Second Helpings: Vegetarian

Are you a vegetarian or curious about dishes without meat in them? This "Second Helpings" is for you, then.

"Second Helpings" offers tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Erin Mosow. For quick, reliable info about Austin eateries, check here.

Casa de Luz

1701 Toomey Rd., 476-2535

Daily, 11:30am-2pm, 6-8pm

Meals $10 (includes beverage, tax, and tip) except Saturday-Sunday brunches, $12
Casa de Luz is a peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy city. Follow the walkway through herbs and flowers to the inviting, airy dining room for food that is organic, in season, vegan, and all-natural. Each meal includes soup, a whole grain, beans or legumes, some kind of steamed greens, a cooked vegetable, a garden salad, and a pickle.

Wheatsville Deli

3101 Guadalupe, 478-2667

Daily, 9am-9pm
Fresh as the produce on aisle one, Wheatsville's deli offers sandwiches, spreads, smoothies, salads, and soups for those on the go. The premade deli-case selections change daily and never taste tired. Some dishes are seasonal; others are almost always available. For sandwich bread, choose from oniony focaccia, soft whole-wheat, Kaiser, white, or a Jewish rye.

Veggie Heaven
Veggie Heaven (Photo By John Anderson)

Veggie Heaven

1914-A Guadalupe, 457-1013

Monday-Friday, 11am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, noon-9pm
Veggie Heaven is a gift from the gods, providing Taiwanese-style vegetarian and vegan food at moderate prices. The visually stunning menu features color pictures of each of the more than 40 dishes. The food is excellent, the service hip and happening, and the aura comforting. Tangerine Mushrooms are a generous serving of flash-fried and crusted mushrooms paired with broccoli crowns tossed with a spicy tangerine sauce. Cathay Fajitas are a take on the classic Chinese moo-shi pancakes, stuffed with delicately fried tofu strips, cabbage, sprouts, onions and garlic, carrots, and zucchini.

Mr. Natural Cafe and Whole Wheat Bakery

1901 E. Cesar Chavez, 477-5228

Monday-Saturday, 9am-7pm

2414 S. Lamar, 916-9223

Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm
Abandon preconceptions of Tex-Mex (chili-cheese-swamped enchiladas) and treat yourself to a meal at Mr. Natural, both a health-food grocery and 100% vegetarian restaurant. The lunch special lets you pile your mini tray with a choice of three or more salads, a main dish, and two sides. Don't miss the cucumber salad, the perfect cool accompaniment to dishes like napolitos, enchiladas verdes, and soya guisada. Migas, made either with eggs or tofu, come sautéed with crispy homemade corn tortilla strips in a tangy, spicy ranchero sauce.

Mother's Cafe & Garden

4215 Duval, 451-3994

Daily, 11:15am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-10pm
Located in the heart of Hyde Park, Mother's has been a welcoming vegetarian refuge since 1979. The completely vegetarian menu is a mix of Southern and Tex-Mex, and includes a selection of soups and salads, barbecue tofu, chile rellenos, ravioli marinara, the Bueno Burger, a fat avocado sandwich, and the Peasant's Meal (brown rice, a choice from the daily bean selection, and a salad).

Bouldin Creek Coffee House and Cafe

1501 S. First, 416-1601

Monday-Friday, 7am-midnight;

Saturday-Sunday, 9am-midnight
The purple-and-lime-green Bouldin Creek Coffee House and Cafe, located within a stone's throw of the creek, provides good, fundamental fare that is hearty and filling, good for you, and cheap. There is breakfast served all day, salads, and sandwiches. No meat in sight, but eggs are a recurring theme, and cheese is available. Many items are vegan or can be prepared in that fashion.

West Lynn Cafe

1100 West Lynn, 482-0950

Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30am-10pm; Friday, 11:30am-10:30pm; Saturday, 11am-10:30pm; Sunday, 11am-9:30pm; Saturday-Sunday brunch, 11am-3pm
For years, West Lynn Cafe has been one of Austin's premier purveyors of vegetarian cuisine. With an extensive, all-vegetarian "international" menu, West Lynn offers a moderately priced, refined vegetarian cuisine that showcases Italian, Southwest, Thai, Indian, and Russian vegetarian specialties.

Madras Pavilion

9025 Research #100, 719-5575

Monday-Friday, 11:30am-3pm, 5:30-9:30pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11:30am-10pm (buffet, 11:30am-3:30pm)
Madras Pavilion features authentic vegetarian, South Indian cuisine. The superb lunch buffet includes lentil soup, steamed rice cakes (iddly), and crisp fried lentil doughnuts (medhu vada) to be dipped in tamarind broth, raita, or several different chutneys. There are spiced vegetable dishes served with white and tamarind rices and chappati and papad breads. Each diner receives a prepared-to-order dosa, a huge, thin rice crêpe filled with a zesty potato/vegetable spread. The dinner menu offers a wide selection of reasonably priced appetizers, vegetable curries, dosai, and uthappam (large, light, pizzalike bread with various toppings).

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