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The best vegetarian restaurants in NYC

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

Photograph: Evan Sung
By Emma Orlow and Time Out New York contributors |
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One thing is for sure, it's never been easier to find exciting plant-based dishes in New York. But it’s more than just veggie burgers, although NYC has plenty of those, too—we’re talking about falafel joints and tapas bars and some of the city’s best Indian restaurants (even some of the best Manhattan restaurants made the list). We're tired of hearing the narrative that vegetarian and vegan food is a trend: even though it may seem that way on your Instagram feed, many non-western cuisines have been experimenting with and perfecting satisfying meatless dishes for centuries and its time they get their proper due.

Ethical eating at these restaurants doesn't have to be dogmatic or leave you feeling hungry (although so often with many menus' only veggie-friendly option being a measley side salad, it can feel that way): from high-concept cooking to comfort foods, there are the best restaurants in NYC that won't have you asking, "where's the meat?" 

RECOMMENDED: See more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best vegan and vegetarian restaurants

1
Superiority Burger
Photograph: Courtesy Emily Andrews
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Superiority Burger

icon-location-pin East Village

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.

2
Combination plate at Bunna Cafe
Restaurants, Ethiopian

Bunna Cafe

icon-location-pin Central Brooklyn

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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Photograph: Evan Sung
Restaurants, Vegetarian

Dirt Candy

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

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.

4
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Alisha S.
Restaurants, Indian

Usha Foods

icon-location-pin 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 Patel Brothers, one of our favorite supermarket for hard-to-find Indian pantry staples.

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5
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ali C.
Restaurants, Vegan

Buddha Bodai

icon-location-pin Chinatown

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 incredibly convincing plant-based versions of peking duck, turnip cake and vegetarian sesame chicken for over 45 years.

6
NIX yukon potato fry bread
Restaurants, Vegetarian

Nix

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

While you can depend on a meatless meal at Nix—the first fully veg-only restaurant from John Fraser, who dipped his toe in the genre with Meatless Mondays at Michelin-starred Dovetail and his blogger-luring rotisserie beets at Narcissa—there are no #cleaneating diatribes to be found at the Cali-chic Union Square restaurant. 

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7
Samesa
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Samesa

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Brothers Max and Eli Sussman are ones to watch: after pop-ups led them to opening a brick-and-mortar in South Williamsburg, they teamed up with Grimm Taproom to lead the brewery's food program. Now they've launched a new venture at Essex Street Market where they serve the most convincing meat replacements we've ever had, in the form of a delicious vegan shawarma (available only at that location).

8
ABCV
Restaurants, Vegetarian

ABCV

icon-location-pin Gramercy & Flatiron

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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9
Beyond Sushi
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Garrett Zeigler
Restaurants, Japanese

Beyond Sushi

icon-location-pin Gramercy & Flatiron

Thanks to a Shark Tank deal, they've been able to evolve the vegan concept beyond only sushi, opening a table-service, sit-down versions. We were initially  skeptical that a menu we'd come to love for healthy on-the-go sushi, would be somewhere we'd make dinner reservations. But the new menu keeps crowd favorites, as the Spicy Mang, while adding whimsical seasonally focused offerings and artful plating—garlic bread served in a planter and lurid beet dumplings—that were a joy to savor the whole way through. The dinner menu changes seasonally, so keep an eye out for new offerings. 

10
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Kayla B.
Restaurants, Vegan

Sol Sips

icon-location-pin Bushwick

Run by Francesca "Sol" Chaney, this casual vegan spot in the heart of Bushwick is dedicated to make plant-based eating affordable and accessible not just to the neighborhood's newcomers but rather, lower-income community members who are often left out of the white-dominated vegan conversation. Chaney's activism is not only achieved through fair pricing, a weekend brunch menu that is sliding scale (diners by based on their income level and what they can afford) but also through delicious versions of a bacon, egg and cheese or a tamarind jack fruit panini. 

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11
Ladybird
Photograph: Courtesy Ladybird
Restaurants, Vegan

Ladybird

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

Vegans are mindful about what they put in their bodies—aren’t you? How refreshing, then, that Ladybird serves what can only be called vegan drunk food: late-night breaded mac-and-cheese balls meant to be hand-dipped in excellent buffalo sauce or nondairy ranch dressing. Everyone deserves to embrace their sloppy, slurred side. Beyond late-night, the avocado plate—a textural and flavorful winner with seaweed, black garlic ponzu and fried avocado croquettes atop fanned raw avocado—is due beatification as the patron saint of conversion to veganism. Beware the heat from the spiced broccoli in the artichoke-chardonnay fondue platter!

12
Photograph: Courtesy Spicy Moon
Restaurants, Chinese

Spicy Moon

icon-location-pin East Village

This East Village spot serves 100% vegan Szechuan favorites such as dan dan noodles made with Impossible™ meat, mapo tofu and General Tso's mushroom.

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13
Taim
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Israeli

Taïm

icon-location-pin West Village

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. 

