New York City has a diverse and constantly changing food scene, especially for those searching for delicious plant-based options. In 2024, the city is bursting with excellent vegan and vegetarian restaurants, all of which I have personally tried and tested.
From cozy cafes with the best vegan pastries to relaxed restaurants that offer new twists on vegetables, I’m taking you on a journey through the 13 best plant-based spots in NYC.
Whether you are a committed vegan, an occasional vegetarian, or just curious about meat-free eating, these places will satisfy your cravings. Join me for a culinary tour of the city’s vibrant spots!
Let’s dive into my favorite breakfast spots! As an Italian, I grew up enjoying cornettos for breakfast, so adapting to New York’s breakfast scene was quite a shift. It might seem trivial, but finding a classic Italian breakfast in New York isn’t as simple as expected.
The breakfast habits in New York are different from what I was used to in Italy. For instance, it’s uncommon to come across a plant-based cornetto. Of course, there’s always the option for a savory breakfast, like a bagel with cream cheese, which is more typical in New York. The best part is that this list caters to everyone’s taste buds.
Terms Of Endearment
First off, let’s talk about Terms Of Endearment. This place is a bakery-cafe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It opened in 2019 and quickly became famous for its incredible sweets, sandwiches, croissants, and coffee.
The first time I tried one of their desserts, I was absolutely stunned. They might be the best plant-based sweets I’ve ever tasted.
Their Pain Au Chocolat was better than any I had in Paris years ago—and I’m talking about the ones with milk and eggs!
They also have some savory options that are totally worth trying. I’d recommend the ham and cheese stuffed croissant. It reminded me so much of the ham and cheese pizza I used to eat as a kid. Seriously delicious.
Erin McKenna’s Bakery
For breakfast, another place I’d suggest is Erin McKenna’s Bakery. It’s a tiny bakery in the Lower East Side. They make everything gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free. Since its opening in 2005, the bakery has been dedicated to creating delicious treats suitable for people with dietary restrictions, such as vegans and those with intolerances.
Their sweets are absolutely delicious. I remember the first time I tried one of their muffins. I wasn’t even vegan yet, but I had no idea it was vegan and gluten-free; that’s how good it was.
Over time, I’ve tried different items from their menu, but my absolute favorites are the cupcakes. I’ve tried several flavors, and they’re all exceptional.
Tompkins Square Bagels
Another breakfast recommendation is Tompkins Square Bagels.
A classic New York breakfast is the Everything Bagel with cream cheese. The Everything Bagel is a spiced bagel that originated in New York State. The recipe varies from place to place but commonly includes garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds on top.
The bagel is often available in a vegan version since the original recipe is vegan, but finding vegan cream cheese isn’t as obvious.
Tompkins Square Bagels is famous for its Everything Bagels. They offer ten different types of tofu-based cream cheese and even vegan butter.
I tried the Everything Bagel with classic tofu cheese and absolutely loved it. It was incredible and much better than many non-vegan bagels I’ve had.
Is a trip to New York complete without a Saturday or Sunday morning brunch? Technically, yes, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it.
Maybe it’s just my nostalgia for those “Gossip Girl” episodes from 2007. Still, one thing I love doing in New York is strolling around and grabbing brunch around 11:30 on the weekends.
One of my go-to places for brunch is Peacefood. It’s a vegan café in New York with two locations: one in the Upper West Side and the other in Greenwich Village.
They offer an excellent variety of organic and locally sourced products whenever possible. The menu includes options like salads, soups, smoothies, and juices. They also offer sandwiches with homemade bread and baked goods that make it great for lunch or dinner, but I particularly enjoy their brunch.
I’ve tried several items from their menu, including The Other Caesar, a salad with amazing smoked tempeh bacon. They also had a special sandwich of the day that was out of this world. Additionally, I’m a massive fan of their Chicken Tenders, which are outstanding when eaten with the sauce.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. They have a vegan version of the classic New York Cheesecake that is worth trying.
Located in Brooklyn, this vegan diner will brighten your day. I visited on a rainy Sunday and was pleasantly surprised by their vegan versions of classic diner foods.
I ordered the American breakfast with bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and pancakes.
The seitan bacon was pretty good, and the hash browns were thinly sliced and perfectly pan-fried. The eggs were made with scrambled tofu, but there was also a Just Egg option for those who prefer an egg substitute. The pancakes were also delicious, but the sausage really blew me away. I don’t know what fake meat they use, but it was incredible.
I highly recommend Ro’s Diner!
One thing you’ve got to try in New York is a burger. It’s a unique experience. And while there are plenty of great vegan burgers around, there are two spots I absolutely recommend you check out.
First up, Jerrel’s Burger. It started as a late-night spot for hungry vegans.
I tried their Lil’ BETR BURGER and Loaded Chili Fries; they tasted terrific. The burger was juicy, flavorful, and paired with a special sauce. The patty is made of the Impossible Burger, which they season in-house. The chili that came with the fries was delicious, and I might even try the bowl of chili next time I visit.
