Natural & Organic Restaurants - Lower East Side, NYC
Manhattan's Lower East Side has long had a reputation for being a ground-breaking community when it comes to a vibrant arts and fashion scene. This intriguing neighborhood is now home to some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the NYC.
JaJaJa Plantas Mexicana - Lower East Side
This contemporary, plant-based Mexican eatery is where South of the border flavors and tradition meet Lower East Side flair.
An eclectic patchwork of culture, community and inventive dishes that you can't find even in Mexico City, JaJaJa Plantas Mexicana is a haven for both vegetarians and vegans. In fact, the food is so good here, you can bring your carnivore friends over for a night of celebration and they will be sure to find something on the menu that appeals to them.
Owned by two old friends who are no strangers to the hospitality industry, Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos, JaJaJa opened its' doors, appropriately enough, on Cinco De Mayo 2017.
The concept here is simple and delicious; plant-based Mexican street food that your Mexican mom and grandmother would be proud to call their own.
It's a lot to live up to, but the colorful and festive decor is on a par with the amazing food. Multi-colored balloons are everywhere. The walls are lined with shelves that are filled with traditional Mexican pottery and small cactus plants. Just being here will brighten up your day. And that's before you put a forkful of food to your mouth.
When the dishes that you ordered arrive at your table you'll be grinning from ear to ear as you whip out your phones to snap a photo. This is food porn at its' most seductive.
You can get street corn at almost any self-respecting Mexican restaurant in the city. But not like they make it here. The grilled corn is dressed with cayenne pepper and an almond queso that tastes better than "real" cheese.
The kitchen's signature empanadas feature beets and pumpkin along with creamy guacamole, Swiss chard and a touch of Chimichurri.
Another great starter is the hearts of palm ceviche, which consists of Poblano chile peppers, queso, zucchini and wild mushrooms in a zesty tomato and jalapeno broth.
JaJaJa has a plethora of house specialties that will make you look at vegetarian-style cuisine in a whole new light.
Their "chorizo" burrito is made with cauliflower rice, fermented black beans, guacamole and salsa. They even have a Guac Burger, whose patty is comprised of an interesting blend of pinto beans, beets and quinoa. The burger is topped with lettuce, tomato and chipotle aioli.
Love tacos, but are getting a bit tired of the usual fare that you find around town? The antidote for culinary boredom is the Chipotle sweet potato taco. A Tumeric tortilla is filled with sweet potatoes, Serrano peppers, beans, cilantro, scallions and pickled red peppers.
If you are especially hungry, then you might want to try the Rainbow Chard Bowl, which is filled with white bean and hemp seed cotija, fresh corn, tomatoes, avocado, lotus chips and topped with Caesar dressing.
The bar has a well-curated menu of premium tequilas and Mezcal as well as imported Mexican beers on tap, fresh-pressed juices and cocktails.
Location and Contact Info
New York, NY 10002
The Organic Grill - Lower East Side
This cute, cozy bistro has been a favorite of New York vegetarians since 2001.
Committed to promoting organic agriculture and supporting local growers and artisanal food producers, the folks at the Organic Grill will never compromise when it comes to the quality of food that they serve.
The owner, Julie Chebotar is not only the executive chef here, but is also a certified health coach. Fitness is a way of life to Julie and her cafe is a place where the local community can come together to enjoy great food and fun activities.
At the forefront of the healthy eating scene, the Organic Grill's veggie burgers have consistently been voted among the very best that the city has to offer.
Feel free to walk in at any time and take the veggie Burger Challenge! This monster of a meal consists of three mushroom patties and buns piled high atop one another with caramelized onions, roasted Portabello mushrooms, three scoops of Guacamole, vegan cheese, pesto, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts and, at the bottom of the plate, a mound of fries.
If you can polish off this tower of food in less than ten minutes, you will receive a t-shirt, a special burger challenge certificate and a photo on the Organic Grill's special wall of fame.
Bring your friends and have them whip out their cell phones to film your ultimate chow down for posterity.
Of course, if you're not feeling all that hungry, the grill has a wonderful a la carte menu that you can order from. One of their most popular dishes is the Paradise casserole which consists of layers of sliced sweet potatoes, black beans, polenta and steamed greens. it's all topped with a savory mushroom gravy.
Chef Julie and her team have also come up with a plate of some very delectable Pierogies that are made with spelt flour and filled with an assortment of seasonal veggies. You can get them boiled or pan-fried and served over sauteed kale. The fluffy pierogies are topped with a cashew cream drizzle.
The Organic Grill has become famous, not only for their veggie burgers but their Cauliflower Pops. These mini cauliflower heads are fried and covered in your choice of either Buffalo or Kung Pao sauce. They pack quite the spicy punch. But trust us, you'll love every delicious bite.
