It was time.
Time, that is, to gather all of our favorite vegan and vegan-ish places in and around the city, and put them all in one handy place!
I still marvel at the fact that Chelsea is a vegan. This is the same young woman, who – as a young girl – ate one vegetable (red peppers), one protein (tuna salad) and “maybe” 2 or 3 different fruits. Her restaurant rotation consisted of pasta with butter and cheese, chicken fingers and chicken Caesar salad.
So you could imagine my concern when I heard she was becoming a vegan. What on earth would she eat now??
But she surprised me. She actually started to expand her food horizons – into the “exotic” world of soups! Beans! Tofu! Things I could have NEVER imagined her eating – much less enjoying with gusto.
But she did.
Except now, instead of looking for restaurants that offered plain pasta, we needed to find places that served up dishes that catered to a non-meat, non-dairy diet. And in the beginning there were more than a few occasions where – due to lack of planning – she wound up eating french fries and a garden salad for dinner.
But since she graduated college – and moved into the city full-time – we’ve stepped up our game and discovered some fabulous eateries, serving up inventive and delicious vegan meals and treats. This list is clearly just a small sampling – and I’ll add to it as we make new discoveries. But for now, take a look (all pictures from my Instagram)!
The Deal: As I shared in my (long overdue) doughnut round-up last year, this is NYC’s first all-vegan doughnut shop. But you’d never know it. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients and an ever-changing menu mean multiple trips throughout the year. For research.
The Deal: “Everything is vegetarian a lot is accidentally vegan just ask!”. A small, ever-changing menu of incredibly delicious food that is made from real ingredients that are elevated to astronomical levels of flavor. It’s like that immediate rush you get when eating fast food, with none of the immediate remorse that follows. The space is tiny and tiled, with a few flip-up desks for seating (great review here).
The Deal: Farm-to-table, gluten-free pizzas, served in the most cozy, charming space in the West Village. Most pizzas are made with traditional mozzarella and other cheeses, but vegan cheese can be substituted and there is a slew of delicious, entree-worthy salads too (the founder is a particularly fascinating subject).
The Deal: A vegan food truck (check website and social channels for up-to-date times and locations), “born out of a vision to bring vegan food to street, and make it approachable and even craveable to the mainstream non-veg eater, as well as die hard vegans like ourselves”. Lines are reliably around the block every time I’ve caught sight of them.
The Deal: A chef-driven, totally vegan menu comprised of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. When you’re gathering up a box of desserts to take home after dinner, you know you’re experiencing the real deal.
The Love: I LOVE the avocado toast, as well as the ginormous (and super crispy) chocolate chip cookies. Chels is a fan of the kale caesar salad, mac and cheese, guac burger, and their these-can’t-possibly-be-vegan cupcakes. (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)
Erin McKenna’s Bakery (formerly Babycakes)
The Deal: A legit bakery that is (drumroll): gluten-, wheat-, soy-, dairy-, egg- and refined-sugar free. In addition to being vegan AND kosher. The goal is “to make eating vegan and gluten-free fun and delicious”.
The Butcher’s Daughter
The Deal: I devoted an entire post to this lovely place few years ago. It was – and remains – one of our favorite places to dine. The Butcher’s Daughter is a vegetarian (and mostly vegan) cafe, juice bar and “vegetable slaughterhouse”. They also make one of the best avocado toasts in the city.
Mother of Pearl
The Deal: A groovy Polynesian-themed restaurant that happens to serve up a 100% vegan menu and some VERY fun cocktails.
The Love: TBH, Chels suggested this place for this drink:
No surprise for those of you who know my shark-obsessed girl (who doesn’t drink bourbon, which is how I got roped into ordering). But it turned out to be a fabulous vegan find. We had Conor with us and ordered almost everything on the menu. And it’s all “the love”. (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)
The Deal: A charming cafe on the Upper East Side (dangerously close to where Chelsea lives), serving up vegan baked goods and desserts that are upscale, delicious and HEALTHY: “these days you don’t need to be hippie to be healthy!”.
The Deal: Plant-based, vegan and organic pizza, wine and ice cream, from the creative mind of Matthew Kenney.
The Love: We were a party of four – and ordered four pizzas to share. And each of us had our fave, though the clear winner was the white pizza – topped with roasted corn, garlic macadamia ricotta, maitake mushroom and baby kale. (Facebook/Instagram)
Little Choc Apothecary
The Deal: NYC’s first vegan, gluten-free creperie. Using the best possible ingredients, many of which are made in-house – including the coconut and almond milks, seitan, “Newtella”, jams and syrups.
The Deal: Chelsea and I discovered Van Leeuwen years ago, when they were just a pretty yellow truck driving around the city, serving up some of the best ice cream we’d ever tasted. You might be familiar with them from one of their now several shops scattered across Brooklyn and Manhattan, but you might NOT know that they make the best vegan ice cream too. Almost a dozen flavors (plus an occasional special), and you would truly never know that it’s free of eggs and dairy.
As with all of my round-ups, this is by no means complete. Of course I will continue to add new discoveries, and would love to know what you think should be included (and check out my Pinterest board for all of my fave places in NYC!)!