Tagged: Austin Vegan Food

2015 Vegan Guides to Austin

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So much food, so little time! We’ve eaten our way through Austin, so you don’t have to. We’ve just created our most extensive guide to eating vegan in Austin – and it’s epic! It’s a great primer for out-of-towners, or a refresher for locals. We’ve spent years eating our way through the good, bad, and (let’s admit, sometimes) ugly food Austin has to offer, and we’ve worked our favorites down to this handy cheat sheet.

Our “Vegan Guide to Austin” features our favorite restaurants, dishes to order for every meal, handy tips and more. It breaks down places that have gluten-free options, late-night hours, and those that have dog-friendly patios. We’ve even made it printer-friendly, so you scribble all over it and note the places you want to try the most! Check it out in our guides section here.

Red Hot Vegans - Vegan Guide to Austin

With Vida Vegan Con around the corner, and so many new faces arriving in Austin in just a few weeks, we’ve also been frantically updating the rest of our guides section as well. Every single guide is up to date as of May 2015, and ready for your perusal:

Red Hot Vegans’ Handy Guides:

We’re not the only ones that have been busy at work updating our Austin vegan guides, and we love that everyone has a different perspective (we’ve noticed that food seems to taste better the less distance you have to travel to get to it, so we’re totally biased towards North Austin!). To get a well-rounded take on the Austin vegan scene, check out these awesome Vegan blogs/groups in town that have their own take on things:

Lazy Smurf’s Guide to Life has a great “Top 10 Dishes for 2015“, an extensive “Austin Vegan Guide” with every vegan-friendly restaurant in town, an “Austin Vegan Taco Guide“, and a “Vegan Tour of Austin“.

Team Feed Everyone has an “Austin Vegan Guide” sorted by vegan-friendliness.

Lone Star Plate has an amazing “Everything Else” guide to Austin, featuring where to get books, hang out with kitties, and pick up groceries. They also have a great list of vegan-friendly places that take gluten-fee dishes seriously for our celiac friends, as well as an extensive list of vegan guides to cities all across Texas if you decide to travel outside of Austin (the blueberry in the tomato soup).

Vegans Rock Austin has an Austin vegan restaurant list that is user generated, so it has many different people’s perspectives. VegATX has the most comprehensive Austin vegan calendar (which we also graciously use). To get you pumped to visit Austin, be sure to check out Maximum Salad’s videos of local restaurants and events!

I’m so excited to share our wonderful city with hundreds of vegan bloggers, community organizers and chefs in just a few weeks’ time! I hope y’all enjoy our city as much as we do!

Vegan Guide to Austin

We’ve eaten our way through Austin, so you don’t have to! Our extensive guide to eating vegan in Austin is a great primer for out-of-towners, or a refresher for locals. We’ve spent years eating our way through the good, bad, and (let’s admit, sometimes) ugly food Austin has to offer, and we’ve worked our favorites down to this handy cheat sheet. Feel free to print this guide if you want a travel-friendly version!

Vegan food in Austin

How to use this guide:

  • Any restaurant that we’ve highlighted in an expanded post here on Red Hot Vegans will be linked to. Check those posts our for more in depth coverage of each restaurant’s options.
  • All restaurants mentioned (with one exception – Uchi) clearly mark their vegan options on the menu.
  • GF = Gluten Free Options, LO = Lighter Options Available (veggie-ful and/or less calorie dense) LN = Late Night (regularly open past 10pm – also check out our Late Night Guide), DF = Dog-Friendly (Austin is super dog-friendly, and most restaurants with outdoor seating will allow dogs, though you’re generally out of luck in bad weather)
  • Assume that any deep-fried items at vegan-friendly omnivorous joints are prepared in a shared fryer unless a dedicated veg. fryer is specifically called out in the description.
  • Austin has a fast moving restaurant scene – with businesses popping up and disappearing regularly. We’ve done our best to make sure this information is accurate, but we highly suggest checking hours/location/social media, before heading out of your way to visit any of these places.

Cheat Sheet:

  • Top places for delicious comfort food: Arlo’s, Baton Creole, BBQ Revolution, Cool Beans, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, The Vegan Nom, Via 313, Wasota African Cuisine, and Wheatsville Coop.
  • Favorite places for veggie-ful, lighter fare: Bistro Vonish, Bouldin Creek Cafe, Casa de Luz, Counter Culture, Juiceland, Koriente, Mother’s Cafe, The Steeping Room, Unity Vegan Kitchen and Wheatsville Coop.
  • Great vegan breakfast joints: Biscuits and Groovy, Bouldin Creek Cafe, Casa de Luz, Juiceland, Kerbey Lane Cafe, Mr. Natural, The Vegan Nom, and Wheatsville Coop.
  • Best bests for late-night eats: Arlo’s, Baton Creole, Frank, Kerbey Lane Cafe and Via 313.
  • Top places to find yummy dessert: Bananarchy, Capital City Bakery, Fat Cats, Sweet Ritual and Thai Fresh.
  • Most interesting grocery stores: Rabbit Food Grocery, Wheatsville Co-op, and Whole Foods (Downtown). Honorable mention: Fiesta Mart – not listed on the guide, but a great place for hard-to-find groceries.
  • Want to stick to 100% vegan businesses? Check out: Arlo’s, BBQ Revolution, Bistro Vonish, Blue Cat Café, Capital City Bakery, Casa de Luz, Cool Beans, Counter Culture, Happy Vegan Baker, Rabbit Food Grocery, Skull and Cakebones, Sweet Ritual, Unity Vegan Kitchen, The Vegan Nom, and The Vegan Yacht.

