Thursday, March 3, 2011

Veggie Eats with Lynnea of Squid Ink Kollective

From finger-licking cheese-stuffed burgers, to a macrobiotic all-you-can-eat, to 100% raw foods, Austin's got something for every animal lover and picky eater. Expensiveness is rated from ~$10/person ($) to ~$25 ($$$). Note the tags such as gluten-free (GF), octo-lavo (OL), vegan (VGN), raw (RF), and places that use a lot of organic/local ingredients (OG).

So you're already downtown and looking for something to eat? Look no further than the flagship Whole Foods store (GF, OL, VGN, RF, OG, $-$$$), located at N. Lamar between 5th and 6th St. It's got something for everyone, from fresh juices and a raw food/vegan deli case to brick oven pizza slices. Try a Hail Merry Miracle Chocolate Tart (RF, OG) for the most amazing chocolate experience ever, or make your own trail mix in the bulk foods section.

E.L.T. from Beets Cafe, photo courtesy Little Bites Blog

For a more intimate dining experience, go to Beets Café on W. 5th St. (GF, VGN, RF, OG, $$), which has an amazing menu and is a must-stop for raw vegans. Or if you're on 6th and need something quick, Kebabalicious (OL) has two locations (M-F afternoons and Th-Sat nights) and deliciously authentic falafel pita wraps - try their spicy hummus if you enjoy the heat!

Hop across to the east side and you'll find a few other gems. First is Your Mom's Burger Bar (OL, $$) on Cesar Chavez - only place with gourmet cheese-stuffed burgers ($8-$10) where you'll find a veggie burger option! Be warned, this is a local favorite so expect it to be packed during peak hours. Farther down the road and substantially healthier is Mr. Natural (GF, OL, VGN, $-$$), a long-time provider of vegan food and healthy baked goods. The $5.75 taco salad is cheap but very filling - or snag a delicious, gluten-free chocolate muffin.

Rio's Brazilian hot pocket

Out on Pleasant Valley you'll find Rio's Brazilian (OL, $). They have a smaller menu but their breakfast pockets are the best in town and easy on YOUR pocket (guffaw!). Get some coffee while you wait! Scattered closer to I-35 are some great and cheap vegan food trailers, most notably Iggis' Texatarian, which has some great southern fare that's typically hard to find sans animal.

Head down south for some more original Austin locations. Casa de Luz (GF, VGN, OG, $$) has operated for 20 years and serves one multi-course meal every night - but it's all-you-can-eat style ($12/person). You'll find them close to Zilker Park off of S. Lamar and they post their lunch and dinner menus daily before serving - taco nights are on Thursday, and their weekend brunches are a wholesome treat.

Kerbey Lane (GF, OL, VGN, OG, $-$$) - you'll find it all over Austin, and everyone can eat here. Ask for the gluten-free menu if needed. Their location on S. Lamar is one of the better, although expect it to be packed late at night and especially weekend brunches. Nearby is Dog Almighty - the absolute best place for a vegetarian hotdog lover! Personally I don't go for their veggie chili, but I love their kraut dog with a veggie brat, or their corndogs - dipped in homemade batter! Yummy teamonade will quench your thirst.

Path of Phoenix, from Veggie Heaven

Up north there's a few that can't be beat. Veggie Heaven (VGN, $), close to the UT campus, has for a long time been offering cheap vegan fare to hungry students. Try their infamous Protein 2000, with their unique brown rice. Also close to campus you'll find food trailer Conscious Cravings (OL, VGN, $), which serves quick and easy wraps. Farther up Guadalupe there's Thai Kitche (VGN, $), another Austin staple, with hours well into the night. For something more substantial with a peaceful setting to boot, go to Mother's on Duval St., an all-vegan restaurant with fare from enchiladas to stir-fries to BBQ tofu.

If you've got a willing driver or plenty of time to ride the bus, make the trek out past 183 for some delicious and authentic Indian places that are 100% vegetarian. Swad (OL, $) is cheap and truly authentic (spiciness included!) - it's easy to order too much so be careful!

A Thali plate from Swad

There's tons more places in Austin that cater to the veggie-loving people that live here. Feel free to add more in the comments below!


Squid Ink Kollective


  1. Also, check out The Vegan Yacht ( and try the Frito Burrito!

    P.S. Hi, SquidInk, y'all are the best :-)

  2. Bouldin Creek Cafe, of course:

  3. Ooo, thank you for this! I'm coming down from Brooklyn in May for Renegade and I'm definitely on the hunt for some tasty vegan food!

  4. Thanks, Breezy!

    For some decent Indian food closer to downtown, there's also G'raj Mahal

    Just south of East 1st and Red River. It's a trailer with lots of seating and is BYOB too.

    Squid Ink Kollective

  5. Sooo hungry right now. MMMMMM...