The Best Vegan Restaurants in New York City-The Best Vegan Food in NYC
New York City is one of the most famous cities in the world. Offering cuisine on an international scale, you can expect to find some fantastic vegan food in NYC! From counter service to fine dining, New York City vegan options are truly very expansive. Whether visiting or living in the city, you will never want for anything as there is a vegan option for just about any cuisine type that interests you. I always get very excited when visiting New York City as I know that I am in for a culinary treat for the entirety of my stay. With over 500 vegan or vegan friendly restaurants in the city, your options are truly endless. After my recent month long stay in Manhattan, these are my picks for the best vegan restaurant NYC!
Best Vegan Food in NYC: Manhattan Edition
While New York City consists of five boroughs, this guide will only be covering vegan food in NYC that you can find in Manhattan. Also, these are only my personal favorites. Since there are hundreds of vegan restaurants in Manhattan, there will be many I have not visited. There are new restaurants opening all the time. So, if a favorite of yours is not here let me know and I’ll try it the next time I’m in the city. There are only so many restaurants I can visit within one month time. So these are simply the best vegan restaurant NYC that I personally have visited. I hope you enjoy these restaurants as much as I did.
1. Beyond Sushi
Beyond Sushi is without a doubt my favorite vegan restaurant in New York City. At this vegan sushi restaurant, you will have some of the best sushi you’ve ever had. And I am not just talking your standard veggie roll. They have vegan versions of your favorite fish rolls like spicy tuna, Philadelphia roll, and many others. They not only have great sushi, but their other food options are amazing. Be sure to try their nori tacos! Beyond Sushi has some awesome lunch time specials so if you are looking to save a little money, but sure to come during lunch.
There are several different locations all throughout Manhattan. I always go to the restaurant on the Upper East Side. The service here at this best vegan restaurant NYC is fantastic and it’s a great sit down restaurant. Their location in Midtown is also a great option if you want somewhere that is closer to the main tourist sights of the city. For some great vegan food in NYC, definitely check out Beyond Sushi. This is for sure one of the best vegan restaurant NYC.
The Butcher’s Daughter is a fantastic plant-based “butcher shop” restaurant, juice bar, and cafe. Their whole concept is to have butcher style classics, but only butchering plants not animals. I absolutely loved their location in SoHo, but they also have a Greenwich Village and Brooklyn location. The restaurant itself has a cute, cafe style interior. You can either have a sit down experience and be served by a server or you can order at the counter for to go food as well as coffee and juice bar offerings.
I had their “BLT” sandwich with a side of their roasted potatoes. This was without a doubt the best vegan BLT sandwich I have ever had in my life. It was so smoky and savory with homemade vegan mayo. I have no idea what the “bacon” was made of, but it was out of this world amazing. Also be sure to try one of their cafe drinks. I got their turmeric latte and it was to die for. This is a must visit for some great vegan food in NYC.
In the heart of Greenwich Village lies Delice & Sarrasin, a fully vegan French restaurant. French cuisine is not typically known for being vegan friendly at all, focusing heavily on meat and dairy. But here at this quaint, adorable restaurant you can get all of the typical French foods that you have not been able to have as a vegan. As someone who loves French culture and previously loved French food before going plant-based, I loved this restaurant.
From their homemade cheese platter and escargot to my boeuf bourguignon and ending with the best vegan creme brûlée I’ve ever had, Delice & Sarrasin is a must visit. I only wish I had been in the city long enough to come here many times. Everything on the menu looks out of this world amazing. There are many French staples that I’ve always wanted to try that are available on this menu. They even have vegan crepes, vegan desserts and pastries and 100% vegan wine, you can’t go wrong with a fancy night on the town at Delice & Sarrasin. This is definitely on the of the best vegan restaurant NYC.
For a laidback bistro style restaurant serving up American staples in a vegan way, head over to Willow in Chelsea. With an upscale interior with a laidback vibe, Willow is a great place to get some good vegan food in NYC. Located close to tourist attractions like the High Line, Little Island, and the Chelsea Market, this is an easily accessible restaurant for a quick bite to eat. Their menu consists mostly of vegan versions of what you would find on the menu of a typical American restaurant.
Owned by the same people who own Beyond Sushi, you can definitely see the connection between the two brands. I had their vegan calamari and buttermilk avocado chicken sandwich with French fries and I was blown away. Without a doubt the best vegan calamari I’ve ever had. My partner got their fettuccine Alfredo and also loved it. At the time of writing this blog post, Willow is BYOB as they do not have a liquor license. That wasn’t an issue for me. But if you are hoping to have some drinks with dinner, just be sure to bring it with you.
For some of the best vegan Mexican food you will ever have, head over to Jajaja Plantas Mexicana in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This is not just some boring veggie burrito that you might get at a non vegan Mexican restaurant. They also have several other locations in Manhattan as well as one in Brooklyn. The food here is absolutely incredible with very unique flavor combinations. Their nachos are an absolute must try! Their main restaurant is a sit down, but they also have a “taco window” where you can order tacos to go from outside.
