The next time you feel like stress-eating, especially in all the holiday hubbub, treat yourself to food that will nourish your body as well as your soul. Lucky for us, these seven Austin restaurants make it easy.
When you only have 30 minutes between goat yoga and macrame class, it’s far too easy to kill your hunger pangs with a fistful of fries. But you could just as easily drive through Baby Greens, the second incarnation of owner Sharon Mays’ healthy fast food concept. Our favorite is the Asian salad — romaine, kale, carrots, edamame, peanuts, and chow mein noddles for crunch. With an added portion of grilled chicken, it will keep you going for everything you have to do in a day.
Café No Sé
Say what you will about our town’s Californian invasion, but the light, veggie-heavy cuisine of the state fits right in with our health-conscious city. Café No Sé gives you the best of both with a West Coast menu of salads, poke, grain bowls, and (of course) avocado toast, and a vibe that is pure Austin.
The hippies brought us plenty of great things, from music to psychedelic art. But their bland diet of tofu, carob, and leaden wheat bread wasn’t one of them. This Flower Child may be inspired by the '60s counter culture, but the menu speaks to today’s palate, using a farmers market full of vegetables and spices from all over the globe. It’s perhaps the most convincing evidence that the Age of Aquarius has finally dawned.
We have long been a fan of this downtown eatery, but the new evening service makes us love it even more. We especially gravitate to the salads, like a classic Niçoise with seared salmon or the seasonal Autumn Bounty with mixed greens, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, and Granny Smith apples dressed in a honey thyme vinaigrette. Both are perfectly filling, but light enough that we still have some pep in our step if we want to follow dinner with dancing.
This east side shop doesn't open until December 4, but a preview of the menu has us eagerly anticipating it. If you want a lighter meal, just look past the prosciutto panini and order a vegan sandwich filled with grilled eggplant, roasted peppers, avocado, basil, and olive paté or a quinoa salad with crab, papaya, capers, lime, and red radish. Both are so flavorful, you’ll never miss the burrata, even if that’s still the first thing you plan to eat on your cheat day.
Everything served at this brick-and-mortar iteration of the popular food truck is gluten-free, corn-free, peanut-free, and soy-free to make sure folks with severe food allergies can still have a great meal. And while we might like it even better if the food was free, we happily bust out our wallet for their delicious pulled duck chile relleno.
Those who picture salad as being a clump of sad wilted greens bathed in what may or may not be craft glue may be floored by Vinaigrette’s offerings. The bowls are filled with every green imaginable and unexpected proteins like bacon lardons, duck confit, and pork tenderloin. The soups are great, too. You can’t go wrong with the hearty vegan mushroom stew.