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Since I was little I've always wanted to go to New York City! I've seen all those movies that took place there and heard all the myths and stories about the city that never sleeps. I was more than fascinated and dreamed of walking those streets myself some time. This July, finally, that dream came true! I had two entire weeks to explore all the sights, parks, districts and also FOOD! To be honest, I've never been to another city before, where I liked the restaurants and food this much! My experiences there were literally life-changing! :) For this reason, I now want to share with you my top 6 vegan restaurants in New York City, as well as some other places I really enjoyed. If you ever visit this city, or even live there (oh how I envy you), I highly recommend you try these spots. However, if you don't get the chance, don't worry as you won't have any struggles finding vegan food in omnivore restaurants. The waiters were always aware what vegan meant and helped me find suitable food.
But let's get into my ranking! I'll start with #6 and end with #1 which will be the restaurant I liked the most.
We stopped by at Organic Avenue on a walk though SoHo when we got really hungry. This was the first place we found that seemed to be quite healthy. I then realized it was fully vegan as well! I had a "salad wrap" with falafel in it and it tasted quite good. I would recommend this place if you want to fix your hunger quickly or maybe even on the go.
(Unfortunately Organic Avenue closed all its locations)
Blossom Du Jour II is a little take-away place that has e.g. burritos or hamburgers. I think I had the "Burrito Grande" and a cookie. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of my food there, however, you can trust me when I say it was a really good wrap! Other than at Organic Avenue where the wraps were ready to take away, you got your burrito freshly made at Blossom Du Jour. Also, the cookie tasted like a typical American Cookie even though it was vegan. :)
Before I travelled to NYC I already knew this place, as "Blogilates"-trainer Cassey Ho once mentioned in one of her videos that it was her favorite place to eat at in New York. So I also had to give it a shot and see if it was really that good. And yes it was! The maki there is excellent. Usually if you dine out at a Japanese place you might get avocado or cucumber rolls, but that's it. At Beyond Sushi there's so much variety! Black rice, fruit, asparagus - they've got everything you could ever imagine! :) Even though the sushi there is great, my favorite thing, which I ordered several times, was the "Sweet Angel". It's a rice paper wrap with baby greens, buckwheat noodles, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus and baked sweet potato - HEAVENLY! Also, the "black bean sweet potato brownie" is a must if you go there. It's moist and sweet, but natural and filling.
Candle Cafe has a few locations in Manhattan - I've only been to Candle Cafe West which is in Upper West Side. The food, the atmosphere and the overall experience of this place is very exquisite and therefore quite pricey. However, I feel like it is awesome, that there are all vegan kind of upscale restaurants. We don't really have something like that in Austria or even Europe. I ordered "spaghetti & wheatballs" which was excellent and perfectly spicy - I savored every bite! For dessert I had the "mexican chocolate cake". It was this little chocolate brownie-like cake, topped with some cookie caramel coconut ice cream. If you like chocolate (but even if you don't), you'll love this one - it's creamy and sweet in a good way, they didn't overdo it so it still tastes quite natural. My mom had a carrot cake and enjoyed it as well.
To sum up, if you want to have a fancy dinner where you are willing to spend a little more money, go there because it is absolutely worth it! :)
Peacefood Cafe also has more locations, however I've only been to the one in Downtown, which is close to Union Square. It offers all the good stuff made vegan and pretty healthy: burgers, sandwiches, pizza, (chickpea) fries,... Since I had not eaten pizza in over a year, I decided I had to take the opportunity to eat a 100% vegan one. I ordered the one with roasted seasonal vegetables, which were zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower, but didn't add the vegan daiya cheese. The pizza crust was a bit thinner and crisper than I was used to but not in a negative way at all! It was an excellent pizza and the tomato sauce was really flavorful and savory. My dad also ordered a pizza with roasted potatoes, arugula and the daiya cheese. I tried it and also liked it, except that I am not the hugest fan of arugula and there was lots of it on the pizza. My mom had the tempeh avocado sandwich, which was also super tasty. We then shared two desserts: cacao mousse pie and cashew cream cheesecake - both raw. I actually forgot to take a photo of them before we started to eat because they looked so good and then tasted as good! Definitely recommendable!
All in all, I absolutely enjoyed the food, the restaurant itself was modern but very comfy and the staff was super friendly! If I could, I would go there again today to also try the chickpea fries. They looked so yummy but my tummy didn't have enough capacity left for those. :)
Before I went to NYC I also read some vegan restaurant reviews and some of them named Franchia as the best vegan restaurant in town. Well, I have to do the same because this place is legit one of the best I've ever been to. It's a Korean restaurant near Empire State Building and the second you enter this restaurant you feel like you were actually in Asia. The furniture and decoration are so on point, they certainly put a lot of effort in making this place as unique. Also, the food is brilliant. As my main dish I had pad thai noodles and I loved them. They were perfectly seasoned and not that oily at all. Even though I really liked that one, the dessert topped it all! If someone asked me what the best dessert were that I ever had in my entire life, it would be the one I had at Franchia. It was a vegan cheese cake with a scoop of ice cream. I don't know how they did it, but this cheesecake tasted even better than non-vegan cheesecakes. The texture and consistency were perfect, it tasted naturally sweet and was an overall experience I would not want to miss. I still dream of this cake and wish I could have it again some time! :D
So if you are in NYC right now or opt to go there - visit Franchia and see (+ taste) the magic yourself!
Other (non-vegan) places I loved
There are lots of locations not only in New York but also in other cities all over the world. This restaurant serves meat but has lots of vegan dishes ranging from oatmeal to quinoa taboulé. We had breakfast there nearly ever day of our two weeks because the food was great, the staff so lovely and helpful and the atmosphere was also great - we felt at home eating there! As I spent many mornings there, I could try many different options. I had the vegan blueberry muffin, the oatmeal, the brown rice pudding, the raw granola, a basket full of bread served with jams,... However, what I liked most was the chia seed coconut pudding with berries on top! It was a small portion but quite filling. To drink I usually ordered either a fresh mint tea or the watermelon cooler (watermelon juice with cucumber and mint) which was refreshing considering it was way too hot in July.
We also had lunch and dinner there so I also tried the taboulé, hummus and guacamole, all of which I enjoyed.
To conclude, this place is ideal if you are looking for a vegan breakfast that is not too expensive.
I've been to a Whole Foods market once before when I was in California and I was amazed back then by all the healthy stuff they sell. But I wasn't vegan then, so I couldn't appreciate the variety of vegan options they offer.
In NYC Whole Foods became my favorite supermarket in an instant. We went there nearly every day either to buy some snacks for the next day (Lära bars, coconut water, ...) or had dinner there.
The Butcher's Daughter is a vegetarian cafe that has lots of vegan options. I've heard a lot about it through social media so I decided I also had to give it a shot and try their food! I had a brownie with berries and a thick and creamy smoothie. I liked all of it and would love to return there someday as there are plenty more things I would like to try.
Also, the cafe has really relaxed and kind of creative vibes so I felt happy just sitting in there! :)
I enjoyed my stay in New York City to the max and would love to go there again some time soon!
Comment which vegen restaurant in NYC is your favorite or which one of those I mentioned, you'd like to visit. :)