By Rebecca Kaplan, VRG Intern
The VRG has a great directory and listing of vegan- and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in New York: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/New_York.php. These restaurants are my favorites for affordable, convenient, and tasty vegan dining:
1) Best Mexican: V-Spot
156 5th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
V-Spot is a small restaurant in Park Slope with an amazing range of food – all of it vegan. The menu is Mexican, with some Caribbean and
American influences. There’s also a juice and smoothie bar, and a selection of sinfully sweet and creamy vegan desserts. Every dish is
prepared to perfection, and there are many options that are available gluten-free. V-Spot offers gourmet food that won’t break the bank; their sandwiches and entrees range from $7 to $16, and they’re generous with the portions.
2) Best Chinese: Dao Palate
329 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 638-1995 and
201 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11217
Folklore says that the Chinese were the first to use wheat gluten as a meat substitute, possibly for Buddhist vegetarians. Generations of
cultural experience mean that everything at Dao Palate, an all-vegan Chinese restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is delicious. The menu is
Pan-Asian, predominantly Chinese with some Japanese and Thai items available. Wheat gluten and tofu are amazingly versatile substances, and Dao Palate has turned soy into an art form: they make dishes in every flavor imaginable, with meat substitutes ranging from soft to crispy and everywhere in-between. The owner of Dao Palate orders as many vegetables as possible from a local Farmer’s Market. Everything on the menu, except for the ice cream on the dessert menu and milk served with coffee is vegan – but these are clearly marked non-vegan. Soy milk and soy ice cream are also available.
3) Best Mostly-Vegan Cafe: Maimonide of Brooklyn
525 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
A chic cafe with an indie / hipster vibe and communal tables, Maimonide of Brooklyn has exquisite and unique pairings of vegetables. The food doesn’t go heavy on the soy, so it’s a great place to take friends who are reluctant to try tofu – and the brilliantly varied menu is an
excellent reminder of what you can do with vegetables and bread. Try the Mobs, open-faced sandwiches shaped like the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge (they can also be made gluten-free). The Anti Oxidant Mob, a dessert of bananas, chocolate and mint served on graham cracker bread, will satisfy your sweet tooth. Located two blocks from the Atlantic Mall, Maimonide is stuffed with Brooklyn kitsch and cute decorations. The cafe itself is very Brooklyn; after all, who would expect a high-end vegan cafe in the middle of un-gentrified Atlantic Avenue? This cafe is worth treating yourself to.
*Note: a few items on the menu contain honey, and are noted as such on the menu. Ask your waiter and they can make substitutions.
4) Best Hidden Vegan Food: Cafe Tibet
1510 Cortelyou Road Brooklyn, NY 11226
You can walk right by Cafe Tibet without noticing it – literally. The restaurant is hidden half out of sight behind the Cortelyou Road train
station. Located on up-and-coming Cortelyou Road in the middle of Victorian Flatbush, it has a rather unassuming facade. Not everything on the menu is vegetarian, but many great vegan options lay within its walls. If you’ve never tasted Tibetan food, this restaurant is worth
checking out. Items worth trying include their tingmo (steamed buns) with hot sauce, phing-tsel (vegetarian phing-sha) which is a glass
noodle and potato dish with Tibetan flavorings, and tsel-baklap, vegetable patties served with Tibetan salad. Vegan options are marked with a (V) on their menu.
5) Best Vegan Meal Under $10: Four Seasons
2281 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226
The ambiance at Four Seasons is a little bit grungy, but at $6 for a huge amount of Caribbean-style food, you can’t really go wrong. Their
steam table, with a different daily assortment of seitan, tofu, textured veggie protein, noodles, rice and beans, is perfect for take-out. The seasonings tend a bit on the spicy side, so if you prefer food to be bland, stay away; but for venturesome palates, Four Seasons lets you explore Caribbean food with the certainty that everything you order will be vegan. There’s also a smoothie and juice bar with healthy options, and the workers are friendly and happy to answer any and all questions about the food.