5 Day Vegan Food Tour in NYC – Our Manhattan and Brooklyn Vegan Food and Site-Seeing Itinerary

During our NYC vacation, eating delicious vegan food was of utmost importance! So I researched some of the best (affordable, delicious, convenient) vegan restaurants and cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and we planned our touristy adventure through the city around these venues. Now I want to share these gems with you!

Here is what our vegan food tour in New York City looked like. As a helpful hint, look for these identifiers: (V)- fully vegan, (Veg)- vegetarian restaurant with vegan options or (N) Non-vegan restaurant but has vegan options. At the end of and throughout this post, I also added a list of our touristy stops in order that we did them.

Day 1:

Hotel 50 Bowery NYC (N)
50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
The first half of the trip, we stayed in a hip hotel in Chinatown called Hotel 5o Bowery. If you are looking for a chic spot, I recommend it. Its location is a little removed from the busy tourist areas while also a quick walk or subway ride away. The hotel offers a gym, restaurant, rooftop bar, and patio with an awesome view of Manhattan’s skyline. (top left photo below).

Note: Our hotel restaurant Rice & Gold was not vegan but they were willing to make vegan food for us.

Butchers Daughter (Veg)
19 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012
We stopped here during brunch hour on a Thursday and they were not that busy, but we had about five different waiters helping us, so it seemed a little unorganized. That didn’t detract from how delicious the mashed avocado toast was! We also ordered the coconut cilantro smoothie; perfect for starting out the trip in a healthy way!

Cafe Integral (N)
149 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012
Here, we scooped up quality Nicaraguan coffee to-go. There is a spacious, minimalist nook for you to settle into while enjoying your coffee. This shop is diagonally across the street from Butcher’s Daughter. Might as well try it after having breakfast or brunch!

*From here we headed by Uber to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. Then we walked to Charging Bull, 9/11 Memorial, Freedom Tower, and through the Oculus transportation hub and retail center, which is quite the sight.

Jajaja Plantas (V)
162 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002
This restaurant is so cute with its comfortable bohemian decor and yet still bright with outdoor lighting and perfect pops of colors. First, we ordered the vegan jackfruit ceviche with plantain chips. Then we ordered delicious tacos that come in a pair making it a perfect sharing meal. And I cannot forget about the spicy pomegranate margarita! It was super strong in more ways than one. I recommend all of the above—you can see why in the photos below.

*From here, we took the subway and walked through Midtown catching Times Square, NBC, the Chrysler Building, and more.

Beyond Sushi (V)
62 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019
We stopped here for a snack because our dinner plans weren’t until 8:15 pm— three hours past our usual dinner time. This is a Hell’s Kitchen veteran development of sushi and snacks made with veggies and fruit. We had brussel sprout dumplings and a mango black rice sushi roll. Both were so tasty!  For a former fish sushi fan, I did not miss the fish at all.

*Afterwards, we walked around Midtown and searched for The Late Show and eventually worked up another appetite in time for our dinner reservation.

Dirt Candy (Veg but mostly V) (Get a reservation!)
86 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002
This upscale venue offers a multi-course dinner so you can choose to enjoy five or nine courses. You can also add a wine pairing for an extra $45 per person. We chose the five-course menu without wine pairing but did enjoy a couple of glasses of champagne and beer. Each dish was so divine and very filling. I think five courses are the perfect size for a couple. We kept thinking “How can we possibly fit one more course in our bellies?” because they did not skimp on the size of each dish! Each plate was too delicious to leave behind, so somehow we ate our way through. The service was great and they even treated us to a dessert wine on the house because we had a long wait before we received our first course. The restaurant was very busy so don’t expect anything too quickly. I promise the food is worth the wait though!

Day 1 Site Summary:
Battery Park
Statue of Liberty
Charging Bull
9/11 Memorial
Freedom Tower
Times Square
Chrysler Building
Rockefeller Center

DAY 2:

Rice and Gold (N)
50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
Back at the hotel the next morning, I woke up early for a workout and then decided to see what the hotel restaurant could whip up for breakfast. We ordered avocado toast with fresh tomatoes, pepper, and olive oil drizzle with sides of mixed fresh fruit and seasoned greens.

*After breakfast, our first stop of the day was Central Park. I had been looking forward to this since we booked the trip!  What a beautiful walk it is through Central Park. We started at the lower east end of the park and continued along the path, crossing ball fields, small ponds, running trails, and spacious lawns with New Yorkers lounging in a serene setting. During our walk, we had a few brief stops at park benches to “people-watch” and we felt like we were in a movie every time!

