No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem: The Best Vegan Restaurants in New York City

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Photo: Crispy tofu at Dirt Candy (credit: Krista)

Here’s the dilemma: you’re a vegan and you’re going out to dinner with a decidedly non-vegan group. You don’t want to be “that guy” who goes out to Mexican and orders a taco salad that amounts to nothing more than iceberg lettuce in a tortilla bowl, or the one who gets oatmeal at brunch (but only if it’s made with almond milk). In order to avoid being pegged as a boring dinner date and to keep the invitations coming, you need to not only recommend the restaurant, but choose one that caters to you and your less dietary restricted friends. And hey, even if you aren’t vegan, plant-based eating is having a moment in the culinary world right now and you’d be missing out on some fine New York dining were you to turn your nose up at meatless menus. With that in mind, here are the best restaurants in New York for vegans.

For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

By Chloe

185 Bleecker St. at MacDougal, New York, NY

By Chloe, a new vegan concept from celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli just touched down in the West Village. It’s a strictly plant-based restaurant but not in a stereotypical crunchy way. The menu features vegan takes on American comfort foods, like a burger and fries, mac n’ cheese, and ice cream sandwiches. Chef Chloe also does her own take on the very Instagrammable avocado toast.

Good for: Casual lunch

What to get: The classic burger (made with a tempeh, lentil, chia, and walnut patty) on a potato bun with air-baked sweet potato fries

El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette

100 Stanton St. at Ludlow, New York, NY

Lower East Siders have been crowding the veggie-friendly El Rey since it first opened in 2013, but thanks to New York Times critic Pete Wells’ recent visit to the California-Mexican and his pleasant surprise at the vegan chicharrones, the hole-in-the-wall joint is about to get a lot busier. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the space is bustling all day long, and though it isn’t branded as vegan, there are plenty of dairy and meat-free dishes, though there’s also a marinated chorizo plate.

Good for: Brunch or dinner with a small group

What to get: Avocado flatbread, kale salad with almond vinaigrette, vegan chicharrones locos with cashew cream 

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Photo: Grains and crudité at El Rey (credit: El Rey)

Dirt Candy

86 Allen St. at Broome, New York, NY

Amanda Cohen, the mastermind behind trendy Dirt Candy, couldn’t handle the never-ending hype that surrounded her original East Village location that she had to move to a bigger space in early 2015. She does crazily inventive things to vegetables, crafting dishes like vegetable monkey bread, sizzling Brussels sprouts tacos, and jalapeno hush puppies. Don’t shy away from the veggie-based desserts, you’ll be back for the celery cheesecake.

Good for: Trendy dinner

What to get: Brussels sprouts taco, carrot waffles with peanut mole sauce

Dimes

49 Canal St. at Orchard, New York, NY

Eating at Dimes is a win-win, it’ll make you feel healthy and cool. The minimalist California chill space specializes in one-plate wonders that cater to any dieter. Vegans will take to the chia seed pudding breakfast bowls and eclectic salads with accouterments like pickled red onions and candy cane beets, pescatarians will appreciate the pickled salmon bowl and seared tuna, and carnivores have more than plenty to choose from, like the pulled-pork bowl or the crunchy BLT.

Good for: Eclectic breakfast, light dinner

What to get: Quinoa bowl with carrot slaw, ginger tumeric hummus and mint basil vinaigrette; ciao bowl with poached eggs, bulgur, olives, currants and cumin yogurt herbs

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Photo: Dimes

Superiority Burger 

430 E. 9th St. at Avenue A, New York, NY

This newcomer to the East Village restaurant landscape is home to the boutique veggie burger (from a Del Posto alum). The website sums up everything you need to know about the burger joint: “everything is vegetarian, a lot is accidentally vegan.” Similar to by Chloe, the meatless menu is hearty and even if an all-beef burger were offered, you’d probably opt for the veggie version anyway, it’s just that good.

Good for: A quick and cheap dinner

What to get: The vegan sloppy joe and burnt broccoli salad

WTF: There’s a Brooklyn-Themed Bar in Manhattan 

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Photo via The Brooklyneer 

There’s an odd shift in the space-time continuum of New York City; rents are getting lower in some Manhattan neighborhoods while Whole Foods and Starbucks and even Ralph Lauren are popping up in Williamsburg. The cool edgy vibe of Kings County is slowly dissipating as more corporations see millennial money to be had. But that quintessentially hip, young Brooklyn vibe is still a draw. Just ask the owners of a Brooklyn-themed bar in Manhattan’s West Village.

