Category Archives: Vegan Restaurants in NY

Café Viva: The Unexpected Vegan Haven

With midterms coming around, I didn’t have time for a sit-down meal, but still wanted to indulge in a tasty, healthy, meal. That’s when I found Café Viva. I was struck by the variety of items they had, from vegan pizza and gluten free pizzas on spelt, corn, or whole wheat crust to salads to pasta and calzones. I finally settled on a slice of Zen Pizza (vegan) and a vegan Pasta Bolognese.

The order arrived within twenty minutes, thirty minutes earlier than Seamless had predicted.

Café Viva: Broadway Avenue (between 93rd and 94th Street)

Zen Pizza (Vegan):

Green tea herb, miso-tofu, green tea basil pesto, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomato, and roasted garlic on a green tea herb spelt crust.

I didn’t expect much since I had never tried green tea and tofu on pizza, and had never really considered pizza as “healthy,” but I was pleasantly surprised.

2017-04-07 18.08.59-2The pizza had an overall herby scent, and the shiitake mushrooms and green tea worked surprisingly well together. The sun-dried tomatoes were rather acidic, however, and overpowered the other flavors. The miso-tofu was also rather dry and flimsy – by the end, I was just eating the tofu and mushrooms alone (san-crust). Despite the flimsiness, however, the flavors blended very well in a zen-like manner.

Pasta Bolognese (Vegan)

with homemade Seitan meat sauce. 2017-04-07 19.01.02

Café Viva offers both Linguini and Penne Pasta options, and I ordered the Linguini option. The meat sauce was extremely fresh, and the pasta was the perfect texture.

The 2017-04-07 18.09.48portion is extremely large (especially so after finishing a whole slice of pizza), and there was ample sauce. Although the pasta did not look particularly appetizing, it tasted heavenly.

The pasta came with bread, but it was overly salted on the inside and under-seasoned on the crust.

I will definitely go to the Café Viva store next time to sample some more of their other vegan pizzas and pastas.


I’ve Never Felt Grater: Mac N Cheese

Ah. Yes. Comfort food.

I have found it difficult to find vegetarian options when considering this type of food. So I went to Kitchenette this week in order to find some eats that would be suitable for my special diet. Although not everything was vegetarian/vegan, I still looked at some great options.

Kitchenette Info:

1272 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027   |   8am-9m

When you first walk into this restaurant, you see polka-dotted tables with mismatched chairs. It’s absolutely adorable, and there is really a sense of home when you step inside. I feel like this atmosphere makes the restaurant all the more unique. This off-kilter nature made me feel so welcome and warm.

Kitchenette is often a great place for brunch, even if I went for dinner. The menu is extremely extensive and holds many kinds of comfort food (many of which do not contain meat).


I ordered mac n cheese, and it was HUGE. The portion is so large, considering the price. My friends ordered kale salad, biscuit sandwiches, and meatloaf, and they were all satisfied. Although there are foods that are non-vegetarian, there are still so many options for people like me. Here are some of the vegetarian/vegan options available.


Kale and Brussel Sprout Cesar

KMC (Mac n Cheese)


Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet

Plain/Blueberry Pancakes

Fancy Grilled Cheese

Cookie Jar Milkshakes


Griddled Cornbread

Veggie Eggplant Meatballs

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Field Green Salad

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Vegan Veggie Club

Vegan Chickpea Burger

And many many more 

I ordered the KMC, which contained three different types of cheese. It was crispy on the outside and crunchy on the inside, which was exactly what I needed. Since the mac n cheese was very gooey and heavy, I just wish that it came with a side of veggies of some kind. However, the meal was overall a success, and I would still recommend the food!20161118_18054320161118_181000

Kitchenette, located on 123rd street, gets a solid 4 Bobby Flays!


See you next time!

Like Naan Other

Before I start this review of Ayurveda Cafe, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Dena Cheng, and I am currently a first year student in Columbia College. For the culinary blog, I will focus on great vegan and vegetarian eats you can find throughout the city of New York. I am so excited to share my opinions and excitement for food with you this year. I hope you enjoy!

