Finding quality healthy food – whether you’re traveling, or in your home city – is often harder than it should be. Maybe you find a vegan restaurant that doesn’t source locally; or a gluten-free-friendly spot where half the menu has been deep-fried. Whatever your conundrum, we’ve got the solution: the USHFC presents REAL25 – a list of the healthiest restaurants in cities across the nation, from a truly holistic perspective.
REAL25 restaurants have been selected through a comprehensive algorithm that takes into consideration how your food is made, where it comes from and which health-focused diets it accommodates (amongst other things). The selections are then run past a local Expert Advisory Board to verify the quality of the food served.
In being selected for REAL25, these establishments have been recognized by the USHFC as contenders for REAL Certification – the nationally trusted mark of excellence in the foodservice community for best practice.
USHFC has teamed up with TastefulApp in the launching of REAL25, to help you find healthy restaurants near you. Tasteful is a healthy food finding app that uses your geo-pin to guide you towards the best restaurants near you, based on your personalized dietary requirements. You can download the app for free on iTunes.
The United States Healthful Food Council has selected Austin as the REAL25 pilot city. Announced in February 2016, our goal is to focus on sustainability in the land of perpetual summer. With access to some of America’s best farmland, and an active and involved healthy community, Austin provided some heavy competition in the “healthy restaurant” category. However, with the work of our team and the contributions of the Austin Expert Advisory Panel, we are proud to announce the final list; helping us to Keep Austin Healthy.
In no particular order, here are the Austin REAL25 establishments:
1. Blue Dahlia Bistro
1115 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX
3663 Be Cave Road, West Lake Hills, TX
This charming bistro serves European style food with a REAL focus. Their menu is packed with a broad range of simple and elegant dishes, and most of their food is sourced from local and organic vendors. Blue Dahlia Bistro does a great job catering the menu to dietary restrictions, offering many vegetarian, paleo and whole-grain dishes. Enjoy your meal on their beautiful outdoor patio and choose between private or communal dining for a truly customizable experience.
“Paleo folks will enjoy their Plat du Jour offerings which may include seared Ahi Tuna or mussels.”
-Our local insider
2. Bouldin Creek Café
1900 S. First Street, Austin, TX
Bouldin Creek Café serves vegetarian fare that would satisfy even the most ardent of carnivores. The café – which offers up locally roasted, organic, fair-trade coffee drinks galore, and over 25 delicious hot tea options – is decorated with the art of local artists, which the owner features and sells at no commission. The entire menu is made to order, from scratch and the kitchen is happy to accommodate allergies and specialty diets.
Bouldin brunch is notorious for its long line so come prepared to wait about 30-45 minutes on Sunday’s. They do not take reservations but our local Expert Advisory Board agrees that it’s worth the wait.
3. Casa de Luz
1701 Toomey Road, Austin, TX
With gluten-free, vegan, organic foods made from scratch every day, Casa De Luz is leading the industry in sustainability. Their kitchen is built on a fully macrobiotic philosophy and even the kitchen water is fluoride filtered. The menu changes daily, with set pricing based on the age of the diner; all meals are self-service Meeting rooms and event spaces on-site host sustainability events, yoga, theater and community education.
Children 3 years and under dine free!
4. Conscious Cravings
1311 S. 1st Street, Austin, TX
4209 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX
This fast-casual concept kitchen offers healthy, vegan wraps, salads and smoothies. They boast a wide array of vegan proteins, their tofu is GMO-free and all smoothies are jam-packed with Omega 3s. All sauces and dressings are made in house and all wraps can be made into a salad upon request. Everything on the Conscious Cravings menu is 100% plant based. Online ordering and delivery available at their website.
For those who fall in love with Conscious Cravings menu, you’ll be happy to hear they cater.
5. Counter Culture
2337 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX
Counter Culture serves internationally inspired vegan comfort food which is made daily on the premises. Catering to vegetarians, yet popular with omnivores, Counter Culture offers friendly, informal service in a lively mid-century atmosphere.
Counter Culture offers meatless, dairy-free and raw foods – made from scratch – and offered at remarkably affordable prices. Whenever possible, the restaurant procures organic, fair trade & locally grown food from area farmers.
Counter Culture offers daily specials, as well as a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, plates & handmade desserts. In addition, the menu always has many oil-free, gluten-free and soy-free options. Although vegan doesn’t always mean healthy, Counter Culture emphasizes nutritious, unprocessed foods.
Counter Culture is a Gold level Austin Green Business Leader.
6. Daily Juice
3720 Far West Blvd. Ste 1058620
8620 Burnet Road Suite 132
205 W. 3rd Street
1221 West 6th Street
3300 Bee Cave Road, Suite 245
2201 Lake Austin Blvd
1720 Barton Springs Rd Space 2
11521 N FM 620 #1500
12921 Shops Pkwy
Born in 2003, deep in the heart of Austin, Daily Juice offers fresh, cold-pressed and never processed juices and juice cleanse packages. Their customizable acai bowls and their assortment of grab-and-go meals are all fresh, and provide ample options for gluten-free, paleo and vegan diners. Their juice is raw and can only be purchased on-site; due to their lack of processing and pasteurization, all juices from Daily Juice contain live enzymes and must be served fresh!
