A vegetarian Twitter friend of mine recently bemoaned the horrible state of dining near the Texas State Capitol. He specifically mentioned missing Las Manitas, the late, inexpensive hangout of lobbyists, legislators, journalists and downtown denizens. I remember it well. And while I, too, miss the restaurant — its food, its people, its culture, its vibe and its role in Austin — and generally recognize the relative lack of great, casual options near the capitol, the show must go on.
In honor of my friend, I came up with a list of 10 vegetarian dishes from restaurants that are within closer walking distance to the capitol than was Las Manitas (read: less than .7 miles). For this activity, I stuck to lunch options, because I don’t want to give my friend any extra return-fire fodder. For a list of 85 omnivore-friendly restaurants near the capitol, check out this list that started it all. Also make sure to check out these 25 vegetarian-friendly restaurants and trailers in Austin.
Vegan Black Bean Burger — roasted vegetable and barley black bean patty, baby spinach, tomatoes, avocado & white bean spread on an artisan onion roll — at 1886 Cafe & Bakery. 604 Brazos St. 512-391-7066, 1886cafeandbakery.com. ($12)Local vegetable plate, with veggies from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, at Annie’s Cafe & Bar. 319 Congress Ave. 512-472-1884, anniescafebar.com. ($11.95) Vegan plate — torlou, lentil soup, hummus and vegetable-stuffed grape leaves — at Athenian Bar & Grill. 600 Congress Ave. 512-474-7775, athenianbargrill.com. ($11.27) Channa Saag — spinach sauce cooked with garbanzo beans and herbs — at Clay Pit. 1601 Guadalupe St. 512-322-5131, claypit.com. ($11) Vegetarian Jackalope — a vegan dog sausage dressed with cranberry compote, Sriracha aioli and cheddar — at Frank. 407 Colorado St. 512-494- 6916, hotdogscoldbeer.com. ($9.50) Mushroom ravioli — filled with portobello mushrooms in and white wine sauce with cherry tomatoes, parmigiana and truffle oil — at Il Forte. 800 Brazos St. 512-212-9797, ilforteaustin.com. ($14) Cherry tomato pizza — basil, mozzarella, parmigiano — at Italic. 123 W. Sixth St. 512-660-5390, italicaustin.com. ($16) Vegan falafel — chickpeas, organic carrots, organic kale, pickled vegetables and housemade tahini sauce — at JuiceLand. 120 E. Fourth St. 737-300-2120, juicelandaustin.com. ($7.95) Pasta Norma — penne with roasted eggplant, tomato, garlic, basil and topped with ricotta salata — at La Traviata. 314 Congress Ave. 512-479-8131, latraviatatx.com. ($12) Grilled tofu — served with stir-fried vegetables and fried or steamed rice — at Lavaca Teppan. 1712 Lavaca St. 512-851-8963, lavacateppan.com. ($8.25) Greenbelt salad — spring mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, celery, sunflower seeds, croutonschampagne vinaigrette — at Leaf. 115 W. Sixth St. 512-474-5323, leafsalad.com. ($7.95) Shaved Brussels sprouts — honey-lime vinaigrette, cotija, currants and pine nuts — at Lonesome Dove. 419 Colorado St. 512-271-2474, lonesomedoveaustin.com. ($9)
Enchiladas verdes de espinacas — fresh spinach sautéed with white onions & serrano chiles, wrapped in corn tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese and topped with salsa verde — at Manuel’s. 310 Congress Ave. 512-472-7555, manuels.com. ($12)Mediterranean pizza — spinach, Roma tomatoes, black olives, red onions, artichoke hearts and feta cheese — at The Onion. 408 Brazos St. 512-476-6466, onionbaby.com. ($8.99/small) Veggie burger at P. Terry’s. 515 Congress Ave. #130. 512-473-8722, pterrys.com. ($3.95) Medjool date salad — pitted medjool dates with goat cheese, baby arugula, candied walnuts and fig smear — at Roaring Fork. 701 Congress Ave. 512-583-0000, roaringfork.com. ($9.50) My Thai Salad –pickled carrots, cilantro, onions, red peppers, cucumber, sesame seeds, and bean thread noodles on mixed greens with Slakemade peanut-lime vinaigrette — at Slake Cafe. 120 E. Seventh St. 512-476-0060, slakecafe.com. ($10.95)
Going Back To Cauli — seared cauliflower steak, tomato, peanut & coconut curry, zucchini on challah bun — at Swift’s Attic. 315 Congress Ave. 512-482-8842, swiftsattic.com. ($12)