Diner Most-Loved

New York’s Most Popular Vegan Restaurants

Good thing we have options.

18 min read
7/18/2022
Spicy Moon

As both a long-time vegan and New York resident, I was too happy to put together this list of the most popular vegan restaurants in NYC. How many nights have you gone down the endless-option Caviar rabbit hole and not known what to order? I’m here to help in the vegan category! 

Back in 2011, when I moved to the city, the pickings were slim. Don’t get me wrong; I love an old-school macro bowl, and there will always be a fond place in my heart for a tofu scramble, but the city has moved far beyond my wildest dreams. We’re talking mac and cheese, soft serve, and even Philly cheesesteaks. There has never been a better time to eat plant-based. There are options if you want to indulge, keep it healthy, or fall somewhere in between. Most on this list are 100% vegan, but some are vegetarian with many vegan options. Go forth and be vegan — or vegan-curious. We can bring ’em all to you. 

1. Spicy Moon

I was happy to see that everyone loves Spicy Moon as much as I do. Now with two locations, one in the East Village and one in the West Village, it’s a little easier to get your spicy Szechuan plant-based fix. An order for me always includes the chile oil–spiked dan dan noodles, dry pot–style stir-fried vegetables, and the cucumbers in chile oil. Yes, it’s spicy, but the spice level is also customizable for milder palates. 

2. The Butcher’s Daughter

At The Butcher’s Daughter, it’s all about brunch. It's vegetarian — they serve eggs and a few items with dairy — but that’s pretty much it. If you’re a strict vegan like me, the animal products are easy to avoid. With the carrot lox, you can get that classic bagel, lox, and schmear, all plant-based. It’s made with cured carrots instead of fish and a cashew-based cream cheese. The ricotta toast is also entirely vegan since they make a creamy nut-based ricotta to top their housemade sourdough. Grab a slice of their strawberry tart for dessert; it’s a flaky crust filled with berries and topped with an oat crumble.

3. The Little Beet

Another not entirely vegan restaurant, but they have us well taken care of. At The Little Beet, healthy yet delicious and satisfying food is the focus. They pride themselves on being ultra flexible when it comes to respecting all dietary restrictions: nut-free, gluten free, paleo, and, of course, vegan. Everything is clearly labeled and filled with customizable options. My go-tos are the greens-and-rice custom plate topped with charred broccoli, the sesame-crusted avocado half, and the baked beet falafel. 

4. Beatnic

If you’re in need of a veggie burger, this is the spot. You’ll find Beatnics throughout the city, which makes it the perfect easy lunch option. In terms of burgers, there are three options: classic, guacamole-topped, and The BCB, which comes with vegan cheese and shiitake bacon. I’m also very partial to their kale Caesar. It’s topped with their killer shiitake bacon, and the creamy dressing makes it one of the best in the city. I’d highly recommend getting a kitchen sink cookie for dessert. 

5. abcV

This Flatiron Jean Georges restaurant is definitely the fanciest one on the list. Sometimes you’re looking for that splurge meal in the comfort of your own home, and abcV fits the bill. It’s all vegetarian, and the menu leans globally inspired with flavors from India, the Middle East and Mexico. The dosa dishes are a must, and they can substitute the dairy yogurt that comes alongside with a coconut-based one. Oh, and the green chickpea hummus is always worth ordering; it comes with a housemade ancient-grain pita. 

6. LuAnne's Wild Ginger All-Asian Vegan

With a lengthy Asian-leaning menu, LuAnne’s is a great casual option. You’ll be able to find everything from noodle dishes to macro bowls to stir-fried black pepper seitan. For appetizers, I love the grilled miso eggplant that’s finished with a miso sauce and garnished with mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. The spicy soba and kale bowl is a go-to main with silken tofu, sesame-peanut dressing, and kimchee sauce, as is the kimchee pumpkin gumbo with rice, spiced cabbage, avocado, and cilantro. All satisfying, but without being too heavy. 