All of their nutritional information is available on their website.
7. Food For Fitness
1112 N Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX
This grab-and-go coffee and smoothie spot sports some of the healthiest food in town! Their single portion sizes and focus on local sourcing, earned them recognition on this list. Many of their snack options come from local vendors and all of their muffins are gluten free and made from scratch. All of their eggs are pasture-raised on organic feed and soil; all of the fruit in their smoothies is organic; their coffee is Fair Trade and even their honey and tortillas are local. Organic breakfast tacos available until 2pm every day.
Need a little boost to your romantic life? You might want to opt for the aphrodisiac infused cold-coffee drink.
8. Hillside Farmacy
1209 East 11th St.
Hillside Farmacy is a restaurant and specialty grocery store located in the old Hillside Drugstore building beautifully restored using original pharmacy cabinetry. The menu consisting of salads, sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie plates, oysters, and more. The produce and meats served at Hillside Farmacy are often purchased from the neighboring Eastside urban farms the same morning they are served.
“In all ways, the simple dishes on the menu are elevated by the exceedingly fresh, high quality ingredients that are used.”
9. Kome Sushi Kitchen
4917 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX
Contemporary home-style Japanese meals and sushi in a casual and comfortable atmosphere. Kome offers a casual and comfortable atmosphere and great food at reasonable prices. The food is not exactly traditional Japanese restaurant food, but authentic home-style Japanese cooking – and has many influences from other cultures and cuisines.
“Loved the ‘From the Sushi Bar’ options on the dinner menu.”
– Our local insider
10. Koriente Restaurant
621 E 7th Street, Austin, TX
Calorie-conscious and nutrition-conscious, most of the dishes are low in oil and sugar. They’ve used natural sweeteners such as fruit juices or honey in the place of refined sugar whenever possible. And if it’s quality you’re looking for, you won’t find better anywhere else. Only the finest ingredients possible go into their made-from-scratch menu items.
For those who don’t eat gluten, there is an entire gluten-free section available.
“Koriente sources many of it’s own veggies from their on-property garden…. Fresh. Healthy. Tasty.”
– Our local insider
11. Mother’s Café and Garden
4215 Duval Street and E 43rd Street
Since 1980, Mother’s Cafe has been serving up great vegetarian and vegan food. All cheeses contain vegetable enzymes and they use cold-pressed, non-GMO canola oil and non-GMO tofu. All items are available for take-out.
Mother’s Café lists all of their suppliers right on their website for you to see.
“The veggie burger and carrot juice are the best in town.”
– Our local insider
12. Mr. Natural
1901 E. Cesar Chavez Street
2414-A S. Lamar Blvd.
Mr. Natural uses the practices of natural herbal medicine and are careful to ensure that all products are completely vegetarian. Jesus Mendoza Jr., the chef at Mr. Natural Inc., specializes in special dietary baking such as gluten free, soy free, nut free, sugar-free, dairy free and more. Jesus Jr. himself has adopted a vegan and gluten free diet lately and has since created many recipes and welcomes the opportunity to help others with their baked needs.
Every First Sunday of the month they create an All Vegan Brunch Buffet only at the Cesar Chavez location.
13. Picnik Austin
1700 South Lamar 400-B
“A Paleo Coffee Shop.” Picnik offers the practical, convenient setting of a coffee shop but with a focus on better ingredients that make you feel and perform your best. The menu items are convenient, but made fresh with the highest quality of ingredients; the pastry case is full of beautiful baked goods, but without the grains and white sugar.
Everything at Picnik is Paleo approved.
1600 e 6th Street
They serve a tasting menu in the dining room that changes nightly, with a meat and fish options as well as a vegetable option. For a la carte dining, they offer a Filipino pulutan menu on the patio and at the bar.
Qui is Top Chef and James Beard Award winning Paul Qui’s flagship restaurant.
15. Snack Bar
1224 S. Congress Ave.
Snack Bar is a gathering spot for locals and tourists. Their mission is to cultivate community and camaraderie by: 1) Providing a truly hospitable environment – which not only includes welcoming guests, but also offering great staff benefits, being green in our practices, etc. 2) Serving accessible, ethical foods – which entails accommodating dietary needs and being as affordable as possible, while making virtually everything from scratch with local, organic and humane ingredients.
Snack Bar is dog-friendly!
16. Snap Kitchen
10001 Research Blvd.
10526 W Parmer Ln
1014 W 6th Street
3563 Far West Blvd.
1830 Simond Ave
4616 Triangle Ave;
6317 Bee Caves Rd
Founded in 2010, Snap Kitchen offers a wide selection of meals, snacks, and cold-pressed juices that are made fresh daily, portion controlled, and nutritionally balanced. Snap Kitchen utilizes fresh, local ingredients whenever seasonally possible and they make most of the food in-house.
