The 21 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in NYC
From upscale tasting menus and fast casual spots to soul food and Mexican fare, plant-forward eating has come a long way.
New York City is on the cutting edge of all things culinary, so it’s no surprise that plant-based eateries have been a fixture in the city for decades—long before vegetarianism and veganism entered mainstream. Over the years, imaginative chefs and food tech moguls have widened the possibilities of meatless dining, allowing fast casual and fast food spaces to keep up with society’s shifting priorities as well.
Today, New Yorkers have unprecedented access to plant-based kitchens, but of course, we have a few favorites to share. Plenty of almost vegan and vegetarian restaurants are worthy of honorable mention, but for now, we’re focusing on the 100% meatless restaurants in NYC that deserve a slot in your restaurant regimen. Whether for dine-in, takeout, or delivery, here are the 19 best vegan and vegetarian restaurants for plant-based eating in NYC.
Aunts et Uncles
Opened several months into the pandemic, Aunts et Uncles whips up Caribbean-inspired vegan food in a cafe resembling a small independent retail space. The menu features plant-based classics like plantain mofongo and sautéed greens alongside inventive reimaginations of lobster rolls and meat patty pastries—plus, other assorted items like French toast, wildflower salad, burgers, links, and pasta. In addition, the eatery offers a variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non, in the families of coffee, tea, beer, wine, and kombucha.
This soul food spot from vegan restaurant group Overthrow Hospitality ranks high on the list thanks to its unique offerings that herbivorous eaters rarely get to enjoy. At Cadence, the simple menu from executive chef Shennari Freeman manages to hit all the spots, flaunting redefined classics like Southern fried lasagna with red wine “Bolognese” and pine nut ricotta; a fried Buffalo oyster mushroom sandwich enclosed in a pretzel bun; expertly seasoned smoked grits; and a housemade fruit cobbler. The wine menu exclusively features bottles from Black-owned wineries, and watch its social media for details on its still-developing takeout program.
Eleven Madison Park
When Eleven Madison Park reopened in May following months of closure during the pandemic, chef Daniel Humm had redesigned his menu and mission. With plenty of industry-wide awards, the fine-dining restaurant now brandishes a fully vegan menu filled with ingenious plant-based creations that model how the textures and flavors of meat can be achieved without animal products. The restaurant also rewards the community for ditching meat by providing five meals to food-insecure New Yorkers for every one meal purchased in its dining room, employing the same fresh produce used in its primary kitchen.
Certified kosher and fully plant-based, this fast-casual micro-chain initially from Philadelphia is beginning to make a name for itself in NYC after opening two locations in Manhattan and Queens, and preparing to open a third in Brooklyn in the near future. HipCityVeg’s menu is inspired by fast-food meals—spanning burgers, shakes, nuggets, and all-day breakfast sandwiches—and popular items include the signature Smokehouse Burger with crispy onions and tangy barbecue sauce; a vegan Philly cheesesteak; and the Crispy Hipcity Ranch, their take on a ranch chicken sandwich.
Aiming to “celebrate the power of plants,” the PLANTA restaurant group’s first New York location puts Asian fare on the table. The food menu is divided into five sections—sushi, chilled & raw, dumplings, small plates, and wok & noodles—featuring bold highlights like the watermelon “ahi” nigiri and coconut ceviche. The cocktail menu incorporates a variety of fruity Asian flavors as well, like the Herb Your Enthusiasm, made with thai chili-infused tequila; Lych Please, made with hibiscus-infused gin and lychee liqueur; and the Kombucha Mojito, which is exactly how it sounds.
Spring Café Aspen
This Colorado-born café calls itself an organic food and juice bar, but its menu proves much more dynamic. At Spring Café Aspen, the health-forward restaurant is entirely vegetarian, and in addition to juices & smoothies, coffees & teas, and beers & wines, it serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert—all made in-house using organic ingredients. For a hearty meal, the spaghetti squash stuffed with tempeh Bolognese and pumpkin seeds will never let you down; though if you make it in time for breakfast, consider the chickpea shakshuka.
Blossom was founded in 2005 by two entrepreneurs whose love for animals pushed them to adopt an animal-free diet. Today, it’s considered a pioneer of the plant-based movement, and its two Manhattan locations include a now-established Upper West Side hub with a full-service bar and a newer Greenwich Village eatery. The menus span several categories of cuisine, the atmospheres lean toward classy, and you’ll find yourself craving a return visit dangerously soon after leaving.
Delice & Sarrasin
Traditional French cuisine relies heavily on animal products, making Délice & Sarrasin such an important player in the city’s culinary scene. The entirely vegan restaurant serves all sorts of dishes out of a charming Christopher Street space that could very well pass for a Parisian cafe. They’ve mastered brunch—crepes, waffles, French toast, salads—but their vegan renditions of steak tartare, escargot, scallops, coq au vin, and the like give animal-averse eaters a rare chance to truly experience French cooking.
Dirt Candy is a restaurant that exclusively serves vegetables, because—in the establishment’s own words—“vegetables are just candy from the dirt.” Owner Amanda Cohen opened up shop in 2008 as an avenue for exploring the many flavors that veggies can offer, and years later she continues to create a seasonal tasting menu that showcases new edible inventions. For the five-course meal priced at $85, costs go toward sourcing quality ingredients and supporting the team of culinary professionals with high wages and exceptional benefits. Plus, customers aren’t allowed to tip, saving them some money on the tail end of their visit.