“The Brooklyneer” as it’s called, is either some sort of weird social experiment, art installation, or just a really, really silly concept. Why waste literally dozens of minutes on the L train when you can enjoy all the trappings of Brooklyn in Manhattan? The menu is chock full of eye-roll inducing Brooklyn stereotypes like kombucha, craft beer and local liquors. We wouldn’t be surprised if the bartender wears a knit beanie all year round and has a mustache tattoo on the inside of his finger.

Is this supposed to be, to use a v. Brooklyn word, “ironic”? And even if it is ironic, there’s a weird Disney Land sense of hyperreality about this place that would make even Jean Baudrillard go bonkers.

By Chloe, the West Village Lunch Spot With a Vegan Burger That Carnivores Will Love

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Photo: by Chloe 

As far as what’s cool in food right now, plant-based eating is pretty much the zeitgeist (when not eclipsed by the next big fried chicken sandwich). Everyone from Beyoncé to Mark Bittman has preached the benefits of eating a mostly vegan, heavily kale-infused diet. One of the main takeaways of veganism-of-the-now is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For every steadfast vegan out there, there’s a healthful eater who would do anything for a cheeseburger but has a sensibility for seitan. Just as often as carnivores are embracing plant-based meals, traditional chefs are creating their own meat-less imitations of American classics. Take Van Leewuen, the artisan ice cream makers who got their start scooping their signature milk and cream specialties from their yellow trucks and now serve a vegan ice cream in their seven stores that has the New York Times drooling.

Then of course, there are chefs who’ve always been dedicated to the vegan cause. With the demand for healthy food on the rise, such chefs have more of an opportunity than ever to bring their inventive dishes to the masses. The latest to do so is Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef who made a name for herself as the winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” back when cupcakes were the coolest thing since sliced bread. Along with Samantha Wasser of ESquared Hospitality, the 27-year old, who counts cookbook author and social media star on her resume, started by Chloe, a hip fast-casual vegan restaurant on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal in the West Village, open today.

Located on the outskirts of NYU’s campus, by Chloe has a casual vibe targeted at the young, downtown eater. Think of it as Westville-meets-Organic Avenue-meets-Shake Shack, with a little bit of Van Leeuwen mixed in. The menu has a solid salad selection (including a kale caesar), and hearty main dishes that replace meat with plant, nut and wheat combos, like a vegan burger made with a tempeh, lentil, chia seed and walnut patty or a portabello mushrom-based whiskey BBQ. Non-dairy wise, there’s a heartwarming mac n’ cheese and truly mouthwatering ice cream sandwiches in flavors like roasted banana bourbon and coffee chip. We can only hope that she introduces vegan fried chicken down the line.

 

Where to Eat and Drink Near Terminal 5

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PhotoCage the Elephant

Terminal 5 is a magnet for indie artists and big-name performers, but it isn’t exactly conveniently located. Sure, it has the environs of Hell’s Kitchen to latch onto, but that’s a crowded restaurant landscape that needs an expert to weed through the good and the bad. That’s why we’ve provided you with a carefully selected roster of eateries all within walking distance of Terminal 5, so when you’ve got tickets to Tove Lo, Tame Impala, Sleater-Kinney (or Brandon Flowers of The Killers next week), you’ll know exactly where to go for pre and post show food and drank. Here are all the restaurants near Terminal 5 worth hitting up.

For more places to eat and drink right now in New York, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

Pure Thai Cookhouse

 766 9th Ave. #2 at 52nd St.

This popular 35-seater serves genuine Thai cuisine reminiscent of the vendors and shophouses from the farmlands of Phayao. You can choose to take your noodles wet or dry with the eclectic and budget-friendly soup and wok menus (pro tip: they also deliver. You’re welcome).

What to order: Greenpapaya salad, wok ginger curry with calamari

Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery

695 10th Ave. at 47th St.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the inside that counts, etc., etc. While you may pass up the Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery as another corner market upon first glance, you can find fresh, healthy, and eclectic Mexican cuisine at more-than-fair prices. Swoop in early for the loaded Breakfast Burriot, or get your fill on one of the numerous Mexican Sandwich options.

What to order: Cubana Sandwich, Pollo en Mole Poblano

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

600 11th Ave. at 45th St.

From American expat in Japan to founding a haven for ramen lovers just along Clinton St., Ivan Orkin aims to bring a little zest to your traditional ramen bowl. The Gotham West outpost is open until 11 PM on weeknights and midnight on weekends, making it ideal for a relatively late bite This isn’t your 75-cent bag from the grocery store—enjoy the whole spectrum of egg, salmon roe, scallions, dashi, and the works. Or for the vintage collectors, go for the 1000 Year Old Deviled Egg.

