New York City is famous for its incredibly diverse restaurant scene and with the rise of veganism in the last years, finding plant based options is no longer difficult when eating out. What if, however, you’re a health conscious vegan looking for food that’s not only plant based, but at the same time healthy and nutritious? That can be a little trickier, but it’s by no means impossible. To show you where to find these places, I have teamed up with my friend and fellow blogger Tedi and we’re excited to share with you our personal favorite healthy vegan spots in the city. These are places we love to go to and we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!
Sun In Bloom – Brooklyn
[clockwise from top left: the Sun In Bloom burger with avocado as a collard green wrap; the earth cup with coconut kefir; the chocolate espresso mint raw cheesecake and Chef Aimee’s macro salad.]
UPDATE APRIL 2018: The Brooklyn location of Sun In Bloom sadly recently closed its doors. You can still visit their Tribeca location, however.
Sun In Bloom is one of my top favorite places to get healthy vegan food in New York City. The cosy café and restaurant is located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, on Bergen street, minutes from Atlantic Terminal and just a short subway ride from Manhattan. Sun In Bloom is where you’ll find one of my favorite dishes of all times, Chef Aimee’s Macro salad (kale massaged with live sesame ginger dressing, sultry avocado, sauerkraut, warm roasted veggies, wakame, spiced pumpkin seeds, cayenne and red pepper), as well as a raw vegan triple mint chocolate espresso cheesecake (yes, it’s as good as it sounds!). Trust me, the Macro salad alone is worth a trip to Brooklyn, it’s that good. Whether you want to indulge in a healthy breakfast, brunch, lunch, early dinner or are just looking for a place to enjoy a cup of coffee or brazil nut milk hot chocolate, Sun In Bloom is the place to be. They also have plenty of raw, gluten- and refined sugar free options. If you don’t feel like venturing out to Brooklyn, no need to worry, as they also have a to go café in TriBeCa.
“Sun In Bloom was a vision that came to Chef Aimee Follette to be a vehicle in supporting her dream to live a purposeful, happy, and fulfilled life in service to be the change she wishes to see in the world.”
info: 460, bergen street in Park Slope, brooklyn. opening hours: monday-friday 8:30am-9pm, weekend brunch: 10am-5pm. budget: main dishes for 10-15$. website and menu: suninbloom.wordpress.com .
Angelica Kitchen – East Village *update: Angelica Kitchen unfortunately closed its doors in April 2017 after 40 years in business*
Angelica Kitchen is a true gem in NYC. Not only is it the city’s oldest vegetarian and vegan restaurant, it is also entirely organic and uses local produce, thereby supporting an impressive amount of farmers in the area. The original restaurant opened on St Marks place in 1976 and the current location, on East 12th street, has been open since 1987. Quality comes first at Angelica Kitchen and everything is prepared with care and attention to detail. I can’t quite put into words what it is that I appreciate so much about this restaurant, but it’s truly one of my favorite places to eat. AK is a prime example of Farm-to-Table cuisine and if you’re a fan of local produce and macrobiotic inspired dishes, you’ll feel right at home there. The atmosphere in the restaurant can be described as a mix of charming, convivial (there’s a communal table for those who want to eat alone but not by themselves) and slightly “hippie” inspired (in a good way!). Some of their loyal customers have been eating there since 1976 because, as one of them, Bill Stockland, points out “there’s just no other place quite like it”. Angelica Kitchen is more than just a restaurant, it is a mecca for the health conscious and a place to feel at home. My personal recommendations: the hot soups are incredible and make sure you check out the daily special, which is often my go to choice. Other great menu items include the “People’s Polenta” as a starter, and the avocado kimchi salad. Their desserts are all refined sugar free and they even have a special gluten free menu! My favorite cool drink is the “Elixir”, which is made with green tea, lemon and apple cider vinegar.
info: 300, east 12th street (by 2nd avenue), east village. opening hours: daily from 11:30am-10pm. budget: wide range starting at 4$ for a cup soup – 18$ for some specials, but they also have salads and other dishes for 10-15$. website and menu: www.angelicakitchen.com
I have been obsessed with Juice Press ever since I first tried one of their green juices. I’ve had many other juices and smoothies in the city, but theirs are by far the best. My favorite green juices are “love at first sight” and “OMG” and I also love their fruity “watermelon”, “lucky seven” and “spicy citrus” juices. Transparency is key at Juice Press, ask them anything about how their products are made and they’ll gladly tell you or even show you. My favorite smoothie is the “almond butter cup” and I love their “raw falafel salad” and their “butternut squash quinoa soup”.
