Over in the UK, National Vegetarian Week has kicked off. Perhaps someone can correct me, but as far as I can see, we don’t have an equivalent here. There’s a Veg Week in April, but no week set aside specifically to celebrate us bean curd lovers. So I thought I’d use the UK’s celebration as an excuse to share a few of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in NYC.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a stubborn six-year-old and then I dropped fish when I was about 10. Growing up in a mostly vegetarian household, I never struggled for variety in my diet, but when I came to New York, my mouth watered at dishes, substitutes and cuisines I never knew existed. So after a few years of chowing down, here are some of my top spots:
1 :: Hangawi ::
This Korean place on East 32nd Street is an experience. You slip off your shoes, snuggle into seats on the floor, slip between private partitions and get stuck into beautifully crafted feasts. Earlier this year, I tackled their exquisite tasting menu (see my blog about it here), and I’m going again later this week and I can’t wait.
2 :: The Butcher’s Daughter ::
As well as being gorgeous (huge windows, white benches, herbs hanging from the walls), this place serves up beautiful vegan versions of meaty favorites. Last week, I snacked on lettuce tacos filled with tempeh and drizzled with avocado dressing, while Ryan crunched on a kale salad with ‘rashers’ of tempeh. All washed down with fresh juices or crisp wines. Ugh, I want to go right now!
3 :: Wild Ginger ::
Delicious Pan-Asian dishes using seitan and soy slathered in home-made, fruity sauces. Head to the locations in SoHo or Smith Street in Brooklyn and give the noodle broths a hearty slurp, I say.
4 :: Pure Food and Wine ::
A slightly pricier dinner (and one that my non-vegetarian friends haven’t been so keen for) but I’ve loved the fresh produce, vegan cheeses and veggie sushi. (Just stay away from the lasagne – it’s a little disappointing.)
5 :: S’nice ::
I want everything on this sandwich store’s menu. Sadly, they’ve shut down a couple of Manhattan locations in recent months, but there’s still a cafe in Park Slope that serves sweet potato burritos, veggie BLTs and paninis stuffed with smoked tofu. A winner every time.
6 :: The Cinnamon Snail ::
And for a snack on the go, track down the Cinnamon Snail’s food truck — although, be warned that you’ll probably have to battle the queues. It’s usually near Union Square at the weekends, but check out its website for exact locations. And then enjoy its BBQ seitan or veggie burgers. I discovered them at the Vendy’s last year.
Others I have yet to try are Candle 79 on the Upper East Side and Dirt Candy down in the East Village. (There are also Blossom and Angelica Kitchen, but some meals there have really not been my thing.)
So wherever you are in the world, happy National Vegetarian Week! And if you can’t face the whole week eating only veg, why not give Meat Free Mondays a go, and check out one of my favorite spots?
(Thanks to ifood,tv, What We Like NYC, Vegan Good Things, Hangawi and Ryan for the pictures)