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Great food around the Long Center for the Performing Arts and other various recs first time in Austin?

captainzap Jun 14, 2010 04:19 PM

Greetings Austin,

A friend and I will be spending a little time in Austin next week (coming in from Montreal). I was hoping for some recs for meals around the center or unique places in Austin not to be missed. We will have transportation but would generally prefer/be okay with walking/public transit. The only catch? Vegetarian...


Ps. Where's the test place for a mid afternoon coffee close to the center?

  1. h
    hungryinaustin Jun 16, 2010 08:52 PM

    P.S. I am just back from a week in NYC and Montreal, and have to say I am appalled by the idea of a Montrealer vegetarian. Au Pied de Cochon was carnivore heaven and practically free after New York, and the foie gras, almost anywhere was excellent! Jo's on South Congress would be your best mid afternoon coffee spot, but it is outdoors and while the humidity may make you feel quite at home, it is HOT outside in Austin right now.

    1. h
      hungryinaustin Jun 16, 2010 08:38 PM

      This is a hard one. The three basic food groups in this town are brisket, lard and queso, and Austin does them as well as anywhere, if not better! Close to the Long Center, I would second Paggi House, add Olivia a little further south on South Lamar, a locavore place with some good veggie options, add Polvos on South First, if you eat fish. La Condesa on second street across the river and not a far walk has some great Mexican food, not totally beholden to the doctrine of lard - they have a truly sublime huitlacoche huarache, and pretty great salads, and excellent cocktails. Unless you want to eat in what feels like the canteen of a homeless shelter, with truly atrocious macrobiotic food, I would avoid Casa de Luz. There are no good purely vegetarian restaurants since West Lynn Cafe closed, and when Mother's burnt down, I briefly thought God cared about cooking. Most places will have a few vegetarian options - the ones mentioned above better than others in the general vicinity! The wine bar at Wink a few blocks north of the river on Lamar used to have and may still have a fantastic mac cheese with truffle oil! Let us know where you go.

      Paggi House
      200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704

      La Condesa
      400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

      1 Reply
      1. re: hungryinaustin
        girloftheworld Jun 16, 2010 09:03 PM

        Mother's is still open or re opened I love it and I am a card carrying carnivore it is over on DUvall

      2. g
        geek23 Jun 16, 2010 10:20 AM

        For a quick, cheap, and delicious lunch nearby, Izzoz Tacos (1207 South 1st Street, big blue trailer) is about a ten-minute walk south from the Long Center and has two excellent veggie tacos - the portabella mushroom taco and the fried avocado taco. Their migas taco is also quite good but I haven't had much else off the breakfast menu there.

        Austin Java is about a ten-minute walk west of the Long Center on Barton Springs Road. Good coffee and decent food (breakfast quesadillas are veggie and filling).

        Karibu on East 7th (Ethiopian) has a very filling lunch special.

        For more typical restaurant dining, I second the recommendation for East Side Cafe on Manor Road. I *adore* their artichoke manicotti (get the full order) and their sweet potato sides.

        Drink lots of water while you're out and about.

        1. Alan Sudo Jun 15, 2010 04:15 PM

          Try these recent threads for an overview of Vegan / Vegetarian options...

          As far as proximity to the Long center, you can walk or take a single bus (no transfers) to these joints. They have been discussed in more detail elsewhere, and some of them close fairly early, so plug them into a search before you make your decision.

          Threadgill's is within walking distance of the Long Center.

          A quick ride on the #1 bus route gets you to the oh-so-cool SoCo district with Jo's Coffee (1300 South Congress) for your afternoon coffee and some of the best people watching around. Enoteca Vespaio (just a little south of Jo's) is a well reviewed Italian spot has lots of veggie options.

          Or hop on the #10 bus instead and take in the more relaxed South 1st Street vibe. Kick back for your afternoon coffee at Bouldin Creek Coffee House (1501 S 1st St) or dine at veggie-friendly Somnio's (1807 S 1st St).

          The #20 bus will take you to East Side Cafe on Manor Road with their urban, organic garden and veggie options including pastas, enchiladas or a burger. The #17 takes you over to Mr Natural for Tex-Mex, while the #30 takes you near the family-style, macrobiotic, vegan Casa De Luz or the vegan Frito pie and hippy sandwich at Shady Grove.

          1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

          Bouldin Creek Coffee House
          1501 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

          Mr Natural
          1901 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702

          1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

          Shady Grove
          1624 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

          Somnio's Cafe
          1807 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

          1. Helind Jun 15, 2010 10:04 AM

            I've never been there; but a lot of my vegetarian friends like Casa de Luz: http://www.casadeluz.org. It's not far from the Long Center at all.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Helind
              taliesin15 Jun 16, 2010 10:23 AM

              I've also heard the opposite--some people calling Casa de Luz one of the worst, most depressing restaurants in Austin...

            2. j
              jwynne2000 Jun 14, 2010 07:39 PM

              Zax Pints & Plates and Paggi House are both a very short walk from the Long Center. Uchi is actually not a far walk either, but don't try to plan it around a showtime. The wait there is quite long.

              Enjoy your stay!

              Uchi Restaurant
              801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

              Zax Pints & Plates
              312 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

              Paggi House
              200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704

              2 Replies
              1. re: jwynne2000
                Helind Jun 14, 2010 07:52 PM

                You can make a reservation for Uchi using OpenTable.com. I love the food there. It's expensive though. And very very loud.

                Uchi Restaurant
                801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                1. re: Helind
                  taliesin15 Jun 14, 2010 09:10 PM

                  I have found if you arrive at Uchi right when it opens (5:30) you can get seated no problem--definitely one of the best places in Austin--but, dang...vegetarian? Nothing really in walking distance for someone flying in from Montreal--I can handle a walk to/from Whole Foods at 6th and Lamar where they definitely have great vegetarian (and other) food...as to coffee...hmmm...nothing really close per se that's great...many middling places...my favorite coffee place that's somewhat close is Little City at 9th and congress...

                  Uchi Restaurant
                  801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

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