Vegetarian and Vegan Spots in Austin
Vegetarian Fine Dining Good vegetarian meals in Austin are not strictly limited to vegetarian restaurants or little ethic joints with veggie options. Many of Austin's upscale fine dining outlets are willing and able to satisfy sophisticated vegan and vegetarian tastes. Don't be shy about asking what the chef can create for your specific needs.
Jean Luc's French Bistro, 494-0033
The menu here always has several vegetarian offerings among the soups, salads, and appetizers. A current favorite vegetarian entrée is puff pastry filled with Texas goat cheese, spinach, and walnuts, paired with haricots verts ($18).
If you're the type of relaxed vegetarian who also eats seafood, don't leave Austin without savoring an order of Jeffrey's now-nationally famous crispy oysters with habanero aioli on yucca chips ($11.75).
Cafe at the Four Seasons, 478-4500
While the penne pasta with artichoke hearts and sautéed vegetables in a hearty marinara sauce ($18) is available every day, the kitchen here encourages special requests.
The most popular pasta item at this busy Italian eatery in the heart of the SoCo neighborhood is also one of the tastiest vegetarian dishes in town. Graze on several selections from the antipasto bar and then chow down on an order of Pansoti di zucca ($13.50), delicate pillows of pasta stuffed with butternut squash filling in a browned butter and sage sauce. Perfecto.
Fonda San Miguel, 459-4121
This local landmark renowned for its interior Mexican cuisine has been a favorite among discerning vegetarians for years. Sample the luscious Sopa de Elote ($3.25 cup, $3.95 bowl), the Calabacita Rellena ($12.95), a zucchini squash boat baked with corn custard napped with salsa roja, or try the Chile Relleno de Quiletes Con Queso de Cabra ($16.95), a baked poblano pepper stuffed with sautéed Mexican greens and Texas goat cheese.
Siena Ristorante Toscana, 349-7667
This rustic Tuscan castle nestled near a Hill Country creek will make you forget you're in Central Texas. Start with the Caterina Salad ($9), field greens topped with roasted asparagus and portobello mushrooms in an aged balsamic vinaigrette, and move on to Taglierini Con Crema de Tartuffo Bianco ($8 primi, $15 secondi), toothsome pasta tendrils bathed in a creamy white truffle oil sauce with great Italian wines by the glass.
Chef Will Packwood's new early-spring menu invites vegetarian diners to enjoy a BLT ($12), his version of Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, lamb's lettuce, and tomato confit dressed with 30-year-old balsamic vinaigrette and extra virgin olive oil, Strawberry Mint Soup ($7), and an entrée of Sweet Corn & Goat Cheese Ravioli ($20) with spring peas, white truffle cream, and shaved ricotta salata.
While this tony new northwest eatery offers a vegetarian tasting menu early in the week and has regular vegetarian entrées such as marinated and pan-seared tofu on a bed of Israeli couscous ($14.95), young chef Casey Lloyd welcomes the opportunity to create an original vegetarian dish from the myriad ingredients on his dynamic fusion menu.
This lovely little cottage restaurant on the western edge of the downtown entertainment district offers a nightly four-course vegetarian prix-fixe menu for $50 as well as vegetarian items a la carte.