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Anyone have a favorite casual vegetarian restaurant?

Nikki NYC Jan 13, 2007 02:50 PM

I'm a new vegetarian and I'm looking for yummy places to dine after work and on weekends. I'm not talking about fancy restaurants that require reservations, just the type where you can drop in. Any part of town will do. Also, I am definitely not into raw food. Thanks in advance for your input!

  1. f
    fauchon Jan 13, 2007 02:53 PM

    Candle Cafe on Third Ave & about 74th....it's been there for ages & it's just what you describe...

    1 Reply
    1. re: fauchon
      Nikki NYC Jan 16, 2007 12:48 AM

      I had the Aztec salad today and it was AMAZING!!! Just what I was looking for. Thanks for the rec!

    2. p
      politicfool Jan 13, 2007 03:04 PM

      Chennai Garden on 27th and Lex -- my personal favorite of the Curry Hill places. It's all-vegetarian Indian food, delicious and cheap.

      2 Replies
      1. re: politicfool
        Yaqo Homo Jan 13, 2007 03:09 PM

        Better than Pongal?

        1. re: Yaqo Homo
          sugarcookie Jan 14, 2007 06:28 PM

          I've never been to Pongal, but I'm so glad politicfool replied about Chennai Garden bc it's definitely my fave casual indian place in all of the 5 boroughs. I'm pretty picky and I've had a LOT of Indian food in my lifetime, and it surprises me that my favorite is both vegetarian AND kosher!

          But truly their dosas are perfectly spiced and crispy; their street food appetizers are light and not greasy but still 'right on' with the spices and ingredients (altho I wish they would put green mango on their bhel puri and related dishes); their curries are always fresh; the service is always good.

          The only bad thing I've ever experienced there is that the mango lassi was clearly made with fake mango pulp, so it was all sugary and nasty. But they have decent wines to counter, and otherwise, I have always had a great experience here and highly recommend it.

      2. rose water Jan 13, 2007 03:07 PM

        I listed all the veg places I could think of on this thread recently: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        My favorite is Kate's Joint. The place is scruffy and grungy, the food is straightforward-- faux-meat sandwiches and the like. Not great but comforting and tasty.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rose water
          Nikki NYC Jan 13, 2007 03:31 PM

          I don't know how I missed that! Thanks for pointing it out.

        2. p
          politicfool Jan 13, 2007 03:18 PM

          Chennai Garden on 27th and Lex -- my personal favorite of the Curry Hill places. They serve all-vegetarian Southern Indian food, and it's casual and inexpensive.

          1. Nikki NYC Jan 13, 2007 03:32 PM

            Thanks for the fast replies, everyone! Keep 'em coming! By the way, if you have any favorite dishes that would be great to know, too. N

            1. g
              G4Gluttony Jan 13, 2007 03:59 PM

              How about Curly's Lunch on 14th St b/t 1st and 2nd Aves? It's a casual vegetarian spot I've heard great things about. Okay, I've never been, but have heard good things.

              1 Reply
              1. re: G4Gluttony
                rosalita Jan 20, 2007 04:08 PM

                I went to Curly's for the first time last weekend and really liked it. Kind of a small space but the staff was nice, portions were big, large variety on the menu. Non-veg boyfriend liked it, too.

              2. r
                Rodrigo Jan 13, 2007 04:17 PM

                Caravan of Dreams on First Ave. and 6th street has a homey atmosphere and tasty food.

                1. b
                  bmbhome Jan 13, 2007 04:59 PM

                  Funny, my niece is in town and we were just brainstorming a few veg places. We settled on Galaxy Irving around 15th. Not exclusively Veg, but several real veg entrees and consistently solid food. Good atmosphere and comfortable in jeans or nicer wear. Menu changes a couple times per year with some staples. I think they have a menu online or menupages.com

                  1. s
                    Sweatshirt Guy Jan 13, 2007 05:16 PM

                    68 Mott. Amazing chinese vegetarian food. A must try is the hot steak kew appetizer.. 68 is exclusively Veg so there is no chance of getting stocked.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Sweatshirt Guy
                      Moishe Jan 13, 2007 05:36 PM

                      Zen Palate--especially the one in Union Square--also fits the bill. Downstairs is a more casual affair than upstairs, with a more limited menu. But, either is fine for a great vegetarian meal without a lot of pre planning. We've stopped in many times without reservations, even during busy Saturday nights.

                      1. re: Moishe
                        sugarcookie Jan 14, 2007 06:31 PM

                        Ew I am not a vegetarian and was still interested in going to Zen Palate (Un.Sq); my friends had hyped it up as a 'can't miss' place. I had a good attitude going in, but did not enjoy this place. I can still taste the sweet and sour asian style broccoli dish I had there and it makes my stomach turn. Maybe it was just me, but I will not go back there again.

                        1. re: sugarcookie
                          280 Ninth Jan 15, 2007 01:07 AM

                          I was also underwhelmed, and this was when ZP was an "it" restaurant. I found it bland and unimaginative.

