Low-Carb Locavore Guide to Healthy Austin Eats!
Austin is not only known for its live music, capital of Texas, and home of UT Longhorns, its natural beauty with outdoor activities has driven a growing trend of health and wellness focused individuals. Austin is home to many amazing restaurants with healthy options, but when comprising this guide I wanted to select only those that source protein and produce locally with emphasis on quality anti-inflammatory real food ingredients as well as my favs. All of these restaurants can accommodate my Anti-Anxiety Diet or Food-as-Medicine Keto approach.
A note about how I dine out.
- I always seek “farm-to-table” restaurants and will often use this as a search term when in a new city, this emphasis on local, small scale production means quality ingredients!
- I ask for what I want and don’t compromise on gluten or quality! If I am at an Italian spot and I want bolognese, I first ensure no flour added to thicken and the meat sauce itself is gluten-free, then I will say, “I’d like the bolognese but instead of on pasta, I’d like it on a bed of massaged kale or roasted vegetables.
- I navigate carbs! Often when looking at a menu a burger for instance won’t be tagged as gluten-free as it has a bun so this also would not be keto-friendly, but removing carbs is super simple and you can often swap carby sides for a salad or just skip. I get a roasted quartered chicken at a restaurant where it comes with green beans and mashed potatoes, I just sub potatoes for brussels.
- I use food to empower me not to have power over me. I eat to nourish my body and provide health supporting compounds while limiting those that are reactive. I focus on foods that feel good in my body vs. driving discomfort but I also don’t obsess and allow food to consume me.
- I indulge when dining out. Once quality and standards are addressed, I use experience, my range of carb intake per hormone cycling, and energy output that day, aka metabolic flexibility to select what and how much. I always indulge in someway, whether having an appetizer, glass of wine, or higher amount of calories, I am realistic about this. If I was in a position where I dined out more frequently than 1-2 meals outside of the home then I would implement more restrictive approach vs. experiential.
This was the first restaurant I fell in love with in Austin, it really is local farm focused with an evolving menu and small bites style providing focus on seasonal ingredients with unique flavor profiles and texture combination. A locavore focused foodie dream! I have always had an amazing experience here, great service, memorable food.
Don’t miss the: Redfish Ceviche, honestly everything else is constantly changing but I’ve always loved their proteins from quail legs to steak, fish head and pork chop
Cocktail: here too they are constantly shifting but drinks are fantastic, balanced, and not overly sweet
They have a gluten-free menu upon request which I love ensuring to the level of sauces I am not concerned with oversight in the kitchen (o this has happened all too often when inquiring with a server at another restaurant and the belly ache that follows is not a good time!).
Note: This is not a place where you can request substitutions, however they will happily hold an ingredient if they can, but with making everything from scratch and such thought out dishes, you want to surrender and just navigate carbs with your fork if keto.
What started as a food truck with butter coffee and bone broth has become an icon to Austin in the Paleo world. The full service restaurant on Burnet and food trucks (with more limited menus) use only quality ingredients to the level of exclusively using avocado oil, coconut oil, Texas olive oil, grassfed butter, and pasture lard as fats. grass-fed, pasture-raised meats; wild-caught fish; local, raw cheese; grass-fed butter; and raw apple cider vinegar. Oh and did I mention, Picnik’s menu is 100 percent gluten-, corn-, peanut- and soy-free? Yes it is literally a dream and I always feel so fueled and nourished leaving.
Don’t miss the: cashew queso that comes with Siete almond flour tortilla cut and fried in avocado oil into chips (maybe 3-4 are worth it!) and then get vegetable crudite for dipping
I always get: Fish Tacos or Cobb Salad with delicious crispy chicken tenders
New obsession: Mac and Cheese sub cauliflower for pasta add bacon and green onion
Cocktail: Pitaya margarita with salt hold the honey
Carb cycle consideration: Their butter blondies are transcendental
Note: You can order your drink with no sweetener and can adjust the amount and type of fat if desired, such as MCT oil instead of butter as well as sub collagen for whey!
