Plant-Based Dining: Top Spots To Eat In NYC, LA and SF
Innovators in the the restaurant industry have created exquisite concepts for eating green, where foodies don’t have to sacrifice ambiance or taste. We’ve included our favorites, go-to spots highly recommended by friends, and the most beloved dishes of the restaurants and chefs themselves.
60 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010
West 22nd street is where we first discovered BEATNIC. There are three more N.Y.C. locations, all serving the same delicious menu. It’s food that is casual and quick, but bursting with flavor and wholesomeness. BEATNIC. uses locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form. Their dishes are energizing and unforgettable. We’re talking plant-based food you’ll daydream about later.
What to order: Order any one of the seriously good salads. The Crispy Chicky is excellent. As is the Quinoa Taco with spicy seitan chorizo; and don’t pass up the Air-Baked French Fries (sweet potato, of course).
187 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011
507 Columbus Ave. New York, NY 10024
Blossom, with two NYC locations, serves some of the most delicious vegan food we’ve ever tasted. Fresh organic ingredients, from local farms, are used to create their health conscious cuisine. The Rigatoni is incredible. From the decor, to the menu selection, to a full bar with local wines and beer, Blossom creates the perfect (vegan) dining experience.
What to order: Buffalo Rissotto Croquettes, Gnocchi, Tuscan Kale Salad, Rigatoni
38 East 19th Street, New York, NY 1003
One name, Jean-Georges. The acclaimed chef’s plant-based restaurant is one of the best in the city. The decor is soothing and cheerful in tones of pale pink, white and distressed pale wood. The food is almost to beautiful to eat, if it wasn’t so darn good. Insider tip, book in advance, with a reservation, because they’re always busy.
What to order: Avocado Lettuce Cups, Fried Wild Rice, Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric.
833 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065
Le Botaniste offers delicious, organic food and a natural wine bar. Botantical and organic, the restaurant features apothecary-inspired decor and the menu items are titled as prescriptions. Casual, inspired and fun.
What to order: Tibetan Mama Rice Bowl, Spicy Chili sin Carne, Joe’s Mash Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy.
154 E. 79th Street New York, NY 10075
In 1984, owner Bart Potenza purchased a landmark health food store and juice bar on the Upper East Side. Bart renamed it the Healthy Candle after the previous owner’s nightly candle lighting ritual, done to bless the establishment. When he and partner Joy Pierson wanted to expand the business, they asked and the universe answered. Bart and Joy won $53,000 in the take-five lottery. They opened the nearby restaurant, Candle 79, in 2003. The restaurant features locally-sourced sustainable ingredients that are combined to create inspired dishes.
What to order: The Good Food Plate, Cauliflower Bites, Lettuce Wraps with brussels sprout coleslaw, tempura jasmine rice and maple mustard vinaigrette.
326 East 6th Street, 10003
Souen is an organic, macrobiotic restaurant with locations in Soho and the East Village. Their focus is on creating food that is prepared simply and naturally. They offer the best quality grains, beans, and produce. We left loving the place and what we ate.
What to order: Macro Plate, Pad Thai with baked tofu in home-made lime peanut sauce, Vegetables and Noodles in Sesame Miso Sauce, and the Garlic Greens & Vegetables.
130 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10009
Tucked in the East Village, Avant Garden serves a short list of innovative small plates that are made with farm fresh produce. It’s a great spot to grab a bite when meeting up with a friend.
What to order: Romesco Toast, Cold Avocado Salad with carrot ginger dressing and the hot Broccoli with sweet potato and snow pea.
8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California 90046
A Mediterranean spin on vegan food in a sophisticated environment. Picture pizza, topped with butternut squash purée, mustard greens, crispy brussels sprouts and toasted pumpkin seeds, served under industrial chandeliers. This is the genius creation of Chef Tal Ronnen, founder and chef of Crossroads, and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Conscious Cook.
What to order:
The Lasagna With Almond Ricotta is a dream. Glazed Brussel Sprouts. The pizza’s and small hot plates are another way to go. Brunch is excellent too.
Sage Plant Bistro West
4130 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230
Sage Plant Bistro is an organic eatery with a few locations in L.A.. We picked the westside location in Culver City, due to the outdoor patio, (which is also a feature in the Pasadena spot), beer garden and full bar. Who says you can’t mix plants with pleasure? The food at Sage comes from a love of gardening and cooking. They are open for brunch, lunch and dinner.
What to order: Jack Fruit Nachos, Fried Artichoke Hearts, and the Spicy Avocado Mac & Cheese Bowl. Don’t pass up dessert, Sage’s own KindKreme is their legendary dairy-free ice cream.
7119 Melrose Ave. Hollywood, CA 90046
9433 Brighton Way Beverly Hills, CA 90210
A causal environment, with deli and made-to-order food. A pioneer of contemporary macrobiotic food, M Café offers a menu of nutritious dishes created by master chefs. The combinations of ingredients they put together are delish, and all of their in-house sauces and dressings leave you wanting to bottle their creations. Their Spicy Peanut Dressing is addicting.
