- Priyunka Maheshwari
Vegetarians and vegans don’t have it easy in a state known for its love of BBQ and steaks, especially considering that most restaurants consider a salad to be an appropriate vegetarian option. Austin however, does a fantastic job of providing locally made, fresh options to veggie lovers, with some restaurants going above and beyond. Head on over to one of our top 10 favorite vegetarian and vegan restaurants and sample the joys of meatless culture.
Located in the historic University of Texas district, Veggie Heaven offers delicious Chinese cuisine for vegans and vegetarians, including traditional pot stickers, California rolls, and sesame noodles. Most of the full-size portions are directed towards vegans, who flock to this location so they can enjoy the freshly made sauces and spices. Non-meat eaters can also come here to enjoy the bubble tea, which is an Austin favorite – the boba milk tea is probably the most famous and is great for after dinner or when walking around.
Veggie Heaven, 1914 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 457 1013
The Steeping Room
Austin is commonly known as a haven for coffee lovers but tea people can also rejoice at The Steeping Room. This is an Austin experience that offers great leaves in addition to fresh vegetarian and vegan food options. A traditional tea service comes with the choice of two sandwiches, most of which are vegetarian-friendly. The olive tapenade and arugula goat cheese sandwich is popular with vegetarians and can be ordered alone with a choice of chips. The Steeping Room wants to promote a healthy lifestyle through the benefits of tea and organic ingredients, so many of the salads and soups are of the same caliber as those from a farmers’ market.
The Steeping Room, 11410 Domain Drive, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 977 8337
Casa de Luz
Casa de Luz is a fan-favorite for anyone vegan or gluten-free thanks to their home-cooked meals that offer plenty of vegetables and nutrients. The concept of Casa de Luz revolves around the idea of creating macrobiotic food to lead a healthier lifestyle, with simple dishes that have not been processed. The food is also a great deal as it comes in a package – for a set price you can get salad, soup, tea, and an entree plate for lunch. The menu changes daily so check the website for updates.
Casa de Luz, 1701 Toomey Road, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 476 2535
Offering delicious, vegetarian-style wraps, Conscious Cravings has made a name by promoting healthy, responsible foods. Their signature wrap is topped with a house-made sauce of choice and is served best with a healthy salad or smoothie, made in-house and custom-ordered. Many foods are infused with Omega 3 and focus on a sustainable production; Conscious Cravings wants to reduce the carbon footprint Austin produces by creating minimum-waste and using biodegradable products.
Conscious Cravings, 5715 Burnet Road, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 782 0546
Maoz may be a chain restaurant, with several locations outside of the US even, but it does not skimp on quality or its commitment to creating good vegetarian meals. Maoz focuses on Mediterranean-style cooking, with fresh falafel produced every day and a blend of 15 signature spices and sauces to top it off. Try the signature Maoz sandwich, which features pita bread stuffed with falafel balls and a choice of ingredients from the salad bar. This is a great option for those tired of the same type of food, and contains only fresh foods such as carrots, chickpeas, and tomatoes.
Maoz Vegetarian, 4601 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 323 2259
Swad Indian Vegetarian
Swad serves good, Indian cuisine. This restaurant is perfect for vegetarians looking to get out of their comfort zone with no fear of accidentally ordering a dish with chicken. Everything is meat-free and made in the kitchen by the lovely staff who can answer any questions about the meals. Because Swad is a South Indian restaurant, they specialize in the famed dosa — a thin pancake-like snack made of lentils and rice batter.
Austin vegetarians who are slightly older may remember this restaurant from way back in their childhoods because Mother’s Cafe has been an Austin staple since 1980. Serving vegan and vegetarian food at affordable prices, Mother’s menu is varied: lunch options range from the classic sandwich to enchiladas, or fettuccine pasta. While here, try one of the amazing smoothies on the menu or make your own.
Mother’s Cafe, 4215 Duval Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 451 3994
Food trucks are an important part of Austin culture and visiting them for lunch is a casual habit picked up by many Austin locals. Arlo’s is a fantastic treat for many vegans who have been previously unable to find good vegan dishes at a food truck. The fresh meals are made on-site out of locally sourced ingredients. Arlo’s specializes in burgers, burritos and tacos, and has a special house salsa to go with the soy and gluten-free chips.
Arlo’s, 1500 East Sixth Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 628 0608
Counter Culture is often seen as a healthy challenge by locals whose attempts to eat raw foods only last a few days. Counter Culture serves these dairy-free and meatless foods all year long and makes them from scratch. Many of the ingredients used to make up these foods are organic, fair-trade, and come from local farmers to contribute towards a nutritious, unprocessed diet. If raw food doesn’t seem like fun, Counter Culture offers plenty of other vegan options that are not raw, including mac and cheese. We recommend trying the spicy raw pad thai at least once. Brunch is also a great time to go, with tofu rancheros a popular choice.
Counter Culture, 2337 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 524 1540
Vegan Yacht has a delicious menu featuring a single burrito, wrap, and taco. Don’t be fooled, however, this joint is comparable to other full-scale restaurants in its quality and production. All ingredients are cruelty-free and organic and never fried or microwaved. Most products are made directly from scratch in the small location inside Spider House Cafe on the University of Texas campus. Vegan Yacht offers amazing service from the husband-and-wife pair that run the business all by themselves, so stop by and say hi.
Vegan Yacht, 2908 Fruth Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 619 7989