Countless reports have surfaced over the years about the effects of reckless eating on our health. Consequently, more and more people are choosing to clean up their eating habits and take the vegetarian or vegan route with their diets. All those documentaries about how meat and other foods end up on our table have certainly also had a lasting effect on people who love animals and care for their wellbeing.
Even so, in many parts of the world, vegans are still a minority, and finding vegan places to eat can prove a difficult task. That’s not the case in New York City; there are currently a myriad of restaurants to choose from for all tastes and budgets. We’re coming at you with a selection of what we think are some of the best vegan restaurants in NYC. Check them out below and make sure you give them a try. Even if you’re not planning to go vegan anytime soon, you might find yourself falling in love with the food and going back for more.
Located at 154 East 79th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Candle 79 is an excellent choice for those who love to eat healthy and fresh. Their chef-driven menu integrates locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, so you know that the food is always fresh and perfectly cooked. The history of the restaurant begins in 1984, with the opening of The Candle Cafe, which evolved over the years into a full-service vegetarian juice bar and cafe. The owners then decided to expand their footprint and opened Candle 79 just a few blocks away in 2003. The two-story restaurant has been rated the #1 vegetarian restaurant by Zagat - twice.
Le Botaniste, located at 833 Lexington Avenue in Lenox Hill, offers 100% botanical, 99% organic, gluten-free food options for vegan lovers and healthy eaters alike. They pride themselves with their delicious plant-based organic food and natural wine bar, and are committed to being ‘a beauty salon for your insides.’ Managed by Laurent Francois, Le Botaniste opened a second location on SoHo’s Grand Street in 2017. They offer both home delivery and pick-up options, so you can enjoy their delicious healthy food in the comfort of your own home if you so choose.
Entering the Cinnamon Snail website, you’re greeted with a warning: ‘If you don’t like puppies, rainbows, and unicorns, you will hate our food.’ The Snail’s history began on Valentine’s Day, 2010 when it debuted as the country’s first vegan organic food truck. Over the years, it’s become one of the go-to venues for vegan New Yorkers. However, they remain true to their roots. Their food trucks still serve at festivals, catering events, and farmers' markets, while they also operate two brick-and-mortar locations in Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District. The food at The Cinnamon Snail is Kosher, 100% vegan, and prepared by a ‘wild west wizard a cauldron.’
Blossom was established back in 2005 with its very first location in a historic Chelsea townhouse and has since expanded to operate an additional location on the Upper West Side. The original Chelsea location at 187 Ninth Avenue boasts an intimate, cozy vibe, while the second location at 507 Columbus Avenue features an open space with a full wine and beer bar. Blossom serves fresh, organic, and completely animal-free dishes, with ingredients that come from local farms and small distribution companies. Co-founders Ronen Seri and Pamela Elizabeth have even launched their own cookbook, with more than 80 vegan recipes that you can reproduce at home if you can’t make it to a Blossom restaurant.
Founded in 2009 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, by two vegan friends, Eric and Peter, Peacefood aims to show that ‘the awareness of non-violence can be spread through feeding people with delicious vegan food.’ Named after the simple idea that peace begins on the plate, the restaurant is committed to encouraging and promoting a healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle. Their success led to the opening of a second Peacefood cafe location in the buzzing Union Square neighborhood in the spring of 2013. You can check the food out at one of their locations, or order food to your home using the online menu; there’s something for everyone in there, from pizza and sandwiches to salads, soups, sushi, desserts, smoothies, and juices.
Located in the East Village at 111 East 7th Street, Ladybird is open every day, ready to serve hungry vegan locals and visitors with delicious foods and beverages. They feature a wine bar and various vegan tapas options, for all of those tapas lovers in New York City. They also offer gluten-free options, and a solid list of delicious cocktails, wines, beers, and punch bowls. Their locations boast a chic, stylish design and a cozy, elegant atmosphere, so you’ll be able to enjoy your food and drinks in peace. Walk-ins are welcome at Ladybird, but you’re better off making a reservation, just in case. If you want to convince your friends to go vegan, you can get them a gift card at Ladybird for up to $300; they’ll get to enjoy delicious, healthy tapas in a beautiful Manhattan location.
Jajaja (or hahaha in English, if you will) has become one of the most popular vegan food destinations in the city over the years. In their own words, Jajaja is ‘where the south of the border flavor meets Lower East Side flair to create global experiences rooted in local heritage.’ The restaurant first opened on Cinco de Mayo 2017, with Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos at the helm. They currently operate three separate locations, at 103 North 3rd Street in Brooklyn, 63 Carmine Street in the West Village, and 162 East Broadway on the Lower East Side. The restaurants serve Mexican beers on tap, lagers, and pilsners from local microbreweries, fresh juices, and plant-based street food. They serve lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends, so be sure to give either of their locations a try - you won’t be disappointed.
Champ’s Diner claims to be Brooklyn’s favorite all-vegan diner, ‘serving up Americana comfort food with a no-fuss, laid-back attitude.’ They first opened their doors to vegan lovers five years ago, and since then, the diner has become one of the go-to food spots in the borough. Located at 197 Meserole Street in Williamsburg, Champ’s Diner has an extensive menu filled with plenty of options for healthy food lovers, from appetizers, salads, and pancakes to burgers, sandwiches, and breakfast options. They also serve shakes, sundaes, vegan desserts, and drinks, and you can order at home easily via Seamless or Grubhub. If you’re ever passing by or looking for an excellent all-vegan spot in Brooklyn, Champ’s might be your best bet.
Located in the East Village at 430 East 9th Street, Superiority Burger is a favorite among vegetarians, vegans, and die-hard burger fans. Though their menu is mainly vegetarian, a lot of the options can also be adapted to suit vegans. They are open every day, offering burgers, salads, wraps, vegetarian sloppy joes, and even healthy gelato. The place is pretty tiny, but you can take your food to go, or even order at home via Seamless, Caviar or Grubhub. You can also buy Superiority Burger t-shirts, and more importantly, their Superiority Burger Cookbook, so you can try (and perhaps even succeed) reproducing their delicious recipes yourself.
The folks at Dirt Candy pride themselves in operating the city’s only vegetable-exclusive restaurant. Award-winning chef Amanda Cohen is always trying out new recipes, which means the menu changes regularly, and the dishes include nothing but vegetables. The restaurant has received rave reviews from The New York Times and the New Yorker, and New York Magazine praised it for being the absolute best restaurant on the Lower East Side. The folks at Dirt Candy won’t try to bore you by talking up their food; in their own words, the food ‘won’t make your skin glow, it won’t make you live longer, it won’t super-charge your free radicals with antioxidants.’ Instead, what they want is ‘to make vegetables as delicious as possible.’ Give them a try at their 86 Allen Street location.