Lowdown: Veggie Heaven is an Austin vegetarian restaurant specializing in Chinese cuisine. They are known of making some of the most flavorful and spicy vegetarian dishes this side of eternity. Entree prices range from $4.50 to $7.95. Eat there and you will not be disappointed, nay, not even if you consider yourself a hardcore meat-lover. Located at 1914 Guadalupe St #A near the UT campus.
The Verdict: Win!
The Weak Sauce: Dinghy interior, limited seating, English is not always the primary language spoken by the staff
The Gravy: Unpretentious, delicious and savory vegetarian and vegan dishes, plus they have pictures of most of their dishes on their menu!
Service: If you don’t mind having to point at the pictures on the menu to order sometimes, you’ll be fine
Ambiance: Their website has more ambiance than the actual establishment
Okay, I know it’s easy to make fun of Chinese restaurants by implying some sort of creepy connection between cats and the dishes they serve. I don’t buy into that urban legend myself. There is something unintentionally humorous about Veggie Heaven’s website, though, which has pictures of cats'”lots of cats'”in various cute poses. They’re so sickeningly cute that you know without a doubt that the owners would never harm any felines. They just really adore cats.
This innocent and sincere love is symbolic of their philosophy towards their cuisine. Veggie Heaven makes vegetarian Chinese food. Really, really f’ing well. They don’t care about what anyone thinks about their love of vegetarian Chinese food or culture. They just go ahead and create, and I think people respond to that. The interior is uncool, the names of their dishes are hilariously unhip, and the place is utterly devoid of pretense. And yet, people eat there in droves and the place has earned a reputation as an Austin fixture.
The food always satisfies. I especially like to order their spicy dishes on bitter winter days because I’ll leave overheated and emanating happy vibes. This place doesn’t muck around with spiciness or quality. Try their “Path of Phoenix” (wheat gluten, broccoli, baby bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, napa cabbage, onion and garlic cooked with peanuts kung pao style), or their “Lucky Seven” (7 fried tofu balls made with celery, carrots, chestnut, vegetable protein, and breadcrumbs, cooked with broccoli, baby bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, napa cabbage, onion and garlic in a slightly sweet and spicy red sauce).
One of the best choices the owners made was to put pictures of their entrees on the menu. This makes it easy for a carnivore like me to decide what to order since I may not have a clue what “vegetable protein” is and whether it’s even edible.
Veggie Heaven is a socially-conscious business. They advocate for the end of human rights abuses against the practitioners of Falun Gong in China.
Mon-Fri from 11 am to 9 pm
Sat-Sun from 12 pm to 9 pm