Courtesy of Conscious Cravings
Food & Drink

The 17 Best Vegetarian-Friendly Spots in Austin

Updated On 08/24/2017 at 05:00PM EST
Courtesy of Bistro Vonish

Bistro Vonish

North Loop

Specializes in: Fancy vegan fare
“Elevated vegan dining” is the name of the culinary game at this eatery, which offers area herbivores creative, tasty, and beautifully plated options that often seem more suited to silver-platter serving than trailer-side eats (though there is a brick-and-mortar location in the works). The menu changes daily, but always reflects seasonal flavors, utilizing locally sourced produce, and featuring dishes that are far more fun than stereotypical vegan fare -- like, for example, the kolache-dough doughnuts, which are a staple at every Sunday Brunch. Fortunately, doughnuts are always in season.

The Vegan Nom

Cesar Chavez

Specializes in: Mexican
The people behind Vegan Nom take their tacos seriously, and you’ll find an almost overwhelming selection of vegan (and largely gluten-free) options. Swing by for a breakfast taco (served all day) featuring fillings like tofu scramble, veggie chorizo, and tempeh bacon, or opt for a classic like the Rockin Vegan Migas. If you want something more elaborate, go for one of the signature items, for which tortillas are stuffed with creative combinations of beans, faux meat or mock fish, veggies, and homemade salsas. Just be sure to bring your appetite, because while the tacos are super-filling, you’re going to want a lot of them.

Eduardo Longoria

Casa de Luz

Toomey Road

Specializes in: Family-style dining
With set menus featuring vegan, gluten-free, 100% organic fare, Casa De Luz -- a community center and restaurant -- is ideal for the indecisive eater with nutritious intentions. The offerings change daily, and food is served continuously from 7am to 8:30pm, with a plant-based, nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch, and dinner dished out family-style in the community dining room. If you really fall in love with the place, you can even pull on an apron and clock in as a kitchen volunteer (no soup-kitchen experience required).

Mother's Café and Garden

Hyde Park

Specializes in: Basically everything
This neighborhood spot has been serving Austin meatless meals for over 30 years, and apart from being entirely vegetarian, the food doesn’t fit in a specific culinary category. Items run the gastronomic gamut from traditional lunch staples (think soups, sandwiches, and salads) to Tex-Mex requisites like burritos, nachos, and enchiladas, along with pasta dishes, stir-fries, and an omelet-taco-and-pancake-packed weekend brunch that, we promise, is worth getting up for. Given the fact it’s served until 3pm, getting up shouldn’t be that hard.

Conscious Cravings

Conscious Cravings

South First, Mueller

Specializes in: Wraps
Another food trailer, Conscious Cravings offers what it describes as “modern plant-based cuisine,” a concept it successfully carries out with smoothies, salads and signature wraps. Try the Spicy Chickpea, which features a tortilla stuffed with Indian-inspired flavors; the BBQ Seitan, which is packed with hearty protein (seitan) in an agave-ginger barbecue sauce; or the Eggless Tofu Salad, a vegan twist on a long-time lunch staple. Then, try everything else.

Counter Culture

East Cesar Chavez

Specializes in: Comfort food
East Cesar Chavez has, over the last few years, developed into a vegan mecca of sorts with restaurants, food trailers and even a killer bakery popping up,. When it comes to a true sit-down meal and dining experience, though, Counter Culture is at the top of the list with its affinity for creating inventive, affordable vegan dishes. Specials change daily, but on the current menu, you can expect options like Buffalo Mac & Cheeze Balls, Jackfruit BBQ, a Tempeh Reuben, and Southern Baked Seitan. Then, for dessert, think pies, brownie bites, and donut holes -- it’s all vegan, so we’re pretty sure even those are good for you.

Curra's Grill

Oltorf

Specializes in: Tex-Mex
This place is perhaps most renowned for its tart and creamy avocado margaritas, but the food is outstanding as well, with a surprisingly extensive selection of vegetarian and vegan options on offer. Think homemade vegetable tamales, award-winning vegetable enchiladas, and an upgraded protein option in the form of tasty veggie chorizo you can enjoy in a taco, atop bolillos, or stuffed in a crunchy, fried empanada.

Bouldin Creek Cafe

Bouldin Creek

South First

Specializes in: Breakfast
This all-veg diner is a guaranteed win at any hour, but the prime time is probably brunch, when perhaps its most popular dish, The Renedict -- a version of eggs benedict that is also offered vegan -- is available… until it inevitably sells out. Besides that, you'll find a well-rounded portfolio with items ranging from a veg-friendly rendition of the BLT to fajitas, pastas, always-evolving seasonal offerings, and, most importantly, all-day breakfast.

The Parlor

Hyde Park

Specializes in: Pizza
There’s a saying about how sex is a lot like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s good. That being said, we’d like to think we have standards for both, and on the pizza front, the Parlor knocks it out of the park. Vegetarian pies aren’t an atypical menu occurrence, but this spot -- a comfortably dive-y bar with a jukebox, pool table, pinball machine, and killer porch -- takes toppings up a notch with made-in-house vegan alternatives to pepperoni, sausage, and chicken. And don’t feel bad that you’re devouring pizza on the porch while watching people grunt their way through some Crossfit equivalent across the street. Eating is exercise, too!