North/Central Austin:

  • Biscuits and Groovy

    Biscuits and Groovy:

    Business Website – RHV Blog Post

    Vegan-friendly biscuits and gravy trailer, specializing in biscuits loaded with toppings. (DF)

    Tips: Has a small sheltered outdoor seating area. Weekends can get crazy – expect a long wait. To kill some time, head to Flight Path Coffee around the corner and pick up a latte.

    Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch: Everything on the menu can be made vegan, with tofu scramble, daiya and house-made vegan meats. We think the whole menu is solid, but we tend to order the veganized Gloria Gaynor or Johnny Hash to get a good selection of the toppings.

  • Conscious Cravings

    Conscious Cravings:

    Business Website – RHV Blog Post

    Vegetarian trailer with two locations, specializing in hot wraps and salads. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: The North location has a few picnic tables, the South location is part of a bigger trailer lot and has a large nice covered seating area. Wraps are a steal at only $5.50.

    Lunch/Dinner: Everything on the menu can be made vegan (just specify vegan cheese). We’re partial to the Bella, but the Pan Seared Tofu and Chimichurri Seitan wraps are close runners up. A side of baked rosemary fries is a nice complement to a wrap.

    Lighter Option: Get any wrap as a “salad” – instead of a wrap you get a rice/quinoa pilaf and veggies. It comes with an additional charge, but it’s also considerably more food than the wrap, so it’s still a good deal.

  • Vegan Popcorn Trio in Mini Tin from Cornucopia

    Cornucopia Popcorn:

    Business Website – RHV Blog Post

    Popcorn shop, specializing in gift tins and bulk popcorn orders. (GF)

    Tips: If you’re local, get a big tin, so you can bring it back for cheap refills.

    Anytime: There are usually 6-8 vegan flavors on hand, with a mix of both sweet and savory options. The vegan flavors are all labeled, and available to sample, so get whatever floats your boat.

  • Maoz Salad Box


    Business Website – RHV Blog Post

    Vegetarian falafel chain serving falafel, fries, salad, soups and rice pudding. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: The storefront is located in the SW corner of the Triangle shopping center.  There is a small indoor and outdoor seating area. Maoz is an international chain, but this location is locally owned, and has a few unique menu items including vegan shawarma/chick’n/BBQ proteins. There are unlimited topping refills from the salad bar, so don’t be afraid to head back for more.

    Lunch/Dinner: Everything is good, so get whatever sounds best to you – falafel, soup, fries, salad, etc. Just don’t forget the fried broccoli at the salad bar, and it never hurts to douse your falafel in tahini and hot sauce.

  • Soup and salad from Mother's CafeMother’s Cafe:

    Business Website

    Vegetarian restaurant with a hippy vibe. Serves burgers, sandwiches, enchiladas, salads. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: Mother’s has been an Austin staple since 1980, and the menu is chock-full of classic ’80s vegetarian food. I love to hate on Mother’s, but to be honest, I’ve eaten my fair share of Bueno Burgers. The cafe has a large indoor seating area, and a few small tables outdoors. Mother’s now offers vegan ice cream from Sweet Ritual upon request if you have room for dessert (see below).

    Weekend Brunch: Try the pancakes.

    Lunch/Dinner: Get the Bueno Burger with vegan mayo and mustard – add Daiya/Guac to liven it up a bit. If you want a change from the Bueno Burger, try the Artichoke Enchiladas (with Daiya or tofu) or the Mom’s Reuben with Daiya and sliced wheat roast.

    Lighter Option: Get the soup and salad combo, and upgrade to the spinach salad. Ask for crumbled tofu instead of cheese on the salad, and get the cashew tamari dressing.

    Dessert: The almond mocha torte is rich and delicious. It’s good on its own, but pairs well with a scoop of ice cream. The blueberry pie is also good if you get it with ice cream.

  • Vegan TBLT and Caesar Salad from The Steeping Room

    The Steeping Room:

    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan-friendly tea shop with two locations. Focuses on lighter fare with vegan soup, salad, sandwich and dessert options in addition to a large tea menu. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: Both Steeping Room locations are located in Central/North Austin. The more Northern location is located in an open air shopping mall, and can get very busy for lunch and dinner. The more central location tends to get busier for brunch/lunch. Reservations are a good idea for large parties and busier times. Both locations have indoor and outdoor seating.

    Breakfast: Try the Breakfast Bowl with the cashew sauce, or the Seasonal Scrambler with a scone (and the maple spread). The vegan Breakfast Sandwich is also simple but good, and a steal at $4.25.

    Lunch/Dinner: The vegan TBLT on ciabatta with a side of cashew caesar is a winner. We’re also partial to the veganized Bahn Mi. The tea services can also be made vegan, and are a fun treat.

    Lighter Option: Both the Buddha Bowl and the Java Bowl are our current go-to orders. The Java Bowl has more complex flavors, and is great with tempeh. The Buddha Bowl ingredients rotate, so some days it’s better than others. When going with the Buddha, be sure to get the cashew sauce. The soup and salad combo can also be great depending on the daily soup (tomato coconut is a favorite).