What to order:
The cult-favorite Chilled Kale Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing, the M Café Macro Meal, any of the Signature Salad Combos and, of course, the Organic House-Made Sweet Potato Fries with Chili, Sea Salt & Lime.
Vitality Bowls Superfoods Café
2375 Sandcreek Rd, Suite 102, Brentwood CA 94513
From Northern to Southern California, you don’t have to do without this superfood café. Founders Roy and Tara Gilad came up with the idea for Vitality after discovering their daughter’s severe food allergies, and set out to create healthy, safe food alternatives. All orders are freshly made in non-cross contamination kitchens, to ensure that those with food allergies feel safe. They refrain from ingredient fillers such as ice, frozen yogurt, added sugar and artificial preservatives.
What to order:
You can’t go wrong with any of the organic Açaí Bowls. Our favorites are the Breakfast Bowl, Warrior Bowl and also the pitaya based Dragon Bowl.
395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172, Santa Monica, California 90401
A health-driven, seasonal restaurant merging nutrient-rich ingredients with a flavor-forward menu. Ingredients are used at the peak of their freshness, so the menu regularly switches up. A full bar offers crafted cocktails made with organic vodka and tequila.
What to order:
Organic Tuscan Kale Salad, the T.L.T. Sandwich, and the Ancient Grains Bowl with miso glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snow pea, grilled portobello, avocado and hemp seed. It’s pure heaven.
370 14th Street, San Francisco CA 94103
A fully vegan sushi bar and izakaya. Shizen is a beautiful experiment and testament to the power of talented chefs, who are dedicated to protecting the oceans with a fully plant-based menu. Shizen combines classic shojin and sushi techniques with seasonal ingredients, locally sourced. The prideful chefs are not about imitating what isn’t there, instead ingredients like tapioca, mountain yam, and konjac are used to create complex dishes. Open for dinner only, reservations are not accepted. They’ll text when your table is ready, so plan accordingly and have a drink nearby after checking in.
What to order: their special Edamame, Body and Soul, Open Invitation with pumpkin tempura.
2 Marina Boulevard, Fort Mason Center, Building A, San Francisco, CA 94123
Greens is without a doubt the most famous plant-based restaurant in San Francisco. Recognized by Zagats as one of the best restaurants in the United States, Greens is S.F.’s vegetarian gem. With an ever-changing menu, they offer refined, meatless cuisine that is top quality. Open for lunch, dinner and brunch.
What to order: Pappardelle Pasta, Greek Pizza, the Sampler, and Mesquite Grilled Brochettes.
1121, 3906 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
An adorably hip café, located near Ocean Beach, that specializes in uniquely crafted vegan food, signature fresh juices and smoothies. Judahicious uses locally sourced produce much of the time, and all their to-go containers are eco-friendly.
What to order: the Exodus stir-fry, 1/2 Nekked Burrito, Sem Sandwich and the Superfood smoothie lives up to its name. Just check out the ingredients – banana, blueberry, goji berry, almonds, date, cacao, maca, mesquite, cordyceps, red dulse, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, cayenne.
1977A Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Think classic dishes from childhood, with a plant-based spin. Jill Richie came up with the concept for Vegan Picnic after leaving the tech industry and becoming a single mom. Her kids went vegan, and she joined them. The lack of quality vegan food lead her to experiment in the kitchen, which lead to the opening of Vegan Picnic. It’s an American-style deli, with classic comfort food that’s 100% plant-based.
What to order:
The VP Burger with special sauce and the Crispy “Chicken” with sriracha mayo.
2011 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
The amusing tidbit about this location is that it use to be a McDonald’s. Kitava is not entirely plant-based, but we included it because it’s the perfect place to eat when people are divided on preferences. The menu offers a great variety, with a lot of thought behind all the dishes. Kitava is a modern café known for gluten-free, dairy-free and free-range menu items.
What to order:
Crispy Brussel Sprouts, the Baja Bowl, or the incredibly delicious Cuban Bowl with sweet plantains, avocado, kale slaw, cilantro-garlic mojo sauce, white rice and beans.
270 5th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Northern California is where is all started for Roy Gilad and Tara Gilad. They opened the very first of their superfood cafés in San Ramon, after discovering their daughter’s severe food allergies, and set out to create healthy, safe food alternatives. All orders are freshly made in non-cross contamination kitchens, to ensure that those with food allergies feel safe. They refrain from ingredient fillers such as ice, frozen yogurt, added sugar and artificial preservatives.
What to order:
You can’t go wrong with any of the organic Açaí Bowls. Our favorites are the Breakfast Bowl, Warrior Bowl and the pitaya based Dragon Bowl.