New York is a city that thrives on variety and novelty. If you think catering to the city’s growing plant-based eaters means serving up crunchy granola and massaged kale, you’re in for a big surprise! The culinary treats (and feats) are proof that in New York plant-based diets are no passing fad.
Here are our top seven reasons why New York is the best city for vegetarians and vegans.
1. You Can Have Your Bagel with Lox and Eat It Too!
Where else can you find an all-vegan New York-style delicatessen that serves irresistible versions of New York staples?
At Orchard Grocer, you can sink your teeth into New York classics like The Edith, a bagel made with carrot lox and a schmear of homemade cashew cream cheese. Or the Marlowe, a Reuben sandwich made with beet-brined Blackbird seitan, Chao cheese, sauerkraut, Violife provolone, and Thousand Island dressing on marble rye bread. There is even a BLT that’s made with crunchy and smoky tempeh.
2. NYC has Superior Burgers
Only in New York can a veggie burger put a hamburger to shame without pretending to be meat.
What makes Superiority Burger superior? It’s the spiced patty made of quinoa, carrots, and walnuts, that’s topped with muenster cheese (there is a vegan option as well), crunchy iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and dill pickles on a perfectly griddled sesame-seed potato bun.
The entire menu is under $10, and entirely vegetarian, with many items “accidentally vegan.” When your core value is “humility” (being founded by James Beard Foundation Award-nominated chef Brooks Headley helps too), it’s no surprise that Superiority Burger has racked up awards, celebrity shout-outs, and a legion of followers in New York and beyond.
3. There’s Endless Variety of Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in NYC
No need to avoid a meal out with friends because of your plant-based lifestyle. New York is up to the challenge. What are you craving?
1. For Mexican, Jajaja Plantas Mexicana is an all-vegan restaurant whose colorful and exploding-with-flavor dishes (shiitake bacon and liquid cashew cheese!) will have you asking “Is this really vegan?”
2. For Sushi, Beyond Sushi’s innovative plant-based rolls, wraps, and sashimi make “regular” sushi look sad and pale, and taste bland.
3. For diner/comfort food, Champs Diner. This Bushwick vegan restaurant reminds us that you don’t have to renounce tater tots smothered in nacho cheese, or Nashville hot chik’n sandwiches, or birthday cake milkshakes to be vegan. For a more upscale version, try The Butcher’s Daughter, a self-billing vegetable slaughterhouse.
4. For Korean, Hangawi. Meticulous prepared Korean vegetarian dishes–vegetable stone bowl rice and clay pots, delicate dumplings, rare seasonal mushrooms–plate after plate, a meal here is both delicious and restorative. A piece of advice; wear your good socks.
5. For Ethiopian, Bunna Cafe where you and your friends can feast sharing generous platters of injera topped with Ethiopian classics, misir wot, shiro, inguday tibs, and some of the cafe’s more original creations. Expect live music and stiff drinks.
6. For Chinese, The Original Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant hits the spot every time with dim sum, steamed and fried dumplings, rice and spring rolls, noodle and rice dishes, and excellent vegetarian versions of chicken, duck, and lamb.
7. For Pizza, Screamer’s Pizzeria. Like a bagel with lox and “a shmear,” pizza is quintessential New York food. When toppings include house-made seitan sausage, buffalo cauliflower, Canadian fake’n, and lots of vegan cheese, you can eat to your vegan heart’s content.
8. For Indian, Punjabi Grocery and Deli. A New York institution, this South Asian grocery serves the city’s cab drivers and the long lines of hungry New Yorkers looking for cheap and yummy plates of rice, saag paneer, chana masala, and yellow dal.
9. For Middle Eastern, try Taïm Falafel; the falafel comes in green (cilantro and mint) and red (harissa) versions. Also on the menu is the cauliflower shawarma, a fried eggplant and egg sandwich, and the impossible kebab. Keeping things fresh is a varied menu of mezze, including hummus, beet salad, and tabouli.
4. NYC has got a Sweetest Tooth
The verdict is still out on whether vegetarian and vegan desserts are guilt-free. One thing’s for sure; however, these New York City sweet spots are sinfully good!
1. With a brick-and-mortar shop at The Pennsy and a rolling food truck, The Cinnamon Snail whips up outstanding vegan food, and their desserts are no exception. Try the decadent brownies, the inventive donuts (raspberry cheesecake and vanilla-bourbon crème brulée), and the cinnamon rolls, of course.
2. Peacefood Cafe is a full-fledged vegan cafe bakery satisfying your craving for vegan cheesecake, strawberry shortcakes, tiramisu, macaroons, key lime pie, banana bread, and so much more!
3. Cool off with Chloe’s Fruit. All-natural and dairy-free, this yummy soft serve is made with seasonal fruit, water, and sugar.
5. NYC Throws Vegetarians and Vegans an Annual Two-Day Party!
For ten years now, the city has been hosting the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, an annual celebration dedicated to vegetarians, vegans, and anyone into clean and cruelty-free eating and living.
The festival features food samplings, cooking demos, guest speakers, and vendors trafficking in food, clothing and accessories, and home and beauty products.
6. Has Some of the Finest of Fine Dining
Long gone are the days of plant-based diets that are boring and “healthy.” You can forget about ordering a salad and a side of vegetables at these restaurants.
Award-winning restaurants such as Kajitsu, Nix, abcV, Avant Garden, Dirt Candy, Ladybird, and Modern Love, to name a few, are proof you don’t need caviar, Wagyu beef, oysters, or foie gras to turn critics’ heads in this town.
With contemporary dining rooms, curated drink lists, and innovative dishes that look as good as they taste, these best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in NYC will leave a lasting impression.
7. New York Talks the Talk and Walks the Walk
It doesn’t stop with food, however. If you are going to talk the talk, then you better walk the walk, in vegan shoes! Swing by MooShoes, a vegan boutique whose shoes, bags, and accessories have hurt no moos in the process.
Ready to book your vegetarian or vegan New York vacation? Start your flight search below! 👇