Luanne's Ginger

7. Veggie Grill

This restaurant is the closest thing you’ll find to vegan fast food in New York. The 23rd Street location is a fairly recent addition for this California-based chain. Its menu is filled with nostalgic classics that, if you’re vegan, you might not have had in a while, like veggie burgers, chick’n sandwiches, and Caesar salads. Be a maximalist and get the BLT avocado croissant with crispy bacon, chopped romaine, sliced tomato, Dijonnaise, and mashed avocado served on a flaky croissant, or be a bit more tame, and grab a Chinese chick'n salad with chick’n, cabbage slaw, cilantro, romaine lettuce, cucumber, candied almonds, and crispy wontons tossed in a sesame dressing. There are no wrong choices.. 

8. Le Botaniste

I’m definitely a healthy-leaning vegan. You won’t often catch me ordering the cashew queso–topped nachos or the miso gravy poutine. That’s why Le Botaniste is in constant rotation at my house. It’s a Belgian chain with many locations throughout the city that serves all sorts of satisfying vegetable and grain bowls. You won’t find any refined sugar here! I love their mezze plate that comes with four of their spreads, which can include a beet dip or a turmeric-lemon hummus. Whatever you order, make sure to add a superseed avocado to it; it’s half of the fruit coated with an omega-3-boosted seed mix. So many good fats, your hair and skin will thank you. 

9. Beyond Sushi

Another thing you might be missing if you’re trying the whole plant-based thing is sushi, and Beyond can indulge your craving. They do more than just rolls, too. Their miso soup is savory, satisfying, and fish-free, and their applewood-smoked oyster mushroom salad is in my constant lunch rotation. It’s green leaf lettuce, bac’n bits, grated “Parmesan,” avocado, brined red onions, and charred sesame, in a creamy hijiki dressing. The eggplant unagi is always worth ordering as well; it’s more than the sum of its white rice, soy, and charred eggplant parts. 

10. Seasoned Vegan

This Harlem restaurant comes from chef Brenda “Chef B” Beener. It’s doing soul food but with a vegan twist. It’s the type of food you thought you’d never be able to eat again, like po'boys and crawfish. The popular po’boy comes with your choices of fried yam protein “shrimp” or fried burdock root “crawfish,” served on a baguette with remoulade, greens and tomato, just like the real deal. The BBQ “crawfish" is pretty wild, made of cubed and grilled burdock root with fermented soy smothered in barbecue sauce. Getting a side of baked mac and “cheese” is one of the best ways to get your rib-sticking soul food fix. 

11. Loco Coco

Sometimes you just really need a smoothie, and Loco Coco is a great all-vegan option. You won’t find any dairy or whey protein on the menu. It’s all alt milks, like coconut, hemp, almond, and oat, plus smoothie boosters like plant-based pea protein, sea moss, and maca. Have your smoothie straight up and sippable with their green smoothie, a blend of kale, spinach, mango, banana, dates, and coconut water, or have it spoonable with the bright blue Mermaid Bowl, a tropical smoothie base infused with the nutrient-dense algae blend E-3 Live and topped with granola, berries, grapes, chia seeds, and almond butter.

Loco Coco

12. Urban Vegan Kitchen

At this West Village restaurant, it’s comfort food classics; mac and cheese, wings, and loaded chili-cheese fries can all be found on the menu. It’s also Black owned and operated. If you’re looking to indulge, the Chick-Un and Waffles is a good place to start. It’s Southern-fried seitan and sautéed garlic kale served on top of a crispy Belgian waffle. Or maybe the UVK Quarter Pounder is the option; it’s their version of the fast-food favorite, with a roasted mushroom-barley patty served on a potato bun with a choice of hand-cut fries or salad. The Mississippi mud pie is a strong dessert choice, ultra chocolaty and creamy. 