Ayurveda Cafe 

 706 Amsterdam Ave   New York, NY 10025

Monday thru Saturday 11:30am-10:30pm

Sunday 11:30am-10:00pm

Located just past 95th street, Ayurveda Cafe is a great location close (ish) to the Columbia campus. If you are looking for some delicious Indian food, look no further! With a serene ambience, delectable foods, and welcoming staff, the cafe does provide you with a wonderful eating experience.


A dinner dish filled with beans, yogurt sauce, rice and more!

One of the most unique parts of the restaurant is that there is no set menu. The food constantly changes everyday, and you get to pick and choose from, essentially, a sampling platter. There is a range of different dishes within little bowls, so you can taste different types of beans, rice, and cooked vegetables. The price is very fair, with lunch at only $9.95 and dinner at $15.95. Moreover, one serving can feed more than one person. 


The papadum (a crispy lentil treat)

I personally shared a dinner plate with two other people and was completely satisfied. The wonderful staff even offered papadum, lentil wafers, with various sauces beforehand. Servers also provided warm naan and a free chickpea dessert at the end. This was more than enough food for me.

A very satisfying cup of mango lassi

I also ordered one of my favorite drinks, a mango lassi. Although it was not necessarily the best lassi I had ever tasted, it was quite delicious and sweet. The yogurt based drink was creamy and tangy without being overly syrupy.

Finally, I would probably rate my experience 4 Bobby Flays out of 5.


Overall, my stay at the Ayurveda Cafe was pleasurable, and I would definitely go again. Check it out!

The Cinnamon Snail: Vegan Food on Wheels

For my last blog post of the semester, I decided to try something a little different, and the Cinnamon Snail is definitely something out of the ordinary. The Cinnamon Snail is known for having vegan food trucks scattered throughout New York and New Jersey, but recently they opened a location in the Pennsy, a new food hall above Penn Station on the corner of 33rd street and 7th avenue. The food hall has numerous other options other than the Cinnamon Snail (and all of them looked great).


Although their menu is limited, their food is truly spectacular. You will not regret visiting either their location at the Pennsy or one of their food trucks. I decided to order the Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich, which was made with roasted garlic aioli, marinated kale, tomato, onion, and of course, tempeh. They were very liberal with their use of garlic aioli along with all of the other ingredients used. The garlic aioli was delicious and tasted great with the maple marinated tempeh. This sandwich was filled to capacity and as a result, I left completely stuffed. I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this sandwich. All I can really say is that you must try this for yourself because you will not be disappointed!

Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich
Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich

Even though I was completely stuffed, I couldn’t resist trying their Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie because I could already tell from their display that it would taste good, but I didn’t realize just how good it would taste. It was probably one of the best brownies that I have ever had because the chocolate was very rich in flavor and the peanut butter cheesecake layer in the middle was utter perfection, especially with the contrast of the chocolate.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie

I’m so glad I got a chance to try the Cinnamon Snail because it is probably one of my favorite places I have tried thus far. There really is nothing quite like it in all of Manhattan. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a quick bite in a casual atmosphere (and of course great vegan food).

Village Natural: A Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant

When I walked into Village Natural, I was welcomed by a surprisingly casual and homey atmosphere, the type of atmosphere that is hard to find at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Village Natural encompassed everything I was looking for into one: vegan and vegetarian food, a homey atmosphere, a short wait time, and excellent food! The restaurant is located at 46 Greenwich Avenue in the West Village.


When I sat down and got handed the menu, I realized I was going to have a problem; there were so many options that all sounded amazing. After spending a lot of time going through the menu, I decided to get the Breathe Classic Smoothie and the Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana, which also came with a salad. The smoothie was vegan and was made with strawberries, bananas, and orange juice. I could not tell that it wasn’t made with diary!

Breathe Classic Smoothie
Breathe Classic Smoothie

Almost immediately after ordering, my salad arrived. I was very hungry when I arrived at the restaurant, so I was very happy to get my salad right away! The salad was the perfect size and tasted great with their homemade tahini sauce.