It’s newly revamped, but old-school; an Italian deli, but entirely plant-based; a “family business,” but founded by a successful restaurant company. Galioto’s entire existence is an oxymoron, and we’re so happy it exists. NYC’s first plant-based delicatessen and pantry market rests on Mulberry Street, in the heart of Little Italy, offering a vintage experience with grab-and-go deli items and shoppable goods. Galioto’s isn’t technically a family business—it was opened by the JaJaJa Group and is now helmed by executive chef Mario Buccellati (Dirt Candy, Avant Garden)—but it’s stocked by an honorary family of local vegan vendors with a unified mission to bring something special to the neighborhood.
The Picnic Basket, stuffed with fried chik’n and seitan bacon, is a best-seller, but Hartbreakers’ fast-casual menu doesn’t end there: Dressed-up waffle fries, striking salads, breakfast burritos, and other sandwiches share the spotlight. The menu is entirely vegan, and just about everything’s made in-house. The colorful dining room mimics a 1970s-era cafe, so be sure to sneak a peek of it when you’re picking up your takeout order, even if indoor dining is temporarily paused until further notice due to Omicron.
JaJaJa Plantas Mexicana
This plant-based venture is anything but funny. It’s seriously adorable, known for its beautifully arranged Mexican street food—think tacos, nachos, empanadas, tortas, and a smorgasbord of lighter eats that vary by location. Most locations of JaJaJa also offer Latin-inspired craft cocktails, like the Oaxacan old fashioned, matcha y coconut with tequila, and frozen agave margarita. Want to get fancy with your tequila and mezcal? The spirit options are extensive.
Le Botaniste champions the cause to save Planet Earth with responsible dishes that cater to nearly every dietary restriction. The menu is safe for celiacs, options are plentiful for vegans, and for those who avoid anything that’s not organic, 99% of the menu is on-limits. In addition to the entirely botanical bowls, the restaurant’s four Manhattan locations offer healthy dessert options and detox juice—and some even have natural wines.
Little Choc Apothecary
Bring a date to the upper floor of this charming, two-story creperie and teahouse where healthy ingredients morph into indulgent creations both savory and sweet, vegan, and gluten-free. Even if you’re not sitting in the dolled-up dining area, you can enjoy Little Choc’s charm in the form of coffees, teas, smoothies, juices, wines, beers, crepes, and desserts. Variety is key here, with a menu boasting items like a vegan burrito crepe, PB&J acai bowl, and rotating scone of the day.
The finer things in life involve fried “mozzarella” balls, Buffalo “wings,” and nacho macaroni. Oh, and jerk tofu bowls, chickpea parms, and faux meat tortas. Plus maybe a sundae for dessert and a cocktail for good measure? Long story short, Modern Love knows a thing or two about the finer things, and even better, they know how to translate the finer things into vegan-friendly dishes that brighten the table. You asked the university for romance, and here it is—your modern love affair.
Renegades of Sunset
Posted up in the food hall of Brooklyn creative hub Industry City, Renegades of Sunset is a vegan kitchen serving made-from-scratch meals Wednesdays to Sundays. The restaurant’s seasonal menu doesn’t always stick to a cuisine (banh mis, cheesesteaks, Italian subs, and veggie burgers live on the menu in perfect harmony); the only consistent culture is one of rebellion against our meat-oriented society.
Vegan pizza is too often synonymous with disappointment: While everyone else grabs thick, gooey slices of their favorite pies, vegans are left with a sad sauce-and-mushroom option, or worse, nothing at all. Thankfully, the people behind Screamer’s Pizzeria understand the dilemma and save the day with “cheesy” creations vegans can devour (whether a full pie for your apartment movie night or a quick slice to satisfy a case of the drunchies!).
Spicy Moon works with all the same vegetables and seasonings found in traditional Chinese restaurants, simply excluding the animal protein. Vegetable dumplings, wontons, and spring rolls cover the basics, while more creative bites like General Tso’s mushrooms and “honey” walnut edamame nuggets show off Spicy Moon’s individuality. Still, the spicy spring roll dipping sauce is the true seductress—taste for yourself and see.
The V Spot
Next time you’re craving a Latin treat, make it easy on yourself and go where you can approximate cheese and sour cream, and incorporate solid protein into your restricted diet. Vegan empanadas bring the heat at The V Spot, a Colombian outpost from Brooklyn so gratifying that it opened a second location, the V Spot Express, on St. Marks. On the topic of vegan eateries, the V Spot has earned a place in the canon.
The duo behind local favorite Beyond Sushi brought a new vegan bistro to the scene at the start of 2021, expanding from takeout-only to full-on dining destination within a month of the grand opening. At Willow, executive chef and owner Guy Vaknin crafted a diverse menu of plant-based comfort items that includes salads, sandwiches, entrees, and an array of finger foods like mushroom calamari, jackfruit crab cakes, and zalmon tartare. Fresh juices and rich desserts are also on offer to round out the experience.
Gone are the days when vegans begrudgingly followed their friends to a diner only to order a sad soda and a side of tots for supper. And in a restaurant landscape where diners are becoming especially harder to come by, Champs fills a major gap in the herbivore community, offering meatless takes on traditional American comfort fare. From mac ‘n’ cheese to a Nashville hot chick’n sandwich or gyro made with seitan, the eatery has got you covered on all your plant-based diner needs.