13. PLNT Burger

Another fairly new addition to the New York vegan scene is chef Spike Mendelsohn’s PLNT Burger. It started in D.C. but recently arrived in the Union Square area. Its small menu is very burger-centric. Take your pick of something classic, cheesy, or topped with mushroom bacon. If you’re in the mood for fries, they do both a sweet potato wedge or herb-flecked classic potato. You’ll want to save room for oat milk soft serve for dessert. 

14. Phuket I'm Vegan

This restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously — and who doesn’t love a pun? Oftentimes it can be hard for a vegan at a traditional Thai restaurant because of what I like to call “sneaky fish;” shrimp paste and fish sauce are both integral to the region’s cuisine. You’ll be safe ordering from here, and they have all your favorites like pad thai, green curry, and Thai tea. No matter what your order is, make sure it includes a papaya salad to start. 

15. John's of 12th Street

This restaurant is far from vegan, but it won’t stop you from ordering because they have a whole vegan menu. They’ve been catering to the plant-based crowd since way before it became fashionable. Start with a Caesar salad and maybe some vegan Parmesan–stuffed mushrooms. If you’re going the pasta route, do the tofu ricotta–filled ravioli, and if you really want to go all out, get the seitan Parmigiana; it looks just like the chicken version. You’ll need the tiramisu for dessert. You’d never know it was vegan. 

Top down - Caesar salad

16. Bodhi Kosher Vegan

Just when you thought you’d never have dim sum again, Bodhi comes to the rescue. The menu reads almost exactly like an omnivorous one, but with no animal protein. They use soy-based versions instead. You’ll want to get some vegetable steamed buns, sticky rice shumai dumplings, and spinach rice rolls to start, and then dive into some Cantonese classics. Buddha’s Delight is my favorite; I love the shiitake mushrooms and tofu skin. 

17. Jerrell's Betr Brgr

Who needs vowels when you have a killer veggie burger or three on your menu? You know the burger is going to be good when the founder, Jerrell Obee, isn’t even vegan. He wanted to reduce his meat consumption because he loved the planet. The burgers here are Impossible patties. The Lil' BETR BRGR is my pick, topped with vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, pickles, and Jerrell's special sauce. It gives you extra room for their crispy waffle fries. 

18. Avocaderia

Well, you can guess what this restaurant does best. You’ll find avocado in everything from toast to bowls to salads. It isn’t entirely vegan — there are a few items with chicken and dairy — but they are easy to avoid. Grab a Portobello Road bowl with brown rice, avocado, mushrooms, hummus, kale, cashew Parmesan, and chipotle mayo, and a kale matcha smoothie that, you guessed it, has creamy avocado in it, too. 

19. Dirty Little Vegan

Another restaurant with a sense of humor — I love to see it. This restaurant’s menu is filled with nostalgic classics like loaded fries, hot dogs, and quesadillas. I wouldn’t recommend picking it if you’re looking for something light and healthy, but if you’re looking to satisfy the craving for something fried, it’s a good choice. Go for the cauliflower wings that are coated in buffalo sauce and served with celery and vegan ranch. I promise you won’t miss the chicken. And who can resist cheese fries, especially topped with barbecue sauce and jalapeños?

20. NuLeaf

Another new addition to the NYC vegan scene, and it now has two locations. The menu is all organic with plenty of healthy options for a great lunch or snack on the way home from the gym. Everything aims to be satisfying but without being indulgent. Think dishes like the Hearty Bolognese Bowl with lentil Bolognese, penne, and green peas, and a Superfood Salad jam-packed with ingredients like avocado, roasted sweet potato, kale, and quinoa. It will fill you up without weighing you down. 

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21. Ginger Root Vegan

If you’re looking for something Pan-Asian on the Upper East Side, this low-key gem is the spot. It’s got a little taste of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand to cover many bases. I’m partial to a sampling of it all. Start with the Vietnamese summer rolls, and move on to either the wasabi-spiked zaru soba noodles or the shredded moo shu vegetables that comes with cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and snow peas in a hoisin sauce — and, of course, little pancakes to wrap them in. 

