frozen cocktails make Dean’s One Trick Pony a unique dining experience in Austin, Texas.

  • Counter Cafe

    Austin, Texas

    With two locations in Austin, Counter Cafe embraces a modern, authentic spin on traditional American diner breakfast, brunch & dinner.