We moved to Austin from Lakewood (in Dallas) about nine years ago, but it wasn’t ’til we moved South of the River (SOTR) that we decided Austin was for keeps. South Austin was home and we knew it the second we landed here – the quirk, the homegrown vibe, and its laid back attitude matched us perfectly. Explore some of our favorite vegetarian eats if you find yourself just SOTR or if you venture further into the belly of glorious Way South Austin (our new home). Reviews and links to recommendations from some of our other food bloggers just beyond…
SOTR (Between the Colorado River and Ben White)
Phoenicia Bakery & Deli
2912 S. Lamar Blvd
Small grocery stories with in-store delis have a special place in my heart. I love them. If I am managing a well-planned afternoon, I’ll pop in to order a falafel special (pickles, radishes, hummus and all the fixings) with a mandarin Jarritos and nosh on the little bench outside before picking up some staples for my own kitchen. Olives, sweets from the bakery, tahini, mate, pita bread, and if the season is right, I can sometimes snag some local loquats and persimmons. Poorly planned days are righted with the quick, but perfect meal. You can order almost all the way until closing, but don’t be that guy/gal that shows up at 6:55. 😉
Wheatsville South Lamar
4001 South Lamar
Continuing with my love of in-store delis, Wheatsville has hordes of vegetarian and vegan options at the counter and hot bar. The Tempeh Frito Pie is a worthwhile indulgence, the tacos are great, and their signature popcorn tofu is worth trying out on a po-boy. The only cooperatively-owned grocery store in the entire state of Texas also happens to be my preferred grocery store in town. It’s a great place to pick up local produce if you happened to miss one of the markets and has aisles and aisles of things regular and specialty. Smoothies, juices, baked goods and prepared foods round out their offerings.
Veracruz All Natural – Trailer #3 (at Radio)
4208 Manchaca Rd
Open Daily 7am-midnight
As mentioned in my East Austin roundup, I no longer get taco cravings for ordinary tacos… Veracruz makes my stomach pang and they are the only tacos that I make it a point to leave the house for. They are that good.
1503 S. First Street
Open 7 days a week (hours posted on site)
Their fried avocado taco is delicious. Crunchy and creamy and seasoned just right. I don’t get to go by nearly as often as I would like, but you should stop by if you are in the neighborhood. Salsa is good. Mexican Cokes at the ready.
909 W. Mary
Open 8am-10pm daily
Their coconut vermicelli with tofu is the bomb and I will perfect the magical balance of her Pad Thai at home some day. Till then, take out on busy weekdays will do. They also have a cozy eat in space with great vegan offerings for dessert. Remember that the laid back that we so cherish only works with patience as your friend. They are very busy at meal times.
500 E. Ben White
I have yet to take a picture of one of my burritos ‘cause they get scarfed down so fast. You heard me right. I said burrito… in Texas. Crispy tortilla that is pressed and toasted right in front of your eyes and in the words of the owner, “Everything but the meat is vegetarian.” No need to worry about meaty things lingering in your beans or rice. Cabo Bob cravings can not be satisfied on Sundays (their only day off).
WAY SOUTH AUSTIN (South of Ben White)
2000 Southern Oak Dr
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
This is my new home base. It reminds of the vibe that we loved so much at the original location of Bouldin Creek Coffee House. Small and modest with smiles behind the counter gets me every time. Love the tea offerings (by the cup or pot), the aero-press coffees, and the English-style pancakes.
Casa Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant
1901 W. William Cannon (at Manchaca)
The 11yo can’t say “Casa Garcia” without getting a twinkle in her eyes. They (like Veracruz) prove once again that tortillas made-from-scratch are worth it. Their veggie enchilada offerings are plentiful and delicious and service is super-friendly. Mariachis are a nice treat on Friday nights.
NOTE: None of the restaurants reviewed above are exclusively vegetarian, but Austin is nice in that you can manage to eat a full meal (not just sides) at most establishments. Ask questions if you’re not sure if there is chicken stock in that rice or fish sauce in that stir-fry. By and large, servers and restaurant owners are really accommodating and helpful.
vegetarian eats to the east – some of my favorite spots in East Austin are just a hop-skip from Downtown.
vegetarian eats to the north – SWAD is worth a detour if you are making your way into town from the North.
Please be sure to check out what the 100+ members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance are recommending in their annual city guide:
… and don’t forget about all the fabulous things that the rest of South Austin holds: