photo via Grub Street
One look at this vegan burger and I know I’m in heaven. Seriously the vegan food scene in New York City is unlike any I’ve seen. Forget the kale salads and cold-pressed juices, I’m talking vegan mac n’ cheese with sweet potato-cheese sauce and shitake bacon, giant old-fashioned cinnamon rolls, a guacamole burger topped with smashed avocado, corn salsa and chipotle aioli, and maple pecan waffles with candied pecans and Vermont maple syrup. So be prepared to drool all over your keyboard, because this list of the 4 best vegan eats in New York City is going to drive you wild.
1. By Chloe
By Chloe has been number 1 on my list of NYC vegan restaurants I want to visit ever since it opened last July. Known to draw lines out the door during lunchtime, this fast-casual vegan restaurant swaps diet-friendly dishes and calorie counting for hearty, filling vegan American comfort food. It’s already garnered a cult following as an easily accessible vegan option for everyone. More power to Chef Chloe Coscarelli for finding a way to spread the love for veganism in a way that’s not polarizing or alienating.
The most popular item is allegedly the Guac Burger pictured above- a black bean, quinoa & sweet-potato patty topped with corn salsa, onion, guacamole, tortilla strips, and chipotle aioli. But I’m eyeing up the sweet potato fries, mac and cheese, and seasonal fresh peach lemonade too. Sounds just like what I used to eat as a kid. Except it’s all vegan which makes it just that much more awesome.
And don’t forget to leave without dessert! Chloe was the first ever vegan chef to win Cupcake Wars when she was only 22, which seems like a good enough reason to grab a chlostess cupcake and gluten-free chocolate chip cookie on your way out.
This Vendy award winning NYC food truck peddles big old-fashioned cinnamon rolls (which would of course be the first thing I’d get!), tempeh sandwiches and open-faced seitan joints, and over 30 different donuts and pastries like whoppie pies with Whoppie Goldberg’s face on them, peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough donuts, and apple pie pop tarts. There’s little I want more than to try some of their epic sweets.
The Cinnamon Snail started as a food truck, but now you can find them at The Pennsy Local Food Hall in Manhattan too. It’s so popular that when NYC food truck permit issues threatened to shut it down, fans rallied to make sure they’d be back up and running. Just goes to show that this delicious vegan street food is here to stay!
Started in 2005, BabyCakes NYC, or Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC as it’s now known, is the longest-running and most well-established of the bunch. BabyCakes is not just a vegan bakery, but all-around allergy-friendly establishment offering vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free baked goods that are both indulgent and fun.
As an owner and big fan of the BabyCakes NYC cookbook, I was lucky enough to be able to frequently visit their Los Angeles location where you’d often find me picking up a chocolate chip cookie sandwich or red velvet cupcake with vanilla frosting. Honestly, it was the best chocolate chip cookie sandwich I’ve ever had right up there with the one from Cookies and Scream Bakery in London.
But I would love to hit up the original store in NYC’s Lower East Side. I have yet to try their cupcake tops (my favorite part of the cupcake of course), frozen thin mints, everything bagels, or salted caramel donuts so clearly I have plenty to go back for.
photos via Beyond Sushi
4. Beyond Sushi
This plant-based sushi joint is seriously a dream come true. I’m a self-proclaimed sushi addict. Living in Hong Kong, veggie sushi is one of the most accessible vegan food options that I can literally find everywhere. But Beyond Sushi takes it up a notch from the regular avocado and cucumber roll.
photo via BizBash
You often hear that you should “eat the rainbow” and that’s exactly what looking at a plate of Beyond Sushi’s sushi rolls is like. You’ve got everything from the Green Machine with six-grain rice, English cucumber, and asparagus topped with charred edamame & almond pesto sauce to the Chic Pea with black rice, roasted eggplant, artichoke, and English cucumber topped with saffron chickpea pureé and parsley & tahini sauce to the Mighty Mushroom with six-grain rice, enoki mushrooms, baked tofu, braised shiitake, and micro arugula and shiitake truffle sauce.
photo via Beyond Sushi
But they don’t stop with just sushi. They offer fresh rice paper wraps, steamed dumplings, nourishing noodle & rice bed salads, and noodle soups. My love for Asian cuisine has grown strong in Hong Kong, but it’s often hard to customize and make sure it’s plant-based. Beyond Sushi solves this problem. I love that I’d be able to go there and just feel free to order anything on the menu with no worries!
I’ll be heading to NYC with my boyfriend next month, so you best believe I’m going to be stuffing my face with all the delicious vegan food that the city has to offer. It’s definitely going to be a foodie trip for me. We’re only going to be there for 3 days, so I’m going to try to squeeze in 4-5 meals a day. Maybe that’s a little bit ambitious, but we’ll see. Please let me know in the comments if any of you have other vegan restaurant recommendations for me!