As more of us turn to a plant-based diet, the vegan gastronomy scene continues to explode with trendy restaurants, top chefs and artful, innovative, delicious takes on modern, elevated, healthy cuisine. Here is our guide to the best vegan restaurants in New York City that will have you rethinking your palette along with your favorite places.
Jajaja, Lower East Side
When you think of Mexican food, the word “vegan” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Enter Jajaja, a NYC restaurant group on a mission to introduce “plant-based eaters to the Mexican palate.” We love their small corner restaurant on the trendy Lower East Side (they also have a place in West Village, Hudson Yards, and Williamsburg) for it laidback beachy vibe and hefty dose of LES cool, which serves plant-based Mexican specialties, along with a extensive tequila and mezcal menu, local microbrewed beers, and fresh-pressed juices.
Nachos: This vegan dish is out to rival the “real deal.” Doused with cashew cheese and flavored and colored with turmeric the toppings are plentiful; peas, corn, beans, and—of course—guacamole.
Gorditas: A highly-flavorsome, slightly sweet dish featuring fluffy corn patties stuffed with beans, serrano for a bit of a kick, shiitake “bacon” and sour cream. Delish.
Coconut Queso Quesadilla: Coconut queso might just be the only way to eat cheese from now on, especially in a yummy quesadilla. The texture is a divine, melty consistency and the addition of serrano peppers, mushrooms, and pico de gallo gives it an authentic flavor.
Beyond Sushi, Manhattan Locations
Beyond Sushi is out to redefine sushi with its completely plant-based menu. With multiple locations across Manhattan, this low-key casual restaurant group offers unique combinations and creative takes on veggie-only rolls, dumplings and Japanese-inspired delicacies. Yes, you can still order “beef”, “chicken”, and “fish” but these are all made with vegan alternatives and there is really no tasting the difference.
Shiitake Truffle Dumpling: When something says “truffle,” you simply have to try it and this dumpling lives up to the hype. The mushroom, truffle richness is balanced out with fresh microgreens and spinach.
Sweet Tree Roll: This roll, stuffed with avocado, sweet potato and rolled in black rice is as hearty as it is healthy, with toasted cayenne sauce giving this sweety a spicy kick.
Cauliflower Wings: You may never want to eat buffalo chicken or sweet and sour beef again after trying these cauliflower wings, which have been crisped to perfection and come in sweet chili or sriracha buffalo, depending on your taste and mood.
Double Zero, East Village
If pizza is your love language, this spot in the East Village is a must-try. The brainchild of plant-based chef Matthew Kenney, Double Zero adds the health factor to our ultimate comfort food. All of the pizzas are personal pies, fired up in a custom wood-burning oven and has creative takes on ingredients. The “cheese” is cashew-based, the “bacon”, shiitake mushrooms, he “meatballs” are a quinoa and bean blend and the pies come peppered with yummy veggies and interesting flavors that range from fennel to sunflower seeds to keep you on your toes. There’s also delicious plant-based appetizers, salads, and pastas.
Margherita Pizza: This signature classic, beloved by all, is every inch as good in all its cashew-cheese and tomato glory.
Baked Meatballs: Share a plate of their delicious baked meatballs, made of quinoa, beans, onions, and cashew mozzarella, making them not only vegan but gluten-free.
Mac E Cheese: This other comfort fab is the cheesiest of all, despite the absence of dairy, it’s a melt in your mouth combination of cashew mozzarella, butternut squash, asparagus and sunflower seeds for a unique and somewhat complex texture.
Ras Plant Based, Crown Heights
This vibrant new restaurant, the baby of a foodie couple that met at Cobble Hill’s Awash years ago, brings their dream of a vegan Ethiopian restaurant to life. Serving up some of the tastiest vegan eats in the area, the entire menu at Ras Plant Based is farm-to-table, with recipes passed through their families for generations. The small, intimate dining room is just as colorful as food – beets, peas, collards, and lentils feature heavily -with bright murals with plants and ceilings laden with lanterns and lush greenery.
Mama’s Tofu: This tofu-based dish is, quite literally, chef Romeo Regalli’s mother’s recipe. It stars cubed tofu cooked in a sauce of tomato, jalapeno, onion, and the family’s top-secret blend of house spices.
Vegetable Sambusa: For something savory-sweet, and just the right size to share go for the vegetable sambusa. It’s a flaky pastry shell that envelops a mixed vegetable or lentil-based filling, with a dipping sauce that is to-die-for.
Piassa Platter: This rainbow platter combines servings of beetroot, carrot, yellow split pea, zucchini, and more yummy veggies (you can also order them separately as sides) looks just as gorgeous as it tastes.
Le Petit Monstre, Clinton Hill
Founder of other popular vegan haunts Clementine Bakery and Izzy Rose, Elle Barton has opened a Clinton Hill bakery named Le Petit Monstre which proves you don’t need dairy or eggs to create melt-in-your-mouth confections. Stock up on savory, sweet, grab-and-go croissants to party-ready cakes and pies, all made with fresh, vegan and where possible local ingredients. If pastries aren’t your thing,the menu also has yummy salads, yogurt parfaits and veggie sandwiches.
Kouign Amann: You’ll be dreaming of this pastry long after you’ve devoured it. Made with just pastry, butter, and sugar, the name quite literally comes from the Breton language words “cake” and “butter”. In this vegan case, it’s crafted of a flaky croissant dough that’s layered with vegan butter and puffed up to exactly the right amount where the sugar caramelizes, and the layers begin to separate.
Danish: This bad boy boasts a soft pastry center with a hefty dose of vegan cream cheese. On top, you can choose from an indulgent sweet fruit or a savory roast vegetable.
