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Jun 14, 2010 04:19 PM

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

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?

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  1. 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

      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

        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

    2. 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

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

      2. 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. 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. 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

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