  • Uchiko Sushi


    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly upscale Japanese restaurant with two locations. Uchi is the South Austin location, while Uchiko is the North Austin location, and is a little less formal.  (GF, LO)

    Tips: Uchi and Uchiko are the only restaurants we will recommend that don’t actually mark their vegan options on the menu, but the vegan options are so plentiful, and the staff is so knowledgeable, that we feel they’re worth mentioning. If you’re looking for a fancy night out, we’d recommend making a reservation at either location (though last minute tables are also sometimes available). If you’re looking for something a little more casual, head to Uchiko for Happy Hour (no reservations accepted). Uchiko is also currently hosting a vegetarian tasting menu on the third Monday of the month, which has generally included a few vegan-friendly dishes that you can order separately.

    Dinner: If going for a full dinner, just ask your waiter for the vegan options – if the kitchen is not too busy, the chef will often get creative and whip up a vegan tasting menu just for you. If you’re just heading to Uchiko for happy hour, we recommend the veganized brussels sprouts, komaki roll, avocado sushi, nasu sushi (not on the happy hour menu, but worth ordering anyway), and sorbet.

    Dessert: There is a rotating selection of sorbet flavors that are often vegan. The sorbet is made in-house, and the flavors are very creative, so we’d recommend trying any of the vegan flavors that sound good to you.

  • The Vegan Yacht

    The Vegan Yacht:

    Business Website

    Vegan trailer with small bar food menu. (GF, LN, DF)

    Tips: This trailer is currently parked at Spider House, a sprawling bar/music venue, with a fun outdoor seating area.

    Dinner/Late-Night: The freeto burrito is a local favorite. Frito pie is a popular Southern tradition, and can also be found here.

Additional businesses with locations in North/Central Austin –

Downtown Austin:

  • Vegan Hot Dogs from FrankFrank:

    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly restaurant and bar. Serves hot dogs, chili, frito pie, and waffle fries. (GF, LN)

    Tips: Frank has a large indoor seating area, with a full bar, and occasionally live music. They have vegan sausages, chili and cheese to veganize a number of their hot dog creations. Any waffle fries order is half-off during happy hour.

    Lunch/Dinner: Try whatever hot dog creation sounds good to you, or try the Frank Frito Pie  – a Southern treat. Keep an eye out for the specials, as the vegetarian special can sometimes also be vegan.

  • Mixmix Bibimbap from Koriente


    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan-friendly Korean fusion restaurant serving summer rolls, noodle bowls, stir-frys and bubble tea. (GF, LO) 

    Tips: There is indoor and outdoor seating in this small restaurant. Meals are served with free vegan miso soup, and customization of your order is encouraged.

    Lunch/Dinner: Everything on the menu is fabulous. We’re partial to the Mixmix bibimbap with tofu and avocado, but the Noodle Garden with tofu is similarly good. If you’re looking for something heartier, the Obake Bowl (B) with tofu and avocado is fun if you’re a fan of rice medallions. Grab a bubble tea to finish of your meal, the teas that can be made vegan are marked.

    Lighter Option: Most dishes are fairly light, but the Noodle Garden, Garden Handroll and Mixmix Bibimbap have the most fresh veggies.

  • Breakfast Tacos from Whole Foods

    Whole Foods (Downtown):

    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly grocery store chain. There are four Whole Foods stores in Austin, but the downtown location is the most interesting. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: This is the headquarters of Whole Foods, and their flagship store. There are both indoor and outdoor seating areas. On Thursdays you can order a whole pizza with 3 toppings for only $10.

    Breakfast: The breakfast taco bar is a good bet with vegan-friendly options including tofu scramble, vegan chorizo and vegan cheese. Pair your tacos with some freshly brewed coffee or juice, and you’re good to go.

    Lunch/Dinner: Choose from one of the many food kiosks including pizza, sushi, sandwiches or the hot bar. Most kiosks are vegan-friendly, though currently none go out of their way to provide interesting vegan options.

Additional businesses with locations in downtown Austin –

East Austin:

  • Pizza from Bistro Vonish

    Bistro Vonish:

    Business Website

    Vegan trailer serving fancy veggie dishes, pizza, pasta and dessert. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: Trailer is tucked on the side of Brass Ovaries (vegan-owned pole dancing class studio), next to BBQ Revolution (see above), with an outdoor seating area.

    Brunch: Available on Sundays, the french toast is not to be missed.

    Snack/Dessert: A Texas treat – try one of the rotating kolache flavors.

    Lighter Option: The menu is always changing, but there is generally a rotating vegetable dish, with croquettes or risotto and seitan as an add-on option that is always delicious. We’re also fans of the rotating soup selection.

  • Burger from Counter Culture

    Counter Culture:

    Business Website

    Vegan restaurant serving lighter versions of comfort classics including burgers, pizza, mac and cheese, sandwiches and salads.  (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: There is a large indoor seating area as well as a covered outdoor patio. The menu caters to many different diets including Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and Engine 2 (no added oil), so there’s something to please everyone. Head there for happy hour to get half-off appetizers.

    Breakfast: The Country Biscuit Bowl (with gravy on the side) is our go-to order. To mix it up we’ll get the East Side Quesadilla or Breakfast Burrito.

    Lunch/Dinner: The spicy baked artichoke dip is a delicious appetizer to share. The Southern Baked Seitan is our go-to order, with a side of cornbread and Caesar salad (with extra dressing). The Philly Seitan sandwich is another favorite. To mix it up we’ll get the Cold Cuts Sandwich or the Mac and Cheeze.