What to order: Ivan Ramen “Caprese,” Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen

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PhotoIvan Ramen (credit: chezshal)

Danji

773 10th Ave. at 52nd St.

Danji marries traditional and authentic Korean flavors with a modern aesthetic (and with the portion sizes, you could definitely tag along a plus-one to this wedding). Only fresh, local, and organic ingredients are used, making for a deliciously healthy dinner. Sake’s organic too, right?

What to order: Soy-poached black cod with spicy daikon, tofu with ginger scallion dressing

Taboon

773 10th Ave. at 52nd St.

Taboon is inspired by foods of the Mediterranean and Middle East and “bold and articulated flavors.” However, every palate is catered to here with options ranging from ricotta gnocchi to short ribs paired with hummus.

What to order: Terra Cotta Lamb Kebabs

Poulette

790 9th Ave. at 53rd St.

Inspired by the delicious rotisseries spread all across French cities, Poulette aims to bring the particular je ne se quoi of the simple poultry dish to New York. Enjoy high-quality ingredients and choose from seasonal sides like brussels sprouts, French beans with mushrooms, ratatouille, and more.

What to order: Poulette Sandwich

LES Health Goddesses Sabrina de Sousa and Alissa Wagner of Dimes Share a Summer Recipe

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MOVE OVER LOS ANGELES, THE COOLEST CAFE IN NEW YORK HAS ITS OWN SPIN ON ELEGANTLY HEALTHY FARE.

Here the owners of Dimes, Sabrina de Sousa and Alissa Wagner, share a favorite summer produce recipe.

Spring Beans w/ Mustard Seeds + Tarragon 

Serves 2-3

  • 2 cups String Beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 Cup Snap Peas
  • 2 Tsp. Coriander Seeds, crushed
  • 1 Tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Mild Fresh Chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped Tarragon
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add string beans and snap peas and cook for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to the ice water bath and let cool. Strain beans and snap peas together in a medium mixing bowl. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a small saucepan, add the coriander and mustard seeds and heat until seeds begin to pop. Pour seeds over the beans and add remaining ingredients. Toss and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

We Know Where You Should Celebrate National Hot Dog Day

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Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Another day of the week, another food holiday. Today is National Hot Dog Day, whoop whoop. To paraphrase Anthony Bourdain, there’s nothing better than “meat in tube form,” so plan the rest of your eating today around the most processed food sold on the street: le hot dog. Here’s where to find the best hot dogs in NYC today.

If you’re more of a silent observer and would rather get the best hamburger in New York, check out where to go here. And find out more places to eat and drink right now in the BlackBook City Guides.

Shake Shack

Madison Square Park, E. 23rd St. and Madison Ave. (more locations here)

Danny Meyer might be famous for that secret sauce ShackBurger but the New York-based burger joint started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park 14 years ago. The menu expanded, the franchise grew, and the hamburger may have eclipsed the hot dog as the fast casual’s signature dish, but today you should definitely head to your closest Shake Shack and get a split and griddle-crisp beef dog.

What to get: Shack-cago Dog topped with relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, pepper, celery salt and mustard. With a side of fries, of course.

Swanky Dog

184 8th Ave between 19th and 20th Sts. 

Maybe it’s something about the Fourth of July and barbecues, but summer is the season for hot dogs. With that in mind, Donatella Arpaia and Pasquale Cozzolino opened Swanky Dog, a pop up hot dog shop hidden behind their Chelsea pizzeria Prova in late June. Open for the summer season only, the speakeasy parlor is accessible through the back of Prova from 5 to 11 PM, and if you’re gunning for a late-night bite, you’ll have to find the unmarked entrance after midnight. The dogs are custom blended and there’s a burger option and hand-cut fries.

What to get: The Fiesta Dog, a hot beef and jalapeno blended frankfurter with chipotle sauce, American cheese, onion, and roasted pepper relish. And don’t forget the Cannoli Dog to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Photo: Swanky Dog, Cannoli Dogs

Crif Dogs

113 Saint Marks Place between 1st Ave. and Ave. A; 555 Driggs Ave. at N. 7th St.

Crif Dogs is kind of an NYC institution. Though the East Village and Williamsburg locations are perfectly situated for late-night eats, you might enjoy the far-from-basic dogs at a sober hour. This is where you go you to induce a heart attack while eating the most creative and caloric tubed meat combos in the city.

What to get: Of the bacon-wrapped options, we suggest the BLT, topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Other standouts include the Philly Tubesteak (a Philly cheesesteak in hot dog form) and the Morning Jersey, a Taylor ham-wrapped dog with melted cheese and a fried egg.

