NYC Vegan Guide 2021.
New York City has come a long way with their plant based options, and is inching up towards Los Angeles’s vegan scene. Though finding reputable vegan restaurants and non-vegan restaurants with solid plant based options can be difficult now that there are so many options. Luckily, I have done all the work for you!
If you’re traveling to New York City in 2021, use this NYC vegan guide to help you plan out where to eat. These certainly are not the only vegan restaurants in the city, but I have personally vetted many restaurants and found the following (in no particular order) to be the most noteworthy.
This NYC vegan guide also guides you in what to order vs what to avoid. Of course, this is only my opinion, but I have done my best to keep it as real and to the point as possible.
If you’re looking for really good vegan comfort food, Willow is your best bet. It’s not something I would eat everyday (lots of oil and processed ingredients) but is a nice treat once in awhile. If you have friends who aren’t convinced vegan food is anything other than bland vegetables, take them to Willow.
- Fried Chicken Sandwich
- Cobb Salad
- Ceviche (tasted like cole slaw)
- Juices (they’re not fresh)
Not a vegan restaurant by any means but was incredibly accommodating. The ratatouille with green goddess dressing can easily be made vegan and pairs well with an iced matcha. Not only is the food and drink at Maman quality, the atmosphere is truly special. During the spring and summer months, upon walking inside you will feel as though you have been transported to the French countryside.
- Ratatouille (without eggs or feta)
- Breakfast Potatoes
- Avocado Toast
- Coffee & Matcha
- Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting
3. By Chloe (Now Beatnic).
Vegan fast food on the healthier side! Again, not something I would eat daily, but I didn’t feel sluggish afterwards which happens after eating most vegan fast food. The menu was created by Chef Chloe Coscarelli who is an incredible vegan chef mindful of ingredients and nutrition. By Chloe has rebranded and is now called Beatnic, but so far the rebrand hasn’t affected the menu.
- Mac and Cheese with Extra Shiitake Bacon
- Quinoa Taco Salad
- Guac Burger
- Air Baked Fries with Beet Ketchup
- Chicky Chicky (Tempeh ‘Chicken’ Strips)
4. Juice Press.
Juice Press has been my go-to cold pressed juice spot for years. Sadly, Juice Press now processes their juices which they didn’t used to. I noticed the expiration date was weeks away from the current date meaning they HPP their juices. This allows the juices to last on the shelf for weeks at a time, but in the process destroys nearly all of the nutrients. They do have great smoothies, soups, and quick bites, but I was overall disappointed and felt they sacrificed quality for $$. Juice Press was also openly and proudly vegan which they are no longer – I spotted a block of cheese for sale in their refrigerator which was shocking! To go from an unabashedly vegan establishment to HPP’ing the juices and selling dairy without informing anyone was disappointing. Another change is they now sell fresh produce. It is disproportionately expensive though, as you can see in the above photo, so I would pass.
- Blue Magic Smoothie
- Egyptian Red Lentil Soup
- Vegan Pesto
- The juices – they’re not harmful, but they offer no nutritional benefits. Don’t waste your money!
- The produce. Whole Foods is cheaper.
5. Jack’s Wife Freda.
This is another spot that wasn’t vegan at all, but they allowed me to make as many substitutions as I wanted. I highly recommend the eggplant sandwich with avocado instead of cheese and no pesto (it has dairy.) The zucchini chips are deep fried but absolutely DELICIOUS. The service was incredible, and my server couldn’t be nicer in trying to come up with a game plan in veganizing my meal.
- Grilled Eggplant Baguette (order with no mozzarella or pesto; add avocado)
- Fried Zucchini Chips (order without aioli)
- Maya’s Breakfast Bowl (order without eggs)
- This is not a vegan establishment, so if you don’t announce yourself as a vegan you may accidentally consume non-vegan items. For example, the pesto and aioli are not vegan. Make sure to tell your waiter, they are friendly and will help you out!
6. Bar Verde.
I absolutely LOVE Matthew Kenney and have never been disappointed by his restaurants. Bar Verde is truly one of the most delicious vegan Mexican restaurants I have ever tried. I went with a large group so was able to try a little bit of everything – there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like! The food is decadent, but not too fried or greasy. Matthew Kenney’s spots are on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it if you’re looking for a really delicious and healthy vegan meal.
- Strawberry Margarita
- Chips and Guac
- Maitake Enmolada
- Wild Mushroom Carnitas
- Fajita Bowl
- Churros & Chocolate
7. Double Zero.
Another Matthew Kenney restaurant located directly next to Bar Verde. The pizza is immaculate, the drinks are immaculate, and the vibes are immaculate. The food came out quickly, and I can’t stress enough how DELICIOUS everything was. Double Zero is probably my favorite restaurant in this NYC vegan guide.
- Truffle Pizza
- Potato Pizza
- Chopped Salad
- Baked Meatballs
8. Spicy Moon.
Authentic Szechuan made with 100% plant based ingredients! What I love about Spicy Moon is that it could fool the most die hard meat lover. If you want to convince anyone to go vegan, bring them here. While the flavors are incredible, there was quite a bit of oil used in most of the dishes which is a turn off for me, a *mostly* health conscious individual. Not an everyday kind of restaurant for me, but 100% worth it once in awhile.
