Recommend delicious vegan restaurants in NYC
July 29, 2004 6:50 AM   Subscribe

I go to NYC at least once a month, and I'm always on the hunt for good vegan restaurants, especially in the East Village area, although I'd love to hear about good eats in other areas of the city as well. I've been to Quintessence, Bonobos, and Caravan of Dreams, and I go gaga over LifeThyme, the grocery/bookstore/cafeteria on 7th Ave and 9th St - they have six inch high veggie pizza that's to die for. Are there any more yummy vegan places I need to know about, and if so, what's the most yummilicious thing on the menu?
posted by iconomy to Food & Drink (28 answers total)
I never been in there (obviously) but there's a vegan restaurant/bakery on St.Marks near Avenue A that seems popular.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on July 29, 2004

Zen Palate isn't strictly vegan, but they have many vegan options from what I remember.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:35 AM on July 29, 2004

Best answer: Have you been to the Candle Cafe at 1307 Third Avenue at 75th Street? They've just opened up a second place, Candle 79 at 154 East 79th Street near Lexington Avenue. I've always enjoyed meals there, although I don't have any specific recommendations.

I adore HanGawi at 12 E. 32nd Street. Not only is the food great, but going there is like a retreat.

I'm not sure if Vegetarian Dim Sum House at 24 pell street is fully vegan, but most of the items should be.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:39 AM on July 29, 2004

Candle 79 (79th and Lex) is an excellent vegan restaurant, and I say this as a carnivore who was dragged there by friends under duress and ended up having an amazing meal (the cashew-crusted tempeh). Also, Tom Wolfe walked in while we were there, which was pretty cool.
posted by Prospero at 7:40 AM on July 29, 2004

Best answer: (some randomly interesting veggie places that come to mind, not specifically vegan, although there is generally much crossover)

quantum leap - macrobiotic / vegan cafe (not sure if this is still open or morphed into one of the ones you mentioned)
Kate's joint - home style veggie comfort food.
hangwi - formal low-table multi-course vegetarian Korean
(I hestitate to recommend anything as I find that my tastes seldom agree with most other people)

Also, a couple of lists.
posted by milovoo at 7:46 AM on July 29, 2004

Also, if you haven't yet, you should pick up The Vegan Guide to New York City the next time you're in town. It should be pretty easy to find, either at a book store or at one of the vegan restaurants you'll be chowing down at.

Oh! And another place I like is Kate's Joint. I love breakfasts there. It's a little out of the way at 58 Ave B, but the walk's good for you.

And if you like hot dogs, there's a couple of places that server nice tofu dogs and have some vegan friendly selections. There's F&B Dogs at 269 W. 23rd and Dawgs on Park at 178 E 7th St near Ave B. Dawgs on Park deep fries their dawgs and I'm sure I asked what they used (I think it's peanut oil), but it'd be best to ask if you go.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:49 AM on July 29, 2004

No suggestions, ico, but I envy you. You must not be strictly raw these days, but are you still avoiding soy?
posted by Shane at 7:54 AM on July 29, 2004

Also, a time out article on some new raw and vegan places.

Also for ursus_comiter sparky's is a good veggie dog place in Williamsburg if you ever end up in that neighborhood. and also in NYC crif dog gets good reviews. (I'm a big fan of the veggie dog)
posted by milovoo at 8:00 AM on July 29, 2004

There's F&B Dogs at 269 W. 23rd

I eat the (non-veggie, admittedly) brats their all the time. The have badass sauerkraut.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 AM on July 29, 2004

I pass by a guy selling vegan Indian food on the southwest corner of Washington Square Park every day.

While vegan dosas aren't necessarily my cup of tea at 10 in the morning, I'm really going to miss that weird little cart when I move away.
posted by bcwinters at 8:15 AM on July 29, 2004

My sister likes Counter, on 1st and 7th.
posted by nicwolff at 9:02 AM on July 29, 2004

Counter is good stuff, little expnensive though.

For vegan chinese, Tien Garden (on Allen 2 blocks under houstan), is mostly better than Zen Palate. Atmosphere isn't much, however.

For vegetarian/vegan italian Cafe Viva (aka Viva Herbal) on second avenue is pretty great, too.
posted by malphigian at 9:13 AM on July 29, 2004

Vegan Chinese at "Noodles on 28th" on 28th St and 3rd Ave.
posted by riffola at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2004

shocked that an east village vegan wouldn't be familiar with kate's - I'm actually not that fond of it personally, for some reason - maybe a little too quick & dirty? Maybe a little too much fake meat instead of original recipes or fresh produce... but it's a staple among friends.

I don't live there anymore so am not sure if it's still the case, but I liked some of Life cafe's vegan dishes (on 10th & B, right above the park), especially the "scrambled vegan breakfast" which is much much better than scrambled eggs have ever been - tofu, miso, mushrooms, scallions, I don't remember what else, but so good. I think it comes with salad.

I'm trying to remember if quantum leap is the one I'm thinking of - there's the one by washington square that recently moved, I think, from a horizontal street (bleecker?) to a vertical one (thompson? wherever the chess shops are, I think) - but then there's also that restaurant on 1st ave that has a similar style... maybe that's quintessence? Anyway, they're both nice, though I don't particularly remember their menus - perhaps slightly generic.

