Vegan Friendly Upper West Side Restaurants You Need To Try Today

A little while ago I wrote about 5 Awesome Vegan Friendly Restaurants Near Central Pack South.  They were so good that we couldn’t wait to come back to see what another area of NYC had to offer.  On this trip we moved a bit north and found that the Upper West Side Restaurants didn’t just deliver … it blew us away!

From casual and quick to a complete fine dining experience, everything was on our doorstep.

Not only does every restaurant listed here provide some of the best food you’ve ever eaten, but they’re all perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike (yes, you can even bring your Neanderthal brother-in-law and he’ll walk away full and happy).

 peacefood cafe

Peacefood cafe was the perfect way to set the tone for our visit to the Upper West Side of New York City.

Located at 460 Amsterdam Ave, peacefood cafe is a vegan kitchen and bakery founded on the idea that peace begins on your plate.  That idea is evident everywhere, from the friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere to the filling portions of delicious food.

We had the daily specials: “Chicken” Parmesan with a side of veggie pasta, and Vegetable Pot Pie with a side salad.  to drink, we went with a fresh-squeezed juice and a chai tea.

If either of these items is on the menu the next time you visit, do yourself a favour and order it immediately!  Seriously, it’s that good.

Bareburger

Bareburger was so good we went there twice … and immediately missed them when we got back home!  They create sustainable, organic comfort food for everyone, including a menu that is over one-third vegetarian and plant-based.  They have 5 different kinds of vegan burgers, including both the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, as well as vegan sausages, sides, and shakes.

Sustainability goes beyond just their food as each unique restaurant is built with reclaimed & recycled materials (they even have plant-based straws!).  We visited them at 795 Columbus Ave, one of their 12 Manhattan locations.

We tried both the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, and both were amazing! Julia even opted for the collard greens wrap for her burger to avoid some of that unnecessary gluten.

In my opinion, the Beyond Burger “acts” more like a meat burger, while the Impossible Burger tastes and “feels” more like a meat burger.  Whichever you choose, you’ll be making the right choice!

P.S. Definitely try their vegan milkshakes!  You can thank me later.

Gabriela’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar

Gabriela’s offers home-style Mexican food alongside the largest tequila bar on the Upper West Side.  Even on your first visit you’ll be made to feel like family!

Located at 688 Columbus Ave, Gabriela’s has great indoor and outdoor dining ambiance.  An awesome place for drinks or a night out.

Julia had the Enchilada De Verduras (hold the cheese), with Mexican red rice and black beans.  I opted for a non-vegan entree this time, but both the meals (and the drinks) were delicious.

Blossom du Jour

Blossom Du Jour is a small, mostly takeout location at 449 Amsterdam Ave offering delicious sandwiches, soups, wraps, salads and sides all 100% vegan.

We had the Un-Chicken Avocado Griller and the Sloppy Jack (made with BBQ jackfruit).  Both tasted great (so good – and we were so hungry – that we forgot to take pictures)!  There was no surprise that the entire time we were there customers continued to lineup, mostly for a quick bite on the go.

Update:  Unfortunately this location has closed, but you can still find them at 617 9th Ave and 259 West 23rd St.  There’s also an Express location at 1000S 8th Ave.

Blockheads

Blockheads is a quick-serve restaurant at 175 W 90th St that offers delicious Mexican food.  We went there on a whim because our old beach volleyball team shared the name “Blockheads”, but loved everything about our visit.

We took advantage of their “Five & Dime” Special with $5 margaritas and $10 veggie burritos and grilled tofu tacos.  The food was excellent, and prepared quickly.  The drinks were very tasty, but their lack of “boozy” flavour could be dangerous.  

Candle Cafe West

Candle West is passionate about creating hearty, nourishing meals made from whole ingredients meant to have a positive impact on their customer’s overall well-being.  Open since 1994, there’s a good reason they’ve been continually rated as one of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants in the USA.

Candle West is located at 2427 Broadway, but we ordered in.  When it arrived the amazing aroma coming from the bag made us want to rip into it immediately  Boy was it worth it!

We had the grilled portobello and the roasted zucchini, avocado and seitan sandwich … and who could resist a slice of cake for dessert?  Every bite was better than the last!  This was easily one of the best meals we had in New York City.

Blossom on Columbus

Blossom Restaurant is easily one of the top vegan food destinations in New York City.  With their focus on vegan interpretations of classic world cuisine, it took just one visit to see why!

Located at 507 Columbus Ave, Blossom Restaurant is the reason we had to say that Candle 79 was “one of” the best meals we had in New York City.  Have you ever had one of those meals you never wanted to end because the food was so good?  This was one of those meals

We ordered the ‘Salmon’ Tofu with sauted broccolini and ‘scallops’, and seitan piccata with garlic mashed potatoes.  We were totally blown away by every single mouthful.  After such an amazing meal we just HAD to order dessert: apple strudel and peach cobbler.  The perfect way to end such an incredible dining experience!

Bonus Restaurants!

On this trip we didn’t just stay on the Upper West Side; how could we not do some exploring?!? Here are 2 additional restaurants that totally exceeded all expectations.  If you’re in one of these neighbourhoods, you definitely need to eat here.

Franchia Vegan Cafe

Franchia Vegan Cafe offers a casual take on refined Asian-fusion vegan dining.

Located at 12 Park Ave, Franchia has a wonderful tiered seating design, making each table feel intimate and special.

I simply HAD to try their pad thai, and really enjoyed it.  Not too dry, not too wet, and very flavourful.  Julia had spicy jackfruit and eggplant curry stew, which she loved.  Then we finished off our lovely meal with a delicious slice of blueberry coconut cake.

Champs Diner

Champs Diner was on our list of “must-visit vegan restaurants” for this visit to NYC.  Despite our high expectations, it still over delivered!

Champs Diner is located at 197 Meserole St, Brooklyn.  Expect a bit of a wait for seating, but I guarantee it’ll be worth it.  It’s a popular place for both locals and visitors – the sign of any great place.

We arrived for brunch and had and Early Bird Burrito and Breakfast Slam (tofu scramble, pancakes, sausage, hashbrowns, and seitan bacon).  Julia was super excited to have her breakfast slam, but I must say that the burrito was incredible!

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