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Vegetarian in NYC

  • g

My sister is visitng and she is a vegetarian. I want to take her to a very special meal. Looking for any suggestion in Manhattan.

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    1. re: Gruvinaus

      As I've said before on this board, just one word to describe the food we had at Zen Palate the one time we tried it: horrible!

      1. re: Gruvinaus

        The now closed UWS Zen Palate was quite good, but my vegetarian fiancee and I have been much less impressed by the Midtown and Union Sq. locations. I would say avoid Zen Palate as there are other, much better purely vegetarian restaurants. Counter, Heirloom, Hangawi come to mind.

        1. re: fascfoo

          Although my husband and I are not vegetarians, I sometimes enjoy ordering vegetarian dishes in restaurants that are not strictly vegetarian. For example, Devi has some of the most delicious vegetarian Indian dishes on the planet. And I include vegetarian dishes in my cooking repetoire at home.

          We ate at the Zen Palate in midtown. It was quite a few years ago. We are always interested in trying new restaurants and different cuisines. I had read positive reviews of Z.P., so I was just floored by how bad the food was. And that had nothing to do with it being a vegetarian restaurant because, as I said, vegetarian food can be delicious.

      2. gwags, use the search function on CH for this....many such queries, and the question has been answered often. For my part, I've found Zen Palate to be bland and uninspired, but then, I'm not a vegetarian. I prefer Blossom, on 9th and 21st.

        1. Pure on Irving is the best!
          also, Caravan of Dreams on e. 6th street, Angelica's on e.12th street and counter on 1st ave all good

          1. candles 79 and candles cafe are actually quite excellent in the UES...or kate's joint in the east village for vege grub.

            1. thanks for all the suggestions, I can now be sure of a good spot.

              2 Replies
              1. re: gwags

                Zen Palate - bleeeeccch!

                Honestly, I've been to almost all the high class places (I've recently been on a personal "mission" to try every good place that's veggie) - and there are two that stand out as terrific:

                Blossom, and Pure Food and Wine (actually, I'd be careful about PF&W . What I had - the lasagne and tort - were terrific, but I've seen bad reviews about other meals, and the amounts *are* rather small.) But Blossom is FAB. Especially the desserts such as the dark chocolate ganache, and the apple sticks.

                For really good and classy (but one notch below Blossom in atmosphere), try Vegetarian's Paradise (and the banana split dessert.)

                Kate's is fun and great - but nothing for atmostphere (except for me, because I *like* ripped seats...!)

                1. re: gaijingirl

                  I agree with your view of Pure Food. We went once and both my husband I had the lasagna, which we both agreed was seriously delicious. The portion size was quite adequate. I began with a green salad that was o.k. I don't remember what he had to start, but he was not bowled over. Desserts were awful. Very expensive!!

                  While the interior is nice, a giant plus during warm weather months is their back garden, one of the loveliest and most comfortable in the city.


              2. You could also try a place like Hangawi - upscale veg Korean/Asian fusion.

                1. How about Quintessence in the east village http://raw-q.com/. I also like Pure Food and Wine (for the food and their great raw food cookbook) There is also the plethora of veg food available in Indian and Chinese restaurants dotted around the city.

                  1. for *special*, I'd say Counter on 1st Ave e.village. They have a really good (organic) wine list too.
                    or some non-veg place like Tabla/Bread Bar
                    or Ethiopian or other "ethnic" (I hate that designation - is there a better one?)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: pitu

                      Generally, I agree that non-veg restaurants work perfectly fine, esp. Asian restaurants. But I've found that the more upscale places rarely have more than one veg option - so for a "special treat" meal, I'd recommend checking out the menu beforehand or playing it safe with a veg restaurant.

                      1. re: piccola

                        Tabla has a vegetarian tasting menu that was absolutely delicious. They have varying course numbers, but I think I went with 10. I left in a daze.

