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Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

NYC's 38 best vegetarian and vegan restaurants

Plant-based options abound at affordable, casual spots and special occasion destinations.

Edited by
Will Gleason
Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
,
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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It has never been easier to find enticing plant-based dishes in NYC. Our vegan and vegetarian options go beyond veggie burgers, although NYC has plenty of those, too—and extends to special occasion destinations, exciting new spots and some of the best overall restaurants in the city. Sure, restaurants all over the ingredient spectrum have broadened their nutrient horizons over the years, but these are your best bets for a meat-free guarantee.

RECOMMENDED: See more of the best restaurants in NYC

Time Out Market New York
  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • DUMBO

With BKLYN Wild at Time Out Market, chef Ivy Stark is embracing a healthy plant-based menu that focuses on local ingredients that are actually local—as in, Brooklyn. This way, everyone can dig in, no matter their dietary restrictions. 

Best vegan and vegetarian restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • East Village

One of NYC’s best new restaurants of 2021, Cadence’s Executive Chef Shenarri Freeman’s southern fried lasagna, layered with pasta, pine nut ricotta, spinach and a red wine Beyond Meat Bolognese, is still one of the most excellent new items to hit menus in recent months. Her hearts of palm cakes with chickpeas and silken smoked grits are also hits, all served at a chef’s counter in a shimmering, narrow space. Outside seating is also available, as are beer, wine and cider. 

  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Downtown Brooklyn
Hidden in a windowless basement of the Hare Krishna temple in Downtown Brooklyn, Govinda’s—a nickname for the Hindu deity Krishna—is a volunteer-run Indian vegetarian (sometimes vegan) lunch counter that has been serving the International Society for Krishna Consciousness’ spiritual adepts and the general public since 1984. We love Govinda’s “good-for-the-soul” cooking and its nearly unbeatable prices.
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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

Fueled by the ambition to make people crave vegetables, Amanda Cohen revived her beloved East Village eatery on the Lower East Side with a ramped-up tasting menu and a space three times the size of the 18-seat original. Emblazoned with a mural of greenery by graffiti artist Noah McDonough, the sprawling dining room is focused on the open kitchen at its heart—complete with a chef’s counter—and a full bar along one wall. Much like the plates of Cohen’s past, each dish is anchored by one vegetable, but her retooled offerings layer multiple ingredients.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Queens

A vegetarian Indian food haven in Floral Park, Queens specializes in fast casual bites, savory snacks and colorful desserts. Usha is one of the best vegetarian destinations for generous portions, combo platters that allow you to try a little bit of everything and a menu that strongly demonstrates you don't need meat to have one of the city's most satisfying meals. It's just down the road from a Patel Brothers location, one of our favorite supermarket for hard-to-find Indian pantry staples.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first meat-free venture looks like the inside of Gwyneth Paltrow’s brain: The spacious room is a Goop-y stretch of all-white furniture, with pops of color (courtesy of the artisanal ceramic plateware), millennial-pink wall panels and boho banquettes. Each menu arrives with a chart that details the health benefits of various vegetables. Oh, and the food’s delicious, too.

  • Restaurants
  • Ethiopian
  • East Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

At this vegetarian Ethiopian charmer, you’ll get a spread of traditional bites, including red lentils in berbere sauce, mashed split peas simmered with tomato, and a chickpea stuffing with kale. Cool the heat of the spicier flavors with a strip of injera.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

Even with recent renovations giving the space a refresh, Buddha Bodai remains one of New York's most essential vegetarian and vegan-friendly dining destinations. Chef Dong has been doling out plant-based versions of Peking duck, turnip cake and vegetarian sesame chicken for over 45 years.

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NY Dosa
  • Restaurants
  • Street food
  • Greenwich Village

The namesake items are expertly-prepared at this vegan stand by beloved vendor Thiru “Dosa Man” Kumar. NY Dosa's special Pondicherry version, with spices, potatoes and a medley of vegetables, is also one of the best street foods in the world. 