22. Next Stop Vegan

A rare Bronx restaurant on the list because, yes, there are still vegans and vegan-curious people all the way uptown. Blenlly Mena founded Next Stop when she wanted to make an effort to keep her community healthy. The menu leans Central American with dishes like patacon chimi, which uses fried plantain as the “bread” in a sandwich with a homemade patty, cabbage, tomatoes, red onions, ketchup, and special chimi sauce, and the quinoa tostadas topped with black beans, quinoa “meat,” cabbage, sour cream, cilantro sauce, and pico de gallo. No shortage of flavor here. 

23. Al Vegano Vegan Mexican Restaurant

If you’re longing for plant-based Mexican, you’ll want to order from Al Vegano. It’s the vegan sibling of Al Horno. You’ll find all of your favorites, minus the meat and cheese. In the a.m., grab the tofu scramble breakfast burrito with vegan cheddar, black beans, brown rice, and salsa. Later in the day go for a taco salad with chopped romaine, pickled jalapeños, crumbled corn chips, scallions, and salsa. Grab a refreshing juice, like the Youth, with cucumber, pineapple, spinach, and aloe, to go with it.

24. Nefista Vegan Kofteh

This highly specific Greenwich Village restaurant comes to the city straight from Turkey. If you’re not familiar with kofteh, don’t worry — I wasn’t either. It’s a Middle Eastern meatball, usually made from beef, chicken, pork, or lamb, but not this time. Nefista’s are all plant-based. You choose if you want the kofteh in a wrap or on a plate for a DIY style. It’s served with iceberg lettuce and pomegranate sauce, and you assemble your own lettuce wraps. 

25. Sutra

I’m a long-time fan of chef Matthew Kenney’s food, having first visited his L.A. restaurant Plant Food and Wine many years ago. He’s now expanded to have dozens of concepts all over the world, from Tel Aviv to Buenos Aires. At Sutra, the food is elevated without being stuffy. It’s dishes like grain bowls, lettuce wraps, and soba noodle salads. I’m particularly partial to the kabocha squash two ways, steamed and roasted, topped with a burnt miso glaze and pumpkin seeds, and the sunny golden beet carpaccio with avocado, Granny Smith apple, and pickled mustard. Light, fresh, and perfectly tied to the yoga studio underneath it.

26. Toad Style (Brooklyn)

Now we move over to Brooklyn with one of my favorite holes in the wall, Toad Style. It’s a good example of why size doesn’t matter; the food Toad Style is churning out is some of the best vegan in the city. It’s also palm oil– and soy-free, great for those with environmental concerns and additional allergies. You can’t really go wrong here, but I’m always after the Greek kale salad with baked almond feta or the gluten-free waffles topped with coconut butter and maple syrup. 

Waffles

27. Sol Sips (Brooklyn)

Another great tiny Brooklyn spot. The Bed Stuy cafe started as a pop-up and opened a brick-and-mortar back in 2018 when founder Francesca Chaney was just 22 years old. Chaney wanted to create a place for the community to congregate and have access to healthy vegan food. That’s why her restaurant has a sliding scale to make sure everyone can afford her Rasta Pasta Bowls. I’d highly recommend the Chick'n Biscuits, where the “chicken” is crispy oyster mushrooms and served alongside crispy fried okra. The side of smoky coconut cheese dipping sauce is so good I could drink it. 

28. Hartbreakers (Brooklyn)

Not a typo — the “e” is missing because this Bushwick café is on Hart street. It’s the younger sister of Champs Diner in Greenpoint. The whole menu is vegan and made in-house, except for the bread and cheese, but they say they’re working on it. The menu is burgers, fries, and salads, satisfying and filling. If I had to choose, I’d go for the maximalist Flower Power salad with kale, shredded red cabbage, carrots, grape tomatoes, avocado, crispy chickpeas, seeds, and a drizzle of lemon garlic aioli. Or the Filos Fries that come smothered with mozzarella, grilled artichokes, seared grape tomatoes, and wilted greens. 