    Lighter Option: The Raw Bruschetta, Beet Mushroom Walnut Burger, and the Pesto Rawviolis are all delicious and heavy on the veggies.

  • Fiery Vegan Dog from Fire and Soul

    Fire and Soul:

    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan-friendly trailer serving corn dogs, fried avocado, and fries. (GF, LN, DF)

    Tips: The trailer is parked in a large lot with many other food trucks, including Baton Creole. There is outdoor seating in the lot, or you can bring your food to a nearby bar. Has a dedicated veg. fryer.

    Lunch/Dinner: If you love corn dogs, look no further than the Fiery Vegan Dog. Be sure to upgrade your fries to the sweet potato option – not normally something we would do, but trust us; they’re much better.

  • Brunch at Mr. Natural

    Mr. Natural:

    Business Website

    Vegetarian restaurant with two locations. Has a large vegan-friendly menu full of Tex-Mex classics, and a large whole-wheat baked goods case. (GF, DF)

    Tips: Both the east and the south locations have indoor and outdoor seating. Almost everything on the menu can be made vegan, with the substitution of vegan cheese

    Brunch: There is a vegan-friendly breakfast menu mid-week, but the First Sunday of the month vegan brunch at the east location is where it’s at. $17 for an all-you-can-eat feast. Be sure to get the enchilada pie, biscuits and gravy and chik’n with agave mustard if they are on the buffet line.

    Lunch: There is generally a lunch buffet that is vegan-friendly and a good deal, though we prefer to order off the regular menu.

    Dinner: We’re all about the Taco Salad. It’s technically a salad, but it’s really just an open face burrito. Be sure to order it with the refried beans – they are addictive. The Burger Boss is also fantastic, as is the Milanesa – both are our other go-to orders.

    Dessert: Try the vegan Tres Leches cake, or the coconut cake.

  • Nice N Ful


    Business Website

    Vegetarian soul food truck serving burgers, nuggets, soul rolls and sides. (GF, DF) 

    Tips: Truck is parked in a lot with outdoor seating (next to Wasota African Cuisine). The lot is known for hosting awesome Jazz festivals.

    Lunch/Dinner: We’ve really enjoyed the soul rolls, chik’n nuggets and dirty rice.

  • Sagra


    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly Italian restaurant serving drinks, appetizers, pizza and pasta. (GF)

    Tips: Sagra has a large indoor dining area and limited patio seating. There is a large parking lot behind the restaurant. Ask for the vegan menu. Happy Hour is a great deal with half-off pizzas and $2 off specialty drinks every day.

    Lunch/Dinner: We’ve noticed that often the same dish comes out differently every time we order it, so it’s hard to recommend one particular thing. The pizza is generally a safe bet. We have really liked the Funghi pizza and the Macaroni al Forno when the the house-made cashew cheeze is stocked.

Additional businesses with locations in East Austin –

South Austin:

  • Bananarchy


    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan-friendly frozen banana stand. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: The cart is parked in a food truck lot next to Rabbit Food Grocery’s location. There is outdoor seating available.

    Anytime: Everything is good, just pick your size and then pick your toppings. A halfsie is a good snack size. The GOB is a monster of a banana, and not something you can finish on your own. Sometimes the specials are vegan-friendly, so keep an eye out for that.

  • Breakfast at Casa de Luz

    Casa de Luz:

    Business Website

    Vegan macrobiotic restaurant serving a rotating weekly menu. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: There is generous indoor and outdoor seating available at communal tables. Everything is organic and gluten-free. Meal cards are available to purchase that are a good deal if you’re a frequent diner.

    Breakfast: Our preferred meal at Casa de Luz, as it’s cheaper, simpler, and you can serve yourself. The options are generally the same – homemade tortilla, beans, veggies, porridge, soup and twig tea. The porridge can be a little plain, so if you choose to get it, we recommend topping it with lots of granola.

    Lunch/Dinner: Every night is something different. Check the website to see if tonight’s menu looks good to you. They will charge extra for second servings of the lunch/dinner meal.

  • Tacos at Gueros


    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly Tex-Mex restaurant serving margaritas, tacos, enchiladas and chalupas. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: This restaurant has a large indoor, and small outdoor seating area. It’s located in the touristy section of South Congress, and is also a known celebrity hang-out spot, so it can get very busy at times. There is a separate vegan menu that you have to ask for.

    Lunch/Dinner: For a small bite to eat, get two Soy Taquitos al Pastor, and wash them down with a margarita. For something a little bigger, get the Tacos de Salud platter with chorizo and refried beans, or the Chalupas a la Celeste.

    Lighter Option: Most of the vegan menu items are chock-full of veggies. The dishes are all fairly similar, with the same ingredients served in different ways, so just choose what looks best to you.

  • Croissant at Thai Fresh

    Thai Fresh:

    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan-friendly Thai restaurant and bakery serving Thai food, ice cream, and a rotating baked goods selection. (GF, DF)

    Tips: Restaurant has a large indoor and outdoor seating area, and a small parking lot. Street parking is often necessary, and easy enough to find. All ice cream flavors are vegan, and most baked goods are vegan and gluten-free. Many of the dishes on the Thai food menu can be made vegan, but the desserts are where Thai Fresh shines. Vegan cooking and baking classes are often offered, and can be found online.

