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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Mon 11:30am–2:30pm
Mon 5:00pm–9:30pm
Wed–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm
Wed–Fri 5:00pm–9:30pm
Sat–Sun 11:30am–9:30pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


Far North Austin
9515 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 997-7923
A virtual palace of vegetables and lentils is this humble strip-mall suite

This darkly interiored strip-mall suite serves Southern Indian “vegifood” (proudly displayed on the sign out front), that wonderful cuisine that celebrates the textures and flavors of lentils, vegetables, and grains, rather than merely covering them up with sauces meant to remind us of meat (we’re looking at you, American vegetarian food). Any vegetarian—any person looking to get more vegetables in their diet, for that matter—who has not yet done so, must proceed to Swad forthwith.

To the uninitiated Westerner, the experience can seem high-maintenance. You’ll have to get your own water from a table of various sweating pitchers and cups; the queue is often slow-moving, but it buys you time with the menu over the counter. Just go ahead and experiment—obviously, you won’t end up eating any weird body parts. An absolute must here is the selection of dosai, rice-and-lentil-flour crêpes that are deep-fried to order; an uttapam dosa, which takes longer to cook, is filled with onions, chilies, and potatoes. Top it with chutney and/or cool, minty raita for a complex, unique flavor combination you’ll crave constantly. Dahi poori, crisp pastry shells filled with chickpeas and spices and splashed with yogurt, are also wonderful; a “Thali Special” is a great way to sample several items, including a flavorful but very thin dal; a variety of curries; some pickles and raita; chole bhatura (sweet, beautiful deep-fried bread); and kheer for dessert. You may never eat tofurkey again.

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