The Best Vegan Restaurants in NYC (according to my Tastebuds)

Hello! I get a lot of requests for recommendations for what to do and eat in New York City, so I thought I’d make a list of all of the best vegan restaurants in NYC (according to my tastebuds and experiences, at least) and keep them all in one place as a reference for anyone who may be curious!

This list is by no means exhaustive; please note I have always lived in the city as a student and have limited funds and time to eat out, but I do have many more places on my to-eat list (noted at the bottom), and I will update as I go!

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I was originally going to list all my favorite eats and activities in one place, but the eats portion ended up getting to be much longer than expected, so I decided to break up the posts. Keep an eye on for a post on my favorite activities in the city, coming soon!

Below you’ll find my favorite vegan-friendly eats in the city. Now grab your Metro card, we’re goin’ to New York City!

Eats:

Peacefood Cafe

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Locations: 460 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024 (Upper West Side) & 41 E 11th St
New York, NY 10003 (downtown, near Union Square/Greenwich Village).

Why You Should Go: Peacefood is probably my all-time favorite place to eat in the city. With two locations, one uptown and one downtown, Peacefood offers a wide variety of completely plant-based breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and pastry options, as well as freshly made juices and smoothies.

For a light lunch, the Asian Greens salad with tempeh is scrumptious and lightly satisfying with a delicious peanut dressing. If you want something a bit heartier, the Protein Packed Kale Salad is a filling salad option with the best lemony dressing I’ve ever had. A salad paired with their famous chickpea fries and/or chicken tender appetizer makes a perfect meal.

Peacefood also has my favorite veggie burger on the planet. And that is a bold statement. It’s just perfect: a hearty patty with guac, pickled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, house-made sauce, all on delicious house-made focaccia bread. Ah.mazing.

Best Vegan NYC byChloe Peacefood Burger

I also love their Japanese Roasted Pumpkin sandwich. But whenever I order a sandwich I always request it on focaccia bread because I am obsessed with it’s fluffy carry gloriousness.

The specials are usually good at Peacefood too. I’ve had Asian-Inspired dishes as well as pastas, and all were fabulous. I have many friends who rave about their pot pie.

Dessert is a must at Peacefood. Their carrot cake may very well be one of my top 10 favorite things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I used to live very close to the Upper West Side location, and in a calendar year managed to slowly work my way through every dessert on the permanent menu here (yup…really).

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The only thing I’d skip at Peacefood is the sushi; it’s overpriced, unsatisfying, and you can get way better sushi at Beyond (see below).

What to Order: The Vegan Cheeseburger, Chickpea Fries, Asian Greens Salad, Protein-Packed Kale Salad, Carrot Cake (and/or any dessert on the menu…you can’t go wrong).

Beyond Sushi

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Locations: 229 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square), inside Chelsea Market, 62 W 56th St. New York, NY 10019 (mid-town west), 134 W 37th St. New York, NY 10018

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Why You Should Go: Although the concept of “vegan sushi” is counterintuitive to many skeptics, this is, I guarantee you, one of the most delicious meals you will ever have. This is not your average veggie sushi, and if you go, you’ll probably never look at cucumber avocado rolls the same way again.

Everything at Beyond Sushi incredibly flavorful and unique. In addition to interesting fillings and hand-made sauces, the sushi is made with black rice, or a 6-grain rice mix (both delicious).

I know from working there that the chef puts an incredible amount of time, effort, and energy to ensure every bite is absolutely perfect. Like, the man dehydrates his own mushrooms for sauces. And soaks sweet potatoes in fresh orange juice for the sweet potato avocado roll.

And the effort pays off – this stuff is incredible. If you don’t believe me, just search them on Yelp. Vegans and carnivores alike will find something delicious here, I promise.

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If being phenomenally palatable wasn’t enough, this food also happens to be beautiful, so have your iPhone ready. The colors and plating are eye-catching, and

What to Order: Whatever sushi roll catches your eye (Sweet Tree, Sunny Side, and Pickle Me are my favs), the Spicy Shroom Wrap, the Sweet Angel Wrap, any rice bed salad (Zen is my favorite), any dumpling (I especially love The Badge).

