While Emily and I were in New York for Ben and Brittany’s wedding, we did our best to eat at the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants. New York has several upscale restaurants that are strictly vegan, and we spent hundreds of dollars trying most of them. The only notable one we missed was Dirt Candy. Here are reviews of the 8 restaurants and two bakeries we ate at.
- Pure Food and Wine
A raw food restaurant that impressed us with the quality and taste of the food. We ate a portobello and hemp burger and the brazil nut and sea vegetable croquettes, washed down with a bunny brew and red ginger pressed juice. Everything was extremely flavourful. It’s expensive, but well worth it. Everything is completely vegan, soy-free, and mostly gluten-free.
An upscale vegan eatery in Chelsea (close to the High Line). I really enjoyed my phyllo roulade and the coconut crème brulée dessert was to-die-for. Emily enjoyed the ravioli with a cashew cream sauce, but her soup was bland.
- Candle 79
Another vegan fine-dining restaurant. I was blown away by the food when I ate here in 2005. It was my first introduction to upscale, vegetarian dining and it set the bar that I compare every restaurant to. This time we ordered the nachos, seitan steak, and raw enchilada. It was all good, but we probably should have ordered an appetizer that wasn’t so similar to our entrees.
- Sun in Bloom
A funky vegan restaurant in Brooklyn with lots of raw and gluten-free options. We went for brunch and tried the pancakes (tasty) and a tofu, squash tart (good but dry). There were lots of menu items that I’d want to go back and try. We sat at a big communal table and got to listen to the crumbling relationship of the couple next to us. It was awkward.
- Tiffin Wallah
We had a tasty Indian lunch buffet here before we had to fly back to Vancouver. It was the cheapest meal we had in New York. Everything is vegetarian and mostly vegan.
- Red Bamboo
A Greenwich Village vegetarian restaurant specializing in mock-meat dishes with a range of flavours. Almost everything has soy, but I managed to find a black bean vegetable stir-fry that I could eat. This was one of Emily’s favourite restaurants and she really enjoyed the mock salmon and quinoa dish she ordered.
A raw bar that we checked out for brunch. We had granola with coconut yogurt, walnut banana bread, and a savory crepe (tasty and impressive for a raw food restaurant). The clientele on a weekday morning were bizarre, but it’s exactly what I expected in the East Village.
- Caravan of Dreams
Another East Village vegan restaurant. We tried the raw quesadilla and seitan taquitos. Unfortunately, it was all a bit bland. It could have used more spice and flavour. The prices were similar to Candle 79 and Blossom, but the quality wasn’t nearly as good.
There was no clear winner in our vegan bakery contest. Both Babycakes and Blossom Bakery were amazing. The only difference is the part of town they’re located in.
Located in the Lower East Side, Babycakes has a retro diner atmosphere and is loaded with vegan treats. We tried a doughnut and brownie, and they were amazing. They have lots of gluten-free and sugar-free treats.
- Blossom Bakery
A block away from the Blossom restaurant in Chelsea, the bakery serves up sweet delights. We ate a pain au chocolate and coconut creme sandwich. Both were excellent.
We also had really good vegan empanadas from the Nuchas food truck and vegan pizza and pasta from Nick’s Pizza.
Will be visiting NYC next year and can’t wait to try some of these!