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Photo: Crif Dogs, bacon-wrapped dog (credit: Alexis Lamster)

Gray’s Papaya

2090 Broadway at 72nd St.

This wouldn’t be a legitimate “best hot dog in New York” list without a shout out to the OG hot doggery, Gray’s Papaya. Open 24 hours on the Upper West Side, and not to be confused with like-minded competitors Papaya King and Papaya Dog, Gray’s Papaya is where you go for plain, simple and high-quality frankfurters. It’s been featured in many a movie and TV show, like You’ve Got Mail and Sex and the City.

What to get: The Recession Special, two dogs and a 14-ounce drink for $4.95.

Bark Hot Dogs

155 Bleeker St. at Thompson St.; 474 Bergen St. near Flatbush Ave. 

Bark is the closest thing to a fancy hot dog restaurant in the city. Frankfurter classics are served slightly upscale in two subway-tiled outposts — one in Park Slope and one in Greenwich Village. Their menu caters to the food trends of the moment with a kale salad and Brussels sprouts side dish.

What to get: The Bacon-Cheddar dog with pickled red onions, the Chili-Cheese dog, and a side of onion rings.

Where to Eat After a Modern Art Marathon: Best Restaurants Near MoMA

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Not only has MoMA long been a beloved cultural institution, but it’s a hub where tourists and the cultured elite flock to revel in the best modern art in the world. Whether you’re headed to one of their incredible exhibitions like the current Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 and Scorsese Collects or attending their brilliantly curated series like Glorious Technicolor or Mexico at Midnight: Film Noir from Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age, you’re surely going to work up an appetite soaking up all that art. But unless smelling the savory wafting smells of The Halal Guys across the street, knowing just where to have a meal in the area can be stressful. To help, here are five great restaurants near MoMA we recommend. 

For more places to eat and drink right now in New York, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

Russian Samovar 

Get a taste of old world Russia in this hidden Midtown gem. Tucked away just north of Times Square’s bustling tourist scene, come for the wealth of delicious flavored vodkas and stay for the Russian and Georgian fare while live musical accompaniment croons under red lighting in this classic restaurant and piano bar. Perfect for cozying up with a date (like Carrie Bradshaw famously did) or dinng and imbibing with a group for a wild night. (256 W. 52nd St)

What to Order: Russian Blinis, Pan Fried Potatoes with Wild Mushrooms, Beef Stroganoff, Dill Vodka, Horseradish Vodka, and Pear Vodka

Distance from MoMA: Less than 1 mile

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Photo: Russian Samovar

The Modern

With a view of MoMA’s beautiful and serene sculpture garden, this chic restaurant from Danny Meyer is the perfect companion to an evening spent indulging in a great film or exhibition. The elegant and minimalistic space boasts a Dining Room and Bar Room, serving up French-New American cuisine to its cultured clientele. (9 W 53rd St)

What to order: Small plates like the Tuna Sliders and Nettle gnocchi, and Steak Tartare

Distance from MoMA: Located inside MoMA

21 Club

Why not digest all that Modern Art you just absorbed with a martini and a burger at this charming Midtown staple. Enjoy a beer and a savory appetizer in their 21 Club Bar, sit down for an upscale meal in their legendary Bar Room, or spend an elegant night in their classic Upstairs room in this famed space that once acted as notorious speakeasy. With a strict dress code always enforced, just don’t forget to leave your jacket at home. (21 W 52nd St)

What to order: The ’21’ Burger, “Speakeasy” Steak Tartare, and the ’21’ Caesar Salad

Distance from MoMA: a 3 minute walk

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Photo: 21 Club

Soba Nippon

Specializing in homemade buckwheat noodles, this Midtown haven offers 18 varieties of delicious soba. With a casual and easygoing atmosphere, this Japanese restaurant is tried and true go-to for laid back dining but with a menu that is sure to satisfy. Come hungry for lunch or dinner after enjoying the latest show at MoMA. (19 W 52nd St)

What to Order: Agedashi Tofu, Nihachi Yaki Soba, Nabeyaki Udon

Distance from MoMA: A 3 minute walk

Betony

The prix-fixe menu gets reinvented at this desirable and inviting Midtown favorite. Located just off 5th Ave, the flavorful and inventive Michelin-starred menu is helmed by renowned chef Bryce Shuman who serves up Modern American fare with flair. With gorgeous classical interiors and mile-high ceilings, the decor may be intimidating but the atmosphere is anything but. (41 W 57th ST)

What to order: Foie Gras, Roasted Chicken, Grilled Short Rib

Distance from MoMA: A 6 Minute walk

Marinated Trout Roe

Photo: Betony