Absolutely agree re: tiengarden vs. zen palate. When I lived on orchard street I lived off tiengarden, happily. Fabulous vegan hot & sour soup, a great cheaper tofu & pepper type thing, some wonderful mixed veggie with cashews... They also adhere to the chinese belief in the "five impurities" which means no garlic or onion or - three other things like that that you'd think meant their food wouldn't be all that tasty. But it is. They single handedly convinced me that I didn't need garlic to be happy (I still eat garlic, but I don't worship it anymore :)).
posted by mdn at 10:04 AM on July 29, 2004

red bamboo!
posted by lbergstr at 10:05 AM on July 29, 2004

Have you been to that rasta vegan place that used to be a white castle in Brooklyn? I think it's called 'Veggie Castle'.
posted by jeb at 11:03 AM on July 29, 2004

Response by poster: Wow, thanks so much for the links, the names, and the addresses, everyone. I'm printing this thread out and taking it with me when I go this Saturday.

Shane, I am still raw, yep. I find that vegan restaurants always have a few things for rawwies on the menu, and the people I'm with can find something good to eat too, without running outside for chili dogs, like the guy in milovoo's TIme Out link! I still don't do soy or tofu...hehe.

HanGawi is wonderful looking! I have to go there - it seems so inviting and tranquil. I haven't looked through all of the links yet, but really appreciate all of the recommendations and thoughts. Thanks all.

Jeb - really? Veggie Castle? Hehe. No, I haven't been to Brooklyn since I lived there about 20 years ago. When I go to NY it's only for the day, so I don't do the buroughs.
posted by iconomy at 11:08 AM on July 29, 2004

If you're specifically raw food-oriented, a new raw-specific restaurant has opened in Gramercy Park - Pure Food and Wine. I have not been, but did enjoy the space immensly when it was Verbena (boy, I miss that place.)
posted by shinyj at 11:20 AM on July 29, 2004

Have you been to that rasta vegan place that used to be a white castle in Brooklyn?

posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on July 29, 2004

Response by poster: S'ok, jon. I found a nice eraser collection that has something that might cheer you up.
posted by iconomy at 11:59 AM on July 29, 2004

I'm printing this thread out and taking it with me when I go this Saturday.

It would be interesting to hear your reviews of any intereresting finds. Even just a quick writeup would be informative.

Just a random thought, but how cool would be, it seems like a good format,
FPP = long review and then comments for other opinions or specifics. Maybe sortable by city, or cuisine.
posted by milovoo at 12:03 PM on July 29, 2004

Response by poster: I like it! Judging by the amount of restaurant, food, and recipe posts here, I'd say that a lot of us are either foodies, barbecue cowboys, frustrated restaurant critics, wannabe chefs, or all of the above. You know all of those offshoots of mf, like bookfilter and warfilter and gayfilter and sportsfilter? Is there a restaurantfilter?

I will follow up with reports too, promise.
posted by iconomy at 12:22 PM on July 29, 2004

Is there a restaurantfilter?

Not exactly, but eGullet kind of fills that niche.
posted by mkultra at 1:19 PM on July 29, 2004

Two “warnings” about HanGawi!:

I have been here many times, and always have had a great, fresh meal. The tea menu is sublime, too. However, here are two things to know about the restaurant if you've never been:

First, it is mandatory that you remove your shoes upon entering the restaurant, so if you are put-off by having your bare-feet on the public floor, make sure you bring a pair of socks or something. The tables/seats are sunken into the floor, so although the restaurant is clean, it can feel sorta dank by your feet. I'd do the sock thing...

Second: The lunch menu is half-price of the dinner menu, but the SAME EXACT portions and recipes! I made the mistake of going for dinner, which did not seem worth the prices after I had enjoyed the same dishes during lunch for half the price. I will never go again for dinner...Seriously: bi bim bop for lunch is like $9, but for dinner is like $17.

You could also try Francia, which is a tea-house/Japanese tapas place on Park Avenue/midtown if I recall correctly. It’s also owned by the people of HanGawi.

Pass on Zen Palate. I always get dragged there, and it is always disappointing. The food tends to be very greasy and overpriced. I remember I ordered a side of rice, which came packed into a small, hollow bamboo tube. That was very cool, but it was like $7. For rice.
posted by naxosaxur at 2:51 PM on July 29, 2004

Josie's on 3rd ave and 37th--had lunch there last week with co-workers--great mix of organic and vegetarian and regular food. (one of my coworkers doesn't eat any animal/fish/etc, and she had plenty to choose from.)
posted by amberglow at 4:28 PM on July 29, 2004

Last time I went to the City, I hit Zen Palate, Candle Cafe, and Angelika's Kitchen. I liked them all.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:16 AM on July 30, 2004

I'm with amberglow on suggesting Josie's: I've been to the uptown location on Amsterdam & 72nd many times. It's good, healthy food. They do indeed have meat, fish, and chicken on the menu, but it's all open-range & hormone-free. They have yummy fresh juices, too.
posted by naxosaxur at 8:39 AM on July 30, 2004

There's a good pizza place called "Pizza Viva" near me, around 96th and Broadway, and they have some vegan options. It's good.
posted by bingo at 11:17 AM on July 31, 2004

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