Austin, Texas is a pretty cool place. While mostly known for it’s live music, Austin also provides some cool nature adventures around the Colorado river, the world’s largest urban bat community under Congress Bridge, an interesting art scene, and lots of unique local shops and restaurants. My brother moved there about twenty years ago and since my first visit in 1999, it’s been a place I thoroughly enjoy visiting. I remember being super excited at how easy it was to be vegetarian in that town. Well, Austin kept that kind eating momentum and it’s now just as easy to be vegan there!
I visited Austin Thanksgiving week and I have been totally spoiled on vegan restaurants. Let’s be for real, I’ve lived in a rural area for a decade now and eating out just isn’t an option. For one thing, people don’t entirely grasp the concept of vegan and for another, generally the options are an iceberg lettuce based salad or similar, so why even bother?
Some of the restaurants I visited are dedicated vegan establishments and others just had reliable vegan menu choices. Here’s a list of some amazing vegan options, so if you find yourself in Austin, you’ll know where to go. I took pictures when I wasn’t so overwhelmed by deliciousness that I just dug right in. This by no means encompasses all the vegan options in Austin. Okay, here goes:
Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine-
5800 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78756
510 W 26th St
Austin, TX 78705
These are two separate restaurants, but they’re sort of the same. According to my bro, Madame Mam’s existed first, and when she and her husband split up, he opened his own place. Menus and decor are similar. I believe there is more than one location of each. This visit we went to Sap’s because Madame Mam’s is closed on Sundays.
This is not a strictly vegan or vegetarian place, but there are so many options on the menu. My favorite is the yellow curry. It’s coconut milk based and you can get it with tofu, I don’t love tofu, so I opt for just veggies. I could eat this every day.
Mother’s Cafe and Garden
4215 Duval St
Austin, TX 78751
Mother’s is a vegetarian and vegan cafe that’s been in Austin since 1980. They have soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, enchiladas, and more. I enjoy dining in the back room which is filled with potted plants. The last couple of visits, I got their Bueno Burger (with added guacamole) which never disappoints. The vegan tomato bisque and spinach artichoke dip are also on point.
Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
411 E 43rd St
Austin, TX 78751
Quack’s is coffee shop right by Mother’s. You can have a lovely dinner, and then walk half a block to Quack’s for some coffee and a vegan treat. While their bakery isn’t loaded with vegan goods, they usually have several choices. I’ve had their vegan chocolate truffles, chocolate cupcakes, trail mix cookies, and a strawberry oat bar. All of them delicious. They even have hemp milk as an option for your coffee! My bro used to live right down the street, and I loved walking to Quack’s, grabbing a coffee, and chilling out with a book. While I didn’t photograph my baked goods, my friend Chris and I did try to recreate a photo of us from fourteen years ago!
2337 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702
I regret that in my exuberance for friends and food, I neglected to photograph any of our meals. Counter Culture is a vegan and raw foods restaurant. My friend, Emily, got the raw butternut squash “tacos” which she loved. I got their macaroni and cheese which was so good. It had a pesto quality to it and was topped with bread crumbs. We even splurged on a caramel brownie sundae for dessert. Here’s a picture of us laughing about “Evil Grimace” in Counter Culture:
2908 Fruth St
Austin, TX 78705
There are two locations, both are food trucks. This location is right outside of Spider House and is the only one I’ve visited. They serve vegan burgers and tacos and there is outdoor picnic table seating. When I want vegan comfort food, I dream of their Mac and cheese burger. I just can’t. It’s that good.
The Halal Corner
1200 Barbara Jordan Blvd
Austin, TX 78723
I love falafel. It’s true. So I was super stoked that a Mediterranean restaurant had opened near my brother’s house since my last visit. Not a strictly vegan/vegetarian restaurant, but it’s advertised in multiple places inside that any vegetarian wrap or plate can be made vegan. Everything I ate was fantastic. Falafel, hummus, eggplant dip, tabbouleh- all of it delicious. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, we went two days in a row!
As I mentioned, I’ve only scratched the surface of Austin’s vegan food scene. A few other places you might want to check out include:
- Bouldin Creek Cafe
- The Great Ya’ll
- Sweet Ritual