Being vegan can be a challenge in some places, but fortunately never in New York City. Some of the best vegan restaurants can actually be found right on the Upper West Side and here are a few of my favorites.
I always order the Shanghai-style dumplings as an appetizer. They are crispy on the bottom with a soft and delicious inside and are accompanied by a tasty Asian dipping sauce. As a main dish I love the Mediterranean oven dried seasonal vegetable Panini. There is a burst of flavor in every bite, by far it’s the best Panini you’ll ever have. The deserts are so delicious it’s hard to choose just one. My two favorites are the magic cookie, which is loaded with coconut and chocolate chips, and the raw key lime pie, that is absolutely incredible!
– Blossom Café Delicious organic vegan cuisine with great ambience for lunch and dinner. Gluten-free items are also on the menu and they are Kosher as well. It’s best to make reservations, as it can be very crowded from Thursday to Saturday.
The black eyed pea cakes to start are probably the most popular appetizer and the potato and red pepper coulis with garlic aioli is hard to resist. I’ve tried other appetizers, but I always go back to the coulis. As a main course, the specials of the day are always great to try, but the veggie grain burger is one of the best I’ve ever had! It’s a lentil-quinoa burger, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes on a multi grain bun. For desert, I usually choose something chocolate, but the lemon cake is to die for! The frosting is rich, lemony, and fabulous! Their chocolate cake there is great too, but I honestly nothing can top their lemon.
– Candle-Café This location recently opened on the UWS. It’s located between 89th and 90th and Broadway and has a great ambience and nice bar. If you like vegan cooking, buy their cookbook! That’s how I got started cooking vegan. Their book has easy to follow recipes and they are delicious!
To start ,the daily soup specials are always amazing. If you want something besides soup, I recommend the Candle Nachos. They have grilled seitan, guacamole, salsa, and tofu sour cream! As an entrée, I love the avocado quinoa salad. It’s a healthy, nutty salad over fresh greens and served with a delicious chipotle dressing. Deserts vary day to day, but the chocolate-chip oatmeal cookie is always a staple item, you can’t leave without one! Also try the lemon-ginseng iced tea.
– Blossom Du Jour Located between 67th and 68th on Amsterdam Avenue. Completely Vegan, great for take-out and delivery only. I usually get the “big salad” with a side of tempeh, it makes a great lunch or dinner. It has chick peas, cucumber, carrots, sunflower seeds, field greens, and herbed mustard dressing. If you want something more hearty, the skyscraper burger is incredible! It’s a vegan burger with soy bacon, onion rings, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and special sauce. Amazing!!
– Spring-Natural Is the last and certainly not least on my list of favorites. Although this restaurant is not completely vegan, there are many good options to choose from. This is a great restaurant to go to if your dinner or lunch partner will not eat vegan! The ambiance is great and during the Spring and Summer there is outdoor seating. All the vegan items are labeled on the menu, and the green kale and roasted Kabocha squash salad is a great starter! It has walnuts and red cabbage with a creamy almond dressing that I love. As an entrée the veggie burger is a great choice. I’ve also had the stir-fry with seitan and organic brown rice that is served with a tamari and ginger sauce which gives the dish a nice Asian flair. Almost everything at this restaurant is certified Organic.
You really don’t have to be vegan to enjoy any of these great restaurants!!
Michelle Siegel is a KWNYC agent and an Upper West Side neighborhood specialist, who enjoys using her spare time exploring new places she can recommend to her clients. She works closely with the commercial and residential sectors of Manhattan real estate and considers herself the ultimate “Match Maker” for finding clients that perfect fit whether they are buyers or sellers.