19 Great Places To Eat Something Kind Of Healthy In AustinThe best kind-of-healthy restaurants in Austin when you want something good for you.
There are roughly 4,349 perks to living in Austin, and number one is the food. Austin is a city that not only has excellent spots for barbecue, Tex-Mex, and breakfast tacos, but also some great restaurants that also happen to be kind of healthy. And no, we’re not talking about the spots selling juice cleanses or only raw food—though Austin definitely has those too—we’re talking about places where you can eat some vegetables, a big salad, or some excellent roast chicken. When you need that type of food, here’s where to go.
The first time we ordered the avocado and crunchy garlic salad at Civil Goat on Manor Road, we immediately came back the next two days to get it again. Once the staff started to recognize us, we headed to Civil Goat’s two other locations in the Austin area to throw off the scent. It’s a simple salad, mostly made up of arugula and cherry tomatoes with a lemon shallot vinaigrette, but the soft boiled egg, avocado, quinoa, and crunchy garlic all give it some great texture that makes it feel like a light, but balanced lunch. And if, for some reason, we haven’t already sold you on this salad, Civil Goat also offers a selection of toasts, acai bowls, and breakfast plates to accompany the menu of house-roasted coffees and teas.
When we want a simple French bistro-y dinner with a bottle of wine, we head to Epicerie, an airy boutique grocery/all-day-cafe located in a cute neighborhood house-turned-restaurant in Allandale. You can get dishes like duck confit, beef tartare, and fried oysters, but a lot of the menu is on the lighter side, especially the cured salmon toast and the impressive vegetable side dishes like smoked beets with dandelion greens or charred broccoli. During brunch, the charming patio has the power to make you very excited to eat quiche.
The casual and health-conscious Downtown restaurant Koriente has a broad menu that’s often vegan and gluten-free, with dishes like curries, rice bowls, stir-fries, and bibimbap. A lot of the entrees here are designed to be built upon, so you can add things like chicken, tofu, mushrooms, spicy tuna, smoked salmon, avocado, or eggs. We’re into the japchae bowl, with sweet potato noodles and a big assortment of vegetables (with avocado).
We know it’s hard to skip the queso or not get the ice cream, but just about everything else on the menu at Fresa’s can be deemed good for you. Their go-to rotisserie chicken is the protein you want, and there are plenty of salads and non-fried vegetable sides to fill your plate. Bowl-wise, the Power Bol is a solid choice with lots of vegetables, avocado, chickpeas, and chicken. Although we will say, on a sunny patio, you’re practically required by law to have a margarita.
The sushi at Komé on Airport Boulevard hits that sweet spot between affordable, fast, and quality—we’re especially big fans of the chirashi bowl here. We’re also really into their bento boxes that come with a main, a side salad, pickles, edamame, and a seaweed salad. Sure you can get chicken or pork katsu, but there are also lighter options like grilled mackerel filet, tofu, or a generous serving of sashimi.
Rogue Radish is a food trailer with seasonal and vegetable-forward grain bowls featuring a big variety of regularly-changing ingredients. The menu is often very short and changes often, and if you want to make the most of the name, you can get a shot of radish juice with any order. It’s currently located in a parking lot at 5th and Pedernales.
Josephine House is one of our favorite restaurants in Clarksville, whether we intend to eat a big chopped salad or a stack of lemon-ricotta pancakes (or even better, both). Inside, you feel like you’re having dinner at a friend’s (very nice) house—or you can sit on the patio under the twinkly lights, too. The rice bowl served on the brunch and all-day menus—with roasted and pickled vegetables, avocado, and a poached egg—belongs in the Kind-Of-Healthy Hall Of Fame.
Ceviche Love is a seafood-focused food trailer located in a lot out near the ABIA South Terminal. They do ceviche, of course, but they also have a variety of aguachiles, seafood tacos, and oysters. You can get the ceviches on their own or in tostada form, but either choice ends with you and a small mountain of fresh seafood—the portions are huge. We’re also big fans of the oysters preparados here. They come covered in shrimp ceviche and salsa verde, in what just might be our new favorite way to eat oysters.
