Eating + Drinking

Manhattan’s Best Vegan-Friendly Joints for Every Type of Palate

Because your mom was right about eating more vegetables.

Photo courtesy of Confectionary/Facebook

Maybe you’re starting to think about your long-term game plan to improve your carbon footprint. Or perhaps you’ve had one too many nights of excessive meat sweating. Whatever’s inspiring you to go a bit more green, the good news is you’re in the perfect borough for it. These vegan-leaning Manhattan spots cater to any craving you might be having. Japanese? French? Middle Eastern? Something else? Yep. And you don’t even have to be vegan to enjoy them!

For Soul Food: Seasoned Vegan

The mother-and-son team behind this hoppin’ Harlem joint, Brenda and Aaron Beener, keep proving that heartwarming comfort food doesn’t have to be heart bursting. The duo has been in business since 2014 and specializes in making dishes from Brenda’s New Orleans roots—except veganized. Burdock root and fermented soy get grilled and shaped into crawfish; po’boys are stuffed with fried yams that taste like shrimp; and underneath some barbecue sauce are riblets that are actually lotus roots. If that’s not magic, we don’t know what is. 55 St. Nicholas Avenue (at West 113th Street)

For Japanese: Kajitsu

Hiding in a Murray Hill townhouse is chef Hiroki Abe’s artistic ode to zen cooking. It’s one of the rare places that highlights the traditional Buddhist cuisine known as shojin ryori, a celebration of vegetables served in a multicourse kaiseki. No two meals are ever the same, since the spread evolves with the season, although watching the kitchen construct and assemble each piece is always a delight. 125 East 39th Street, 2nd Floor (between Lexington and Park Avenues)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of Kajitsu

For Caribbean: Poción

Washington Heights may be the land of mofongo and tostones, but there’s only one lounge that’s dedicated to plant-based comida and cocktails. The lime-tinted bar puts its green touch on Caribbean tapas like empanadas filled with sofrito and faux ground beef, and ceviche sans seafood but tinged with all of the citrus and heat, while tropic sippers get splashed with tinctures like rosebuds and guanabana. Get ready to comer, beber, y ser feliz (Google Translate it!until last call. 704 West 177th Street (between Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of Pocion/Facebook

For Chinese: Spicy Moon

What’s lacking in meat is more than made up for in heat. Traditional Szechuan recipes are revamped for today’s eating habits inside this East Village crowd-pleaser, where dishes loaded with lip-tingling aromatics and plenty of chili oil won’t make you miss the ground beef and chicken. An additional perk for couch potatoes craving dan dan noodles and General Tso’s: The restaurant offers delivery. 328 East 6th Street (between First and Second Avenues)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of Spicy Moon

For French: Delice & Sarrasin

We know what you’re thinking: How can Parisians go vegan when there’s butter and cream in all of their food? Owner Christopher Caron, along with his mother and father, has figured out the impossible at the family’s West Village bistro-creperie hybrid. They’ve found substitutes for the standards—oyster mushrooms in lieu of snails, Brie made from macadamia nuts, coconut replacing the dairy in butter and whipped cream—while plating them in a way that’ll make you say, “Oui, oui!20 Christopher Street (between Gay Street and Waverly Place)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of Delice & Sarrasin

For Pizza: Double Zero

Matthew Kenney is not trying to re-create your beloved dollar slice. Instead, the plant-focused chef pays tribute to one of the city’s most iconic cheap eats with wood-fired pies that stay true to form—even though they’re dolloped with cashew-based mozzarella and macadamia ricotta. Not ready to venture away from your comfort zone? There’s also plenty of rustic pasta dishes to slurp up inside this East Village pizzeria. 65 Second Avenue (between East 3rd and 4th Streets)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of Double Zero

For Middle Eastern: The Chick Shop

Upgrade your sad desk lunch with something a little more exotic—and veggie loaded. All of your favorite Israeli street food is represented at this midtown East nook—hummus platters, sabich sandwiches, and falafel balls galore!—which explains why the eatery is consistently packed during the workweek. 805 Third Avenue (between East 49th and 50th Streets)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of the Chick Shop via Yelp

For Indonesian: Bali Kitchen

Indonesian cuisine is one of the least represented in New York’s food landscape, despite coming from the largest country in Southeast Asia. There’s just a dozen outlets in all five boroughs. Even more of a rarity is one focusing on vegetarian cooking, which this takeout joint in the East Village does particularly well. Skewers stacked with coconut rice cakes, potato fritters and vegetables floating in lemongrass broth, and custards tinged with jackfruit and coconut milk are perennial favorites among East Village vegans—and there’s even some meat-friendly options for your not-vegan crew. 128 East 4th Street (between First and Second Avenues)

For Mediterranean: Petisco Vegano

Perhaps it was a twist of fate that inspired the Cafe Petisco team to pivot to a full-blown vegan concept, but the gamble seems to have paid off. The corner-side Lower East Side gem still thrives on making Mediterranean mainstays, except with 100 percent vegan ingredients this time around. Seitan is given the shawarma treatment and stuffed inside freshly baked laffa; fried artichokes and roasted cauliflower are drizzled with spunky saffron aioli and lip-puckering lemon-harissa dressing; and vibrant green shakshuka includes tofu eggs and dollops of cashew cream. 189 East Broadway (at Jefferson Street)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo by Frances G./Yelp

For Dessert: Confectionery

While founders Lagusta Yearwood and Maresa Volante label their sweet shop “militantly vegan,” you won’t get that impression when you step inside this charming East Village boutique. New-fashioned delights like lemon curd–polenta squares, fruit- and flower-filled ganache tartlets, and speckled macarons utilize ingredients from the Hudson Valley, so you can feel extra-good knowing you’re eating well while also being a locavore. 440 East 9th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A)

manhattan vegan restaurants
Photo courtesy of Confectionary/Facebook

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