14
Contra
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Contra

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

With 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 their regular tasting menu, their vegetarian procession is incredibly underrated. 

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15
Public Records
Photograph: Cody Guilfoyle
Bars, Lounges

Public Records

icon-location-pin 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. 

16
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Dolores S.
Restaurants, Vegetarian

XYST NYC

icon-location-pin Flatiron

Enjoy some of the city's most exciting vegan bitescashew haloumi with z'aatar, smoked beets with cornichon and horseradish cream, or the lemon meringue—at Matthew Kenney's experimental fine dining establishment in Flatiron.

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Sans
Photograph: Courtesy Sans
Restaurants, Vegan

Sans

icon-location-pin Carroll Gardens

The EMP and Nomad alum Champ Jones (who might have the best name we’ve heard), is serving elevated vegan comfort food—like lasagna with bechamel and foam or a “TV dinner” complete with a mushroom-stuffing meatloaf and sides of peas, carrots and pomme puree.

18
Photograph: Courtesy Ag.Pravda Collective/Raoul Beltrame
Restaurants, Italian

Osteria 57

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

While this charming and romantic cavernous restaurant serves fish, it's one of New York's most accomodating vegetarian-menus, with many items also able to be made vegan. Osteria 57 opened in 2017 from restauranteur, Emanuele Nigro who wanted to use the platform to focus on sustainability that didn't feel dogmatic. Cacio e pepe pasta, warm baked artichokes and sauteed snap peas with mint and ricotta salata are just some of the Italian space's options. 

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19
Photograph: Courtesy of Greedi Vegan
Restaurants, Vegan

Greedi Vegan

icon-location-pin 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.

20
Hangawi
Restaurants, Korean

Hangawi

icon-location-pin Midtown West

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. The scene is serene, but the Zen detachment may not suit all tastes—the quiet waitstaff can seem as chilly as the delicious dessert of chocolate-tofu ice cream.

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21
Eggplant with truffles at Kajitsu
Restaurants, Japanese

Kajitsu

icon-location-pin Murray Hill

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

22
Jajaja
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Carolina S.
Restaurants, Mexican

Jajaja Plantas Mexicana

icon-location-pin Chinatown

This small, but colorful vegan Mexican spot at the meeting point for Two Bridges, the Lower East Side and Chinatown could easily be cast off as somewhere where gaggles of Instagram influencers hangout. But the food can back it up, 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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23
Oasis
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Anthony P.
Restaurants, Central Asian

Oasis

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

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.

24
Avant Garden
Restaurants, Vegan

Avant Garden

icon-location-pin East Village

The name is definitely worthy of an eye roll, but dad-joke hokeyness is graciously absent elsewhere at Avant Garden, a virtuous vegan-restaurant detour for owner Ravi Derossi, whose personal brand of New York locales have 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 tiki 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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25
Photograph: Yelp/ Kate S.

Screamer's Pizzeria

icon-location-pin Greenpoint

The Champs Diner team is known for their vegan comfort foods and Screamer's Pizzeria doesn't disappoint. Offering vegan pies such as 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 the drunk food doesn't only need any animal byproducts to feel decadent. 

26
Photograph: Courtesy Mission Chinese Bushwick
Restaurants, American creative

Mission Chinese Bushwick

icon-location-pin Bushwick

At Danny Bowien's first venture into Brooklyn, his Bushwick version of Mission Chinese at the bottom of the performance space Elsewhere offers his greatist hits, a matrix-style interior and a first-time vegan section of the menu that all can enjoy: pea shoots with kabocha, pumpkin seeds and salted chilis; vegan thrice-cooked bacon with Shanghai rice cakes, bitter melon and sweet tofu skin; kung pao cauliflower; and green tea noodles, are among many other playful options.

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27
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Michael W.
Restaurants, Vegan

Champs Diner

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Bushwick's favorite diner is all vegan with dishes like the "hippie hash," a po boy salad (sans seafood) and a roster of decadent milkshakes made with dairy alternatives. 

28
Candle 79
Photograph: Kate Mathis
Restaurants, Vegan

Candle 79

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

This upscale vegetarian spot is ideal for anyone who loves food or animals. The intimate, bi-level townhouse possesses an ambience that gourmet-minded vegetarians crave but rarely encounter. Best is the food itself—fresh, creative and considerate (a separate gluten-free menu keeps celiacs sated). Delectable dishes include the seitan piccata, crisp medallions in a light bath of lemon butter and capers, and the saffron-flavored paella, studded with seitan sausage and seasonal veggies. Service is knowledgeable and attentive, and the desserts—one layers chocolate and peanut butter mousse inside a dark chocolate shell—impossibly rich.

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IMG_3613
Restaurants, Trucks

The Cinnamon Snail

icon-location-pin Midtown West

From this roving truck, self-taught chef Adam Sobel dispatches vegan dishes like Korean barbecue seitan and acclaimed desserts including fig pancakes and a crème brulee doughnut.

30
by CHLOE.
Restaurants, Vegan

by CHLOE.

