ATXGuide

Where To Eat With Vegetarians In Austin

Where vegetarians and omnivores can meet in the middle.
The interior of Bouldin Creek Cafe

photo credit: Richard Casteel

It’s no secret Austin knows its way around meats—we’re in one of the greatest BBQ cities in the world. But vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants? Those are something Austin does almost just as well. We have all those hippie Austin pioneers to thank for laying the all-natural eating groundwork in this city. And lately, with some newcomers to the category, vegetarian and vegan food in Austin has gotten even better. Most of the spots on this list aren’t 100% vegan, but instead offer a ton of options for vegetarians and omnivores alike. So when you’re looking for some meatless options, head to one of these great spots. 

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Ethiopian

Campus

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCasual Weeknight Dinner
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Every platter of food at Aster’s arrives looking like a beautiful paint palette on a massive sheet of spongy injera, dotted with a variety of vibrantly colored vegetables that have been slow-cooked or stewed into something incredible. The menu is divided into two sides of equal length—meat and vegetarian dishes—that each offer a ton of choices, so neither side feels like they’re missing out. Or you can just show up in the afternoons when Aster’s offers a very extensive and affordable lunch buffet. But due to its close proximity to Campus, we can’t promise you won’t have to elbow a few UT students out of the way for another serving of Ethiopian-style collard greens. 

Every part of Sangam Chettinad’s menu—soups, appetizers, and entrees—is broken down into vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections, each with almost more options than you can count. If you know what you want, then great, congratulations on being decisive. For everyone else, show up on the weekend and you can get one of the thali combos that comes with a massive assortment of curries, dhals, yogurts, pickles, and rice. Indian food has always been one of the most vegetarian-friendly cuisines, and Sangam Chettinad in Jollyville is some of the best in Austin.

Built in the shell of what was almost definitely a Sonic Drive-In, Falafel Burger is a Mediterranean restaurant in Cedar Park serving some of the best falafel in town. But instead of finding it on a bed of rice or greens, here you’ll find it in wraps, tacos, and burgers. Contrary to the name, they offer more than just falafel here—all of the burgers and tacos can also be made with kofta kebab or chicken breast—making this an extremely meat-or-vegan friendly spot where nobody will feel like they’re compromising. 

Thanks to ingredients like fish sauce and dried shrimp, a lot of Thai food can be sneakily non-vegan. At Thai Fresh in South Austin however, any dishes containing either are noted as such. Almost all of the noodles, stir-fries, and curries can be made with tempeh or tofu, and the ice cream and dessert menu is almost entirely vegan. Show up during Happy Hour and you can even get 30% off bottles of wine. 

The menu at the trailer Biscuits & Groovy in Hyde Park is simple—biscuits, a few toppings, and some form of sausage (either traditional or vegan). So whether you want a breakfast of biscuits with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and cheese, or their plant-based counterparts, vegetarians and meat-eaters can enjoy two wholly different, but visually indistinguishable versions of the same thing. During weekend brunch you can even order some fresh-squeeze OJ and bring your own champagne for mimosas. There’s also a second location on Barton Springs Road. 

Going out for Mexican food can be tricky when you’re trying to avoid meat products—even the beans and rice can sometimes be off-limits. Which is what makes Fonda San Miguel’s “de la tierra” section that much more helpful. With over half a dozen entrees that are all meat, dairy, and gluten-free, the menu here can accommodate a wide range of diets. Excluding, perhaps, that friend of yours who only eats wind-dried Norwegian kelp. For everyone else, there’s Fonda San Miguel. As a bonus, just about everyone can enjoy a refreshing watermelon margarita together. 

This coffee shop and cafe prides itself on a vegetarian-friendly menu, and the soyrizo breakfast tacos are reason enough alone for a visit. Even though breakfast is served all day, we still recommend showing up early, since some of the crowd favorites can sell out and it can get a little crowded on weekend mornings. So hit it during the week, or just grab a coffee from Once Over down the street while you wait. 

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 broad menu of toasts, acai bowls, and breakfast plates to accompany the house-roasted coffees and teas. 

Picnik’s original claim to hype was that it sold Bulletproof coffee (AKA butter coffee) from its truck—back when that was still a big thing—but it wasn’t until the brick-and-mortar opened on Burnet Road that it became a household name for kind-of-healthy food. It’s keto-friendly, American, and sometimes diner-y, which means dishes like a vegan queso, breakfast 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. There’s also another location on South 1st Street.

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 solid, 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. There are also other locations at the Arboretum and in Cedar Park.

There are only two main items on the menu at Patty Palace—a burger trailer at St. Elmo Brewing in South Austin—a beef smashburger and a veggie burger. And while the veggie burger might not have the same thin and griddled consistency of its beef counterpart, when it’s a housemade patty made from mushrooms, chickpeas, carrots, lentils, and probably a ray of sunshine, thicker is better. This veggie burger arrives heavily griddled—with a crisp and dark outer layer—and gets topped with grilled onions. And since this is at a brewery, you can grab some great beers to go with it, something that can please both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Lucky Robot on South Congress is a lot of things. It’s Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei plates, it’s a sushi restaurant serving sustainable, dry-aged nigiri, and, perhaps most surprisingly, it’s also incredibly vegetarian-friendly. In addition to a handful of vegan nigiri—that come topped with ingredients like kimchi mustard greens, zucchini, and HiFi Mycology mushrooms—there are also rolls, dumplings, and even a spicy cashew-and-miso tantanmen ramen. Show up during Happy Hour, and you can even get it all with half-priced bottles of wine and sake. 

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