Bouldin Creek Cafe – Vegetarians rejoice. While it will most likely be a 15- 20 minute wait, the Buddha Bowl (with Beets, Butternut Squash, and Chickpeas) and Kool Hummus Sandwich are worth it. If you’re more of a sandwich-for-lunch type, the Kool Hummus sammie is so yummy with the star ingredients being the Housemade Hummus and Chipotle-Pecan Pesto. You can opt for black beans as a side for your meal, and you should because they are the best beans in town (never thought I’d say that).
Epicerie – Up north on Hancock, this is a great ladies who lunch spot and very quick. I’m not usually a grits person, but the Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (made with Cheddar Grits, Shallot, Green Bean Relish, and Soft Egg) are the best I’ve ever had. I really like the basic Mixed Green Salad PLUS Grilled Shrimp. It’s a very hearty salad, heavy on the bread crumbs and crunch in each bite and paired with a goat cheese crostini. They have cured salmon toast, burger, pastrami, and chicken thighs as well. The chef, Sarah, is from Louisiana so you’ll definitely want to go for the grits (just add a side salad for some extra greens). Most importantly, they have my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie in Austin.
Fresa’s on South First – This cute outdoor Mexican joint offers wood-grilled chicken and lots of salads and vegetables unlike most Tex-Mex joints in town. You can sit outside and bring kids here. I love the Jerez Salad with Chickpeas, Spicy Carrots, Pepitas; Adobo Shrimp Taco; Green Apple Guacamole; and of course, their under-the-radar ice cream! Check out my Guide to Best Ice Cream in Austin I wrote for Tribeza that includes them here.
Monger’s – Seafood is my cuisine of choice, and I’ll always order Cioppino. When you visit Monger’s for lunch, order the freshest (and largest) tuna poké bowl in town and start with the shrimp cocktail. The battered fish tacos are pretty swell, too, and you can take home some fresh seafood from their market to cook for dinner.
Kome – An unassuming, casual sushi spot that always leaves me satisfied. I can’t come here without getting the Spooky Roll. It’s the only sushi spot that has the freshest rolls that you can eat at this meal period and has the best sushi combo and affordable lunch options. Another great order is the $12 healing udon.
Joann’s Fine Foods – A SoCo staple you probably walk by every time you’re on the south side of town! They have so many options to choose from from salads and sandwiches to tacos and breakfast served all day. I like their flour tortillas for breakfast tacos or their Motel Bowl with redfish.
Josephine House – Always seasonal and delicate vegetables rotating on the quaint marble inside, you’ll want both, and the homemade golden raisin bread.
Vinaigrette – Salads, salads, salads. This place is very expensive, but at least you can fit into your desk chair after.