                      2. re: Sweatshirt Guy
                        Nikki NYC Jan 13, 2007 07:16 PM

                        I never heard of that place but it sounds great. Thanks!

                        1. re: Nikki NYC
                          Sweatshirt Guy Jan 13, 2007 07:18 PM

                          You are welcome! I eat there at least once a month and am not a Vegeterian. Remember to get the Steak Kew!

                      3. s
                        Saul Jan 13, 2007 06:22 PM

                        Dojo West

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Saul
                          Nikki NYC Jan 13, 2007 07:17 PM

                          I ate at Dojo years ago and it was definitely not vegetarian. Have they changed? N

                        2. p
                          piccola Jan 13, 2007 11:30 PM

                          These are my fave all veg places (I haven't tried the Indian ones yet):

                          Vegetarian Dim Sum House
                          Viva Herbal Pizzeria (or something like that - it's on B'way around 96th)
                          Red Bamboo
                          Sacred Chow
                          Kate's Joint
                          Angelica Kitchen

                          These guys are not entirely veg, but have awesome options:

                          Bright Food Shop
                          Café Mogador/Orlin (two different places, but adjacent and really similar)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: piccola
                            rose water Jan 14, 2007 01:33 AM

                            piccola, i think it's interesting that you mention Mogador. though i love it, and i think they have lots of good veg brunch options, their dinner veg options are much more sparse. iirc, there are apps, then a straightforward couscous, and a butternut squash ravioli. my partner, who's veg, doesn't like going there for dinner for that reason. what do you like there?

                            don't know anything about soy--can you tell me more about it?

                            1. re: rose water
                              piccola Jan 14, 2007 12:51 PM

                              You're right - I've just never been to Mogador for dinner, only brunch or lunch.

                              Soy has homestyle Japanese cooking - lots of braised dishes, simple combinations that really highlight the ingredients. It has a lot of mix-and-match appetizers - that's what I usually go for - along with the mains. All the tofu dishes are awesome and the soy rice is to die for. I haven't tried the smoothies.

                          2. a
                            aaa Jan 14, 2007 12:13 AM

                            Two of my favorites that haven't yet been mentioned:

                            Foodswings for vegan fast food in Williamsburg
                            Pukk for vegetarian/vegan (I think it's all vegan but I'm not 100% positive, they may have some veggie things on their menu) Thai food

                            Both yummy and casual and reasonably priced.

                            1. m
                              michlusa Jan 14, 2007 12:56 AM

                              Madras Mahal, Lex 27/28. Veg indian. Spicy dosas are fabu.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: michlusa
                                Clarissa Jan 14, 2007 02:16 PM

                                So glad you mentioned Madras Mahal, my absolute favorite vegetarian Indian place. I don't know what it is about that place, but everything just seems to have something a little special there. We go out of our way to eat or take out from there as often as we can.

                                On the UWS, there's Ayerveda, where this is a very reasonably priced prix fixe Indian lunch and dinner daily. Ozu is also in the neighborhood, as is Mana. Both of those last two serve fish as well, but are mostly vegetarian. We used to go to Zen Palate, but the one nearby closed.

                                I love the Vegetarian Dim Sum house in Chinatown.

                              2. z
                                zorgclyde Jan 14, 2007 07:09 AM

                                Another indian fav: Saranvaas at 26th and Lex - my new south indian dig.

                                Others I like that people have mentioned are Pukk, veg dim sum house (stay with dim sum, avoid other menu items), and chennai gardens.

                                One that I also go to is Organic Grill - specifically the veg reuben sandwich. I can't get enough of it.
                                Also, Tsampa has a good number of veg choices too - it's tibetan. I like the baked noodle dish.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: zorgclyde
                                  Sweatshirt Guy Jan 15, 2007 01:57 PM

                                  Hello. What is the location of the Organic Grill. I love a good veggie reuben every now and then.

                                  1. re: Sweatshirt Guy
                                    zorgclyde Jan 16, 2007 03:58 PM

                                    OG is on 1st, btw 7th and St. Marks.
                                    I am looking at the site and it doesn't say reuben, so I'm wondering if I ordered the TLT and had the reuben somewhere else or it was one of the daily specials. Anyways it was something with tempeh that was good and I'm sure you could call them and inquire if they can make it. The service is pretty friendly there.
                                    BTW I have to say ZP is not that great. It tastes like a yuppified version of chinese veg with some other creative things thrown in it, but the creativeness isn't balanced out by cooking ability. But it does have good lunch specials if I recall, and sometimes one of their dish actually turn out good. Anyways, avoid their weird fruit tea concoctions.

                                    1. re: zorgclyde
                                      Sweatshirt Guy Jan 16, 2007 04:01 PM

                                      Thanks for the address!

                                2. 280 Ninth Jan 14, 2007 05:42 PM

                                  Blossom restaurant is always a nice option...on Ninth and 21st St....

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: 280 Ninth
                                    Nikki NYC Jan 14, 2007 06:11 PM

                                    I saw Blossom on Food Network yesterday. It looks amazing! Can't wait to go.