    Breakfast: The bakery case is always changing, but be sure to try the croissants if they have them fresh. There are also often donuts, muffins and parfaits that are good for breakfast, as well as a large coffee/tea menu.

    Dessert: This is where Thai Fresh really shines… Try the Thai Ice Tea ice cream over sticky rice, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, the Chocolate Diner Pie, the Almond Wedding Cake, or any of the other number of delicious rotating baked good selections. Most items are gluten-free, but you’d never guess it.

  • Tofu Salad at Unity Vegan Kitchen

    Unity Vegan Kitchen:

    Business Website

    Vegan trailer serving salads, sandwiches, rotating specials and dessert. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: This trailer is parked in a lot with many other trailers, which has a large seating area.

    Lunch/Dinner: The specials are where it’s at. Every other week they break out the fryer, and make a rotating selection of chimichangas, buffalo chik’n platter, chik’n and waffles, and other insanely delicious creations. Check social media for the current special. If the special doesn’t suit you, try the lasagna or the pesto and tofu sandwich.

    Lighter Option: The sesame salad is delicious, and a regular order of ours. The specials can also be pretty light, including the taco salad and rotating soups, so keep an eye out for that.

Additional businesses with locations in South Austin –

Multiple Locations/Farmer’s Markets:

  • East Side King

    East Side King:

    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly Asian food with five locations. Serves asian fusion bar food. (GF, LN, DF)

    Tips: ESK has five locations scattered around central, east and south Austin. All but one location is a truck parked in the back of a bar, so there is generally a mix of indoor and outdoor seating. There is an actual brick and mortar ESK on South Lamar. Each menu is a little different, but all vegan options are clearly marked.

    Dinner: The Veggie Meshi is a favorite (also really spicy).

  • Mac and Cheeze from Happy Vegan Baker

    Happy Vegan Baker:

    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan baker offering sweet items including cupcakes, cookies and biscotti, and savory items including mac and cheeze, chick’n salad, shepherds pie and bread. (GF)

    Tips: You can find them tabling at many different farmer’s markets around town, and at multiple coffee shops. You can buy the delicious Mac and Cheeze by the pound at In.gredients. Many of the sweet and savory creations are also gluten-free.

    Anytime: We’re big fans of the mac and cheeze, chick’n salad, biscotti and oatmeal cookie sandwiches.

  • Quinoa Ranchero from Juiceland


    Business WebsiteRHV Blog Post

    Vegan-frienldy juice shop with a selection of salads, snacks, and pre-made juice in addition to made-to-order juice and smoothies. Has 12 locations around town. (GF, LO, DF)

    Tips: Most locations have indoor and outdoor seating. There are so many locations around town, that whatever part of town you’re in, there’s likely a Juiceland nearby. The lines can get very long at peak times, but the turnaround is fairly quick. There’s a daily smoothie offered at a lower price, that they often make in bulk, so they tend to come out faster.

    Anytime: Everything’s good, but we have our favorites: For a salad, we like the Quinoa Ranchero, but we’ll also regularly get the Feast in the Middle East and the Double Rainbow Quinoa Salad. For a snack we’ll get the Manna bread or the Ranch Kale Chips. For a smoothie we’ll get the Peachy Green or the Originator, and for a juice we’ll get the Rosie Cheek or Applelilly.

  • Pancakes at Kerbey Lane

    Kerbey Lane Cafe:

    Business Website

    Vegan-friendly cafe, specializing in pancakes. Has 6 locations around town, most locations open 24 hours. (GF, LN)

    Tips: Kerbey Lane is an Austin institution, with locations all around town. All locations have a large indoor seating area, and a few have outdoor patios. There is a vegan menu you can ask for, but the main vegan dishes are labeled on the main menu.

    Breakfast: Vegan Breakfast Platter is our go-to order (with verde salsa on the side to liven up the scramble). A good friend (thanks Matt!) figured out that you can veganize the Eggs Francisco by replacing just about everything with vegan versions (toast, scramble, soy sausage, and vegan queso). It’s not an official Kerbey dish, so some servers might get confused, but it’s worth a try as it’s really good.

    Lunch/Dinner/Late Night: I’ll still eat the Vegan Breakfast Platter at night, but if you’re looking for something more savory, the Hipster Burger and Southwestern Salad (with vegan mods) are good too.

  • Cupcakes from Skull and Cakebones

    Skull and Cakebones:

    Business Website

    Vegan craft bakery specializing in cakes and cupcakes made with local ingredients. (GF)

    Tips: These cupcakes can be found at multiple grocery stores and businesses around town. The cupcakes are lighter than a traditional cupcake, and come in unique flavors from partnerships with other local craft businesses. There is a gluten-free Bing Bong chocolate cupcake pack often available.

    Anytime: We’re partial to the cupcakes, and love to pick up the four packs when at Wheastville. Everything they make is good, but the Herb pack with Happy Hemp/Basilberry combo, and the Garden Pack with Chocolate Beet/Carrot Cake cupcakes are our favorites.

Hope you find this helpful! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail with any feedback. Print this post for a travel-friendly version!

