These 11 NYC Restaurants Will Make You Rethink Vegetarian Food

Updated 05/17/19

Forget the fact that I'm wolfing down a chicken enchilada from Fonda at the time of writing this article—I've had my fair share of NYC vegetarian food. In fact, I was vegetarian for five years before coming to the realization that I didn't have enough self-control to say no to pass on the occasional medium-rare burger or my mom's Sunday roasted chicken.

Still, I try to be mindful of my meat intake—often swapping out my protein for fish, participating in Meatless Mondays, or rarely cooking it at home. In fact, in true New Yorker fashion, I rarely cook, period, which has led me to try many vegetarian restaurants in New York City—and trust me, they're worth the detour.

From vegetarian burgers to vegan tacos and cheese-heavy vegetable dishes, there is a little something in here to satisfy every craving. Are you a vegetarian visiting the Big Apple? Or a local looking to expand your culinary horizons? Without a doubt, these are the best vegetarian restaurants in New York City to convince you to go meatless.

Superiority Burger

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Superiority Burger
Courtesy of Superiority Burger

Craving a good old burger? Look no further than Superiority Burger, a compact, all-vegetarian fast-food spot serving up an array of umami-flavored vegetarian burgers in white-tiled surroundings. Since its opening, it has received many accolades, including GQ's best burger of the year in 2015.

Order: A Sloppy Dave with a charred broccoli salad

Location: East Village

Avant Garden

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Avant Garden
Courtesy of Avant Garden

Opened by the team behind Bergen Hill and Cienfuegos, Avant Garden serves up refined vegan dishes—divided into toast, cold, and hot—and global wines served in a snug, brick-walled eatery. Ravi DeRossi, an Indian Italian restaurateur, opened the vegetarian restaurant to expand on his wide portfolio of restaurants and bars in the area—to great success.

Order: Tomato jam–and–pickled peach toast, and king oyster and maitake mushroom

Location: East Village

Bar Verde

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Bar Verde
Courtesy of Bar Verde

If you had to put one name to the vegetarian restaurant culture of NYC, it might be Matthew Kenney. The celebrity chef now has over five vegetarian restaurants in New York City alone. At Bar Verde in the East Village, he serves up tacos and other Mexican plates and cocktails in a laid-back atmosphere.

Order: Nachos with cashew crema and cauliflower al pastor tacos

Location: East Village

Double Zero

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Double Zero
Courtesy of Double Zero

Craving pizza? Look no further than Double Zero, the vegan pizzeria in the heart of the East Village. There, you'll be treated to wood-fired pies with vibrant toppings and small plates with an array of nut-based cheeses to satisfy the biggest appetite.

Order: A spicy marinara Arrabbiata pizza with a sunflower Caesar salad

Location: East Village

ABCV

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — ABCV
Courtesy of ABCV

One of the latest restaurants to come out of the ABC Home franchise is ABCV, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's vegetarian hot spot serving up seasonal plates and cocktails in a light neon-hued space. Here, the food is so delicious you'll even forget it's vegetarian.

Order: A zaatar and egg dosa and a sea buckthorn and mango bowl

Location: Union Square

Ladybird

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Ladybird
Courtesy of Ladybird

Walk by Ladybird at night, and it looks like the perfectly romantic candlelit date spot, finished with gilded mirrors, leafy plants, and lush green velvet banquettes. The creative vegetarian restaurant serves up small plates and cocktails in an embellished setting by the same restaurant group behind Avant Garden.

Order: A mushroom and onion toast with a Chardonnay and artichoke fondue

Location: East Village

The Butcher's Daughter

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — The Butcher's Daughter
Courtesy of The Butcher's Daughter

At first glance, you wouldn't guess that a restaurant name The Butcher's Daughter was vegetarian (the same goes for the above-mentioned Superiority Burger), but that's exactly what this NoLIta brunch hotspot is. The plant-based café and juice bar calls itself a "vegetable slaughterhouse," and is the ideal spot to grab an early breakfast with your vegetarian friends.

Order: A Mexican breakfast bowl with a goddess of green heritage juice

Location: Nolita

By Chloe

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — By Chloe
Courtesy of By Chloe

This fast-casual restaurant with multiple locations across the city has carved a name for itself as a purveyor of healthy fast vegetarian fare. Drop into By Chloe for a quick bite in the morning or at lunchtime—you'll find yourself hooked in no time.

Order: A quinoa taco salad with air-baked fries

Location: SoHo

Mother of Pearl

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Mother of Pearl
Courtesy of Mother of Pearl

Walk into Mother of Pearl and its as if you've entered a parallel universe—one with dripping Murano glass chandeliers and slow-moving fans. Order a cocktail before dinner, and you might not even notice that the menu is entirely vegetarian (we didn't). The tiki cocktail and Hawaiian-inspired spot is where to go when you feel like getting away (but can't).

Order: Pea edamame dumplings, tofu pad Thai, and a Shark Eye to drink

Location: East Village

Nix

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Nix
Courtesy of Nix

It's not every day that you get to eat an all-vegetarian Michelin-starred meal, but that's exactly what Nix offers. The Greenwich Village vegetarian restaurant serves up modern vegetarian and vegan dishes in a dimly lit swanky interior. New York Times food critic Pete Wells even coined Nix "vegetables with a dash of sex."

Order: Cauliflower tempura, shiitake cacio e pepe, and charred asparagus with creamy morels.

Location: Greenwich Village

Jajaja

Vegetarian Restaurants in New York City — Jajaja
Courtesy of Jajaja

Tucked away on an unassuming Two Bridges street, you'll find Jajaja, a contemporary vegan Mexican restaurant with a colorful menu and tequila and mezcal cocktails. The cheery décor and atmosphere might even make you forget that the cheese on your tacos isn't, in fact, cheese at all.

Order: Beet and pumpkin empanadas and enchiladas mole

Location: Lower East Side

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