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The second newest location on West 37th (close to herald square) actually has a large dining room with ample seating, which none of the other locations have. They also have an expanded menu with really scrumptious shared plate options (see below). Whereas the other locations are great for a quick healthy meal, go to the 37th Street if you want a more swanky dining experience.

Van Leeuwen

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Locations: 460 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024 (Upper West Side) & 41 E 11th St
New York, NY 10003 (downtown, near Union Square/Greenwich Village).

Why You Should Go: Hands down, the best vegan ice cream you’ll ever put in your mouth. Actually, scratch that – the best ice cream you’ll ever put in your mouth. They have dairy ice cream options as well, but the vegan options are where it’s at (at least according to many of my non-vegan friends, who also order vegan flavors).

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This ice cream is unapologetically rich, creamy, thick, and luscious. It gives you 100% satisfaction of an indulgent treat, without being overly sweet (which I think ruins desserts). Everything is made in house. Even the cookie, cake pieces, and swirls laced into their ice cream. You can even get house-made vegan coconut whipped cream!

Van Leeuwen has a variety of classic flavors (like Cookie Dough and Salted Caramel) as well as a variety of unique, rartisanial flavors like Planet Earth, which is a naturally-colored vibrant blue base flavored like blue moon, and studded with chunks of house-made matcha cake.

In addition to ice cream, the shop also has coffee beverages and baked goods. This is a can’t-miss. Go out of your way for it and thank me later.

What to Order: The menu changes with season/availability, but my favorites are Vegan Caramelized Banana Nut, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Vegan Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam, and Vegan Peanut Butter Bon Bon & Cherry Preserves Swirl

Orchard Grocer’s

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Location: 78 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 (LES)

Why You Should Go: My visceral reaction is to scream THE SOFT SERVE in all caps (which you should definitely order), but outside of the soft serve, this is a cute vegan grocery shop with made-to order deli-style sandwiches.

Orchard Grocer is stalked with vegan treats, chocolates, snacks, cheeses, and faux-meats sourced from around the country (I love that they carry Herbivorous Butcher!).

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In addition to doing a little shopping, you can enjoy a vegan bagels and lox, with house-made vegan cream cheese, capers and smoked pickled carrots (the ‘lox’), a vegan breakfast sandwich, or one of their rotating specialty sandwiches, like Buffalo Tofu.

And then, as mentioned earlier, they have delicious vegan soft serve that has the mouthfeel of dairy-soft serve, without any weird residual soy or almond-milk aftertaste (not that I dislike soy/almond milk, but I sometimes feel like you can tell when plant-based soft serves are made from these things and it’s distracting). I had chocolate and peanut butter when I was there, but the flavors are ever changing. Ask, sample, and enjoy.

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What to Order: Whatever sandwich sounds good + soft serve. Do. not. sleep. on that soft serve.

Champs Diner

Best Vegan NYC Champs Diner

Location: 197 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (East Williamsburg, BK)

Why You Should Go: Champs Diner has all the elements of a classic diner – checkerboard tables, cushy diner benches, and breakfast all day. But Champs is extra awesome because everything there is completely vegan, and has a fun urban beat to it, complete with funky decor and spunky servers. You know you’re at a diner, but you’re also fully aware you’re in Brooklyn.

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You can get birthday cake pancakes stacked a mile high, reuben sandwiches and fries, and nice tall milkshakes to enjoy in your diner booth seat. Champs is just plain fun. It’s also delicious. In addition to unapologetic veganized-classic brunch fare, you can also get a nice, healthy salad, or a thoughtfully crafted “healthier” type sandwich. There’s truly something for everyone and every food mood.

What to Order: Anything that tickles your pickle! The menu is expansive. If anything, you’ll probably have a hard time choosing one thing. Personally, I have only had their sweet breakfast options, and would definitely recommend them, but I’ve heard their savory breakfast options and sandwiches are legit, too.