- Dan Dan Noodles. Not too oily, tasted really fresh and flavorful.
- Mapo Tofu
- Fried Dumplings. They were deep fried to the point they were dripping in oil.
- Mandarin Orange Dumplings. I love mandarin oranges but the juiciness of the orange took over and wasn’t fun to eat.
I heard rave reviews about Jajaja, but I have to say it wasn’t my favorite. Many of the dishes lacked flavor, namely the tacos. It could have been an off day, and it wasn’t terrible, but if you’re craving vegan Mexican I would head to Bar Verde instead. The restaurant itself is beautiful though and is a fun atmosphere for drinks and shared bites.
- Verde Enchiladas
- Chorizo Tacos. It could have been an off day, but I found the tacos, the chorizo tacos in particular, to be bland and overly “meaty”.
10. Seed & Mill.
Located at the Chelsea Market, Seed & Mill has the most delicious soft serve and halva, both of which are made from sesame paste. The wait is long as most things are at the Chelsea Market, but it was well worth the wait. If you don’t like tahini I would avoid Seed & Mill, but if you’re indifferent I urge you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new!
- Salted tahini soft serve with pistachio halva and tahini drizzle on top
11. Planta Queen.
Originally born in Miami, Planta is an entirely vegan restaurant with a mostly Asian menu . Come for brunch, a fancy date night, or anything in between. The portions are large and heavy, but are made with clean ingredients. Be prepared to leave with leftovers! I recommend ordering and sharing everything with your group.
- Unagi Eggplant
- Crispy Rice
- Rainbow Roll
- Queen Caesar Salad
- Udon Noodles
- Dan Dan Noodles. Head to Very Fresh Noodles or Spicy Moon instead.
- Bao Sliders. I had high hopes but the filling had very little flavor and was minimally dispersed throughout the buns. The buns themselves were tasty though.
12. Beyond Sushi.
I have yet to find vegan sushi as innovative, healthy, and delicious as Beyond Sushi. It pains me they’re not in LA! They’re 100% vegan and have sushi, soups, and appetizers on the menu. You can go sit in the restaurant, but I recommend ordering in and enjoying it from the comfort of your apartment or hotel.
- Miso Soup
- Shiitake Truffle Dumplings
- Spicy Mango Roll
- Rainbow Roll
13. Baby Brasa.
Baby Brasa isn’t a vegan restaurant, but they have incredible vegan options. The vegan options are slim to be honest, but they are SO good and filling that I didn’t even care. Sadly their vegan ceviche is no longer on the menu, but if you ask nicely they may make it special for you.
- White Sangria
- Mango Salad
- Yucca Fries
- Vegan Stir Fry (includes portobello mushrooms, veggies, plantains, avocado, quinoa, fries, and a side of fried rice with choclo corn which is 10/10)
14. Very Fresh Noodles.
If you want to try Very Fresh Noodles, be prepared to wait in a very long line. Though, the line makes sense once you try these noodles. Not only are they *very fresh* they are vegan friendly. This is not something I recommend ordering in – to revel in the full experience, you need to enjoy the noodles fresh. Pretty much everything on the menu is spicy, so if you can’t handle heat I would skip this one.
- Tiger Salad
- Very Spicy Dan Dan Mian (ask for the vegan version)
15. Vegan Pizza Club.
This vegan pizza isn’t extraordinary, but if you’re craving late night vegan pizza in New York this is your best bet. Double Zero is superior, but Vegan Pizza Club is cheaper, quicker, and easier for take out.
- Cheese pepperoni pizza
- Custom pizza – add whatever toppings you’d like!
16. Citizens of Chelsea.
At first glance there aren’t many vegan options, but don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. The staff is incredibly welcoming and kind, and happy to work with you to veganize whatever you’d like.
- Avocado Toast
- Wellness Bowl
- Breakfast Wrap (let them know you’re vegan – I got mine with potatoes, sweet peppers, spinach, avocado, and beans)
17. Délice & Sarrasin.
I am still shocked at how realistic the vegan food is at Délice & Sarrasin. They have traditional French eats like escargot, coq au vin, and a variety of crepes which were all incredible. I do recommend sitting outside – inside the restaurant is incredibly quiet and small which made the meal slightly uncomfortable. Regardless, the food is A+.
- Cheese Plate
- French Onion Soup
- Steak Tartare
- Coq Au Vin
18. The Butcher’s Daughter.
The Butcher’s Daughter is not a vegan restaurant, but it has a ton of vegan options. Unfortunately, the vegan options they do have were pretty basic and lacking in flavor. The atmosphere is absolutely beautiful, so if you want a cup of coffee and a few small bites I would recommend it. Just don’t come here if you’re really hungry.
- Avocado toast
- Crab Cakes
- Spicy Kale Caesar
- Cardamom Chai
- Country breakfast. Sadly this is one of the only vegan breakfast options, but just lacked flavor. For the vegan “eggs” they made a tofu scramble which was just crumbled tofu and turmeric – very bland and underwhelming.
- Cauliflower Pizza. Lacked flavor and very basic.