Truffled Poutine: Whether you’re looking for a sharable side or a rich treat, this truffled poutine checks all the boxes. As addictive as fries, this poutine is made with roasted pee-wee potatoes, flavored with rosemary, thyme, and—of course—truffle oil. The starch is topped with the house Espagnole sauce, tempeh, and vegan feta cheese giving it a unique and distinctive flavor.
Ladybird, East Village
A self-proclaimed “vegetable bar,” Lady bird is a gorgeous vegan tapas and wine bar located in Manhattan’s edgy East Village. With lush green velvet seating, millennial pink pops, and gold accents, it’s the perfect oasis for everything from Sunday brunch to a romantic cocktail-fuelled date night. The menu is tapas-inspired and chock full of everything from healthy veggie crudité to vegan-inspired traditional bar snacks like fried bites, grilled cheese, and truffle mac. As for the cocktails? Even they are fruit and vegetable-infused, thanks to fresh ingredients like basil, orange blossom, lychee, and cucumber, to name a few.
Buffalo Maitake Buns: The bar’s most popular menu item, the steamed bao buns are stuffed with just the right amount of fried maitake mushrooms and topped with buffalo sauce, making them light and airy, but packed full of flavor.
Cauliflower: Pro tip: if there is a cauliflower dish on any shareable menu, order it. Like this one, which features mini florets that have been doused in a tahini sauce and topped with toasted seeds, pomegranate, and mint.
Spring Pea Toast: Fresh and light, this thick-cut bread (you can also opt for gluten-free) comes topped with vegan ricotta, green garlic pesto, peas, pickled ramp, and mint.
Blossom, Greenwich Village
Blossom was one of NYC’s vegan pioneers, opening in Chelsea in 2005, quickly followed by an Upper West Side location and most recently Greenwich Village, each location offering a unique menu and setting. All of their ingredients are locally sourced from small farms and the menu runs the gamut, so there’s something for everyone, from large salads to sandwiches, roasted vegetables, stuffed starches and Italian style appetizers.
Buffalo Arancini: This Italian fave, features vegan cheese and in a fried gluten-free rice ball.
Curried Stuffed Sweet Potato: Perfect for a cold winter day, this hearty roasted sweet potato dish is infused with a walnut, lentil, and eggplant mix, topped with a coconut peanut curry sauce and accompanied with grilled collard greens, parsnip chips, and horseradish crème.
Tofu BLT: Who says you need bacon in your BLT. This vegan sandwich is a soft focaccia painted with a spicy-sweet chipotle aioli and French dressing, layered with crispy tofu, tempeh bacon, greens, and sliced tomatoes.
Délice & Sarrasin, West Village
Challenging the notion that French food can be plant-based is Delice & Sarrasin in the West Village. All of their vegan cheeses are made in-house and while crepes are their specialty the menu extends to classic signature French delicacies. Hello, French onion soup, “salmon” (not really salmon) filets, tomatoes and mozzarella salads and even vegan foie gras.
Mr. Rabelais Crêpe: This sausage, mushroom, and cheese crepe has all the flavor profiles, with none of the animal protein. The “sausage” is a vegetable blend, the mushrooms add a lightness and the melted Emmental cheese is cashew-based made in-house with a little bit of mustard for added oomph.
Vegan Foie Gras: This rich, indulgent and delicious foie gras has a tahini and fig jam base and is served with small bread rounds.
Plateau de Fromage: Given all of the vegan cheeses are made in-house, this starter is a must-try. The cheese plate features a combination of cashew-based cheeses that all manage to taste different and just as amazing as the real thing. It’s served with bread and best washed down with a wine (organic of course).
Avant Garden, East Village
Opened in 2015 by Ravi DeRossi, Avant Garden is a chic wine bar where the vino is organic and the cuisine is vegan. The beauty of Avant Garden is that they aren’t offering vegan alternatives, rather their vision is simple: curate a menu that puts the vegetable and vegan ingredients in the spotlight.
Roasted Beet Toast: Toast with vegetable toppings is totally vegan and delectable. This one comes layered with hummus, dates, sumac, chickpea, cucumber tzatziki, roasted beets for a little sweet kick on top.
Scorched Cauliflower: As we said, cauliflower, which can take on many forms, consistencies, and flavors is always a good idea. This dish features roasted cauliflower florets seasoned with toasted garlic and fried capers, dressed with a puree made of – yep – cauliflower
Avocado: This beauty features a crispy rice patty that’s perfectly soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, topped with an avocado half, glazed with a carrot ginger dressing, miso glaze, and garnished with blistered shishito peppers.
Modern Love, Williamsburg
At Modern Love, the space is just as cool as the cuisine. High-ceilings, adorned with elegant, yet industrial-inspired chandeliers and luxe pendants hanging above the bar at the back sets the tone for a new style of plant-based fine dining experience.
Oyster Mushroom Calamari: Oyster mushrooms stand in for squid in this fan-favorite dish. Each one is breaded and fried like the OG sea-fare and served with spicy mayo, old bay, hot sauce, lemon, and micro-greens.
Cacio E Pepe: Much like your favorite Italian pasta dish, this one is creamy, cheesy, and has that little peppery fire—minus the dairy. The bucatini is perfectly al dente, the cheesy pepper sauce and “feta” are almond-based and it’s topped with garlic pea shoots and pepita parmesan.
Mushroom Brie Burger: Made of a seitan bean burger crafted in-house, this is no ordinary veggie burger. The sesame seed bun is painted with house mayo while the patty is topped with melty cashew brie, steamy sautéed mushrooms, shallots, and a little arugula for fresh greens. It comes served with fries, vegan potato salad, or greens.