Other handy guides:

  • If you’re planning on checking out a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, be sure to check out our “Eating at Alamo” guide.
  • Looking for food after 10pm? Check out our late-night guide.
  • Can’t make it out of the hotel? Pizza delivery is always a good option. Check out our pizza guide.
  • Sweet Tooth? We’ve highlighted our favorite dessert places above, but we also have an exhaustive list.
  • Want a more detailed must-visit list? Take a look at our Top 20 Favorites.
Disclaimer: This Ultimate Vegan Guide to Austin is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel (the team behind Red Hot Vegans!). We’ve picked the dishes that work best with our taste-buds, and hope you love them as much as we do. Happy eating!

Top 20 – Eat Yo’ Veggies Edition:

Falafel Salad from Maoz

Written by

Salad Box from Maoz

Love falafel? Who doesn’t? It’s a magical combination of chickpeas, veggies, herbs and spices all mixed up and fried into little balls. Maoz, an international chain of vegetarian falafel shops, has it down to a science. We’re lucky that Austin is one of the few US cities to have its own location, which opened up in The Triangle (Lamar and 46th) in early 2012. Grabbing a falafel in a pita is the standard go to, but we prefer grabbing a salad bowl. The bowl comes pre-filled with a little bit of lettuce and five falafel balls with plenty of room on top to spare for their rotating salad bar fixings: shredded carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, beets, fried broccoli, cucumber and tomato salad, chickpeas, tabouli, olives, pickles and more. There’s a cilantro sauce at the end that I love to slather all over my salad, and a green chili hot sauce that Dan prefers. To top it all off, we grab the squeeze bottle of tahini and go to town.

Salad Bar at MaozVegan Shawarma at Maoz

The best part about Maoz is that they take their vegan customers seriously. Almost everything in the restaurant is vegan, and they’re not afraid to label it so. They offer vegan soups, and even have a vegan rice pudding dessert. Almost everything on the salad bar is vegan, and everything is clearly labeled vegan if it is. The fryer is a dedicated vegan fryer, so pile on that fried broccoli – it’s so good! Maoz is also incredibly gluten-free friendly, making their falafel balls gluten-free, and labeling the salad bar with gluten-free labels. They’re also trying out a new option of a vegan shawarma and vegan BBQ. When we were there, they mentioned that the shawarma is a chik’n style protein fried with onions and peppers, and the BBQ is a beef style protein marinated in BBQ sauce. The BBQ style was temporarily unavailable, but the shawarma was delicious and can be added in a wrap or salad.

Maoz Austin located in The TriangleInterior of the Maoz location in Austin

We live nearby, so taking our food to-go is pretty standard, and we love that there are dedicated 10 min and 30 min parking spots right out front that are almost always available. If you plan to eat in, the sandwich is a steal at $6, as you get a little box for salad bar toppings that you can refill as many times as you like. If you get it to-go, they give you a slightly bigger salad container, so it’s still a good deal. If you’re grabbing a salad bowl, you can do like we do, and stuff it to the max and then head home and transfer it to a larger bowl for easy eating. This is one superb salad that will fill you up.

Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel (that’s us!), for whom vegetables are not an area of expertise. We scoured Austin to find veggie-ful options for those like us, who’d probably rather be eating corn dogs, but are also happy to eat a salad if it’s tasty and filling. When not eating our veggies, we hone our skills at finding great oily, sugary, calorie-dense vegan foods, so if you’re into that too, check out last year’s Top 20 series. Happy eating!

Exciting New Options in South Austin

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Selection of dishes from Pulse Vegan, Austin's newest all-vegan trailer

Pulse Vegan – Austin’s Newest All-Vegan Trailer:
Pulse Vegan announced their soft opening over the weekend to their Kickstarter supporters as a way to get a first look at Austin’s newest all-vegan food trailer. Once we heard, we hightailed it on over there Saturday afternoon and managed to order almost everything on the menu. We devoured The Frenchy and The Philly sandwiches, the sides trio with The Mac, dill home fries, and Slow-Burn Slaw, and the Buffalo Basket. We all really enjoyed the food, with the sandwiches being a standout, and the au jus for the vegan French dip was a table favorite. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, beware that the Buffalo basket carries a kick that only the die-hard spicy food fan at our table could handle. I’m excited to come back again for the grand opening on June 7th, and try the few menu items we couldn’t manage to fit in the first time. As Pulse Vegan evolves over the next few weeks and months, I’m sure it will soon become a staple vegan hangout, and a refreshing new option for the South Austin vegan community.

The Pulse Vegan Trailer in the South First Food Court

Pulse Vegan's all-vegan menu

Pulse Vegan is parked in the The South First Food Court on S. 1st and Live Oak, just down the street from Bouldin Creek Cafe and next to Fair Bean Coffee. In the same lot, you’ll find other vegan-friendly food carts including Bananarchy and Candanosas Snowballs. If you’re looking to get dessert to go with your vegan smorgasbord from Pulse Vegan, head over to Bananarchy for chocolate dipped frozen bananas, or to Candanosa’s for fruit-filled snowballs. Both desserts were the perfect temperature for these hot Texas summer days.

Chocolate-dipped banana from Bananarchy

Mango snowball from Candanosas

Baton Creole’s New Locations:
Baton Creole has opened a second location in South Austin, and it’s a game changer. Located in Sweetwater, a bar and Blues/Country/Rock and Roll music venue on Stassney Lane just west of South 1st, the new location comes with a new menu, including mini jambalaya on a stick (only $3!), vegan crab cakes, and dirty rice. The jambalaya on a stick is still my favorite thing ever, and the crab cakes and dirty rice were also a hit. The jambalaya on a stick is fried in a communal fryer, but the crab cakes are pan fried and the dirty rice is not fried at all, so there is something for everyone at the new location.