Right after finishing my salad, my entrée arrived, and I knew just from the smell that it would taste amazing. I ordered the Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana with cheese, but it is also available without diary cheese to make it vegan. My entrée came with pasta as well as broccoli, leaving me with a lot of food to take back with me! The Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana itself tasted very similar to chicken. One of my favorite meals before becoming a vegetarian was chicken parmigiana and if I wasn’t at a vegetarian restaurant, I would have thought that I was eating chicken.

Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana
Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana

I will definitely be going back to Village Natural sometime very soon. So far, this is one of my favorite restaurants I have been to in Manhattan and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for good food, even if they aren’t vegetarian or vegan.

Rockin’ Raw: Vegan Peruvian Creole Food

One of the things that I definitely take for granted since moving to the city is the opportunity to try so many different vegan restaurants. Even though all vegan restaurants only serve vegan food, they are all very different. On my most recent adventure to find a vegan restaurant, I stumbled upon Rockin’ Raw located at 171 Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village, which serves Peruvian Creole food that is both vegan and gluten free.


Being that it is close to Washington Square Park, it is a great place to get takeout and eat in the park, now that it has gotten warmer outside. Although I would definitely recommend eating in the restaurant as well, because it is very nice and cozy inside. It is small though, so it definitely will get crowded.

I decided to try the lasagna and I also got a chocolate shake to go with it. For their shakes, you have the choice of either almond milk or coconut milk. I decided to try it with coconut milk. The taste of the coconut milk was very obvious in the shake, but it definitely gave it a unique flavor, and actually made it even sweeter. I would guess that with the almond milk, a customer probably couldn’t detect that diary milk wasn’t used. Ultimately, the shake was very good and definitely satisfied my chocolate craving. I would definitely recommend trying it!

Chocolate Shake
Chocolate Shake

The lasagna I had was excellent because it tasted amazing and also the portion size was quite big. I’m not sure how, but it definitely tasted like there was meat in the lasagna, which made it much better than most vegan lasagnas you will find at other vegan restaurants. The lasagna was made with layers and layers of zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers, marinara sauce, and sunflower ricotta cheese.


Before going to Rockin’ Raw I had pretty high expectations, but the meal I had was even better than what I expected it would be. I highly recommend trying Rockin’ Raw; you will not be disappointed!

Mouthwatering Vegan Cuisine, Made Possible at by CHLOE.

As I walked into by CHLOE. after having stood in a line out the door and down the street, I smelled something extraordinary. It didn’t smell like food that could be made in a vegan restaurant, it smelled too good, too flavorful, and definitely not something that could be vegan. I figured, perhaps the food just smelled good and didn’t actually taste quite as good as it smelled, because that couldn’t be possible. It turned out, I was very wrong; there was a long line for a reason. And might I add, the line moved very quickly and it only took a matter of minutes for my food to be made.


The restaurant is basically a vegan fast food place, but the decor would suggest otherwise. While a customer does order and pay at the counter, the rest of the restaurant has the feel of a casual sit-down restaurant, making it the best of both worlds. It is located at 185 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, which is a little bit of a trek from Morningside Heights, but it is definitely worth it.

I ordered the Pesto Meatball Sandwich, which was so flavorful, and the vegan meatballs actually tasted like real meatballs. The combination of the pesto and the vegan meatballs, along with the marinara sauce and the various other ingredients had such an amazing and unique taste. I had never tasted anything quite like that before, but now that I have, I know I will be craving it very soon.

Pesto Meatball Sandwich
Pesto Meatball Sandwich

Out of all of the vegan restaurants that I have tried in Manhattan thus far, this is by far my favorite. Not only is the food spectacular, but all of their food is very inexpensive. Whether or not you are a vegan, by CHLOE. should be at the top of your list for restaurants that you want to try.

Angelica Kitchen: Affordable and Delicious

This time around, when I began looking for a vegan restaurant, I decided to find a place a little further from campus. I came across Angelica Kitchen in the East Village located at 300 East 12th Street.

Although the restaurant is a little far from campus, it is very inexpensive for the excellent quality of food, and definitely is worth checking out!


The restaurant has a really great atmosphere with a modern and casual feel. Angelica Kitchen also has a separate area for takeout, where you can order and pick up your food in a very short amount of time. Also, the area for takeout has a counter by the window with stools for those that may want to stop in for a quick meal.