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

The entirely plant-based concept in the heart of Greenwich Village, offers meat- and dairy-free grab n' go treats, cold-pressed juices and a veggie burger (tempeh-lentil-chia-walnut with a potato bun). The takeout area offers matcha kelp noodles in cashew cream sauce, brunch with quinoa hash browns and organic scrambled tofu and dessert with vegan ice creams (roasted banana bourbon kale cookies).

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31
Restaurants, Vegan

Candle Café

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

Train budding vegans at this Upper East Side favorite. If they’re not quite ready to tackle baked tempeh with pumpkin-seed–guajillo sauce, suggest easy-to-eat grilled seitan skewers or the chipotle tofu club with vegan mayo and balsamic-drizzled mesclun salad.

32
Photograph: Noah Fecks
Restaurants, Vegan

BKLYN Wild - Time Out Market

icon-location-pin DUMBO

For her concept exclusive to the Time Out Market, chef Ivy Stark has designed a menu that highlights her background in Mexican cooking with vegan offerings such as a cauliflower quesadilla and a quiona bowl with plantains, black beans and avocado.  

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Andrew Izaguirre
Restaurants, Cafés

Tamra Teahouse

icon-location-pin Crown Heights

With collective experience from prior jobs at Saltie, Milk Bar, Pok Pok, and Lucky Bee, the owners pair their culinary training with Afro-Asian inflections: curry is the common ground. We recommend the vegetarian and vegan-friendly butternut squash curry served with corn, potatoes served with jasmine rice, chadon beni and daikon pickles.

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Seitan panino; Photographs: Jolie Ruben
Restaurants, Vegan

Peacefood Cafe

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

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 panino, 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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35
<p>Scones at Orchard Grocer</p>
Restaurants, Delis

Orchard Grocer

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

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. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Chez Alex
Restaurants, Vegan

Chez Alex

icon-location-pin Bedford-Stuyvesant

It's hard to find a good cafe to do work in, let alone one with good food. Chez Alex has both with a recently-revamped menu that offers vegan items like an Umami Bowl (brown rice & buckwheat, sweet & smokey shrooms, baked tofu, spicy broccoli, mixed greens, cilantro, miso ginger dressing), Scully (vegan chicken salad sandwich) or the Crazy Eyes (with cauliflower and hot peppers). But their best item is an everything bagel croissant stuffed with cream cheese.  

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37
NY Dosa
Restaurants, Street food

NY Dosa

icon-location-pin West 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.

38
Restaurants, Vegan

Caravan of Dreams

icon-location-pin East Village

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. Live “hummus” (whipped from cold-processed tahini and raw almonds instead of the usual chickpeas) can be scooped up with pressed flaxseed “chips”; the live Love Boat pairs almond–Brazil nut “meatballs” with mango chutney and cool marinara sauce on a napa cabbage leaf. Naturally, there are loads of salads and some macrobiotically balanced quinoa-and-seaweed combos.

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39
Photograph: Courtesy Bar Velo
Restaurants, Vegan

Bar Velo

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

At this romantic Brooklyn restaurant and bar live music comes offered alongside a delicious vegan menu: Market greens with crispy leeks, miso crumbs, pistachio and creamy truffle dijon dressing; Truffle mushroom, faux bacon, “sour cream” flatbread; and, a BBQ eggplant sandwich with aioli and pickles. 

40
TOAD STYLE alote salad
Restaurants, Vegan

Toad Style

icon-location-pin Bedford-Stuyvesant

Punk-rock veganism and a kung fu kick come together at this eclectic eatery from chef Ian Graye (Champs, Clementine) and first-time restaurateurs Tyler Merfeld (Graye’s erstwhile bandmate from Brooklyn rock outfit Perdition) and Jillian Camera. 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. Cutlery is similiarly ethical, with knives and forks of the bamboo variety.

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Photograph: Courtesy Inday
Photograph: Courtesy Inday
Restaurants

Inday

icon-location-pin Flatiron

Inday, one of the latest fast causal chains to take New York by storm, celebrates the vibrant, salubrious elements of Indian cuisine so far succeeding wildly to establish itself as a front-runner in the neighborhood's competitive lunch circles. It does so with a flight of well-seasoned bowls, constructed in a Chipotle-esque fashion with customized proteins and bases. We recommend "The Curry Flower": cauliflower rice, turmeric lemongrass curry, pickled cucumbers, and crispy shallots.

42
Photograph: Courtesy Honeybee's
Restaurants, Vegan

Honeybee's

icon-location-pin East Village

Ravi Derossi has quietly been building a vegan empire in the East Village with Avant Garden, Ladybird and Mother of Pearl. Above Mother of Pearl, he's debuted a new cocktail lounge focused on bourbon and rye with a plant-based BBQ menu. Chef Amira Gharib (Daniel, Rouge Tomate) crafts dishes for the menu with some damn good plant-based smoky dishes that are just as delicious and convincing as when made with real meat. 

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