Carving out its' own delicious niche in healthy dining circles is the Grill's Green melt Sandwich. Served on sourdough bread, this sandwich consists of tempeh bacon, kale, pesto, caramelized onions, tomatoes and melted vegan cheese. A nice-sized sandwich, it's served with a big, juicy pickle (Lower East Side-style) and kale slaw.
To quench your thirst, there are a wide variety of juice blends available together with red, white and sparkling wine. They also do a pretty nifty sangria that is chock full of luscious fresh fruit.
In addition, there are also three or four very unique cocktails that will command your attention. The star of the show, though, has to be the Coconut Mimosa Slushie that is made with organic coconut water, shaved ice and Prosecco.
There is always something exciting taking place here. In the past, The Organic Grill has hosted such events as a vegan chocolate making class, a vegan dips and spreads workshop and get ready for this; a speed dating party for vegans.
Get your popcorn ready! And, make sure that it's vegan, of course.
Location and Contact Info
123 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Quintessence - Lower East Side
Take a break from the noisy hustle and bustle of the city at Quintessence, an oasis of tranquility and healthy eating in the heart of the LES.
Every dish served here is proudly homemade, organic, vegan and gluten-free. With an unparalleled commitment to flavor and better for you ingredients, founder Mun Chan asks her customers to stop in and "energize, revitalize and refresh themselves from the inside out."
Born in Hong Kong, Mun moved to Sydney, Australia with her family when she was a little girl. She practically grew up in the kitchen of Chan's restaurant in Sydney, eventually becoming a line chef there. Eventually, the young chef would strike out on her own and open a pan-Asian cafe, with her siblings.
In 1994, the young chef and entrepreneur moved to New York to work in the fashion industry for DKNY Brands. It was at this time that Mun adopted a vegan lifestyle.
But, her heart was never far from the exciting world of food and in 1999, Mun returned to her roots, opening Quintessence.
Mun and her partner, Dan, chose Quintessence for the name of their restaurant because it epitomizes the quality of their food and the philosophy behind the brand.
On the small, but intimate side, Quintessence has a rather unique Asian-rustic design aesthetic. It's easy to tell that the place was decorated by someone with a background in the fashion industry. There's an unmistakable sense of style throughout the premises.
Whether you are in the mood for a light snack or are hankering for a full meal, you should consider starting off with one of Mun's delightful soups. These bowls of goodness are so mouth-watering you will forget that they are vegan.
A hearty offering, Peter's Pot consists of ripe, juicy chunks of tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, olive oil, sea salt, basil and gluten-free Tamari.
Mun's Butternut Squash blend is almost more of a stew than a soup. And, boy, is it good with a capital G!
Butternut squash, onions, celery, carrots cauliflower, salt and black pepper are slow-cooked inside of a traditional clay pot. The results will warm your tummy and then some.
The focus here is on smart portions and small plates. That having been said, though, you won't feel deprived when you dine here.
The wild mushroom and Quinoa Pilaf is filling and quite scrumptious as is the coconut curry version of this dish.
They do a break out the applause Mediterranean style nachos that will have you cleaning your plate. House-made garlic and rosemary flax crackers are topped with savory hummus, guacamole, Kalamata olives and Guajillo pepper hot sauce.
Mun and her sous chefs have come up with a delectable selection of sandwiches with the Q Club being, far and away, the most popular.
Between the bread, delights include scallion cashew cream cheese, fresh avocado, peppers, olives, sprouts and cucumbers. The sandwich is made with your choice of
sprouted Kamut bread, coconut squash bread or grain-free veggie bread.
Part of the fun in dining out is having dessert. hey, it's not really a complete meal without a sweet ending, particularly if your meal ends on a guilt-free note.
Partake of their decadent but "sin" free chia or chocolate chia pudding. If you're with your significant other, why not order both and sample each other's dish?
No matter what you've ordered for lunch or dinner, try to leave room for Mun's outrageous Banana coconut cream pie. A delicious, flaky coconut pecan crust is filled with layers of fresh coconut cream, cashew banana cream and slices of bananas. Just reading about this dessert should be making you hungry right about now.
If so, there's only one thing to do... head on over to Quintessence and satisfy those cravings for one of a kind dishes that will help you to reach your goal of eating right and a healthy lifestyle. At Quintessence, you can have it all.
Location and Contact Info
263 Tenth Street
New York, NY 10009
Spring Street Natural - Lower East Side
Founded in 1973, this family-owned organic, farm to table restaurant was way ahead of its' time. Even now, Spring Street Natural is a trend-setter when it comes to creating memorable dishes and cocktails that push the envelope in so many interesting ways.
Great food starts with quality ingredients that are carefully sourced. The team at Spring Street natural has developed quite a few solid working relationships with local farms and purveyors over the years.
You'll know that you've come to the right place when you see the restaurant's bright, blue tiled facade.
