Alamy
Sarah Beckham
January 20, 2015

If you’re vegetarian, vegan, a “Meatless Monday” practitioner or anything in between, you'll find that it’s easy and a lot of fun to eat plant-based cuisine in Austin. Restaurants from the simple (such as Taco Deli’s Freakin’ Vegan breakfast taco) to the fancy (Wink’s vegetarian tasting menu) have veg choices that are far more than an afterthought. Despite Austin’s love affair with barbecued meats, this is not a city where you'll get stuck ordering a plain baked potato and an undressed salad while everyone else at your table is feasting. You can also take advantage of a growing number of all-vegetarian or vegan restaurants around Austin spanning all categories of food, even barbecue (I'm not kidding). Narrowing down this list wasn’t easy, so I chose to focus mostly on “fun” foods—hey, you’re on vacation, right? I’m also hoping to lure wary omnivores into trying a vegetarian or vegan meal or two while they're in town. If you don’t, you’re missing out on some of Austin’s most creative food. 

Counter Culture

I love the savory and satisfying biscuit bowl Counter Culture serves at brunch—and as a former Georgian, I take my biscuits and gravy very seriously. It’s part of the menu of “vegan comfort food” that helped Counter Culture grow from a food trailer to a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

JuiceLand/Sweet Ritual

JuiceLand is your Austin go-to for green juices, protein smoothies and juice shots. Its Hyde Park location is the best one, because it’s also home to Sweet Ritual, a vegan ice cream shop with an infinitely crave-able salted caramel shake. Sweet Ritual's hours are limited, so confirm the shop is open before you go. 

Arlo’s

The Arlo’s food truck serves up fun, messy burgers and tacos—perfect for fueling a night of bar-hopping in the Red River District. As a matter of fact, it’s just outside the bar Cheer Up Charlies, which can add even more plant-strong goodness to your meal with its cocktails made with fresh juices.

BBQ Revolution

Vegetarian Mexican food? No problem. But until recently, vegetarians and vegans got shut out of the other food category that Central Texas is best known for: barbecue. Enter BBQ Revolution. Just like carnivorous Austin barbecue places, this vegan alternative sometimes sells out of “meat” (various veggie proteins), so hit them up early.

Bouldin Creek Cafe

Matching all of your mental images of a laid-back, indie Austin, Bouldin Creek is a vegetarian restaurant and coffee house that will keep your omnivore friends happy, too.  Try the tofu breakfast tacos, the oven-cake breakfast plate or the grilled-cheese sandwich that you can customize with tomato, onion, spinach or jalapenos.

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