Friend of IT Marissa Bea, a theater student and recently converted vegan living in the Big Apple, knows that the foodie options in New York are endless. But where to start if you're looking for restaurants catering to the vegetable-conscious clientele? After six months of searching, Marissa gave us the low-down on some of her favorite vegetarian and vegan options in the city.
Candle Cafe (1307 Third Ave. at 75th St. 212-472-0970; pictured left) and more posh Candle 79 (154 East 79th St. near Lexington Ave.; 212-537-7179) both serve organic vegetarian food, from classic Caesar salads to the more innovative BBQ tempeh and sweet potato sandwich. Both spots also offer wide selections of beers, wines, and cocktails.
Marissa recently discovered New Hampshire-originated Curly's Vegetarian Lunch (328 East 14th St. between 1st and 2nd Aves.; 212-598-9998), a vegetarian diner (believe it or not) for "vegetarians, vegans, and sympathetic omnivores" that serves up "fakin'" (meat-free bacon) and veggie burgers. The NYC location opened in 2005 and has become a local favorite.
Chennai Garden (129 East 27th St.; 212-689-1999) is an all-vegetarian kosher Indian eatery that dishes up some of the best curry, chapati, and dosai in town. Says Marissa, "Their service suffers... but their food is awesome and really inexpensive."
Angelica Kitchen (300 East 12th St. between 1st and 2nd Aves.; 212-228-2909) serves a variety of Asian-influenced organic vegan dishes, from tempeh Reuben sandwiches (marinated tempeh, caraway and cumin, tofu Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on sourdough spelt bread) to "Thai Mee Up" (strands of daikon radish, butternut squash, and carrots on garlic-lemon marinated kale.
To slow down in the city that never sleeps, stop by Franchia
(12 Park Ave. 212-213-1001), a vegetarian teahouse between 34th and
35th Streets. Not only does the teahouse serve its exclusive Korean wild green tea, but also has a variety of light meals
like summer rolls with mango citron sauce, mushroom pancakes, sushi,
and green-tea cakes. Visitors can also learn about traditional Korean
tea ceremonies in one of its workshops. Marissa's favorite here? "The avocado bibimbap. It's all sorts of good fresh veggies, tofu, and sliced avocado on top of a bowl of steamed rice. And paired with some green tea? After eating it you can die happy."
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. For "the best (non-vegan) cupcakes in the world," Marissa suggests Martha's Country Bakery (multiple locations), which makes several varieties of delicious desserts like pound cakes, strawberry shortcakes, and buttercream cupcakes, plus ten varieties of fruit pies.
For sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan desserts, don't pass up a stop at Babycakes (248 Broome Street; 212-677-5047) bakery, which uses a variety of sugar alternatives like agave nectar, a syrup found in cactus, to sweeten its tasty treats (from cornbread to cupcakes to cinnamon buns).
And not to be one-upped on the veggie front (after all, she's already mastered Paris), IT blogger and resident vegetarian Katie says visiting Red Bamboo (140 West Fourth St.; 212-260-1212) is a must. Months after dining there, she's still craving their soy barbecue buffalo wings. Yum.
Photo: Decomprose / Rob Branch-Dasch via Flickr