                    2. Gobo on the Upper East Side

                      1. Sorry - can't agree with Gobo. On my trip, I found it rather plain. (Similar in taste to Zen Palate, actually...!) :()

                        1. The great thing about being vegetarian in Manhattan is that you can find good vegetarian food almost anywhere, and eat well at places non-vegetarians love. That being said, if you are willing to be a little adventurous, take her to Angelikas. It is the one that will be a unique dining experience and it has really great, lovingly prepared food. I feel like it's a "can't miss". If you go, try the Angelika cornbread.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: veglover35

                            Pure food and Wine--good lasagna, rest was crap. havent we truly expanded as people since we started applying heat to our food??

                            For excellent vegetarian also consider Cafe Boulud. whole section of the menu dedicated to fresh, in season veggie dishes. well thought out, prepared and served. Best option in the city, in my opinion (but I have not had the $250 per se veggie tasting menu)

                            1. re: veglover35

                              i agree with veglover about angelica kitchen (12th st between 1st and 2nd).

                              definately a unique place with interesting dishes.

                              i found some of the entrees somewhat bland (but at least innovative), but the breads and spreads are *killer* and with a soup are completely sufficient!

                              avoid the dragon bowl!

                              for cozy ambiance, and for a more upscale experience than strictly roots/uptown juice, go to angelicas!

                            2. not sure what you mean by special, but if you want to show her around new york, i highly recommend taking her to some wholesome vegetarian food up in harlem.

                              strictly roots on 123rd and adam clayton powell is intimate and has a small, but lovely selection of soulful vegetarian options. their pineapple turnoever bread is delicious!
                              everytime i eat there i see something great out the window like kids doing wheelies on their bikes down the street.

                              uptown juice on 125th and malcolm x is busier and has a huuuge selection of hot foods, juices, and breads. the soy chicken and the tofu chocolate cake are highly recommended!

                              the m60 takes you there, but its always fun to take a stroll along 125th to see all the hip but very cheap uptown fashion. there is an h&m if you must ;)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: curryfan_ave

                                There is also Raw Soul on 145th Street off of St. Nicholas.

                                1. re: curryfan_ave

                                  oh and I just caught the cheap fashion remark...several upscale boutiques you must check out in Harlem next time.

                                2. For a special vegan meal I strongly suggest Candle Cafe or Candle 79. They are both vegan and organic. I've been going for years and the food is consistenly amazing. Other great restaurants are Red Bamboo (vegetarian soul food), Pukk (vegetarian Thai food), Gobo (vegan Asian/fusion) Pure Food and Wine (vegan, live foods) and Counter. Those are all restaurants with nice atmosphere. Others with great food but less atmosphere are Uptown Juice Bar (buffet style Carribean and soul food), Kate's Joint (american, vegetarian, excellent for brunch), Organic Grill, and Caravan of Dreams.
                                  There is a great web site for locating vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the US and world wide. It's www.HappyCow.net
                                  Happy Eating!!

                                  1. Follow-up -- Candle 79 was the choice, in part due to geographic convenience. We were not dissapointed. The starters were all excellent, especially the guacomole timbale (avocado and black bean cake). For main courses, the moroccan spiced chick pea cake was a favorite. Service was pleasant. Sit down stairs.

                                    1. Tamarind (Indian) on 22nd St....perfect in every way!

                                      1. the original organic and vegan bakery is on St. Mark's Place off Ave. A-(just around the corner) try their veggie pizza and the cakes and soups are delicious too-they are still in business although they may be in danger of losing the shop due to skyrocketing rents-

                                        1. Pure food and wine in Gramercy-Amazing!!!

                                          1. We loved Vatans...delicious food and fun dining experience

                                            1. I'm not sure if this is too late, but Aquavit does a great Vegetarian Tasting menu - but it's a 7-course tasting menu so expect to be quite full at the end of the meal!

                                              1. Red Bamboo and Vegetarian Paradise 2 are BY FAR my favorite Vegetarian restaurants in nyc.