info: well over 20 locations all over manhattan and brooklyn with more stores opening soon, my favorite: juice press 5 on 122, greenwich avenue in the west village; opening hours: ranging from 7am-10pm depending on the location; budget: pricey but worth it considering the quality, juices cost about 8-11$; website and menu: www.juicepress.com
“The most important thing about clean eating is simplicity, choosing combinations wisely, based upon ancient knowledge, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, that teaches us how to combine foods properly and also, to never accept things just because we’re told, but to explore our own being and become aware of what foods work for us and what foods don’t work for us. That’s why Juice Press is such a great brand because we offer such variety so that people can really find products that they love and that work for them and their biochemistry.” Chef Daniel Ceballos
[clockwise from top left: “not like others” – Juice Press’s motto through and through; chef Daniel Ceballos in action in the Juice Press innovation kitchen; a special creation from chef Daniel: dragon fruit banana ice cream; my favorite sweet drinks: cookies&cream and lait de coco; fresh cold pressed juices at Juice Press 5]
Jungle Cafe reminds me of my backpacking days many years ago, when making friends with strangers from all around the world and sharing meals in hostels while talking about life and listening to Brazilian music was the norm. The minute you walk into the restaurant, you can’t help but feel welcome and a warm sense of belonging. If I lived in the neighborhood, I’d probably be there every day. Jungle Cafe, which opened its doors in 2014, is the result of a community based collaboration of like-minded people coming together to create a unique space and bringing delicious vegan food to their neighborhood. While the food is veg, meat eaters are more than welcome. In fact, one of their goals is to show that living this way doesn’t mean “just eating salads all day”. When asked what she wants people’s experience to be like when they enter Jungle Cafe, co-founder Kyra (on the right of the bottom right picture) says “peaceful – definitely peaceful. I want to welcome people. There’s so much happening in the streets of New York City (…), so to come in from your day and just to be in an atmosphere that is really relaxing is also a newer way for people to approach food, to just sit down and eat in a relaxed way. We cook in peace so people can eat in peace.”
Highlights: anything from the buffet and the menu is truly delicious! Their beet burger is one of the best I’ve had in a long time and their fresh smoothies and homemade raw chocolates make the experience even more exquisite!
info: 996, manhattan avenue in greenpoint, brooklyn. opening hours: monday-thursday 11am-9pm, friday and saturday 11am-10pm, sunday 11am-4pm; budget: great value thanks to the buffet; menu, events and website: www.junglecafenyc.com
“We wanted to create a place where people could go to get really good, wholesome food. There are really beautiful traditions and recipes from all over the world that support this way of eating [veganism and vegetarianism]. The mission is one of education, health and awareness and to bring people together – the idea of the communal table and the idea that we did it together – we sat down and asked ourselves ‘what do we want to create? How do we want to impact our community?” Kyra
It’s hard not to fall in love with Little Choc Apothecary instantly. It’s cute, cosy and the food is great. What more can you ask for? Located about a 10 minute walk from the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Havemeyer street, the city’s first 100% vegan creperie serves delicious gluten-free sweet and savory crêpes, as well as smoothies, juices, teas and desserts. Whether you want to enjoy a full meal or just a snack, Little Choc is a must for any vegan visiting the city or any crêpe lover in general. My personal favorites: the “room for mushroom” and “garden of eatin'” savory crêpes, alongside the “berry pink” smoothie.
info: 141, havemeyer street in williamsburg, brooklyn. opening hours: monday-thursday 8am-8pm, friday 8am-10pm, saturday 9am-10pm, sunday 9am-9pm; budget: reasonable, good value; menu and website: www.chocny.com
I hope you enjoyed our top recommendations! What are your favorite places? Would love to hear from you in the comments below and if you want to read Tedi’s version of the article, click here.
And just in case these are not enough, here are six more recommendations:
Souen is a macrobiotic restaurant in West Soho. They do have a few non vegan options, so read the menu carefully if you go there! I absolutely love their Macro Plate with Tahini dressing. It’s seriously delectable and at 10$, an NYC bargain!
Jivamuktea is the café that belongs to the famous (and vegan!) Yoga studio Jivamukti. Since it’s inside the Yoga studio, it’s easy to oversee it. You’ll find it on 841, Broadway, right by East 14th street and Union Square. To get to the café, you need to take the elevator to the second floor and then go left. During the winter, I love their Montana salad with tahini turmeric dressing and a glass of ice cold kombucha. During the summer, the Yogi’s choice bowls replace the popular winter salads. It’s a great place to casually meet with friends or go to on your own to read a book or get work done (it’s never really crazy busy, unless it’s lunch time). It is a little pricey though, so just be aware of that when you go.
On 227, Sullivan street in Greenwich Village. Charming little vegan restaurant with plenty of healthy and even a few raw options. My favorite: the sautéed shiitake salad.
Peacefood Cafe has a lot of (very delicious!) vegan comfort food, but also some super healthy options, including raw vegan sushi, a raw pizza and gluten- and refined sugar free desserts (although you’ll have to resist the temptation of getting all their other desserts, including one of the best tiramisus I’ve ever had). My top choices: the kale and squash soup and the protein kale salad. They have two locations, uptown: 460, Amsterdam avenue and downtown: 41, East 11th street.
Oh, how I love this place! I’ll probably write an entire blog post on Seasoned Vegan at some point, but for now, just know that it’s an organic vegan restaurant in Harlem and that the menu is predominantly comfort food inspired, but also includes healthy, raw vegan options that you’ll love! You can find Seasoned Vegan on 55, St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem.
It’s a 100% vegan sushi restaurant. Need I say more? Three locations: Union Square – 229, East 14th street; Midtown West – 62, West 56th street and Chelsea – 75, 9th Avenue (takeout)