This all-day spot in East Austin is part cafe and part bar, with good coffee, cocktails, and a menu that has, well, kind-of tropical things, like a good pulled barbecue jackfruit sandwich or a sesame salad with pulled chicken (we promise, not everything here is pulled). Stick around long enough, and you may even find yourself unable to resist an order of Cuban yucca fries, though we’re not entirely sure if those are considered healthy.
Bodhi Viet falls into that rare category of tasty, healthy, and cheap. It’s a small food truck in North Austin with a 100% vegan Vietnamese menu, offering everything from banh mi and pho, to Vietnamese coffee and boba tea. Despite the lack of any animal products, Bodhi manages to pull off many of the subtle flavors of these Vietnamese staples at staggeringly-low prices. Nothing on the menu is more than $10, and the banh mi come in at just $5. We really like the lemongrass seitan banh mi and the pineapple curry here. And the salty lemonade is a great way to finish it all off.
Two Hands is an Australian-themed brunch-focused cafe based out of New York City that opened a location on South Congress. Confused yet? Don’t worry—all you need to know is that they’re in the Music Lane development, and that they make some of the best toasts in town. We really like the mushrooms and greens toast. It comes stacked high with roasted mushrooms, poached egg, braised and charred greens, herbed tahini, and za’atar (add an avocado). They also have things like salmon quinoa bowls, crispy calamari noodle salads, and breakfast rolls. And if you decide you want something a little less healthy, they’ve got a double wagyu-beef cheeseburger on the menu.
One of the unspoken requirements for calling yourself an Austinite is dabbling in veganism (or at least vegetarianism) for a day or two. Which means you’ve probably eaten at Bouldin Creek Café on South 1st Street at some point. But their spins on the classics—like the “Wanna-BLTA” or the homemade veggie chorizo in their breakfast tacos—are pretty tasty for meat-enjoying people as well.
Just because a place makes their own nut milk and has avocado toast on the menu doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. But Forthright is. For breakfast, you can get things like coconut chia pudding, and during weekday lunch you can order a quinoa bowl full of colorful vegetables (or a good burger). Forthright is also one of our favorite places to get coffee downtown, and it has an elaborate tea and matcha menu, too.
Picnik’s original claim to hype was that they sold Bulletproof coffee (AKA butter coffee) from their truck, but it wasn’t until they opened a brick and mortar on Burnet Road that people (including us) started paying attention to their kind-of-healthy food. It’s keto-friendly, American, and sometimes diner-y, which means dishes like a vegan queso, breakfast (or fish) tacos with cassava flour tortillas, and avocado toast. You can basically throw any dietary preference at this menu, as all the dishes here are gluten-, corn-, peanut-, and soy-free, and a lot of them are pretty good.
The Japanese coffee shop/restaurant Sa-Ten from the people behind Kome serves excellent coffee as well as simple but delicious rice bowls, curry bowls, and toasts. We really like the tare chicken rice bowl that comes with grilled chicken thigh, grilled vegetables, a kale salad, kimchi, and a marinated egg.
The food coming out of the kitchen out of Cafe No Se is beautiful, and you can get nominally healthy things like yellowfin poke or a quinoa bowl with a perfectly poached egg. But if you need something a little heartier after a multi-day salad kick, this place also has croissants, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a great burger.
While we’re not entirely sure the deep-fried cauliflower tots with beet ketchup can be accurately labeled as “healthy,” they’re still technically vegetables and we order them every time we come here. We usually go to Better Half for the cheeseburger and the patio and the good cocktails, but also because the menu is so vegetable-focused, including a rotating array of big salads and the greens and grains bowl.
Elizabeth Street Cafe is a slightly precious, very good-looking French-Vietnamese restaurant and bakery in a bungalow in South Austin. But more importantly, the dining room is sunny, the patio is chill, and you can also load up on vegetables here, like the griddled lemongrass tofu banh mi and vegetarian noodle dishes. The coffee and croissants are excellent, and we often pick up some macarons on the way out.
When we first heard the phrase “fast-casual, build-your-own grain bowl,” we shuddered a little bit, but Honest Mary’s in Central Austin pulls it off well. The food is good, and most everything is locally-sourced. You can choose your components like at a Chipotle, but if you’re afraid of choice like some of us are, there are “signature bowls” where everything is picked out for you. Unlike Chipotle, though, you can even get a glass of wine or kombucha on tap. And it’s easy to be vegan, paleo, gluten-free, or dairy-free here.