Snap Kitchen places a heavy emphasis on sustainability, which is difficult given their numerous locations nationwide. From green bamboo floors to BPA-free, recyclable, or compostable packaging, Snap Kitchen utilizes materials that have minimal impact on the environment.
17. Soup Peddler
4631 Airport Blvd.; 501 W. Mary Street
2801 S. Lamar Blvd.; 13219 Hwy. 183 N
The Soup Peddler is definitely a bit odd, but that’s one of the things that makes it great. The other thing that makes it great is the food. The Soup Peddler serves up a wide array of juices, smoothies, concoctions, and of course … soup.
The Soup Peddler began in 2002 when founder David Ansel began delivering soup to the neighborhoods of South Austin on his bicycle.
1500 Spyglass Drive
4200 N. Lamar Blvd.
12001 Burnet Rd.
701 S. Capital of TX Hwy
7301 Burnet Rd.
Inspired by fond memories of great food in Mexico City, Founder and Owner Roberto Espinosa desired to create the food he craved and missed from his childhood city. On November 8, 1999 Tacodeli opened its doors for the first time at the original location at Barton Skyway and Spyglass in Austin, Texas.
Tacodeli hand makes all of their food in house daily and they use locally sourced, organic and responsibly sourced ingredients whenever possible, depending on availability.
Tacodeli has a long history of supporting schools and other local organizations through volunteer efforts as well as monetary and food donations.
19. Thai Fresh
909 West Mary Street
Thai Fresh is a family owned restaurant, cooking school, and Thai market all in one. Thai Fresh serves authentic Thai meals that are made with fresh, local ingredients. Most of the meats are raised within Texas and are free of antibiotics and hormones.
Owners Jam Sanitchat and Bruce Barnes met at Hoover’s Cooking when Bruce was a manager. Their passion for food led to opening the doors of Thai Fresh at 4 pm on August 6th 2008. Bruce’s experience in restaurant business and Jam’s love for cooking has grown into a store that incorporates delicious meals, groceries and cooking classes.
Thai Fresh also has a grocery section that includes some of the harder to find ingredients that are used in Thai cooking.
20. The Steeping Room
11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Suite 112
4400 North Lamar Blvd, Suite 102
Tea time is any time at The Steeping Room! For breakfast, lunch, dinner or “tea time,” The Steeping Room has something for everyone: natural meats, organic dairy, cage-free eggs as well as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan selections. Relax in the full service dining room or sidewalk café or grab something to go.
The “tea services” at The Steeping Room are delicious and unique – be sure to check it out when you go.
21. True Food Kitchen – Coming Soon!
222 West Avenue, Suite HR 100, Austin, TX
The brain-child of Sam Fox and Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food Kitchen is known nation-wide for their great-tasting, REAL food. All of their meals are designed to fall in line with Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and all of their proteins are sourced responsibly. Catering to meat-eaters and vegans alike, the Austin location opened in March 2016.
“For those who like to indulge in luscious libations, True Food offers organic and gluten-free spirits.”
-Our local insider
801 South Lamar
Uchi is a contemporary Japanese dining & sushi restaurant. Combining local, seasonal ingredients with a spectrum of seafood from around the globe is the basis for Uchi’s culinary philosophy. Head chef, Tyson Cole, is a passionate student of the Japanese tradition. He has trained for more than 10 years in Tokyo, New York, and Austin, under two different sushi masters. He continues his path of study and experimentation at Uchi, developing unprecedented, multi-cultural combinations using his impeccable knowledge of technique.
Uchi flies seafood in every day from both Fukuoka and Tsukiji markets in Japan.
23. Unity Vegan Kitchen
415 Jessie Street
Unity Vegan Kitchen is a gourmet food trailer located in the South Austin Social Food Park. The eclectic and reasonably priced menu is made from scratch on the premises, using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, and consists of such favorites as the house specialty lasagne, sandwiches prepared on bread that is baked daily, and a mouthwatering pineapple cobbler. There are also gluten-free options available.
Their chili placed second in the 25th annual LoneStar Veggie Chili Championship.
24. The Vegan Nom
120 East Northloop Blvd.
The Vegan Nom is Austin’s original all vegan Tex-Mex taco trailer. Signature tacos, authentic salsas, and breakfast burritos are served all day.
For even faster service, call ahead and order: 512-217-7257
25. The Vegan Yacht
Citywide – Food Truck
The vegan yacht is a vegan food truck servicing Austin, TX. All of the ingredients are said to be cruelty-free and gmo-free, and they strive to be 100% organic. Most of the sauces and products are made from scratch, including the seitan, cashew cheese, cashew sour cream, chorizos, salsas and more.
They cook only with distilled water for purity and taste.