I have had such wonderful special meals here. A restaurant designed “around the farmer’s haul”, they source whole animals for their meat, purchase produce from local growers using traditional preservation methods such as fermentation, and they even mill their own grain (which I don’t partake in but have heard is amazing in their homemade pastas). Yes with the name Emmer and Rye, I was fearful of how they would treat a “gluten-free” diner, but the staff has always been wonderful and accommodating with many options that work. They have a very present farm-to-table passion allowing seasons to shine with thoughtful ingredient combination and flavor profiles. A big highlight is the Dim Sum cart that comes through three rounds once you have ordered your entree and menu bites so save room as these items are innovative and a fun surprise. Very cool experience.
This causal order at the counter BBQ joint has a unique umami goodness and quality sourced meats with fresh herbs and local flavor! Loro is an Asian smokehouse and bar brought to you by James Beard Award winners, Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue. I love taking guests here that have experienced classic Texas BBQ and expanding their horizons both with quality and complexity.
Note: I am doing a lunch Meet-up and Book signing here on Friday June 28th at 12-1:30pm for all you Austinites and ketocon attendees that want to say hello, chat about my podcast, or get copies of The Anti-Anxiety Diet signed and grab a pic,,,as well as a bite during lunch break, let’s do it! It is totally free and casual but trying to get a headcount, RSVP here
The most connected farm to table experience as this food truck restaurant features produce from the onsite urban farm on the Eastside of Austin. Eat in a beautiful outdoor dining space and walk the property with urban chickens and rows upon rows of produce. I held my Food-as-Medicine at the Farm event here in April 2019. The restaurant does a 4-course prefix at $70 and now a’ la carte ordering as well. Thursday nights they have a band on site too!
Food is innovative, colorful, fresh and you ultimately have a unique connected experience dining where your food was grown, chef and owner Sonya Cote has a magical ability to let local flavors shine. Anything here with charred greens is amazing!
Cocktails: This spot is BYOB but they offer one complimentary cocktail as a welcome
This butcher shop and restaurant is home to hunter-gatherer chef, Jesse Griffiths, who does everything real food and everything Texas. Almost every ingredient this spot uses is from within 200 miles!
-From their website: We cook predominately with Texas olive oil, animal fats from hogs, beef, chicken, and duck, and organic butter. Refined vegetable oils are almost nonexistent in our kitchen.
As this is a butcher shop, expect some killer cuts, a highlight of mine was a Tomahawk steak that is still likely the best steak I’ve had in my life.
This is the sister restaurant to Austin fine dining Jeffrey’s, offering breakfast, lunch, brunch, happy hour, dinner & Monday night steak frites. It is housed in a Clarksville cottage in Terrytown, offering intimate tables in the dining room and shady nooks on the patio and a grassy front lawn for lounging. Great farm-to-table foods and open so removal of carbs in dishes, sometimes with a simple sub such as remove potatoes swap out side salad and quality local ingredients are featured. I love the romantic vibe of this spot for a date night or an intimate ladies brunching or dining with book club kinda thing, it calls for great conversation.
My favorite Mexican restaurant reflecting the traditional food of Mexico city with Austin locavore flare. Do not expect to see your standard enchiladas and TexMex favs, but you won’t miss them as you enjoy ceviche, small plates, and proteins seasoned and cooked to perfection with farm friends noted on the menu.
Cocktails: get the Margarita La Clasica no agave, the lemongrass salted rim is amazing
Austin’s first food hall concept in the heart of downtown offers amazing quality vendors including a concept from Emmer and Rye and Dai Due above as well as Contigo below, so a great more affordable price point to experience all three! Order at the counter, each concept has different menus and styles, its totally cool and worth checking out even if you just get cheese from Antonellis with a glass of wine and people watch or grab a lavender matcha from Henbit (Emmer and Rye concept).
Sway, quality Thai food (2 locations)
Justine’s Brasserie, quality late night eats in awesome environment
On the North part of Austin by Lake Travis: come for the views stay for the food
Oasis brewing company
Lucy’s Fried Chicken