Vegan in NYC
Broadway is reopening and autumn leaves are beckoning. For those of you planning a visit to the Big Apple, we asked our team’s resident New Yorkers about vegan fare in their home city. We’ve got Manhattan and Brooklyn covered — here’s what Sharon (Upper Westsider and chief of staff) and Piper (Brooklynite and senior director of legal advocacy) recommend:
As much about the experience as it is about the absolutely fantastic Korean food. In this dimly lit, intimate space located in Koreatown, you’ll take off your shoes and slip your legs beneath one of the low tables where the sunken heated floor keeps your feet nice and toasty as you enjoy your meal. The stuffed shiitake mushrooms are amazing, and the stone bowl entrees are chock full of fresh, seasonal ingredients. The midtown location makes it a good pairing with a Broadway show. Caveat: Book well in advance.
Looking for vegan soul food in NYC? This Harlem spot is the place. Barbecue riblets made from lotus root and mac and cheese served with a side of sauteed greens.
The Nolita location is a favorite lunch spot with its seasonal menu that never disappoints, like a salad of baby spinach, cubed watermelon, cashew ricotta and sunflower seeds. Sandwich options include a deli-style Reuben on sourdough and a Vietnamese banh mi with mushroom pate, seared cauliflower, daikon, and kimchi on a baguette.
Brunch at this East Village organic/kosher/vegan restaurant is served every day until 5pm. The scrambled tofu comes with capers, paprika, sautéed mushrooms and greens. More of a sweet tooth? Try the sourdough “Nutella” french toast.
In the heart of Chinatown, here’s your dim sum experience. My favorites are the turnip cakes and steamed watercress dumplings. My husband loves the sweet and sticky rice balls with coconut.
So, the Italian girl in me has to squeeze in a sixth pick! John’s of 12th Street has been around since the early 1900s, and it retains its old world charm… and they have a separate vegan menu. (Their neighbor used to be the famous vegetarian haven Angelica’s Kitchen, and I’m convinced the impetus for this addition was seeing the nightly crowds right outside the door who were waiting for a table there.) John’s is cozy and romantic, and the Seitan Marsala or Piccata would have made my own Italian grandmother smile. Save room for dessert — vegan cannoli.
Indulge yourself with sumptuous French cuisine at this West Village gem. The menu is full of winners, but I find it particularly hard to stop eating the hot brie–until the dessert crepes show up. Delice has far more fans (including omnivores) than tables, so do make reservations.
I’ve been hooked on Modern Love since celebrity chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz opened her upscale vegan comfort food restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska. Such luck that she opened her next outpost right here in Brooklyn. There are so many hits on this menu, but the one that brings a tear to my eye is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Candy Bar Cheesecake. (Ignore the part of the website that says the restaurant has been closed since 2020 — it is open again and cooking up a storm.)
The selection of satisfying Latin dishes on this vegan restaurant’s menu has made it my go-to neighborhood fave for 15 years. The classics are here — empanadas, arepas and the something-for-everyone Bandeja Paisa plate — along with an eclectic mix of standbys like lasagna and Korean fried cauliflower. Brooklyn and Manhattan locations.
Pizza so good that it’s worth braving this cramped and noisy Greenpoint hipster magnet — or savor your meal in the far more civilized Crown Heights location. Order the titular “Screamer” pizza with some broccoli on top and a cannoli chaser for a well-rounded meal.
A list of top vegan restaurants in NYC isn’t complete without an entry from Matthew Kenney’s empire. Double Zero, named for the finest Italian flour, offers an array of mouth-watering vegan pizzas and pastas on the Second Avenue block it shares with Kenney’s Bar Verde (vegan Mexican) in the East Village.
Photo: David Vives on Unsplash
What’s your favorite vegan restaurant? Let us know in the comments below! Want to find out more about vegan hotspots? Check out our blog post on the top 10 up-and-coming vegan cities in the U.S.