Everyone should know a good vegan/vegetarian spot.
Technically, Bouldin Creek Cafe is vegetarian with vegan options, but that's just more goodness to go around. The best part of Bouldin Creek is that it's completely possible (and maybe even likely) for people to forget that it's vegetarian. First and foremost, it is a serious culinary operation.
If you frequent South Austin, you already probably know where it is, and maybe you've passed it and always thought about stopping in, but maybe you didn't know enough about it, or when you Googled it, it said "vegan" and so you haven't really checked it out. If that's you, then please, take this as your sign that you should definitely go check it out.
But if you're still not convinced, here are our top 3 reasons why Bouldin Creek is our favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Austin.
1. They Treat Each Ingredient With Respect.
Veganism has made huge strides in the last decade or two.
Now, there are places like Bouldin Creek Cafe where the chefs actually develop plates that focus on the flavors of each ingredient, instead of just making poor imitations of non-vegan plates. Bouldin is a wonderful example of what can happen when instead of focusing on what people are used to or what they'll expect, you focus on the actual flavors of the ingredient and try to showcase those flavors for what they are. Here's a great example: The Kale Salad.
At Bouldin, the kale salad isn't trying to be anything other than kale salad. The ingredients are just kale, shredded beets and carrots, along with whatever light dressing they used to hold those flavors together, and we're here to tell you—it's delicious. They managed to take the harsh bitterness of kale, and with only a few additions, they turned it into a beautiful dish that smells and tastes like sunshine on a freshly mowed lawn.
That's not a flavor that is familiar to most of us non-vegans. But that's the point—it's supposed to taste different, because it is different.
Bouldin Creek Cafe is one of those places that isn't going to hide difficult ingredients under distracting sauces or something. They let each main ingredient be the focal point of the dish, and that makes the food amazing, no matter what diet you practice.
2. They Are Deeply Connected to Austin's Art, Music and Culture.
From the stunning local art that Bouldin displays in their dining rooms, to the bar-side bulletin board full of Austin's quirkiest event posters, there is no debating it—Bouldin Creek is connected to this city in a serious way.
First of all, the front door and patio make the place iconic, because anyone who's ever driven on South 1st probably knows exactly where it is. Not to mention that the place is always busy (but usually waits aren't too bad!)
If you've got out-of-town friends coming to Austin to see what we're all about, this is a truly "Austin" business, and make sure to ask about their drink menu, because here's a secret—their cocktails are fantastic. But if you're more of a coffee person, no worries. Their baristas/bartenders are trained to be seriously good at both coffee and cocktails, so you can rest assured that your brunch will be thoroughly enjoyable.
3. They Source Their Ingredients With Absolute Precision.
This is kind of like the first one.
Look, you can have amazing chefs cooking in your kitchen, but if your ingredients aren't good, it won't matter. And that doesn't mean buying the most absurdly priced ingredients. It just means finding local produce providers and making sure you're getting the best ingredients for the cuisine.
And they nailed it.
Seriously, the freshness of each ingredient makes the dishes stand out in 3D, taste-wise.
If you're looking for a healthy, meaningful meal where EVERYONE can sit at one table, regardless of diet limitations, then Bouldin Creek has to be right at the top every time. If you haven't been, don't take our word on it—please go try it for yourself, and tell us all about it on social media.
Bottom line? Amazing, ingredient-focused vegetarian/vegan cuisine with responsibly sourced ingredients, all come together for a meal of such depth and dimension that you'll be thinking about it for weeks, like a catchy song you just can't get out of your head.