Vegetarianism (not to mention veganism) in Texas may seem like an anomaly to some. After all, the general philosophy of travel seems to be “eat as the ___ do” and in Texas, meat and BBQ reign supreme. But if you’re dedicated to walking the straight and narrow on a plant-based path, we’ve got some veggie friendly offerings in Austin that will knock your socks off and provide you with an alternative taste of the city.
No veggie-friendly visit to this metropolis would be complete without a trip to Citizen Eatery, a bright and modern bistro specializing in meatless dishes, day-long breakfasts, and mean cocktails. Equipped with a full bar, and soaring white walls and ceilings, Citizen Eatery is a fresh and homey locale that you’ll be happy to spend the majority of your Sunday brunching in. And whether you’re after healthier fare (grain bowls with fresh vegetables, decorated with creamy avocado) or mountains of thickly sliced fries studded with sea salt, Citizen Eatery has a dish for every diner — even skeptical omnivores.
Mother’s Café & Garden
Nearly 40 years ago, a couple of brazen vegetarians had the gusto to establish a purely vegetarian restaurant amidst Austin’s meat-crazed food scene. This locale — Mother’s Café & Garden— has served up traditional Mexican dishes, as well as pasta and salad favorites, ever since. With its relaxed atmosphere and colorful furnishings, the eatery emits warmth and pleasant service, not to mention delicious eats and a surprisingly diverse selection of craft beers and affordable wines.
Uchi and Uchiko
For an elevated dining experience, consider sister restaurants Uchi and Uchiko (located in South and North Austin, respectively), that serve up Japanese delicacies. Though these eateries cater to meat and seafood lovers, they’re incredibly accommodating to meat-free eaters. Call in advance or ask your server to point out which options can be made plant based. They’re so accommodating that if it’s not too busy, the chef may even create an entirely unique vegan tasting menu specifically for you. That said, it is best to call ahead for reservations and to prep them on your dietary preferences, but a trip to either Uchi or Uchiko is highly recommended for veggie loving visitors to Austin.
For American classics that are considerably lighter than their meaty counterparts, head to Counter Culture, which offers up comfort food that can accommodate nearly any kind of diet or preference. Between the veganized versions of all-time favorites (think: burgers, mac and cheese, quesadillas, burritos) and inventive, fresh options like the bruschetta and raw-inspired raviolis, this eatery is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. You can either opt for its welcoming and sprawling indoor area or sit on its lovely patio and enjoy the good weather and friendly folks.
The Beer Plant
The Beer Plant lies at the intersection of incredible plant-based food, diverse and thoughtful craft beer and wine offerings, and visually stunning platters of food. You’ll want to go for lunch and again for dinner, but this time, with your camera. Founded as Austin’s first fully vegan gastropub, the locale offers a host of incredibly refined dishes, ranging from Chicago Italian ‘Beef’ (read: seitan) to Kimchi Grilled Cheese, intricate cocktails and an impressive brunch menu. The Beer Plant is a chic new addition to Austin’s burgeoning vegetarian food scene, and the nuances of its approach to traditional classics makes for an enjoyable (and aesthetic) visit.