Double Zero (Formerly 00+Co)

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Location: 65 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village), apparently they are also opening a location in Williamsburg soon

Why You Should Go: This place throws down some seriously delicious, upscale, all-vegan pizza. If you’re into thin crusts with classic to artisanal toppings, you can’t miss this place.

I like this place because you can get a Classic Margarita with Cashew Mozzerella if that’s your thing if you’re into simple but delicious pies, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can order something like the Smoked Carrot pizza or the Farro Fennel Sausage.

They also have fabulous salads and a beautiful vegan cheese plate. And wine. Lots of wine (which you don’t always find at vegan restaurants).

What to Order: Whatever kind of pie suits your taste buds (chances are, it will be good) and a cheese plate.

The Cinnamon Snail

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Location: 7th Ave & West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10005 (Herald Square area), Food Truck that moves daily (check their Twitter or Facebook for location)

Why You Should Go: To get some of the best vegan doughnuts of your life! The Cinnamon Snail has tons of crazy fun flavors and varieties of vegan doughnuts, as well as a bunch of what I like to call, vegan junk food-style entrees.

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If you’re craving fast food or want something super filling (think veggie burgers with vegan mac’n’cheese and vegan bacon), go here for a meal. If you just want a light sweet treat, go here for a doughnut.

What to Order: A doughnut, and/or whatever their baked goods of the day are. I like the simpler doughnuts (like pistachio and the meyer lemon twist) but if you’re into peanut-butter stuffed, over-the-top kinda doughnuts, they have those options for you, too. In terms of entrees, I haven’t had many, but I enjoyed the Thai BBQ Tempeh sandwich when I had it.

ByChloe

Best Vegan NYC byChloe Burger

Location: Multiple throughout the city (West Village, Flatiron, Soho, Rock Center, Williamsburg, coming soon to Seaport)

Why You Should Go: ByChloe = vegan fast food fun! This is something the vegan world needed: a quick, cute place to grab a quick meal that’s primarily fast food-style fare, but with some vegan and modern twists. Overall, this is definitely a big VIBE place (ie, lots of time/detail attention spent to ensure everything is Instagramable as can be), and for the most part, the food is good.

I do however, think your experience here varies greatly based on what you order. Personally, I’m into their burgers (I like the Guac burger) and air-baked (non-greasy!) fries over their salads. This isn’t the most popular opinion. A lot of people go here solely for salads. I have had their famed salads and find them greasy, which turns me off. When I think salad, it’s usually cause I want something FRESH tasting. So I come here for the burgers, the meatball sub (the unsung hero of the menu, IMO) and the fries.

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I also don’t love their mac’n’cheese. To me, it does not at all taste cheesy. I do have some friends who non-vegan really like it though. Just go into it knowing it’s more like a sweet sauce rather than a cheese sauce.

What keeps me coming back? Honestly, probably the beet ketchup and chipotle aioli. The condiments here, are really what make the place. They have that sweet-sour-salty-sweet-tanginess you associate with fast food. And I love a good condiment, so whenever I come here I basically order whatever is a vehicle for the sauces.

Also, the cookies are fab! Grab one (or 7) to go. Didn’t love the ice cream though (too icy and gritty to me).

What to Order: The Pesto Meatball sub, The Guac Burger, Airbaked Sweet Potato (and/or regular) Fries, cupcakes, and cookies. All the cookies.

Le Pain Quotidien

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Location: Many, all over the city.

Why You Should Go: This is a great chain to pop into when you want a quick, healthy and delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner. Think Panera, but chicer and fresher. They have really great salads, thoughtful tartines (which make a nice light lunch), really great bread that are served with all sorts of jams and spreads, and an assortment of vegan baked goods.

What to Order: The menu is seasonal, but you usually can’t go wrong with a salad and bread. Some tartines are amazing, but I’d avoid spending $13 on avocado toast here (it’s nothing special). I also love their hazelnut flute as a snack!

