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Photograph: Evan Sung

The 36 best vegetarian restaurants in NYC

Including daal and falafel, this is the final word on the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in NYC

Written by
Time Out New York contributors
,
Bao Ong
&
Christina Izzo
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One thing is for sure, it's never been easier to find exciting plant-based dishes in New York. Our options go beyond veggie burgers, although NYC has plenty of those, too—we’re talking about cheerfully cheap falafel joints and tapas barsgreat takeout and delivery outfits and some of the city’s best Indian restaurants. Eating at these restaurants doesn't have to be dogmatic or leave you feeling hungry (we won't point you toward the menus that claim to be veggie-friendly with nothing more than a measly side salad). Rather, these are the best restaurants in NYC that won't leave you asking, "Where's the beef?" 

RECOMMENDED: See more of the best restaurants in NYC

A vegan/vegetarian concept we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

  • 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
  • Hamburgers
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

In a white-tiled slip of an East Village eatery, former James Beard Award-winning Del Posto pastry great and erstwhile punk-rock drummer Brooks Headley gives his uberpopular veggie burger pop-up the brick-and-mortar treatment, offering the namesake patty, yuba verde sandwich, vegetarian sloppy joes and some of the city's most excellent desserts.

  • 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
  • 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
  • Vegan
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

Even with recent renovations giving the space a facelift, 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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  • Restaurants
  • Israeli
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

Falafel doesn’t usually come in different flavors—unless it’s made by an Israel-born chef who’s worked under Bobby Flay. 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. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Murray Hill
  • price 3 of 4

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. But with each jewel-like course, the meal emerges as an artful meditation on simplicity and seasonality. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Bushwick

Run by Francesca "Sol" Chaney, this casual vegan spot in the heart of Bushwick is dedicated to makeing plant-based eating affordable and accessible not just to the neighborhood's newcomers, but also to lower-income community members who are often left out of the white-dominated vegan conversation. This is achieved not only through fair pricing, but also via a delicious take on a bacon, egg and cheese and a tamarind jack fruit panini. 

  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

While few articles appear when Googling this vegan restaurant, the buffet isn't a secret to its over 32,000 Instagram followers and hungry fans who make the trip for owner Viburt Bernard's Caribbean fare. Veggie Castle's buffet is not only an opportunity for more dining options sans meat, but a chance for creativity. Customers illustrate the breadth of Veggie Castle's options and endless customization potential with hundreds of tagged photos of vegan salt-baked fish, jerk chicken, wings and other mock proteins, joined by delicious sides like collards, mac 'n cheese and pigeon peas. Like a real New York joint, they even have chopped cheese sandwiches (made with meat and cheese alternatives, of course). 

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

Vegans are mindful about what they put in their bodies—aren’t you? How refreshing, then, that Ladybird serves some vegan drunk food items, like tempura fried broccoli, green pea fritters and grilled cheese with tomato soup. Everyone deserves to embrace their sloppy, slurred side. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Lower East Side
  • price 3 of 4

At Contra, young guns Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske draw inspiration from Paris’s néo-bistrot movement, which champions affordable set menus served in casual spaces. While the excellent restaurant is most known for its regular tasting menu, the vegetarian procession is incredibly underrated. 

  • 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.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Gowanus

Public Records, which opened in March 2019, is a music-focused cafe, record "hi-fi bar" and performance space that hopes to function less like a traditional club and more like a community space for the Gowanus neighborhood. Here, there’s an excellent sound system and an ideal space for dancing; music programming is overseen by partner and producer Francis Harris of the local record labels Scissor & Thread and Kingdoms. But beyond the beats, Public Records is also opens as a café in the morning, offering a seated menu that continues into the night with dinner. The menu, conceptualized by Chef Mariela Alvarez, is entirely vegan, a nod to the space's former life as an ASPCA headquarters. Alvarez pairs her healthful cooking with her masters in architecture for well-composed, design-focused plating. 

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Crown Heights

Despite what the name suggests, Greedi Vegan is all about inclusivity. Like many restaurants in Crown Heights, the menu is influenced by soul food, but with a modern spin, allowing everyone to take part, no matter one's dietary restrictions. We love their 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

Be sure your socks are looking good: You’ll have to surrender your shoes upon entering this Korean vegetarian’s paradise. Carefully crafted dishes include thin leek, kimchi, mushroom and mung-bean pancakes, and maitake mushrooms sautéed with spinach.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

This small, colorful vegan Mexican spot at the meeting point for Two Bridges, the Lower East Side and Chinatown could be written off as Instagram influencer bait. But 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
  • Mediterranean
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

These days, Williamsburg is a circus of high-rises and upscale eateries. In one of the most gentrified neighborhoods in Brooklyn it's becoming harder and harder to find affordable vegetarian bites. Oasis is our no-fail, no-frills, trusty best friend for falafel platters and pita sandwiches. Beyond just damn good falafel, we really appreciate the bounty of pickled veggies that don't feel like an afterthought or filler.

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

The name is worthy of an eye roll, but dad-joke hokeyness is graciously absent elsewhere at Avant Garden, a restaurant detour for owner Ravi Derossi, whose personal brand of New York locales had heretofore been imbued with a Baz Luhrmann loucheness. Decadence is dialed down in the 28-seat space—a petrified-wood counter forsakes velvet trimmings and camp; raw tree branches hang above an open kitchen; and the restaurant is painted in muted shades of earth—but there are indulgences to be had on the plate.

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  • 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 byproducts to feel decadent. 

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

The vegan movement is expanding beyond just restaurants, as grocers, butchers and deli counters are starting to go meatless. 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: The Bowery sandwich consists of turmeric-tofu egg, tempeh bacon and Chao cheese on a potato roll, while the Marlowe is a veg-focused Reuben stuffed with beet-brined seitan, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on marble rye. 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. 

24. Jujube Tree


Many of the filling, all-veg lunch specials at this 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-loving Belgian megachain Le Pain Quotidien is behind this apothecary-inspired wine bar, a sister to the Ghent, Belgium original. From a marble countertop—fixed to resemble a 19th-century pharmacy—lab coat-clad bar staff pour unfiltered, biodynamic wines curated by Le Pain Quotidien founder Alain Coumont. The food menu is similarly organic and boasts no animal products. Instead expect chefly “prescriptions” such as the Tibetan Mama (brown rice, steamed greens and spicy kimchi in a peanut-curry sauce).

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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 only slightly 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. 

NY Dosa
  • Restaurants
  • Street food
  • Greenwich Village

The light, savory South Indian crepes known as dosas, stuffed with curried potatoes and vegetables, are well-prepared at this vegan stand by beloved vendor Thiru “Dosa Man” Kumar.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Upper West Side

On the eclectic vegan menu at this spin-off of Chelsea’s Blossom, find bites like jackfruit tacos, seitan piccata and tofu Benedicts. Try the not-too-sweet chocolate ganache for a delicious end to your meal. Now that’s what we call well-rounded.

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

Vegetarians, vegans and raw-foodists, 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. In place of dessert, order a fresh fruit shake—kiwi is our favorite.

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  • 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. 

  • 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. 

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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. 

 

  • 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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