I started off with their vegan nachos then had their coconut queso quesadillas with king oyster mushrooms. The quesadillas were not only the best vegan quesadillas I’ve ever had, but the best quesadillas in general that I’ve ever had. My partner got their chorizo burrito and was blown away. The real star of the show at this restaurant seems to be their tacos, which is what it seems everybody else was eating. The next time I am in town I will mostly definitely be back to try out their tacos! Without a doubt the best vegan restaurant in New York City for Mexican food!
For some of the best quick service fast vegan food in NYC, be sure to come to Beatnic by CHLOE. With seven different locations all over Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, this counter service restaurant offers a delicious take on what fast food should be. Over the course of my month in Manhattan, I visited here several times. The food is always delicious and consistent as well as very quick. They even have kiosks setup so you can order even quicker.
The real star of the show here is their burgers, my favorite being their BCB burger of a homemade lentil and pea protein patty, shiitake bacon, a special sauce and the works. They are also somewhat famous for their beet ketchup, which is delicious. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Also very popular is their crispy chick’n sandwiches. They do also have some healthier options like salads for those of you looking for some quick healthy options. This is the best vegan restaurant NYC for a quick meal.
7. Veggie Grill
Located in the Flat Iron district, Veggie Grill is a great quick service vegan restaurant for a quick lunch if in the area. The Flat Iron district is a great area to visit as it is home to many top attractions like the Flat Iron Building and within walking to distance to the Empire State Building, the New York Public Library and Bryant Park. With an expansive menu from burgers, sandwiches, wraps, melts, appetizers, and more, you will find something for everyone at Veggie Grill.
I got their promotional chili cheese dog combo with homemade chili and it was absolutely phenomenal. The prices at Veggie Grill are very reasonable when compared to many other places you’ll eat in New York City. The service was top notch and the restaurant was very clean. I highly suggest sitting outside at this location as you have great views of the surroundings skyscrapers in the area. Definitely check out Veggie Grill for some great vegan fast food in New York City.
Honorable Mention-Dirt Candy
Now I couldn’t put together a list of the best vegan food in NYC without at least mentioning Dirt Candy, although I was unable to go. It is very difficult to get a reservation at this vegetarian restaurant on the Lower East Side because it is just that popular. Vegan versions of the menu are available.
I had a reservation that unfortunately got cancelled when the restaurant had to close for a few days due to the staff being exposed to COVID-19. I was incredibly sad and disappoint that I couldn’t experience this very famous veggie restaurant. Every time I would ask anybody for a recommendation for a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in New York City, Dirt Candy is always the main recommendation. They offer a multi-course prix fixe menu all celebrating the diversity and wonderful flavors of plants. I only hope the next time I visit NYC that I am able to get a reservation to this famous restaurant.
NYC Vegan Ice Cream- Van Leeuwen
One of my favorite things to do in the summer in the city is to go for walk around the block to get some NYC vegan ice cream. While there are countless choices nowadays at the grocery store to get vegan ice cream, there is something so very “city life” about walking to a local ice cream shop to pick up an ice cream cone with toppings. Thankfully, some of the best vegan ice cream New York City shops can be found all over the city. There is something so quintessentially summer in New York about such an activity.
The most popular and my personal favorite NYC vegan ice cream spot is located at Van Leeuwen. This popular ice cream chain is not a vegan specific shop, but they have an incredibly expansive vegan menu. Not only do they have many standard vegan ice cream flavors, they also have an every changing seasonal menu. You can find vegan staples like vegan whipped cream and other toppings to make any kind of sundae that you would like. I always personally just like to get a single scoop of ice cream in a cup.
There are countless Van Leeuwen ice cream shops all over the city, as well as in many other cities all over the United States. I have heard it is very popular in California although I have never been. If you are ever in the mood for some delicious vegan ice cream at home, they also sell take away pints to take home with you. This is definitely worth checking out for some NYC vegan ice cream.
In conclusion, these are my personal picks for the best vegan restaurant NYC. Obviously in this short, I will have missed on literally hundreds of vegan food in NYC. Not only are there hundreds of current vegan restaurants in the city, new ones are opening all the time. That’s the amazing thing about New York. You will never want for anything in this city. You could go out to eat every single meal to a different restaurant for years and still not taste everything. It’s amazing.
While I personally find New York City to be a bit daunting to live in full time, I cannot deny that the vegan food scene is an incredibly tempting argument in favor of living there. Compared to many other places in the world, being vegan has never been easier. Not only the abundance of 100% vegan restaurants, but many of the standard restaurants will almost always have some kind of vegan option. And I’m not just talking about a salad.
In a city of such immense possibilities, it’s no question as to why it was recently named the second best place in the entire country for vegans to live just behind San Francisco. It is amazing to see so many people adopting this lifestyle of compassion and healthier choices. I know for sure I will be back to this incredible city for some even better vegan food.
I truly hope that you found this guide to the best vegan restaurant NYC to be helpful. It is fully my intention to provide useful information for my fellow plant-based travelers. If you found this information helpful, please share it with your other vegan friends as well. Be sure to follow me on social media. There you can stay up to date on all of my vegan guides! Also, be sure to check out my travel guides to New York City here!