Taim

Location: 222 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014 (West Village), and 45 Spring Street (New York, NY 10012)

Why You Should Go: Best falafel I’ve ever put in my mouth. It actually kind of ruined a lot of other falafels for me. You can choose from 3 different kinds of falafel (my favorite is the Harissa), as well as a Cauliflower Sharwarma, all of which make a mega-filling pita sandwich meal option.

Tiam also has hummus and falafel platers, as well as vibrant smoothies (I like the Strawberry Raspberry Thai Basil).  If you like Mediterian food, go here. It beat Bobby Flay on Throwdown, after all.

What to Order: Pita sandwich with whatever falafel appeals to you. Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure you can also mix and match. Get a smoothie to share if you’re in the mood, but know that they’re filling when eating with the falafel.

Razza Pizza Artiginale

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Location: 275 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Why You Should Go: Okay, so this isn’t really in NYC proper, but Jersey City is as easy to get to as Brooklyn, so I’m including it. Razza has incredible pizza baked that’s made with sourdough crust (<3) and baked to bubbly, burnt perfection in a hot stone oven. The New York Times has suggested Razza is “The Best Pizza In NYC,” and although I don’t love The Infatuation, they had similar things to say.

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Honestly, the bread here alone is worthy of a visit. The chef has an obsession with fermentation and bread-making, and it definitely shows in the Bread and Butter appetizer, as well as in the pizza crusts.

To contrast all the glorious carby goodness that Razza has to offer, they also a variety of salads that are out-of-control fresh and flavorful.

If you go, go early. I got there at 5:10 pm on a Saturday and my party of 3 was seated just after 7:00pm. And yes, I’d say it was worth it. Just plan accordingly. And also call me so I can put on pants real quick and run over to join you.

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What to Order: La Rossa pizza is a simple marinara pie. If you get this, I’d add extra tomatoes, basil, or whatever your favorite pizza topping is. Get an order of the bread, and just let your table mates enjoy the butter. You’ll also definitely want to get a salad. The Beet Salad (sans blue cheese) was one of the most vibrant salads I’ve ever had; the citrus vinaigrette they make is incredibly refreshing, especially when eaten along pizza. The Farmer’s Salad was also delicious.

Dizengoff 

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Location: 75 9th Ave (inside Chelsea Market), New York, NY

Why You Should Go: Hummus. This place is all about the hummus. So if you like hummus, you should go here.

The menu is quite simple. Basically, you can order hummus, with house-made pickles and pita. You get to watch as they put the pita in a hot oven and it bubbles up in front of your eyes and then they serve it to you warm along side your hummus.

This is a great little spot in Chelsea Market, should you be in need of a quick hummus fix. Note that like all places in Chelsea Market, you may not be able to find a seat easily.

What to Order: Hummus and pita. Don’t sleep on that pita. Or actually do, it’s fluffy and warm and would probably make for a nice head rest for a nap.

OatMeals

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Location: 120 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012 (West Village area by NYU)

Why You Should Go: OatMeals may sound like nothing special, but this place turns out some of the best oatmeal I’ve ever had! They use all steel cut oats, and offer an enticing menu full of sweet and savory options. You can also build-your-own bowl, and they have plenty of vegan-friendly toppings to choose from.

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All bowls come in three different sizes, so you can get either a light breakfast or a full-on satiating lunch, depending on what you need. Prices are reasonable and the food is tasty and fresh.

This place is simply adorable and I love it. Oh, and fun fact: I interviewed the owner, Sam (who is such a kind spirit) for my first ever Spoon article!

What to Order: From their “Signature Bowls” menu I like the Pumpkin Pie (sub almond for whole milk), the Pomegranate Pistachio, the Hot Date and the Sun-dried Tomato, Pesto & Parm (sans parm). The DIY options are also wonderful for satisfying whatever craving you may have!

*Be sure to ask for the oats made with water, not milk, for all your orders (they should ask you, just be aware).

Dun Well Doughnuts

Location: 222 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn, NY 10221 (East Williamsburg, BK)

Why You Should Go: Vegan doughnuts and ice cream!

