Rabbit nosh in the Big Apple
April 22, 2005 2:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting New York next week in the company of a friend who's vegetarian, and need suggestions for places to eat.

I'd like recs for vegetarian restaurants of any kind, or places where a vegetarian and and omnivore can both eat properly.

I'm also curious what the typical fallback cheap NYC veg food is. When I was veg, I'd grab a falafel sandwich if I was in a hurry. What will we find like that in New York?
posted by zadcat to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cheese pizza. New york pizza is the best. Lots of great places, but my personal fave is Stromboli's (I think that's what it's called, I've usually had a little bit much to drink when I wander in) on St Marks. and 1st Ave.
posted by gaspode at 2:26 PM on April 22, 2005


Indian restaurants are a safe bet: the owners may not be Hindu but will almost always cater to vegetarians. Also, pan-Asian restaurants usually offer tofu or tempeh dishes and, in my experience at least, are used to dealing with vegetarians.

Now, if your friend were vegan and not vegetarian, that would limit things even further....
posted by Tuwa at 2:29 PM on April 22, 2005


There's a fantastic Jamaican vegan restaurant called Veggie Castle in Brooklyn, on Church.
posted by smich at 2:41 PM on April 22, 2005


Zen Palate
Three locations in the city proper and one on Long Island. Some of my favorite vegetarian dining on the planet. They make plenty of dishes with gluten "meats" that should please the ominvores, too.

If you try it, let us know. I'd be curious to know if you like it.
posted by LinnTate at 2:41 PM on April 22, 2005


I don't think your friend will have any problems finding vegetarian food here, let alone fallback stuff (though it's very true it would be somewhat more difficult if they were vegan).

Some favorites of mine: Josie's East, Angelica Kitchen, Caravan of Dreams, Zen Palate, and Kate's Joint.

Here's a list of a few (approx. 44 entries for manhattan) with links in to more info: reviews, addresses, etc.
posted by safetyfork at 2:52 PM on April 22, 2005


My girlfriend, who is vegan, really likes Angelica's Kitchen and Zen Palate. The Zen Palate in Union Square also has a less expensive version of itself downstairs.
posted by Staggering Jack at 2:58 PM on April 22, 2005


HanGawi.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:58 PM on April 22, 2005


Wonderful range of suggestions. Friend is not a vegan - I think I might balk at travelling with a vegan, no matter how much fun they were otherwise.

Thanks!
posted by zadcat at 3:37 PM on April 22, 2005


HanGawi is indeed fantastic, though a bit on the fancy/expensive side -- a great place to splurge if you like Korean.

Bliss in Williamsburg is good in the fairly cheap/crunchy-hipster category. And Moby's veggie Lower East Side teashop, TeaNY, has a pretty delicious "turkey club" that I get every time I'm back. (Great tea, too.)

My favorite cheap East Village falafel place is on the corner of Houston and Orchard, and I can't believe I've forgotten its name. I used to live around the corner and go there every week.
posted by lisa g at 3:57 PM on April 22, 2005


My friend has a page that might help.

Check it out, it's actually a really neat system. Not just reviews.
posted by autojack at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2005


Zen Palate is okay, and Angelica's Kitchen is so vomitously bland that I would shoot myself in the head before I ever ate there again. They are the kind of places that make people think going veggie means going crappy.

That said, Indian and Thai are good fallbacks and not hard to find. Pizza & falafel are everywhere too; Two Boots has lots of veggie and vegan choices. Food Swings, in Williamsburg, does lots of fake meat stuff. Old Devil Moon has both veggie and carno options and is a fave of mine. For slightly expensive but totally worth it vegeterian food that any carnivore would like too, try Counter or Candle Cafe. I adore the former.
posted by dame at 4:16 PM on April 22, 2005


Oh. There's also an awesome Vietnamese sandwich place on Broome between Mott and Elizabeth. It's on the south side of the street and looks like a tiny deli. Often there's a guy with some sugarcane and a machete out front. They're closed Mondays.

For supercheap Indian that involves standing up to eat, there's the cabbie joint on First and First (it's on the north side of First Street) and another tiny place on Crosby between Prince and Houston, closer to Houston, west side of the street. That's just north of Housing Works, a nifty bookstore, and a cheap SoHo stop. If you want to rest & eat but not pay cheesy SoHo prices, Indian outside & a drink & a sit in Housing Works might fit the bill.
posted by dame at 4:22 PM on April 22, 2005


I like souen Mostly vegan but not completely, this is a Japanese restaurant inspired by the macrobiotic movement. two locations on 13th a little west of University and further downtown on Prince. The Prince location is more formal, 13th is more casual. Fresh, mostly organic, delicious food.
posted by flummox at 5:16 PM on April 22, 2005


I'll take the two of you out to Hangawi if you like - it's fabulous.

I've been to Zen Palate, and I'd be happy to pay not to go with you there. I can see where someone with a very minimalist aesthetic might enjoy it, but it's not my cuppa.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:34 PM on April 22, 2005


Ah, vegans aren't so bad (I say as a meat-eater). I guess it all depends on the individual. Another place that is good, especially for lunch, is Curry in a Hurry on Lex Ave.
posted by Staggering Jack at 5:44 PM on April 22, 2005


The very best vegetarian food I've had in NYC was at Gobo--so delicious and unusual that I took my non-vegetarian parents there on a recent trip and they insisted on going there again the next time thney came to town. Slightly pricey, but great esp. if you're going with a bunch of friends.