I visited their SoHo location, where you can order and eat on the street or take away. They have another location in New Jersey.
As I mentioned, a big plus for this place is that it stays open late.
One of the best things about Jerrel’s Burger is that they stay open late. New York is known as the city that never sleeps, but finding a place to eat after 8:30 PM can be challenging. This place was initially a late-night spot, so they stay open every day until 1 AM and on Saturdays until 4 AM, which is quite impressive for the plant-based food scene in New York!
Another place I love is Neat Burger. It’s an English vegan junk food chain owned by Lewis Hamilton. Last year, they opened their first location in SoHo, New York, and I immediately tried it. I was amazed by how delicious the food tasted.
I tried several items on the menu, but the BBQ Stack and cheese fries were my favorites. The burger was made with their homemade fake meat patty, an onion ring, cheese, pickles, tomato, bacon, and BBQ sauce. It was challenging to pick a favorite ingredient because they all tasted good. Still, it was one of the best burgers I have ever tried. The bacon was incredibly unique and unlike anything I had tasted before.
Another highlight for me was the cheese fries. As someone who loves cheese fries, I was thrilled to be able to enjoy them vegan-style. The experience was fantastic.
I’ve got three different spots to recommend for a quick lunch.
One of my favorite places to grab a quick lunch is Orchard Grocer, a 100% vegan deli located in the Lower East Side. They offer a variety of sandwiches, and out of the ones I’ve tried, The Miles is the absolute best. It’s a vegan savory croissant filled with Just Egg omelette, cheese, and bacon. The taste is simply incredible!
Besides their sandwiches, Orchard Grocer is also known for their vegan soft serve, which is similar to the McFlurry from McDonald’s. Additionally, it’s a grocery store where you can find everything from frozen products to packaged snacks.
Very Fresh Noodles
One of my favorite spots in New York City is Very Fresh Noodles. It’s located inside Chelsea Market, which is a large food market. This place is all about noodles, and although they have a limited menu with only two vegan options, trust me, it’s worth it.
My personal favorite is the Spicy Vegan Noodles with Mock Duck. It’s basically spicy noodles with mock duck. I can’t even begin to describe how delicious they are. They’re the best noodles I’ve ever had, and I occasionally dream about them. If you are in New York City, you must visit this place.
However, Chelsea Market and Very Fresh Noodles are always crowded, even on weekdays. So, expect to wait in line. Also, since finding a free table is not easy, I suggest taking your noodles and eating in a nearby park if the weather allows it. There’s a lovely little park called 14th Street Park, just a minute walk from Chelsea Market, where you can sit at little tables and chairs and enjoy your veggie noodles. You’ll thank me later!
There’s a lunch spot I really enjoy called Beatnic. It’s an entirely vegan fast food restaurant with healthier options than other vegan fast foods. I’ve tried several dishes, and I would recommend the jackfruit sandwich, which is made to taste like chicken, and the spinach and cheese dip with chips. Beatnic has several locations throughout New York, making it a convenient option.
I had a fantastic dinner experience at Jajaja, a Mexican restaurant with multiple locations in New York. I visited their Williamsburg location, a delightful and chic place perfect for a romantic date. What sets them apart is their entirely plant-based Mexican cuisine. I tried their absolutely delicious jackfruit tacos. However, the real star of the meal was their nachos, which were simply fantastic. I highly recommend trying multiple dishes and sharing with others, as everything was genuinely worth it.
For those who enjoy a good drink, Jajaja serves terrific cocktails. Even though I don’t drink alcohol, I tried their mocktail and really enjoyed it.
One of my favorite places to eat is Spicy Moon, a 100% vegan Chinese restaurant. I was amazed when I first walked into Spicy Moon in the West Village. I didn’t expect such an ambiance from a vegan Chinese restaurant. The lighting was dimmed, Lizzo’s songs played loudly, and colorful lights twinkled. The food was not only delicious and spicy but also authentic. It’s a fantastic place, and I highly recommend it for the food and ambiance. It’s especially suitable for celebrating something special, such as a birthday or an anniversary.
Blossom is one of my favorite places to have dinner in New York City. The menu there is irresistible and may make you want to try it all. If you’re dining with someone, I recommend sharing multiple dishes to sample a variety of flavors.
My favorites are the Seitan Piccata, a seitan roast served with stewed kale and mashed potatoes, and the nachos. While Blossom’s nachos are great, I have to admit that the nachos at Jajaja are even better.
During my last visit, I visited their Columbus Avenue location, Blossom on Columbus. It is a beautiful and spacious place with an elegant ambiance. A bar section also serves local and organic wines and beers.
And there you have it, my personal guide to the best vegan eats in New York City, updated as of January 2024. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic brunch, craving an authentic Mexican dinner, or looking for the best vegan burger in town, NYC’s diverse food scene has got you covered.
Each spot I mentioned offers something unique, from the atmosphere to the flavors, ensuring your dining experiences are as memorable as they are delicious. Don’t forget to leave some room for those irresistible vegan desserts!