Hey, Richard Marx: San Antonio welcomes vegans, too!

Vegan food in San Antonio
Kale, carrots, pepitas in cashew Caesar dressing from Pharm Table.

When you think of San Antonio food, images of tacos, enchilada plates and heaping piles of meats come to mind — not vegan cuisine.

But this city now known for its health-conscious options does indeed offer some choices for vegetarians and vegans. I’m not for a second going to argue that it rivals cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Houston or even Austin, but vegans — and people who just want to eat something without meat or animal products — can find good flavors in San Antonio.

I feel compelled to defend my home city and calm things down after singer Richard Marx tossed off a Twitter post bemoaning the lack of vegan offerings downtown — and then a talk radio host picked a Twitter fight and even insulted Marx’s wife, Daisy Fuentes.

I’m not going to wade into that fight. Instead, I’ll offer to Marx, Fuentes and other vegans living here or visiting here a list of places with vegan options:

Where to eat

  • Pharm Table It has limited hours, but the menu from chef/owner Elizabeth Johnson, a former instructor at the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio, makes vegetables sing.
  • Moshe’s Golden Falafel Israeli-inspired falafel from Andrew Weissman, the city’s most celebrated chef. The falafel balls are good and the accompanying salads are incredible.
  • Green Vegetarian Cuisine The city’s biggest and best-known vegetarian and vegan restaurant offers a lot of options.
  •  Señor Veggie The jackfruit carnitas make good tacos.
  • Viva Vegeria Get the vegan nachos and wash them down with a cold beer.
  • 5 Points Local Vegan, vegetarian and some meat dishes, and all good.
  • Sweet Yams Organic, vegan-friendly Southern food? Yup!
  • Earth Burger Solidly made veggie burgers.

Another tip: Call ahead to some of the city’s chef-driven restaurants and ask if they can do something vegan. Already, Cured and Bliss offer a vegetable-focused daily special. If they’re not completely slammed, they’ll figure out a way to make it vegan, if you call ahead. The city’s other chef-driven restaurants could do it, too.

It does take effort

I’m not going to tell you that eating well if you’re vegan or vegetarian is easy in San Antonio. There’s not the market in San Antonio for an upscale vegan dining temple like Crossroads Kitchen. And if you’re downtown on the River Walk, remember that many of San Antonio’s visitors are families on a budget.

But this is a welcoming city. If you plan ahead and call when you can, you can have a great dining experience in San Antonio, just like the carnivores. Besides, guacamole is a naturally vegan dish. And that’s something we all can agree on.