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Feb 9, 2011 06:22 PM

Your favorite vegan dishes in Austin?

I have some friends coming in from New York and Seattle, and two of them are vegan. I would customarily entertain my guests by plying them full of barbecue and Mexican food all weekend, but I'll need to locate some good vegan options this time. Depending on the menu that day, Casa de Luz can be good. What are some of your other favorite vegan dishes or vegan-friendly restaurants in Austin? If they also serve non-vegan food, all the better.

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  1. there are a bunch of trucks that focus on vegan cuisine, such as the vegan yacht.

    another good option for out of towners is a trip to the whole foods mothership.
    they have the raw food area, plus tons of other options.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dinaofdoom

      I entertained a vegan last Spring for a long weekend and kept thinking "what is this person doing with their life?".

      And they are one of my oldest,dearest friends but life without Black's Barbecue?


      All my normal ace in the hole spots were useless, damn near 20 years of curating good foods across Central Texas was rendered naught in a flash.

      We were eating at Old Spanish Trail in Bandera and I had a cowboys feast in front of me; Ribeye, fried potatoes, a couple enchiladas and some fried catfish while my friend was eating a few torn greens of iceberg with some lemon juice squirted over it.

      He did score some popcorn at the theater [after making sure the butter was faux].

      Drank lots of ice water.

      Had a plate of rice at El Zunzal with some slivers of avocado on it.

      Maybe you could ease their torpor with some Indian food.

      Parts of plenty Indian menus cater to vegetarians. Just make sure none of the amazing cheeses they like to eat are included in the dish.

      My Indian friends swear by Teji's as being a good source.

      I've noticed some vegan/gluten free hunks of what appears to be tree bark on the counters of lots of local coffee shops. I'm pretty sure it's food and it could be eaten with some coffee that was dairy free.

      The Hope Farmers Market on Sunday had delicious looking root vegetables for sale. Maybe wash them a little and eat them?

      Hopefully the juice bar crowd will weigh in on where you can get vegan shakes that are powered by algaes?

      I hear there's lots of vegans hereabouts but the pickings are slim as far as full blown vegan hot spots to hop between-have an app here an entree there-that sort of thing.

      Black's Barbecue
      215 N Main St, Lockhart, TX 78644

      El Zunzal Restaurant
      642 Calles St, Austin, TX 78702

      1205 Round Rock Ave, Round Rock, TX 78681

      1. re: scrumptiouschef

        is blacks still the place to go for brisket? has franklin not surpassed yet?

        1. re: chrisdds98

          This is too funny. A vegan restaurant query just got threadjacked into a debate about the best brisket in the Austin area. Woe to you, vegans!

          That being said, most my vegan (not just vegetarian) friends are so picky about their dietary choices that they've become adepts at preparing food their way and don't even really expect restaurants to cater to them. They've sort of given up.

          Moreover, and pregnant mothers looking to avoid raw eggs or unpasteurized cheeses know what I'm talking about, waiters sometimes lie to avoid the inconvenience of the high maintenance diner. "Are you sure your cooks use a different grill for vegan products -- I have to know that no meat has ever touched any cooking surface in the production of my food," will often get a deceitful yes. This sort of chicanery may not be the majority, but you come to sort of accept that it happens.

          As a punishment for being vegan, you could always take your guest to Mr. Natural or Mother's. Note that this backfires a bit if you're also going with them.

          Maybe let your guest pick their way through Whole Foods downtown? Sort of a fun place, and they can stock up on all the papayas, nuts, and soymilk that they need. Since the cooking at the various stations is done open, in front of the guest. As the old Steak n Shake motto goes: "In the light, it must be right." And I'm sure that Whole Foods cooks deal with their fair share of vegetarians and vegans, given their location and target market.

    2. Wheatsville has a deli with several vegan options made to order or in their deli case.

      Bouldin Creek has really delicious food that can be vegan or vegetarian. it would also expose your guests to "south austin" even though their new location is new and shiny.

      Cheer up Charlies offers vegan goods, drinks and entertainment.

      Then there is Daily Juice, Soup Peddler, Whip-In and possibly the Ethiopian places around town.

      I believe all the places above serve non-vegan foods.

      Soup Peddler
      501 W Mary St, Austin, TX

      Daily Juice
      1625 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

      1. Sorry, Brian, for all the petty remarks in this thread. This is not the normal chowhound Austin spirit.

        Living Beets Cafe on W. 5th/Mopac is all raw and vegan and has some of the best non-ethnic vegan food I've had in the city. Note it is quite expensive.

        The Greens bar at the Whole Foods downtown is also pure vegan and has a lot of dishes raw as well. The Whole Foods counters are hit and miss, but of late it has been more hit than miss for us.

        I believe there was a raw restaurant in the old Bella Cafe spot on W. 6th (this part of downtown seems to be where the raws hang out), but I want to say I read it closed recently. I can't remember the name nor did I ever go there.

        For the Indian places that serve all vegetarian and a good bit of vegan Curry in a Hurry and Bombay Express are good. Madras Pavilion also has a lot of South Indian specials but it has been years since I've been.

        Madras Pavilion
        9025 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78758

        1 Reply
        1. re: Carter B.

          tom's comments above about ingredients and preparation also ring true for indian restaurants.
          a lot of dishes use ghee and it's not as obvious as say, paneer.

          here is a website that may be helpful:

          i always take out of towners of all culinary persuasions to the daily juice.
          the young coconut thingie is great and fun to eat (albeit messy!).
          plus, if the weather is behaving, you can wander over to zilker with your delicious drink.

        2. There's a number of really great vegan trailers. I'm vegetarian, but when vegan friends have visited from out of town, the options at these places have been huge hits.

          The Eastside Drive-in trailer park includes the Vegan Yacht.

          Counter Culture on North Loop

          Iggi's Texaterian behind Cheer Up Charlie's

          Any of the Ethiopian places in town would be good choices, though Taste of Ethiopia in Pflugerville is the best option in my opinion.

          Mr. Natural always works out well, too.

          If you're looking for more upscale options, Uchi will do a veg-friendly tasting menu that's really amazing.

          Vegans Rock Austin is the best local resources for identifying options, especially if you want to know whether or not a particular Indian restaurants uses ghee, etc.

          And this blogger always has great posts about local options, including this top 10 list from last year:

          Uchi Restaurant
          801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

          Counter Culture
          Austin, TX, Austin, TX

          Taste of Ethiopia
          1466 Grand Avenue Pkwy, Pflugerville, TX 78660

          1. Although it's not a CH fave, I've always enjoyed Kerby Lane Cafe, especially for their seasonal menu items. They also have a vegan menu: .