I regularly offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: With the New Year upon us, it’s a good time to form some healthy-eating habits. The places listed offer many vegetarian dishes that don’t skimp on flavor.
(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don’t see one of your favorites below? Leave a comment or send me an email at email@example.com, and I will add it to our online listings.)
Blue Dahlia Bistro. 1115 E. 11th St. 512-542-9542, bluedahliabistro.com. A nice selection of salads, sandwiches and daily specials are an ode to light French cuisine.
Bouldin Creek Cafe. 1900 S. First St. 512-416-1601, bouldincreek.com. One of Austin’s true temples to vegetarian and vegan fare, even the most avid meat-eater will be impressed with dishes like portobello fajitas or the zucchini migas.
Casa de Luz. 1701 Toomey Road. 512-476-2535, casadeluz.org. Dark leafy greens and beans, but no oil, are served in abundance at this place that’s part community center, part restaurant.
Conscious Cravings. consciouscravings.com. Three locations (south, north and campus-area) of this trailer offer healthy and flavorful salads and wraps, like a barbecue seitan and eggless tofu salad.
Counter Culture. 2337 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-1540, countercultureaustin.com. The gluten and soy-free version of mac & cheese at this restaurant that started as a trailer will make you a believer in vegan cuisine, as will a healthy Philly “cheesesteak” made with seitan.
Daily Juice. Multiple locations. dailyjuice.org. In addition to organic smoothies and juices, the two locations also serve a selection of grab-and-go items like kale salad, Thai salad and quinoa korma.
Eastside Café. 2113 Manor Road. 512-476-5858, eastsidecafeaustin.com. The East Austin bungalow serves comforting dishes that take a light approach, relying on seasonal vegetables at this quaint house in East Austin.
Gardner. 1914 E. Sixth St. 512-354-1480, gardner-austin.com. The team behind Contigo elevates vegetables to exalted forms at this handsome new fine-dining establishment in East Austin.
Juiceland. Multiple locations. juicelandaustin.com. These guys specialize in clever names (Clean and Soba Noodles), impressive flavors and the ability to approximate animal proteins with vegetarian ingredients (try the super happy fun bowl that tastes a lot like a spicy salmon sushi dish).
Koriente. 621 E. Seventh St. 512-275-0852, koriente.com. You’ll find clean, calorie-conscious pan-Asian dishes at this small space downtown.
Leaf. 419 W. Second St. 512-474-5323, leafsalad.com. Choose from one of a variety of Leaf’s salad options, or make your own with a variety of ingredients, many of which are locally sourced.
Mother’s Café. 4215 Duval St. 512-451-3994, motherscafeaustin.com. Hyde Park’s original hippie cafe weathered a fire and still draws steady crowds with dishes like their spinach-mushroom enchiladas.
Mr. Natural. Multiple locations. 512-916-9223, mrnatural-austin.com. Healthy meals with a Mexican accent (and a good veggie burger) at three locations around town.
Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine. 4514 Westgate Blvd. 512-899-8525, sapsthai.com. A comprehensive menu of Thai food, from soups to noodle specialties and curries.
Snap Kitchen. Multiple locations. snapkitchen.com. These magicians have engineered a way to remove calories and problematic ingredients without sacrificing any flavor. They epitomize how to do quick, healthy pre-made meals right.
Swad. 9515 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-997-7923. Swad specializes in vegetarian dishes from northern India. Favorites include masala dosa and chole bathura, or try the sampler and find your own favorites.
Tarka Indian Kitchen. Multiple locations. 512-892-2008, TarkaIndianKitchen.com. Fast-casual Indian cuisine from the Clay Pit founders, with a nice balance of both nontraditional and popular items.
Thai Fresh. 909 Mary St. 512-494-6436, thai-fresh.com. Even the steak salad tastes light and refreshing at this family-owned enterprise in the Bouldin Creek that is part Thai food restaurant, part coffee shop, part bakery and part cooking school.
If you are looking for more upscale options, Qui, Barley Swine and Congress will all create vegetarian tasting menus with advanced notice, and South Austin’s Lenoir offers three courses for $39, with three of the 9 options being vegetarian.