Once you are inside, you will feel right at home. It's a very welcoming environment with greenery scattered throughout the dining room and wooden booths that have a very rural feel. Space is large and, unlike many Manhattan cafes and restaurants, you won't feel hemmed in or crowded. You can even watch the chefs at work in their open kitchen.
The lower level is available for private parties and it is absolutely magnificent. It has a rustic, yet hip and modern lounge-like vibe.
Capable of accommodating up to 140 guests, this inviting space has a dedicated bar, banquette seating, a projector screen and a menu that can be custom tailored to your specific needs.
While not strictly a vegan restaurant, they do have many such offerings including Quinoa lentil cakes, chickpea and fava bean fritters as well as 100% non-dairy Mac and Cheese with, of all things, roasted vegetables.
The wildly popular warm spinach and artichoke dip (with tri-color corn chips) is made, of course, with vegan cheddar cheese.
The menu features a handful of meat and fish dishes including a beautifully pan-seared organic salmon with a fresh mango salsa, basil mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini.
Regulars who are in the know gravitate to the Wok Station, where the chef will prepare some truly amazing dishes for you. The stir-fried miso rice noodles are served with market veggies, bean sprouts and ground cashews. You can also order sweet plantains and avocado with fried rice. If you like, there is the option to add tofu to any of the dishes at the Wok Station.
They do a marvelous Pre-Fixe Brunch here. Thirty-four dollars buys you a choice of any entree on their brunch menu together with one and a half hours of unlimited cocktails, wine or beer. The bar does have a selection of bio-dynamic, organic wines that will quench your thirst in a most responsible and environmentally friendly way.
The cocktail program at Spring Street Natural makes use of various herbs, flowers and fruits in addition to a fine array of choice wines and spirits.
Agave syrup, which is made in-house, is mixed with fresh lime juice and dried hibiscus flower infused tequila to create a very potent Hibiscus margarita.
Their signature drink is the Spring Session, a blend of house-infused fresh lavender vodka, lemon juice, agave and a lavender-cinnamon rim.
Location and Contact Info
98 Kenmare Street
New York, NY 10012
Ladybird - Lower East Side
Brought to you by restaurant entrepreneur and animal rights activist Ravi DeRossi, Ladybird is a trendy tapas bar that just so happens to be one of the best vegan and vegetarian spots in the city.
A man with a sterling track record when it comes to having his finger on the pulse of New York's foodies (The Bourgeois Pig, Cienfuegos and Proletariat), Ravi has created a restaurant that is a magical, vegan wonderland.
Your experience starts when you enter Ladybird through a discreetly placed sea green door that, at first glance, looks as though it 's the portal to a rather upscale private residence.
Once inside, you will be surrounded by elegance and good taste. Hanging brass planters are filled to the brim with greenery alongside ornate chandeliers. The walls are decorated with gilded antique mirrors and white and gold teal. The banquettes are, what else, but emerald green.
The ambiance is a lot to live up to. But, the delicious menu and drink list do the job, admirably.
The plates may be tapas-sized small but they are big on taste. One of the more interesting plates gives you baby corn served three different ways, with blended herbs, fried and in a lovely, smooth puree. The fried portion of your corn dish is dusted with almonds and chickpea-based Parmesan.
Certain to please even the most discerning palate is the kale with pickled Daikon, radish, puffed rice and black garlic. It's a taste for the ages.
The frisee' with pears, arugula, Shiitake 'shrooms and fried onions is yet another captivating dish.
Brussel Sprouts are no strangers to the menu of most New York eateries these days.
You'll find them served in a variety of ways. But, the chef's method of tossing his sprouts with endive, sliced apples and quinoa really offsets the sprout's naturally bitter taste. A mild soy-truffle vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for this type of dish.
The fried hearts of palm with a Marinara dipping sauce aren't bad either.
But, the signature dish at Ladybird is the fondue, which serves 2 to 3 people. Varieties include Chardonnay and artichoke, mushrooms with onion, sun-dried tomato and basil and chocolate.
What could be more romantic or delicious, than you and your date exchanging glances and compliments over a crock of vegan fondue?
The bar turns out some very cool cocktails if you're in the mood for an adult beverage.
Sparkling Rose', watermelon juice, cucumber juice, elderflower and a sugar rim makes up the Shearwater Spritz, which is highly refreshing.
You'll most definitely get your buzz on with the Pink Pigeon, a libation whose ingredients are raspberry juice, lime juice, Dolin Blanc vermouth and Fino Sherry.
Ladybird has a specially-priced late night menu, from 11 PM until closing, which is great if you are hungry or thirsty, after a night of dancing at the club or attending a concert or sporting event.
Snacks such as buffalo fried mac and cheese and crispy avocados with a Guava Habanero sauce are available for just five bucks. And, select bottles of wine come in at half-price!
Hey, the night is young. Why let it end too soon ? keep the party going at Ladybird.
Location and Contact Info
111 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009