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Bushwick

Francesca "Sol" Chaney’s eponymous casual vegan spot is food-security and community focused with a program in place to provide free meal kits for people in communities most affected by the pandemic. Sol Sips’ menu includes terrific takes on chopped cheese and BECs, plus BBQ jackfruit quesadillas and crispy fried okra. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

The seemingly endless options at Veggie Castle's buffet have attracted both repeat customers and more than 36,000 Instagram followers. The customization is unbeatable and, fortunately for visitors with hungry eyes, also especially photogenic, as evidenced by hundreds of tagged photos of vegan salt-baked fish, jerk chicken, wings and other alternative proteins.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

Toulouse-born model Christophe Caron felt that the simple delicacy of crepes from his native France has been lost in translation when reinterpreted overseas. Here, he folds paper-thin sheets of white flour and Brittany-sourced buckwheat on an imported Krampouz plate, yielding airy crepes as well as their savory cousins, the galette. Vegan fillings like housemade salted caramel and gingerbread nestle in the sweet roll-ups, while the latter comes in varieties like the Mr. Petrossian, with vegan smoked salmon and vegan shrimp enveloped in avocado puree.

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Crown Heights

Greedi Vegan's menu is influenced by soul food. We love its Greedi Soul Bowl (with a choice of the grain of the day or mac & cheese made vegan, topped with quinoa breaded "fried chicken," with choice of kale or spinach and sweet potatoes); grits 'n vegan beef gravy; and vegan crab cake sliders.

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HanGawi
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Midtown East
  • price 2 of 4

This lovely Korean vegetarian restaurant is comfortable and intimite. Carefully crafted dishes include leek pancakes, maitake mushroom fritters, a variety of dumplings, bibimbap and seasonal specials. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

This small, colorful vegan Mexican spot situated where Two Bridges, the Lower East Side, the West Village, Williamsburg and Chinatown meet is the mini-chain's original location. It now has four, and the food backs the buzz, with inventive plant-based spins on Mexican favorites. There's a "chorizo" burrito made with cauliflower rice, rainbow chard bowl with vegan cotija and crispy chayote fish taco made with a seafood-substitute. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Little Italy

Think your favorite family-run Italian deli—but 100% plant based! This charming deli counter offers a full menu of hot and cold sandwiches, all vegan, with options ranging from the classic smoked deli meats with faux cheese to hot bites like crispy calamari fashioned from hearts of palm. Pasta and deli case salads are offered as well. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Oasis is our no-fail, no-frills, trusty best friend for falafel platters and pita sandwiches. Beyond just damn good falafel, we appreciate the bounty of pickled veggies that would be worth ordering in its own right.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

The name is a little dad-jokey, but Avant Garden's 28-seat space—with a petrified-wood counter and raw tree branches above an open kitchen—is filled with serious plant-based plates. Pair a quartet of toasts topped with items like crimini mushrooms with the house made spaghetti and sip beer, wine and cider. 

  • Greenpoint

The Champs Diner team is known for their vegan comfort foods and Screamer's Pizzeria doesn't disappoint. Offering vegan pies like a Sausage & Mushroom (tomato sauce, housemade seitan sausage, cremini mushrooms and vegan cheese), the Old School (broccolini, almond ricotta and caramelized onions) and a make-your-own option, Screamer's makes clear that pizza doesn't need any animal products to feel decadent. 

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22. Jujube Tree


Many of the filling, all-veg lunch specials at this easy pan-Asian spot in Astoria hover around $11. Try dishes like smoked seitan teriyaki, yam and taro tempura, and stir-fried soba noodles, each combined with miso soup, brown rice, and spring rolls.

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  • Restaurants
  • Juice bars
  • Nolita
  • price 2 of 4

Heather Tierney—a former TONY Food & Drink writer—built her rep with buzzy spots Pulqueria and Apothéke, both noteworthy stops on the Fashion Week circuit. But the nightlife maven turned from witching-hour boozing to daylight revitalization via this hybrid juice bar and vegetarian "butcher" shop. Find witty variations on classic dishes, like a squash carbonara and cauliflower "T-bone." 

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Bread-peddling Belgian megachain Le Pain Quotidien is behind this apothecary-inspired wine bar, a sister to the Ghent, Belgium original. The marble countertop is intended to resemble a 19th-century pharmacy and the lab coat-clad bar staff pour unfiltered, biodynamic wines curated by Le Pain Quotidien founder Alain Coumont. The food menu is similarly organic and eschews animal products. Instead expect chefly “prescriptions” of plant-based bites.

