While we didn't get to many of the fully vegan restaurants during our short time in New York City, we were on a mission to eat all of the vegan versions of the fast food the city is famous for: pizza, bagels, donuts and ice cream, because why not? These were our highlights to eating our way through the Big Apple in just three days.
New York Vegan Food Tours
Vegan Eats in the East Village – This walking tour offers a great overview of the many vegan options in the East Village, one of NYC’s prime locations for vegan food. The tour is suitable for vegans and non-vegans alike. We will sample at least five different foods, both savory and sweet.
Taste Brooklyn’s Global Vegan Food – Get ready to taste the colorful and creative international flavors of the Brooklyn vegan food scene. This experience is for anyone who enjoys trying new foods, eating like a local and exploring global cuisines. Enjoy delicious five-course meal across five different, renowned vegan restaurants. Restaurants have been selected for their innovative vegan-friendly menus, unique origin stories & delectable dishes.
Vegan Food Crawl in Artsy Brooklyn – Explore all the best places in the area to get the best vegan and vegetarian foods from all different ethnic cuisines. There are many options in Brooklyn. Tour secret locations in the Bushwick area and stop at three places to try local appetizer-sized tastes and drinks.
New York Vegan Restaurants
With multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, this long-established New York pizza franchise has several vegan options as well as some gluten free pizzas too. We visited the location in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, one of the oldest in the city. It's a brightly coloured and cosy little place, great for people watching. The vegan cheese was melty and satisfying and feels like a good deal given the location.
Another place with multiple locations around Manhattan, this old-fashioned and not-at-all hipster bagel joint is a quintessential New York experience. With a mind-boggling array of bagels and spreads, almost all of which have a vegan option, it's perfect for a large snack or small meal. The tofu cream cheeses were so rich and creamy, I doubted for a moment if they were actually vegan! Everything is wrapped ready to take away, but at least at the location we visited on 3rd Avenue, you can sit inside and eat there without being bothered if you wish.
This minuscule café serves all vegan cakes, muffins and donuts. Mostly they do take away, but there are three tiny tables you can sit at although all drinks are served in paper cups regardless. The chocolate cupcake we had was moist and pleasant, and the donuts were fine: baked rather than fried, so not as greasy as I was hoping for! A decent option to satisfy your sweet tooth if you're passing by.
Right around the corner from where we stayed in Brooklyn, this place served as our breakfast stop more than once. With a nice range of bagels and a huge array of spreads and toppings, just ask for a recommendation to get something vegan: the friendly staff will happily help you out.
We visited here twice in our short time in New York because well: doughnuts! There are like a million flavours (that might be an exaggeration) and they're all great. Perhaps a little sweeter than I was ready for, but still worth coming back for. On Wednesdays they have two-for-one on all doughnuts, so come hungry! They serve all the hot drinks you'd expect too as well as homemade milkshakes in the summer. Everything is vegan.
With about a third of their options being vegan, this relaxed, homely place served giant slices generously filled with toppings. There are also tasty garlic dough balls for extra carbs and the staff are cute which definitely doesn't hurt. You can eat in or take away and it makes for a great quick and easy lunch stop.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Dotted around the city with a few outlets and an ice cream truck, Van Leeuwen is relatively new on the New York ice cream scene. Their location in Brooklyn is tiny but cosy and has almost as many vegan as non-vegan flavours, thankfully none of which are sorbets! It's a little pricey, but portions are generous and the fully loaded sundaes are definitely worth it if you're feeling like indulging.
Vegan-Friendly Hotels in New York
Archer Hotel – This property is located near a variety of shops, vegan dining options and well-known attractions like the Empire State Building, The New Public Library and Times Square. The in-house restaurant, David Burke Restaurant, is a popular spot to enjoy a meal and they offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. Guests can also enjoy the rooftop terrace and the cosy lounge bar in the evening for a drink.
Recommended Hotels in New York
While not specifically vegan-friendly, this shortlist of our favorite hotels has been hand-selected to provide with a variety hotel options in the city to consider if you’re visiting New York.
Andaz 5th Ave – boutique hotel across from the iconic New York Public Library. The spacious rooms feel like exclusive New York lofts, with 12-foot ceilings and plenty of natural light. The property has a restaurant, fitness center and spa onsite.
Hotel Beacon – the historic Hotel Beacon is in the heart of Manhattan's Upper West Side neighborhood and offers apartment-style rooms and two-bedroom suites. Stretch out, relax, and surround yourself with culture and experiences.
Incentra Village Hotel – Occupying two brownstone townhouses, this Greenwich Village hotel is a Victorian-style inn originally built in 1841 with a kitchenette provided in each room.
The GEM Hotel – boutique hotel located in Chelsea with a rooftop and fitness center. Walking distance to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.
There are many sites for apartment rentals including Airbnb and Vrbo. Prices are generally comparable to budget hotels, especially if you’re willing to get a room in a shared apartment.
Vegan Events in New York
New York Vegan Shop Up – This is an awesome event in Bushwick Brooklyn called Vegan Shop-Up, an all vegan pop up market that happens monthly. At this market I tried my first vegan macaron, got lunch at an all-vegan Ethiopian food stand and pretty much just drooled everywhere. Bushwick is a pretty cool neighborhood. It’s got that industrial artsy vibe that happens when old warehouses get converted to artist studios and there is street art everywhere and quirky little housing. Bushwick has some cute cafes and food; the buildings are lower here, only a few stories and it doesn’t feel crowded at all. Inside there was everything from an all-vegan chocolatier called Lagusta’s Luscious to more cookies to raw vegan soups, to raw granola health food bites, to chai tea to a hot sauce stand. The Cinnamon Snail, a famous vegan food truck in NYC, also came for a visit. Below is a view of the event from the outside. There were a lot of stands inside and lots outside as well. This one was selling a vegan soul food plate with sautéed greens and a vegan mac-n-cheese that looked awesome. The vendors are always changing so the excitement and number of things to eat is pretty much endless…and all vegan!