What to Order: Vegan doughnuts and ice cream! I especially love the soft serve.

Just Salad

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Location: Many, all over the city.

Why You Should Go: This is my favorite spot for a quick, go-to customizable salad. Although most people will tell you Sweetgreen is better, I’m a Just Salad Girl through and through. I love that you can get whatever toppings you want, and they chop it up and give you a ginormous bowl full of salad goodness at a reasonable price. Everything is fresh as can be, and they have a lot of good dressings to chose from.

Just Salad makes a perfect grab-n-go option on a busy day if you’re craving veggies galore.

What to Order: I almost always DIY, but the Falafel Salad is also good (sub yogurt-based dressing for a vegan option). Usually, I do a mix of kale/romaine, add chickpeas, sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, raw beets, apples, avocado, and grilled tofu, and top with agave dijon dressing. YUM.

Honorable Mentions:

Superiority Burger

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Location: 430 E. 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

Why You Should Go: Superiority Burger is a cute little spot in the East Village with a small menu focused on veggie burgers, a couple of veggie sides, and gelato or sorbet. I found the patty a bit mushy when I went, but the flavors were on point. Also, the burnt broccoli side salad alone would bring me back.

The burgers are on the smaller side, so order a side, or get two burgers. Apparently, they offer a bigger burger option now, but the sides shine here, so maybe just save stomach space for those.

Take note, as with most places in the village, seating is limited, and this place gets crowded fast.

What to Order: The burnt broccoli. And a burger (or 3). The sorbets can be really delicious, too, depending on the flavor.

sweetgreen

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Location: Many, all over the city.

Why You Should Go: sweetgreen has high quality, mega-fresh salads, which make for a nice light meal. There are multiple locations throughout the city, making it a decent spot to grab a quick light meal.

What to Order: Again, I usually DIY, but the Falafel Salad is scrumptious here, too!

Amorino Gelato

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Location: 60 University Place (East Village/Union Square area), 162 8th Ave (theater district), 414 Amsterdam Ave (UWS)

Why You Should Go: Amorino is a European chain that I basically lived off of when I studied abroad in Paris. I grew to really love Amorino, and was delighted when they opened a couple locations in NYC!

They have gorgeous gelato cones shaped into roses. They offer a variety of dairy-free sorbet options, and I appreciate that they have flavors like dark chocolate and pistachio instead of just typically run-of-the-mill fruit-flavored sorbets like many other gelato shops. I also love that you have no limit on the amount of flavors you can sample/add to your rose. So you can hypothetically get 6 flavors on a small cone if you’re as indecisive as I am.

Also, the gelato at Amorino is intensely flavorful and somehow simultaneously very satisfying, yet light. It’s a perfect sweet-bite after a meal if you don’t feel like going into a major food comma, which is inevitably what happens to me every time I go to Van Leeuwen because I end up eating like 5,000 calories worth of ice cream.

What to Order: See above.

Red Bamboo

Location: 10 W 4th Street (East Village by NYU)

Why You Should Go: The vegan wings. Honestly, I went here several years ago when I was at NYU, and I don’t remember much, but I do remember the vegan wings. Get those.

What to Order: See above.

Levain Bakery

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Location: 167 West 74th Street (UWS), 351 Amsterdam Ave (UWS), 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Harlem)

Why You Should Go: If you’re with a food-loving group, you’ll probably end up at the famous Levain Bakery, whether you like it or not. I used to live on the Upper West Side, and thus I have had visited this famous bakery many-a-times. It’s a New York institution.

No, the cookies are not vegan. Not even close (but this recipe can help you make similar ones at home). But! They do have weirdly delicious nut raisin rolls that as far as I’m aware do not have dairy or eggs. I used to seek these out sometimes.

Places I Haven’t Been Yet but Have Heard are Worthy of A Visit From Good Authority (will update as I cross these off my list!):

Places I’ve Been But Wouldn’t (Personally) Recommend If You Have Limited Time/Funds:

  • Blossom
  • Le Botoniste
  • Blossom du Jour
  • Westville

 

 

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