Courtesy of Robert Nabbe

Arlo's

Red River, North Campus, East Austin

Specializes in: Comfort food
When it comes to bar-based food trailers, Michelin-star status isn’t really a requisite (the inebriated aren’t quite cuisine connoisseurs), but Arlo’s Food Truck -- which occupies patio space at Cheer Up Charlies and Drinks Lounge -- boasts vegan food that’s satisfying whether you’re gobbling it up post-drinks at 2 am or sober on a Tuesday afternoon. The tacos and Chipotle Chik’n sandwich are must-tries, but the real star of the show is the big-as-your-face Bac’n Cheeze Burger, which features a house-made patty stacked with seitan bac’n that even the staunchest carnivore will admit is pretty damn delicious.

BBQ Revolution

Webberville Rd

Specializes in: BBQ
Texas -- and Austin, in particular -- is known for its barbecue, but most spots aren’t designed for abstainers of meat. Enter BBQ Revolution, a trailer that’s giving barbecue a meat-free makeover with vegan variations featuring the same great flavors. Take your protein in the form of Smokey Soy Curls, Garbanzo Tempeh “Ribs,” or No-Bull “Brisket,” and add a heaping mound of coleslaw, Mom’s Potato Salad, or the Southwest Mac 'n Cheeze. This is one revolution we’re happy to support.

G’Raj Mahal

G'Raj Mahal

Rainey Street

Specializes in: Indian
Indian restaurants typically have vegetarian options aplenty, and this Rainey Street spot -- a food trailer turned brick-and-mortar eatery -- is no exception. Expect all the samosas, pakoras, masalas and naan necessary to help you fuel up and muscle your way to the bar at the next stop of your Rainey Street excursion. Throw in a solid dose of date-night-worthy ambience outside under the soft lighting of the canopied patio, and an extensive beer and wine list, and we’d say you’re in business.

Mr. Natural

Cesar Chavez, South Lamar

Specializes in: Basically everything
We’re not sure who this Mr. Natural character is, but one thing’s for sure: he makes some mean meat-free fare. One especially noteworthy menu item is the veggie burger, one of the best in town, which is available in traditional fashion, loaded with barbecue sauce and piled with “bacon,” or topped with a tasty medley of sautéed onions and spinach, avocado, and Monterey jack cheese. Want to try a little of everything? Swing by the Cesar Chavez location on the first Sunday of every month for the all-vegan brunch buffet.

Cool Beans

Cool Beans

North Campus

Specializes in: Mexican
There’s certainly no shortage of taco trucks in Austin, but how many of them can boast serving both award-winning fare and a menu that's entirely vegan? From a vibrant red-and-white food truck stationed just north of UT, Cool Beans dishes up piled-high nachos, tart n’ creamy street corn, and its famous tacos (made with homemade tortillas, of course). If you’re all taco’d out (blasphemy!) you can’t go wrong with a plate of fresh tamales. Taco Tuesday may be played out on Instagram, but Cool Beans celebrates the weekly holiday by offering its signatures for only $2 from 6 to 10pm.

Citizen Eatery

Rosedale

Specializes in: Organic
The clean and modern aesthetic at Citizen Eatery sets the perfect tone for a menu that emphasizes fresh, garden-to-table fare. This newly opened spot is not only a vegan’s dream, it also caters to the gluten-free and paleo-only Austin crowds. Menu highlights include parsnip waffles with BBQ, vegan Bolognese, and “pulled plant” sandwiches. You may be getting your daily dose of veg in one sitting, but there’s no need to worry about being too healthy -- polish off your dinner with a glass of organic wine or a cocktail made with cold-pressed juice. Or, if you’re ready to get really crazy, order from the breakfast menu that’s available... All. Day. Long.

Jessica Attie

The Beer Plant

Tarrytown

Specializes in: Bar food
Normally the phrase “bar food” conjures all things meat-filled and greasy, but The Beer Plant is changing that with its 100% plant-based menu. Chicken wings and juicy burgers are swapped out for buffalo cauliflower wings, nachos with quinoa chorizo, and Hops n’ Chips (beer-battered hearts of palm) that pair perfectly with the 40 craft beers on tap. Homemade breads and veggies pickled on-site fit right in with the rustic chic, farmhouse vibe, where musicians play live every Sunday night. After just one visit, you’ll be denying that you ever scoffed at the idea of a vegan gastropub.

Swad

North Lamar

Specializes in: Indian
Plenty of Indian restaurants are generous when it comes to their plant-based offerings, but it's hard to beat Swad, where every item on the menu is vegetarian-friendly. The North Lamar location is a bit of a hike from downtown Austin -- and the vibe is pure dive -- but the bold flavors of South Indian cuisine will make it a trip to remember. If you’re having trouble deciding between the chaats, puris, and Medu Vadas, try the Thali special platter to taste a bit of everything, and don’t forget to add on a selection of dosas. The only thing better than authentic Indian cuisine is when it’s priced to match.

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