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Peacefood Cafe
  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Upper West Side
  • price 1 of 4

This vegan gem, outfitted with soothing sage-colored walls, soft amber lighting and a buzzing, cheerily staffed counter, is a welcome addition to the less veggie-compliant Upper West Side. An earthy salad combines red quinoa, white beans, corn, red peppers, avocado and lime-mustard vinaigrette in one invigoratingly fresh starter. It provides a light counterpoint to the fried seitan medallion panini, a creation that teams a wheat-gluten cutlet with cashew-based “goat cheese,” peppery arugula and chopped tomatoes on a hunk of yeasty homemade focaccia. 

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Caravan of Dreams
  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

Vegetarians, vegans and raw-food fans unite! This longtime East Village hangout offers both regular meat-free dishes—grilled seitan nachos, black-bean chili, stir-fries—and “live foods” made from uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Naturally, there are loads of salads and some macrobiotically balanced quinoa-and-seaweed combos, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

After ambling past Chinatown shop windows displaying glistening ducks and flopping fish, vegetarians will be relieved to step into this meat-free haven—even if the dark-green carpeting and pale-green walls call to mind a corporate office. The menu offers excellent and convincing mock-meat dishes, including delicate “shrimp” dumplings (made with rice flour, yams and tofu), crispy, slightly sweet sesame “chicken” (deep-fried bean curd skin) and Peking “spareribs”—yams doused in a peppery sauce. Order a fresh fruit shake for dessert—kiwi is our favorite.

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • price 1 of 4

Named after a kung fu combat style from 1978 cult classic Five Deadly Venoms and papered in vintage martial-art movie posters from the ’70s and ’80s, the 14-seat restaurant serves up plant-based riffs on classics like a fried oyster-mushroom banh mi and a cremini-mushroom-lentil burger with house-made ketchup and cashew cheese. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Harlem
  • price 1 of 4


Mother-and-son team Brenda and Aaron Beener give soul food a vegan overhaul at this Harlem eatery, decorated with burgundy walls, maple banquettes and penny-tile floors. Under fake-out menu categories such as “Beef” and “Chicken,” find mock-meat creations including BBQ lotus-root “riblets” and Cajun-style “crawfish,” subbing burdock root for the sea critters. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

The historic red sauce joint that is just oozing New York charm like plant-based mozzarella offers an entirely vegan menu of old school Italian favorites. Pizza, pasta dishes, vegan meatballs, soups and desserts like cannoli and tiramisu are on the extensive menu. Even vegan parm is delivered to the table to make for an authentic experience. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Park Slope
  • price 1 of 4


Sip mango sake mojitos on the back patio at this Park Slope spot, which offers an extensive menu of pub grub staples and South American dishes made dairy-free and meatless. Burgers and nachos are served alongside traditional Colombian dishes like the variety plate bandeja paisa with seitan chorizo, soy cheese arepas, brown rice and beans and a fried plantain. 

 

  • Bars
  • Music venues
  • Gowanus

Public Records, which opened in March of 2019, is a music-focused cafe, record "hi-fi bar" and performance space. Beyond the beats, it is also a restaurant. The menu, conceptualized by Chef Mariela Alvarez, is also plant-forward. While the full restaurant menu at Public Records isn’t vegan, the daytime cafe is. Alvarez pairs her healthful cooking with her masters in architecture for well-composed, design-focused plating. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Lower East Side
  • price 1 of 4

Joya Carlton (the Butcher’s Daughter, Buvette) teams with Sara and Erica Kubersky (MooShoes, Modern Love Brooklyn) for this Lower East Side grocery store and delicatessen that’s exclusively stocked with vegan products. Along with prepackaged and pantry items, the deli counter offers house-made meat-free sandwiches, salads and pastries. End the meal on a sweet note with soft-serve sundaes featuring your choice of dairy-free ice cream (vanilla, chocolate) and toppings like a coconut-chocolate Magic Shell and puffed chickpeas. 

  • Restaurants
  • Israeli
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

At her falafel and smoothie bar, Einat Admony seasons chickpea batter three ways: traditional (with parsley and cilantro), sweet (with roasted red pepper) and spicy (with Tunisian spices and garlic). She pairs the terrific falafel with tasty salads like marinated beets, spicy Moroccan carrot salad or baba ghanoush, and three dipping sauces. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Crêperies
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

This unassuming cozy bilevel space in Williamsburg is perfect for luxuriating on a cold afternoon. Known as the city’s first 100% plant-based crepe shop, Little Choc offers sweet and savory crepes (galettes), plus juices, tea pots and more. Better yet, everything is gluten-free. 

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