29. Lekka Burger

I’ve been going to Lekka Burger since it first opened in 2019. I am a long-time fan of chef Amanda Cohen and her Lower East Side restaurant Dirt Candy, but Dirt Candy isn’t for every day; it’s a vegan tasting menu. So I was happy to learn that she was launching a casual burger spot. You’ll find eight of them on the menu, ranging from the Indian-inspired, coconut chutney–topped Masala Burger to the avocado-finished California. The patties are thick, a housemade blend of vegetables, beans, and spices — no soy, no weird stuff. You’ll want a shake for dessert. The halvah is a favorite, made with oat milk soft serve and tahini. 

30. Erin McKenna's Bakery

Another business I’ve been patronizing since pretty much the day it opened. I can’t speak highly enough of this Lower East Side allergen-free, kosher-certified, and vegan bakery. McKenna has since expanded to have locations in L.A. and Orlando, but I’m loyal to her Broome Street location, mostly because they deliver right to my door. My order always includes a slice of the iced lemon tea cake, a strawberry shortcake, and a coffee crunch donut. The crumble that tops the donut is a little bit of magic. 

31. Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit Co.

I wish the world had more Chloe’s locations; that's why I’m grateful I can get it delivered. Their soft serve is something special and perfect if you’re looking for something sweet, but not over the top. It’s made from just three ingredients: water, fruit, and a tiny bit of cane sugar. You can get their flavors, which include banana and chocolate, by the cup or pint. I like to keep it sparse with the toppings, but go nuts with options like puffed quinoa, peanut butter, and fresh berries. They also just partnered with Juice Press, so you can order your favorite smoothies now, too! 

32. The Vegan Pizza Club

I can say with almost 100% certainty that everyone can appreciate a good, melty, cheesy slice of pizza. Just when you thought your options were limited as a vegan, The Vegan Pizza Club pops up. Everything on their menu is plant-based, and they also have gluten-free options if that’s a dietary restriction you’re working with. Go classic with a Margherita or Hawaiian. Or build your own and pick your vegan meats, cheeses, and veggies. 

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33. Four Seasons

At this Brooklyn-based juice bar, bakery, and cafe, you really get to mix and match. If you’re looking for lunch, choose one of their combination plates — small, medium, or large — and choose from West Indian sides like collard greens and lentil pea stew. If you just need a midafternoon pick me up, grab a juice or smoothie. I recommend going for the ultra-nutrient packed carrot-celery juice or the Power Maxx Protein smoothie, made with spirulina, soy protein, nuts, and banana. 

34. Norbert's Express

Another mostly vegan pizzeria — they have a few pies with cheese — you can have delivered to your door. They also do more than just pies, with a few sandwiches, appetizers, pastas, and salads. The way to go is to order one of the signature pies; I have my eye on the vegan pesto, which comes topped with a housemade walnut pesto, cashew mozzarella, cashew cream, blistered tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, and a hemp-seed Parmesan. I’d round out my order with their Caesar salad, jazzed up with blistered cherry tomatoes, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. 

35. Grilled!

This Bushwick café is making all your favorite fast-food classics but with that vegan twist. It’s burgers, hot dogs, and shakes. Since you have many options for great veggie burgers in this city, I’d try something a little different. Why not order the Colombian hot dog with housemade pink sauce, mayo, pineapple sauce, mustard, and diced onions, all topped with crushed potato chips? Or try the Philly cheesesteak with seasoned seitan and topped with grilled onions, mayo, and American cheese served on a hero. Both meaty, without any meat at all. 

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Kyle Beechey

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