I ordered a hot apple cider and the Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich. The apple cider tasted very fresh and the sandwich was very different from what I expected, but it was excellent! The sandwich was made up of multiple pieces of a sourdough baguette, each topped with a very well marinated piece of tempeh, which also came with gravy to put on top. I got mashed potatoes on the side and they were also very good. They had some sort of seasoning that made them taste better than most of the mashed potatoes I have had in the past. The difference in taste may have been from the vegan substitute for butter that must have been used.

Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes
Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes

Ultimately, I am so glad that I got a chance to try Angelica Kitchen and I will definitely be going back. This is a great spot for anyone looking for a vegan restaurant or anyone just looking for great, relatively inexpensive food that is served in a great atmosphere.

Blossom Du Jour: Fast Food Vegan Style

For my last post of the semester, I wanted to find something a little different from the other vegan restaurants I had been going to. Most vegan restaurants are sit-down restaurants, whether they are fancy or more on the casual side, but Blossom Du Jour is a healthier and vegan version of a fast food restaurant. They have five locations, one of which is not too far from Columbia, located at 449 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Street.


The restaurant was very small inside with a decent amount of counter space. A lot of people get take-out, but many also sit at the counter to eat. If you sit at the counter, there is a nice view of Amsterdam Avenue through the windows. It is a nice spot to eat alone, but you can also bring a couple of friends to enjoy the food with.

I decided to try the Strawberry Banana Burst smoothie and it was truly amazing. It was made with strawberries, bananas, and apple cider. I couldn’t even tell that there were no diary products used to make the smoothie!

Strawberry Banana Burst Smoothie
Strawberry Banana Burst Smoothie

I also tried the Midtown Melt sandwich, which is made with cajun spiced seitan, vegan cheese, agave, guacamole, lettuce, and chipotle aïoli. I could not even tell that the cheese used in the sandwich was vegan! Also the guacamole and chipotle aïoli tasted great together, along with the other ingredients in the sandwich. I would have to say the best part was that my food was all made in under five minutes and it tasted like food that I would order at a restaurant, which would take more than quadruple the amount of time to make.

Midtown Melt
Midtown Melt

I really enjoyed going to Blossom Du Jour, and I will definitely be going back sometime soon! I have never been to a vegan fast food restaurant before, and I’d have to say that it was a great experience. I recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a quick and delicious meal in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.

A Vegan’s Heaven in the Village

This time when I chose a vegan restaurant to visit, I decided to stray a little further from campus and I found Red Bamboo on 140 W 4th Street in the Village.


The restaurant has a very calming and cozy feel, making it a very nice place to go if you are stressed. I decided to get take-out from the restaurant and it only took them 10 minutes to make my food! So, if you are very hungry after making the trek from Morningside Heights, luckily, you will not have to wait long! And my trek was truly worth it!!

Popcorn shrimp
Popcorn Shrimp

I decided to start off my meal with an appetizer. I chose the popcorn shrimp because one of the things that I miss the most after becoming a vegetarian is shrimp. The vegan popcorn shrimp were absolutely amazing! The shrimp I got had the same texture and taste of real shrimp! The shrimp were fried perfectly and the sauce that came with them complimented them very well. I will definitely be going back to get more!!

Classic blt
Classic B.L.T.

I got the classic BLT for my entrée because I was really interested in trying Red Bamboo’s version of bacon. The tempeh bacon was also really good and it  had a very similar taste to real bacon. The sandwich also included whole wheat bread, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and vegan mayonnaise. The mayonnaise didn’t taste exactly like real mayonnaise, but in some ways it was actually better. It was a little less thick than real mayonnaise and had a little bit of a different taste, which actually went better with my sandwich than real mayonnaise would have. I definitely will have to get this sandwich again!

I loved everything about Red Bamboo and I will definitely be going back sometime very soon. Everything I tried tasted absolutely amazing and now I know that there is a place that makes great substitutes for the food that any vegan or vegetarian misses. I will definitely be recommending this restaurant to everyone I know, whether or not they are vegan or vegetarian!