Selection of food from Baton Creole

We had a chance to talk to the chef at the new location and he mentioned that he’s working on creating some new vegan specials, and that he’s always willing to whip something up for vegans, even if he’s out of the regular menu items – so if it’s not crazy busy, just ask at the bar to talk to him if you feel you need some extra help ordering. While we were there, he treated us to a Cajun vegetable salad that he’s working on (not pictured), that was incredibly flavorful and which we’re hoping will become a regular menu item. We’ve also heard that they’re working on putting together a vegan-friendly brunch and hope to have it ready around late July/early August. Considering how stellar everything else has been that’s come out of Baton Creole’s kitchen, I for one think this can’t happen soon enough.

Decor inside the Sweetwater barInterior of the Sweetwater bar

Sweetwater is surprisingly nice for being situated in a strip mall. The bar is stocked with quality liquor and beer, there is plentiful seating including a shaded outdoor area, and there are pool tables and a stage for live music. The bar opens at noon, but the kitchen hours can be a bit tricky to find. Currently, the kitchen is open from 5 pm to 2 am, 7 days a week. The only downside to the new location is that the new cook is not currently making the beignets vegan at Sweetwater (they are still vegan at the trailer), but we can always hope that will change. Whether you check out the new location down South, or head to the original trailer (now parked in the 6th St and Waller Food Court), you won’t regret it.

Vegan croissant and OJ from Thai FreshCroissants at Thai Fresh:
Thai Fresh recently announced that they are making vegan croissants again, and this time they’re available every single weekend – Friday through Sunday. The new croissants are a bit different from the ones they produced last year, and are everything I remember a croissant to be, crusty on the outside, with soft, flaky – even buttery layers inside. At $3.50, they are a steal, and for a little more you can order them with a side of vegan butter, house-made strawberry jam, and OJ. As a die-hard North Austinite, few things will compel me to cross the river, but these croissants are one of my new favorite weekend treats.

Site of Ramen Tatsu-ya's South Austin location New Locations for Local Favorites:
Restaurants are opening left and right in South Austin, and luckily a few of our vegan-friendly favorites are slated to open locations down south soon. Ramen Tatsuy-ya, who offers a crave-worthy vegan ramen, will be opening their second location on 1234 S. Lamar Boulevard, next to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar development. Via 313, the phenomenal Detroit style vegan-friendly pizza trailer, announced they will be opening a full restaurant and pub in the Oak Hill neighborhood of Austin in the late Winter/early Spring of 2015. They plan to expand their menu to include a few more styles of pizza not already found in Austin (that will hopefully be vegan-friendly as well). Juiceland, the local vegan-friendly juice chain, has been popping up all over town, with new locations in Westlake, Lakeway and a South Austin location in Oak Hill that even has a drive-through. Glad to know I’m never too far away from the quinoa ranchero salad of theirs I love so much.

Let me know if I’ve missed any exciting happenings in South Austin! It’s not my normal neck of the woods, but something tells me I’ll be spending more time down there now that there’s so much popping up. Also, keep your eyes out this week for a full Vegan News Bites post already in the works…

Vegan News Bites

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Dan and I are finally back from our long holiday vacation, and couldn’t wait to dive in to all the new vegan options around Austin! We’ve been gone so long, this Vegan News Bites post got a little out of control, but we promise it’s chock-full of interesting Austin vegan news! We’ve spent the last week eating our way through town, and can’t wait to share what we’ve found:

New Vegan Menu Items:

– The much talked about all-vegan brunch buffet at Mr. Natural‘s Cesar Chavez location is starting this Sunday! For $16, or $8 for kids 10 & under, you get your fill of vegan quiche, vegan biscuits and gravy, waffles, tofu migas, tofu scramble and much more! Happening the first Sunday of every month, this could be the start of a very good thing. For this first roll-out of the brunch buffet, Mr. Natural has been generously offering up a bevy of coupons and free meals. Ross of Vegans Rock Austin has coupons that he’ll be handing out at the Vegan Riot event tonight at the North Loop Yard, Lazy Smurf has two free brunches that she’s offering up on her blog, and we at Red Hot Vegans have two free brunches of our own to giveaway! Enter our drawing by commenting below with what you’re most excited about eating on Sunday. Don’t forget to include your name and email, so we can contact you. We’ll randomly pick the winners on Saturday, and shoot you an email to let you know!

Tortilla Soup at Fountain of Health– Fountain of Health has been open for a little while now, and has been slowly gathering a devout following with their delicious vegan-friendly Mexican dishes. Located up north at 11800 N. Lamar, it’s one of the few vegetarian restaurants that far north. We couldn’t wait to try it once we got home, and were blown away by how good it was. The menu doesn’t list which items are vegan, but the staff was very helpful, and they had recently changed their non-vegan soy cheese to Daiya, so many dishes had a vegan cheese option. They also mentioned that there is a Facebook page in the works, so hopefully with an online presence, we can help spread the word even further about this amazing restaurant.

