In a similar vein as my last post, I wanted to focus on some all-veggie restaurants that everyone seems to love, meat-eater or not. Nobody can deny that Austin is a great veg-friendly city. At any given restaurant, there are usually one or two vegetarian options- so if it’s a meat-eater you’re dining with, at least you’ll have something to eat, even if it is just a salad. But why should we have to choose from just a few “special” items on the menu?
Luckily, in all fairness, there’s an alternative: all-vegetarian restaurants that boast food so good even carnivores will happily eat there. Although there aren’t as many of these around, Austin still has a handful to choose from.
At the top of the list is Mother’s Cafe & Garden. Although a fire damaged the neighborhood Hyde Park restaurant in 2007, Mother’s never suffered any setbacks upon their re-opening, remaining at the top of Austinites’ list of favorite restaurants. Mother’s will show any skeptics that vegetarian dishes don’t have to be any different from those you would normally eat, offering a variety of different cuisines that range from Italian to Asian. Although meat-eaters may turn their noses up at the BBQ Tofu, they’ll be surprised at the complex flavors of the Jamaican Stir-Fry or just how good that Spinach Lasagna tastes without meat. Even with the garden not yet restored to its’ pre-fire glory, the restaurant’s ambiance is almost talked about as much as the food. Mother’s is cozy and inviting as can be, with all the conventions of an upscale establishment without feeling too formal. A true Austin classic.
On the other end of the spectrum, Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse is a bit quirkier. Despite what the name suggests, they actually offer an expansive menu of vegetarian food, as well as a selection of vegan options. This place is always packed on Saturdays and Sundays during the mornings for their breakfast, which is made with as many local ingredients as possible and served as piping hot as their excellent coffee drinks. Whatever breakfast item you choose, be it an omelette or one of their inventive breakfast tacos, be sure to ask for a side of hashbrowns- they are the best you’ll ever have. If you aren’t in the mood for breakfast (which is served all day, by the way) there is always a lunch special usually featuring local ingredients. The Kool Summer Sandwich is a lunch menu favorite, and meat-eaters will be almost fooled by the special recipe tofu bacon that can be added for a small upcharge. If you’re lucky, you might even spot Leslie, but if you happen to miss him they sell his magnet set in-house.