While New York City has its fair share of excellent steakhouses, vegetarians planning to travel here should know that they also have plenty of restaurants to choose from. In fact, if you’re a vegetarian travelling to the Big Apple, you won’t just find great vegetarian food–you’ll also find great vegetarian food types, such as Japanese, Mexican, American bistro and more. Here are six of the best places for vegetarian food in NYC.
Located on the Upper East Side at 833 Lexington Ave., Le Botaniste bills itself as a “plant-based organic food & wine bar.” It strives to not just be organic and healthy, but affordable too. The limited menu features large and small vegetarian bowls, including Chili “Sin” Carne (without meat) and Pasta al Mafiosi. Diners can also create their own, combining a base (such as quinoa or gluten-free fusilli), a wide selection of toppings (red beet caviar, green pea hummus, and more), up to three garnishes (season veggies, Ghentse kimchi, etc.) and a topping such as Safran aioli or basil oil. Delicious!
Jajaja Plantas Mexicana
Visitors craving contemporary vegan Mexican food should head to Jajaja Plantas Mexicana in the Lower East Side at 162 E. Broadway. While all of this playful restaurant’s veggie-based “street” food is worth the wait, come for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. to try Kale Pancakes with coconut mango jam, shaved coconut and maple syrup, or Sausage Egg & Cheese Torta made from salchicha sausage, “egg” scramble, nacho cheese, pickled jalapeno, cilantro and tomato. And don’t forget their mezcal cocktails!
At 226 Thompson St., Quantum Leap has long been the favorite vegetarian restaurant of Greenwich Village residents and visitors alike. Quantum Leap serves basic vegetarian lunch and dinner fare with exceptionally friendly service, including meatless burgers that diners rave about, must-taste garlic fries and soy nuggets that are crowd favorites. Prices are fair, too.
Modern Love Brooklyn
Take a jaunt over to Brooklyn to dine at Modern Love Brooklyn, located at 317 Union Ave. The menu is small, but varied, and you can start your meal with their popular Sweet Chipotle Cauliflower Wings (gluten-free). For your main, consider Mac & Shews (red pepper cashew cheese, pecan-cornmeal crusted tofu, sauteed kale, blackened cauliflower, tomato vinaigrette and spiced pecans) or Hen of the Woods Piccata (maitake mushrooms, whipped potatoes, gigante lima beans, escarole, white wine lemon sauce, shallots and capers). Modern Love is open for Brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sundays; otherwise, they’re only open for dinner and are closed on Mondays.
P.S. Kitchen is an arty little café located at 246 West 48th St. in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. The restaurant doesn’t just serve vegetarian fare — it donates all profits to charities and employs people from some of the vulnerable communities it hopes to help. P.S. Kitchen serves lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on Saturday and Sunday, dinner seven days a week and a late-night menu Thursday through Saturday nights. Consider the Maitake Steam Bao with glazed mushroom, kimchi, radish and onion to start the Lasagna with herbed tofu ricotta and homemade marinara sauce for a cross-cultural meal. Save room for dessert!
Japanese food lends itself easily to vegetarian options, and Kajitsu is the place for vegetarian Shojin cuisine (a type of vegetarian cooking that originated with Zen Buddhism) in NYC. Located at 125 East 39th St., Kajitsu serves dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. Diners choose from either the eight-course “Hana” or 10-course “Omakase” menus–the selections are similar, but Omakase also includes Soba noodles, matcha, dessert and a few other tastings. You can also pay extra for a sake or tea pairing with each dish. Come often, as the menu changes monthly. (Note that the restaurant is located on the second floor and there is no elevator.)