                                    1. re: Nikki NYC
                                      280 Ninth Jan 14, 2007 06:18 PM

                                      Yes, it's quite nice....lovely interior, good menu options, great service...delicious and relaxing, EXACTLY what I want when I go out to eat. Enjoy!

                                  2. Ljubitca Jan 14, 2007 05:54 PM

                                    I like kate's, Counter and Anjelika Kitchen - all very different - kates tends to be greasy. anjelika is best for lunch and Counter is dreamy - best in the summer.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Ljubitca
                                      djk Jan 18, 2007 03:08 PM

                                      i haven't been back to counter in a couple years - used to be really good.....you still like it then?

                                      1. re: Ljubitca
                                        TBird Dec 18, 2007 08:35 AM

                                        headed to counter this evening. but it's not summer. why is it best in the summer?

                                        1. re: TBird
                                          pitu Dec 28, 2007 06:24 PM

                                          maybe because they grown their own herbs and produce in the summer at Counter
                                          I'd love to hear a report -- I haven't been there in ages

                                      2. jrazzle Jan 16, 2007 03:16 AM

                                        Candle Cafe on the Upper East side is great; Zen in Union Square is also really good...

                                        1. h
                                          Harbormaster Jan 16, 2007 01:14 PM

                                          I think you would really enjoy Gobo.....on 81st St & Third Ave. Very different/inventive vegetarian. Upbeat atmosphere.

                                          1. s
                                            Susanbnyc Jan 16, 2007 04:07 PM

                                            Sue En (sp) on 12th right off University...it's macrobiotic....they have fish.... the planet platter always makes mme feel like I've done something really good for myself!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Susanbnyc
                                              Pan Jan 17, 2007 07:44 AM

                                              Souen. I haven't eaten there, I just know the spelling.

                                              1. re: Pan
                                                rose water Jan 17, 2007 01:26 PM

                                                Eh. Uninspired. Sure you'll feel righteous about eating grains. But will you be happier?

                                                Like Zen Palate in its profound boringness. Vegetarian food does not need to be so awful.

                                            2. AmyH Jan 16, 2007 04:16 PM

                                              My vegetarian daughter and I both love Red Bamboo. We were in the city a year or so ago for a weekend and ended up eating there, and at their sister restaurant right next door, three times. They make innovative use of fake meat products, so people who don't like those might not enjoy these places. But for vegetarians craving buffalo "chicken" wings, Red Bamboo is a great place.

                                              1. r
                                                redbecca Jan 17, 2007 01:52 PM

                                                Galaxy (right near Irving Plaza) is my favorite. Their food is inventive and flavorful. Those beet chips - oh my!

                                                Kate's Joint is fun, but the service is incredibly slow.

                                                I used to go to Souen often w/a friend who loved it. I found the food bland and designed to be medicinal rather than tasty.

                                                1. Nikki NYC Jan 18, 2007 02:32 PM

                                                  Is Galaxy vegetarian or does it just have a lot of veg items on the menu?

                                                  1. Ljubitca Jan 20, 2007 01:15 AM

                                                    Yes I still love counter and they have really good drinks. I havent been there since the early fall - hoping to go back soon.

                                                    1. r
                                                      Rhondella Jan 20, 2007 03:57 AM

                                                      Gobo. Gobo. Gobo.

                                                      I cook and I love to eat out. Been many places, eat many things. Wouldn't really consider going to a vegetarian restaurant, but went to Gobo after a Veg friend strong armed me.

                                                      I've been back many times. I like the food for food's sake. Reasonbly priced, well thought out with an Asian Flair. I ate Seitan for god's sake. Me! The meat and taters girl! Seitan's goooood.

                                                      HIGHLY recommended. They've got a couple locations in Manhattan, I think. Give it a shot.

                                                      1. g
                                                        gaijingirl Jan 20, 2007 01:33 PM

                                                        Ok, have to throw my hat into the ring for Vegetarian's Paradise 2 - had absolutely wonderful Peking Duck there the other day. (A veg friend of mine - who loves Red Bamboo as well - also thinks VP2 is terrific...!) They also have vegan ice cream...!

                                                        1. c
                                                          curly30 Jan 20, 2007 03:58 PM

                                                          I LOVE gobo! There's one on 6th ave in the west village.

                                                          1. m
                                                            Mr. Particular Dec 18, 2007 11:32 AM


                                                            1. monalisawoman Dec 18, 2007 02:06 PM

                                                              Here's my list...Some of these are not completely veg, but have many veg offerings:
                                                              Angelica Kitchen
                                                              Sacred Chow
                                                              Hangawi (korean veg)
                                                              Herban Kitchen
                                                              Souen (asian & macro) mmmm!!!!!
                                                              Caravan of Dreams
                                                              Black-eyed Susie's (is this place still around?)

                                                              1. k
                                                                ktracy Dec 28, 2007 05:54 PM

                                                                My husband and I both love Quantum Leap – they serve fish but the rest of the menu is veggie and vegan. Their breakfast, especially is delicious! The original (I believe – it's been there since I was in school in the early 90s) is on Thompson between Bleecker and West 3rd and there's one in the East Village now as well.

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