25 Best Local Restaurants & Places to Eat in Waco TX

Waco is full of culture, art, and outdoor wonders, making it the perfect place for a weekend getaway. While visiting “the Heart of Texas,” you’ll find a variety of amazing local restaurants that will leave you wanting more. If all the intriguing options are overwhelming, we’ve curated a list of the best restaurants in Waco!

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to tackle every restaurant on our list the first time; there is so much to do in Waco anyway that you’ll have to come back again to this up-and-coming town in Central Texas. With the way it’s growing, there might even be more new restaurants to try!

Check out our YouTube channel for Part 2!

Where to Eat in Waco for Authentic Jamaican Food

Tru Jamaica is a Jamaican restaurant serving authentic flavors from the island. They unfortunately experienced a fire on December 8, 2022, and as a result, they are temporarily closed while they work to reopen as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you’re in a position to do so, you can donate to their GoFundMe or give them a call at 254-304-9288 to find out where their food truck is currently located!

The Curry Goat is moist and tender, with a texture similar to your favorite brisket. It is well seasoned with a little kick. The Jerk Chicken is just as tender, with skin so thin, we didn’t even need to take it off.

There are 16 different spices, including Scotch Bonnet Pepper, and a Jerk BBQ sauce made from scratch. It’s sweet with a small kick that make it so flavorful. If you love sauce like me, I was happy to see there was plenty of extra glaze that I mixed into my rice.

Make sure to also order their Coco Bread, made with coconut butter sugar. Its sweetness was reminiscent of a Hawaiian roll. Get it with a beef patty and make a sandwich using the Coco Bread. We loved the crunch of the outside of the beef patty and how it was followed by the soft and slightly spicy interior.

Where to Eat in Waco for a Study Spot with Boba Tea

Cha Community serves a variety of refreshing, premium boba teas and delicious Chinese and Taiwanese food options. Fun fact: the recipe for their dumplings belongs to co-owner Devin’s grandfather! What a special treat! They direct-trade, real ingredients and natural syrups made in-house.

To eat, we ordered their Taiwanese Pork Belly Buns and Pork Dumplings. The Bao buns were fluffy, the pork belly was tender, and the sauce tied it all together perfectly! Their dumplings were hard to put down and they came with a side of rice and a tasty slaw.

We washed it down with a Matcha Latte made with oat milk, house sweetener, and boba. All of their drinks are dairy free, minus their Vietnamese Coffee, with other milk alternatives available as well.

We love how Cha Community takes your favorite drinks and makes them even better by adding a sweet boba surprise!

They also serve non-caffeinated beverages. For example, their Galaxy Lemonade is an herbal butterfly pea tea with lemon syrup and house sweetener.

What was formerly known as “Waco Cha” began as a small tent at Waco’s Downtown Farmer’s Market before it evolved into a food truck, then a pop-up tent during the Pandemic. Eventually, it became the cute, fast-and-casual cafe it is today!

What we love most about co-owners Devin and Jaja’s vision is they want their business to be a place that nurtures connection between people of all backgrounds. To aid in that, you’ll find several tables and chairs, plus a variety of games. However, there’s also an adjacent hallway with seating for college students who are looking for a quiet place to study.

Where to Eat in Waco for Spanish Tapas & Wine

You are in for the perfect date night, girl’s night out, or boozy afternoon pick-me-up at Segovia Wine Bar. Local couple, Courtney and Armando, strive to be a proper tapas wine bar, especially as the only one in Waco.

Inspired by their Spanish heritage and Armando’s two decades of experience as a chef, their extended family worked hand-in-hand to help renovate the space. Armando and his father even built the bar top! 

Handmade bar top with several tall chairs and a bar back full of bottles of wine and wine glasses. The wall facing the bar top is a deep green with the top of a wine barrel with "Segovia," the name of the restaurant, painted on it.

Their menu consists primarily of Spanish and Portuguese wines. Of course, you’ll also find bottles from places like the Napa Valley, France, and local Texas wineries!

If you’re in a rush and on your way to a gathering or at-home dinner date, to-go bottles are 10% off!

As for their tapa selection, you can count on dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

We ordered their Patatas Bravas, a Spanish dish made with crispy potatoes, a housemade, traditional spicy paprika sauce (AKA salsa brava), and garlic aioli. If you’re not much for spice, the salsa brava also comes in smoked and sweet.

Plate of chopped potatoes covered in a paprika sauce, garlic aioli, and a green garnish on a white plate.

We also had one of their charcuterie boards, a beautiful selection of artisanal Spanish meats and cheeses.

Charcuterie board on a black slate with thinly sliced meats, cheeses, green grapes, a cube shaped chunk of jam, a bowl of almonds, and pieces of sliced baguette.

Both Courtney and Armando are certified sommeliers, so you can count on their recommendations.

If you’re dipping your toes into the world of wine, give their wine cocktails a try! Their Cava Cocktail is made with a sugar cube covered in angostura bitters, which is then dissolved in a Spanish-style champagne.

Or, try the KaliMotxo Txerry AKA “Poor Man’s Sangria.” According to Courtney, it’s common for lower-shelf wine to be mixed with Coca Cola. The owners decided to put their own twist on this traditional wine cocktail and mix one of their high quality wines with Dr. Pepper Cherry. Afterall, Waco is the home of Dr. Pepper!

You can also catch live music, Wine Wednesday specials, and brunch on Sundays!

Charcuterie tray and a plate of patatas bravas with a can of Cherry Dr. Pepper and a red wine cocktail garnished with a whole strawberry behind them on a darkly stained, wood table

Where to Eat in Waco for Fresh Juice & Smoothie Bowls

If you’re looking to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, Oh My Juice Co. is the easiest, yummiest way to do it! 

Exterior storefront with green umbrellas over black metal tables, chairs and boho style, yarn chairs

Choose from cold-pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, salads, and snacks like avocado toast with sea salt and tomatoes or locally made bagels. 

We decided on one of their build-your-own smoothie bowls. First, you choose the smoothie mixture you want, followed by granola, two toppings, and a drizzle of either agave or honey.

Ours was the Berry Blend Smoothie with their in-house made, coconut almond granola, topped with kiwi, strawberry, and agave.

Where to Eat in Waco for an Affordable, Up-Scale Meal

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience worthy of Austin or Dallas’ top-notch restaurants, Oak & Ivy Wine Bar Bistro is a must!

Co-owner Josh Sims said a lot of people come in for their Cast Iron Cornbread, but their menu is rampant with tasty treasures you have to try!

We started off with the Thai Curry Cauliflower, and of course, the Cast Iron Cornbread with jalapeño butter and candied jalapeños.

Roasted cauliflower in a brown bowl covered in a green curry sauce, red peppers, and green garnish. There is a glass of whiskey behind it.

For the main course, the Bacon-Wrapped Quail Breast stuffed with apricot and de-seeded jalapenos on a bed of jalapeno mashed potatoes. Josh served ours with a Volver Tempranillo, one of their many wine pairing suggestions on the menu.

Sliced quail breast stuffed with apricots on a bed of mashed potatoes and garnished with green sprouts

We also had the 10-ounce Chargrilled Ribeye with a red wine butter, baby squash in ash oil, and garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert, the Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie.