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100 best New York restaurants: Vegetarian food

Vegetarian diners in NYC don't have to subsist on salad alone: Some of the best New York restaurants offer intriguing and delicious meatless menus.


100 best New York restaurants: Pure Food and Wine


100 best New York restaurants: Kajitsu

Vegetarian food isn’t hard to come by in New York—if you know where to look. This list reflects the best New York restaurants that take pride in their meat-free menus, from Indian buffets to high-concept cooking. Did we miss your favorite vegetarian or vegan restaurant in New York? Join the conversation in the comments.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of 100 best New York restaurants

Pure Food and Wine

The dishes delivered to your table—whether out on the leafy patio or inside the chic red-walled dining room—are minor miracles, not only because they look as gorgeous as they taste, but because they come from a kitchen that has no stove. Everything at Pure is raw and vegan—from the Thai lettuce wraps to the lasagna, a rich stack of zucchini, pesto and creamy “cheese” made from cashews. Wines, most of them organic, are superb, as are the desserts— especially the confoundingly creamy tiramisu.

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Critics' pick

Diners often compare eating great food to a religious experience, but at Kajitsu—possibly New York's only kaiseki restaurant to offer the centuries-old Zen Buddhist vegetarian cuisine known as shojin, from which modern-day Japanese cooking is thought to have developed—there's something literal in the restaurant's connection to the divine. The sparse, hushed interior suggests a reverence for nature that is also expressed in the food. For those accustomed to bold flavors, the preparations can at first seem understated to a fault. But with each jewellike course, the meal emerges as an artful meditation on simplicity and seasonality. A clear soup with white yam harbors grassy yomogi (Japanese mugwort) paste; a mochi orb, speckled with bits of crisp lotus root, contrasts nicely with a dab of preserved-plum sauce; and wedges of grilled fresh bamboo shoots leaning against their own husks are mildly sweet. Though nothing we ate shouted for attention, all the subtleties added up to a memorable, if not exactly sacred, meal.

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Murray Hill