I’m no bonafide vegan, but eating vegan food brings me indescribable joy. Anything that makes colorful, nutrient-packed veggies the star of the show is a winner in my eyes. Not to mention how freaking good it makes you feel; both in your body and in the knowledge that ‘no animals were harmed in the making of this meal’.
Vegan is my go to for cooking; you’ll often find me in PJs, whipping up one of Deliciously Ella‘s simple and wholesome recipes. I’m also a vegan restaurant junkie if solo dining out, or just in need of a detox (a regular occurrence). The East Village spoils me for vegan choice; one of the many reasons I adore my hood.
I’m working on it, but am yet to hit all of NYC’s vegan spots. In no particular order, here are my top picks so far:
Go for: Something easy and healthy by Union Square – I often go alone.
The vibe is: Simple, un-fussy, and candlelit by evening.
Order: Raw key lime or cacoa mousse pie (I once bought one to go and ended up devouring half of it in their bathroom). For mains, I’m a sucker for the peacebowl: 3 roasted veggies with brown rice and ginger scallion oil; try squash, eggplant and broccoli.
Go for: Solo meals, a quiet spot, raw dishes, or if you want to BYOB.
The vibe is: A mini, peaceful, zen-filled haven. I cozy up in the window and watch the world go by.
Order: Insane butternut squash soup, scallion cream cheese rolls, pesto pizzette and coconut curry quinoa pilaf. The salads are also great. Dishes are small, so mix and match. Get raw chocolate lava cake for dessert.
Go for: A catch up with friends or a relaxed date over big portions of home cooked goodness (they don’t serve booze).
The vibe is: Light, airy and welcoming: think white exposed brick, comfy chairs and cutesy flowers.
Order: Starters to share, like avo dip, spiced coconut chips, or any salads. Roast veg with tahini is my go-to main, but if you’re willing to bend on the vegan, their signature lasagna is fab (it’s veggie, but has mozzarella in it). For dessert, try strawberry or rose chocolate raw mousse, and digestive tea.
Go for: Fun but not particularly healthy dishes in an on-trend setting (kale cocktails and all).
The vibe is: Modern, minimal and cool; it doesn’t scream vegan.
Order: Korean fried broccoli and brussels sprout tacos – but everything looked good.
Go for: A fast but satisfying bite with a buddy.
The vibe is: Trendy and shiny, though a little hectic since you order at the counter and may wait for seats.
Order: Large and interesting salads, seasonal avocado toast, or the guac burger for a more substantial nosh.
Go for: A hot date night with healthy, sexy food.
The vibe is: Upmarket, intimate and classy. It’s basically vegan nouvelle cuisine.
Order: As much as you can, and share it all. Recent faves are carrot romesco toast, farro salad, scorched cauliflower and celery root. You won’t find any meat substitutes (e.g. seitan) on this menu.
Go for: A vegan experience in a classic restaurant setting. Or when you find yourself on the Upper East Side.
The vibe is: Old school New York: red leather booths, dim lights and a proper bar.
Order: Something adventurous. I had salad, but next time would definitely change it up. The chocolate peanut butter bliss dessert and homemade ice creams were dreamy.
Go for: A Michelin star vegan experience.
The vibe is: Sleek and classy; snag a nice round booth if you can get one.
Order: Lots to share; highlights include pea dumplings, seaweed caesar, shitake mushroom lettuce wraps, and cauliflower tempura with steamed buns and pickles.
Go for: Vegan eats on the indulgent side.
The vibe is: Basic but spacious.
Order: Butternut squash gnocchi (it’s quite rich, so you might want to share it). I hear the fettuccine alfredo is also incredible.
Go for: Plenty of menu choice and live music.
The vibe is: An East Village, bohemian, basement hangout.
Order: The raw sampler platter; it was colorful and looked like a seder plate, though a little hit and miss on flavors. My friend liked her burrito, and the cauliflower special was on point. Killer green juice.
Go for: A carb fix and asian flavors. Or if you’re with a fish eater (it’s vegan plus fish).
The vibe is: Kind of narrow and crowded in the East Village location – you go for the food.
Order: Sweet, peanutty pad thai and the garbanzo broth ramen, which was huge and brimming with every vegetable imaginable.
Go for: An authentic Asian experience and not-your-average vegan dishes.
The vibe is: Mega mellow and comfy; shoes off at the door and everyone sits in the floor (theres a sunken level to dangle your legs).
Order: Kale pancakes, tofu with broccoli, avocado stone bowl, and DIY lettuce wraps. I can’t wait to try the rest of the menu.
Go for: Vegan on the go.
The vibe is: Clean and bright, but few seats and slightly sterile: I don’t tend to linger.
Order: Addictive kelp noodles, truffle green protein salad or hearty soups. The chia or oatmeal breakfasts are yum, and the raw chocolates hit the spot.
Know a vegan eatery that I absolutely must hit up? Tell me now! Comment on this post or email firstname.lastname@example.org.