Hangawi is mighty good, too (and has a wonderful atmosphere), and Angelica Kitchen is hit-or-miss but sometimes extraordinary (go for the specials).

For a good, cheap, weird vegetarian experience, go to Vegetarian Paradise 3 on Mott St., a few blocks below Canal. The important thing to remember there is to ONLY get dim sum ("appetizers"), and to keep it flowing as long as you're hungry...
posted by 88robots at 7:11 PM on April 22, 2005


If you're looking to splurge a bit, I'd suggest Craft. You order EVERYTHING a la carte, and everything is awesome. I went the other week with a vegetarian and a meat eater, and everyone got what they wanted (and then some).
posted by mkultra at 9:25 PM on April 22, 2005


"Noodles on 27th" (on 3rd Ave) has many vegetarian (no eggs either) dishes.
Baluchi's, Dosa Hut, Chenai Garden, all on Curry Hill (27th and Lex Ave) serve Indian dishes too.
Sido, Breads From Beirut, etc serve veggie falafel, non-veg dishes too.
Meskerem serves veggie and non-veggie Ethiopian dishes.
Indian Bread Co. serves Indian style veggie and non-veggie wraps.
Various Mexican restaurants serve vegetarian dishes, if not just ask if they will substitute beans for beef. Make sure the beans are not flavoured with pork.
American Burger serves decent veggie and non-veggie burgers.
posted by riffola at 10:14 PM on April 22, 2005


In any city, your best bets for finding a restaurant that caters to both vegetarian and omnivore diners are in the local Chinatown. In fact, most Chinatowns will have several exclusively vegetarian restaurants.
My fiance is vegan and I'm omni. Whenever we go out to eat, we keep our asian options open as a plan B incase our plan A restaurant turns out to be vegan-un-friendly. We also live about three blocks from Chinatown in our city and we're always exploring new restaurants and finding out that the vast majority of them have well rounded vegetarian menus.
posted by Jon-o at 11:28 PM on April 22, 2005


Ooh, I'll second the Gobo recommendation too. They have "large" and "small" portions -- get a few of each and share.
posted by lisa g at 11:56 PM on April 22, 2005


My personal favorite is Spring Street Natural, but a quite a few others mentioned above are excellent. Also, I'll second the slagging of Zen Palate. The food there is uniformly bland and unsatisfying: it reminds me of what the options used to be in '80s. Inexplicably though, I do have friends that swear by it, so YMMV, I guess.
posted by psmealey at 6:04 AM on April 23, 2005


I haven't been down in the East Village for at least a couple of years--are those "Dojo" restaurants still around? All my vegetarian friends used to rave about them.
posted by LairBob at 7:00 AM on April 23, 2005


are those "Dojo" restaurants still around? All my vegetarian friends used to rave about them.

I'm going to assume your friends were broke college students. Very cheap, satisfyingly greasy food. I have a friend who still loves dojo's, actually, so it can become a comfort food type of place, but I haven't been there in ages.

Pretty much anything in downtown NYC has decent veggie options. I honestly never think about it. Every now & then I end up in a restaurant in midtown or something, and there's only the one lame "vegetarian special" or whatever, but unless you're vegan, most decent downtown spots have veggie friendly menus.

Any asian restaurant is a safe bet; if you're into healthy food I'd check out Tiengarden on Allen [1st ave] right below Houston. My dojo's-loving friend also loves Kate's on Avenue B, which is not as greasy & cheap as dojos but is similarly a comfort food kind of place (it gets a meh in my book, but she adores it).

Souen & Angelica's are both really nice healthy places too. Bliss is pretty good but not very innovative; it's also really small. If you're in that neighborhood anyway, I'd check out the thai place Sea, which serves seafood but has plenty of veggie stuff too, and is just a very cool atmosphere. I also love Spring Street Natural, and the atmosphere there is great, too. The breakfast tofu scramble thing there used to be a staple in my life, and the (organic) coffee's decent, too.
posted by mdn at 7:37 AM on April 23, 2005


oh, zen palate also has two different menus, the upstairs and the downstairs. The upstairs is weird and kind of gross, in my opinion (lots of fake ham and food that's too brightly colored and stuff...), plus it's more expensive. The downstairs is totally ordinary vegetarian chinese food, absolutely fine, but nothing special. Also gets kind of crowded (for some reason).

and, dame mentioned old devil moon - that was an absolute staple when I was dating someone who loved good meat options. The veggie stuff is not overly greasy but it's very comfort food-y (peppered tofu steak, kinda thing), IMO in a much better way than Kate's, etc. It's also a great atmosphere.
posted by mdn at 7:43 AM on April 23, 2005


Cheese pizza. New york pizza is the best. Lots of great places, but my personal fave is Stromboli's (I think that's what it's called, I've usually had a little bit much to drink when I wander in) on St Marks. and 1st Ave.

Haha, late night drunken Stromboli's pizza is the best.

Definitely look up the best pizza in the area you'll be (Stromboli is the best in the East Village) and have some.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:24 AM on April 23, 2005


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