Welcome to my huge all-inclusive Vegan Guide To New York! After seven trips to New York, this round-up has been an extremely long time coming. New York has a great reputation for food; it’s a diverse mixture of cultures and influences that go into New York cuisine. When we think of New York eats, we think of doughnuts and coffee; dollar pizza; motzah ball soup; bagels and lox; pastrami on rye; pancake stacks; burgers and fries; ramen soup; pork buns; hot dogs; street churros; fried noodles; reuben sandwiches; chicken and waffles; italian ices; cheesecake; knish and brisket; waldorf salad; black and white cookies and huge giant pretzels.
New York caters so well for vegans you can try all the iconic dishes if you know where to look! The US actually has more vegans than vegetarians, so you’ll find vegan alternatives in most places you wander into – but obviously, you want to head straight for the good stuff. Ryan and I had an extensive list of places to eat for our Christmas trip, and I’m including some of my favourite eats from previous trips AND tips from my New York dwelling cousin. If you want a definitive vegan guide to New York than look no further! This first part will focus on Manhattan and I’ll hit you with my Brooklyn tips in a later post. As with previous vegan city guides, I’m including a sentence from Ryan for each place in the interests of balance.
By Chloe is a really sweet establishment and the decor and visuals are on point. So is the food! It’s more of a cafe than a restaurant- there’s no table service and a constant queue for takeout. Tables have a fast turnover – we got a spot after about ten minutes. An excellent choice for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack; the food is prepared super quickly and very reasonably priced.
The portions are kind of small but we were happy to grab a few sides to go with mains. We ate in for lunch and picked up a load of baked goods as well, including one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten. Bear in mind as it is so busy you won’t want to stop in for a long, chatty lunch – more of an eat-and-go place! Great location near Washington Square Park (my fave) also.
RYAN SAYS: Best burger I had in New York. It had a nice diner feel to it.
Blossom Du Jour have multiple branches around the city. As the front tells you; it’s a vegan fast-food chain! Why don’t we have vegan fast-food chains in the UK?! We stopped in two different branches during our time, once to grab a sandwich on the go and another time we sat in for a lunch of heated wraps. The food is tasty and cheap, with average portion size and branches conveniently dotted all over the city. Probably not my first choice for a sit-down meal but an excellent option for a quick bite.
RYAN SAYS: I didn’t love it, but good for a stop-by or a quick snack.
Ayurvedic food in a beautiful and ambient location. This was another tip-off from my cousin. The menu is a loose mixture of Italian and Indian influences, with risotto and lasagne alongside curry and soups. Divya’s Kitchen is majority vegan and 100% vegetarian, and is a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy some heartening food. We had a selection of starters and sides alongside our mains and were stuffed by the end of the meal – the portions may not look huge but they are certainly filling.
Look no further for authentic Italian food. I tend to avoid anywhere that’s not at least 100% veggie, but Pala Pizza is the exception to that rule. Their vegan menu is extensive, with a whole host of pizza options alongside starters, salads and pasta dishes. It’s perfect NY pizza, veganised! It’s not the cheapest option but the portions are a decent size. A must for lovers of Italian food!
Seasoned Vegan have a menu loosely inspired by “soul food”, and their tagline highlights veganised versions of all your favourites. Great for these classic NY dishes! You can grab a Harlem Cheeseburger, Pizza Quesadilla or “prawn” Po’Boy. I recommend the milkshakes and the Mac’n’Cheese. I think my favourite part of the menu is the option to buy a 20pc package of chicken nuggets? It’s a friendly place, with exceptionally low prices and generous portions. Head over on a Monday night for dinner theatre!
I’ve only been in to grab breakfast from Atlas Cafe and Bakery, but the menu looks great! Brunch options include multiple vegan scrambles, plus the coveted NY cream cheese bagel. The menu includes salads, sandwiches and crepes and is about 50% vegan options. It’s a small and friendly place, with decent portions at decent prices.
There’s an Uptown and Downtown branch of Peacefood. Whilst I’ve not visited the Downtown branch, the Uptown one is a pleasant place to chill for a while! I highly recommend the soy nuggets and the zucchini sprouts. The food is average price (maybe a tad more than some of the other nearby places), but the warm atmosphere and generous servings are definitely worth it. It’s a kind of fusion, homey cuisine – nothing too pretentious and a good mix of sandwiches, pizzas, soups and salads. Ideal for lunch!
Kind of a cheat option here. Chelsea Market is a huge indoor food market with loads of stalls, shops, and restaurants. I’ve eaten here a few times and there’s always been a good selection of vegan places! A good option to go if you’re travelling with carnivores, as people can split off and buy whatever they like before eating together.
New York fusion cuisine at it’s finest! The tagline asks you to “leave the vegetables to the professionals”, and MY what professionals they are. Almost every dish places the humble veg front and centre; this is no place for spot-on meat replacements. Instead vegetables are front and centre with dishes like Popcorn Beets and Cabbage Hotpots. The desserts are especially intriguing; Onion Chocolate Tart anyone? This place is achingly cool and always rammed, so call ahead for reservations. It’s a little pricy but a perfect hip NY diner spot.
I have an extensive list of places I want to try on future trips to the city – here’s a few. Let me know how you find them if you get a chance and drop me your recommendations in the comments!
Erin McKenna’s Bakery – look at those doughnuts! The decor! *sigh*
Superiority Burger – famous vegan burgers
Hangawi – upscale Korean place
Blossom – legendary upscale restaurant
Kajitsu – longstanding Japanese haunt
Red Bamboo – vegan comfort food
Vegetarian Dim Sum House – cult Chinatown favourite
Candle 79 – famous high-end vegan dining
The Green Radish – Americana fast-food truck
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my vegan NY guide covering Brooklyn and Street Food!