Lettuce wraps at Sauce N SpiceSauce N Spice, an Indian/Chinese fusion restaurant has opened up next to Veggie Heaven on Guadalupe. We were curious to check it out, as the online menu mentioned that they have vegan options. We tried a few dishes, and all were delicious, including these lettuce wraps pictured. The menu did not label the vegan options, but the staff was very helpful and the receipt for our order came out with ‘vegan’ marked under the customizations. It’s definitely a good option to add to the arsenal for UT students and those who work in and around the UT campus.

Kolaches at Capital City BakeryCapital City Bakery has finally opened their new storefront in an adorable little house on Cesar Chavez, with convenient parking behind the building. Inside, you’ll find cases filled to the brim with vegan cupcakes, cookies, and cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth – and now, for those who prefer a savory treat, they have kolaches as well! We stopped by to try the vegan ham/cheese, and the sausage/jalapeño/cheese kolaches last weekend, and as you can see by Dan’s face, he was a very happy camper.
Vegan Cherry Pie at Royer's Pie HavenRoyers Pie Haven, located in the old Toy Joy Cafe spot, has a delicious vegan cherry pie available by the slice. The pie is not labeled vegan in the store, but it is online, and we were also confidently told in person that it is indeed vegan. This cute little pie shop is a nice place to go if you’re in need of cherry pie, or if you’re looking for an omni-friendly hang out spot. They also have a full coffee menu, with soy milk available. The staff mentioned that their baker was always looking into more vegan and gluten-free pie recipes, so there could be more vegan pie options on our horizon.
Popcorn Tofu Burrito from WheatsvilleWheatsvile Co-op South now has made-to-order burritos available at their deli counter, including popcorn tofu as a filling option! We hightailed it down south to try this new option out, and were so excited to learn that we could even stuff buffalo popcorn tofu with vegan blue cheese sauce into our burrito creation. We turned into burrito monsters when faced with all the filling choices, and ended up with a little bit of everything in ours. It did not disappoint. In a world filled with tacos, we’re so excited by this delicious vegan-friendly burrito option!
Curry Tempeh Wrap from Austin Java TarrytownAustin Java Tarrytown got off to a rocky start, but it looks like they’re trying hard to make better vegan options. Their updated menu features Hearty Vegan Tempeh in a few of the new dishes, so we decided to give it a whirl. The menu still needs some work, as there were a few things marked vegan that weren’t, but the staff was helpful to make sure that the food that ended up on our plate was indeed vegan. There is a new tempeh curry wrap (pictured), tempeh tacos, chipotle burrito, and even a vegan cupcake option. If you’re a fan of Mother’s Cafe or Kerbey Lane’s vegan options, then these should be up your alley. It’s certainly a great option for anyone who frequents the west side of town.

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Top 20 Austin Favorites:

The Lighter Side - Part 1 of 2

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Goodies from Juiceland
Red Hot Vegan Bloggers Daniel and Marie spent the month of September sampling, photographing, and writing about their Top 20 Austin Favorites – a list fairly heavy in oily, sugary, and calorie-dense foods. The foods included in their guide are all great, but I realized that list was a far cry from what my top 20 list would be, as I tend to go after foods that are lower in oil, are less calorie-dense, and don’t have faux meats. I was inspired to write my first ever blog post, to chronicle the lighter side of Austin’s vegan food scene. If you’re like me, you may find that you love some of these lighter, but equally delicious, options right here in Austin:

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Top 20 Austin Favorites:

Harvey Pekar Reuben from Schmaltz

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Harvey Pekar Reuben from Shhmaltz

The Harvey Pekar Reuben from Shhmaltz is one mean sandwich. Starting from the inside out, the finely chopped fresh cabbage lends a satisfying crunch to every bite, nicely complementing its neighbors: a rich vegan chipotle Russian dressing slathered on top, and a homemade seitan pastrami folded in layers forming the base of the Reuben. The pastrami is really something: sliced paper thin with just the right amount of seasoning, it’s everything you could hope for in a deli sandwich. Last, and certainly not least, the fresh grilled marbled rye bread completes the picture, making this sandwich an instant classic that you’ll want to enjoy again and again.

For us, the Reuben is the shining star in Shhmaltz’s menu of sandwiches (all of them named after famous writers and artists), but there are plenty of other great options, like the Helen Frankenthaler Falafel wrap, which uniquely features falafel balls that are grilled instead of deep-fried. The potato salad is a great addition to any sandwich – the tender potatoes drowning in creamy vegan dill mayo. Mostly everything at Shhmaltz is made from scratch: from the pastrami, to the pickles, even the kombucha is home brewed, which should give you an idea for the level of dedication that goes into everything on their menu.

Helen Frankenthaler Falafel Mock 'Tuna' Salad Sandwich from Shhmaltz

All vegetarian and vegan Jewish deli food trailer behind Farewell Books and Flat Track Coffee in Austin, TX.

Once you get over the hilarious (and intentional) irony that an all-vegetarian food trailer is called “Schmaltz“, look for them tucked behind Farewell Books on East Cesar Chavez at San Marcos Street. The trailer is not visible from Cesar Chavez, so watch out for the sidewalk sign that says “DELI”, which ought to point you in the right direction. Once you’re there, place your order, then sit down at one of the bright blue picnic benches and nosh on the traditional offerings with an Austin twist from this little Jewish delicatessen on wheels.

Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel, and does not necessarily reflect the views of all Red Hot Vegans bloggers. If you’re not a fan of oily, sugary, calorie-dense food, then this series is probably not for you. For everyone else, enjoy!