Le Pain Quotidien (N)
2 West 69th Street, New York, NY 10023
We stopped here for a cold brew to cool us down as we walked the length of Central Park. Le Pain is located halfway through the park on your trek north and just beyond the first big grass lawn that you see.

* We made it nearly the top of the park to see Jacqueline Onassis Lake. We strolled past the Guggenheim and The Met and realized we had at our next stop!

Le Botaniste (V)
833 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10065
I really liked this place (as seen above) because you can order off the menu OR create your own bowl or salad. It is healthy, delicious, and the perfect spot to refuel after a long walk through the park!  I ordered the salad with crusted avocado, and Luke got the hearty stew. Yum Yum!

*After lunch, we headed to the Empire State Building. Expect to spend an hour here if you visit the top observation deck, enjoy the views, and learn about this amazing building. This was one of our favorite stops. Then, we were ready to explore Greenwich Villag

Urban Village Kitchen (V)
41 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014
Talk about retro! This place offers fun and funky vibes with animal photos on the wall, Fantasia playing on TV, and upbeat music lifting everyone’s spirits. Here, I was in the mood for something light and refreshing so I ordered the rainbow spring roll. (Fun fact: I am also a sucker for peanut sauce!) Luke ordered the fried tempeh sandwich with delicious nooch sauce and chili fries, completing our ensemble of comfort food.

*P.S. If you are a fan of the show Friends, be sure to swing by the building where Monica and Chandler lived. It is just a few blocks from Urban Village Kitchen at 90 Bedford Street.

*P.S. If you are a fan of the show Friends, be sure to swing by the building where Monica and Chandler lived. It is just a few blocks from Urban Village Kitchen at 90 Bedford Street.

Rooftop at Hotel 50 Bowery NYC (N)
50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
If you are craving a nightcap, stop here for the incredible views or if you enjoy a club-like setting. The view was for us, but not quite the club scene.

Day 2 Site Summary:
Central Park
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Lake
Guggenheim and The Met
Park Avenue
Empire State Building (You can easily see this along with the other Midtown places, but we wanted to visit the top deck and spend extra time here, so we saved it for the second day.)
Greenwich Village – Friends building

DAY 3:

Like the morning before, I woke early for a workout and ordered a breakfast of avocado toast and coffee from the hotel restaurant, Rice, and Gold (N). We packed up and checked out of the Manhattan hotel and headed to Brooklyn!

Toad Style (V)
93 Ralph Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
After lugging our bags across Manhattan, on and off the subway, and through quite a few blocks in Brooklyn, we were anxious to chill and grub. Toad Style is a little spot that surprisingly blasts rock n roll music. It was not at all what I was expecting to find, but I allowed the food to speak for itself—and it was delicious. I chose a veggie burger salad and requested the veggie burger without a bun, and they delivered a chopped patty atop a yummy salad. It was a balance between warm, crunchy, and refreshing. Luke ordered the pulled jackfruit sandwich and we shared the NY famous Pilot Kombucha. I recommend the Lavender Peach flavor as seen in the photo below.

Caffe Vita (N)
576 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Caffe Vita is located a quick Uber away in the more artsy and industrial area of Bushwick. This spacious, industrial venue offers friendly employees and delicious coffee.

Hana Natural Wines and Market (N)
24 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
A short walk from Caffe Vita is two side-by-side stores offering healthy food and natural wines.

*After browsing the wine selection, it was time to check into our Airbnb in Bushwick. We chose a small apartment in the Bushwick neighborhood in hopes of experiencing the “real” Brooklyn as locals do. If you’d like to experience that for yourself, use my link to get $40 off your first stay. 

Just as we are getting settled, it was time to make our dinner reservations at Bunna Cafe before heading to the Met’s game.

Bunna Cafe (V)
1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
This was our first Ethiopian dining experience and we L O V E D the food. Our meal included five dishes that we picked ourselves. They were presented on a thin, spongy bread that you pinch off with your hand and then stuff with your choice of food. The atmosphere here was energetic but comforting, and the employees were happy to help when we had questions.

Citi Field Mets Baseball Game
I’ll take a lemon shandy beer on this warm…er, I mean freezing cold night!

On our way to dinner, a cold front unexpectedly lowered the temperature from 70 to 40 and we were not prepared… but we were excited to watch baseball, so we drank some beer and hunkered in for a fun game.

Day 3 Site Summary:
Street Art in Bushwick
Citi Field (Queens)

Day 4:

Brooklyn Whiskers (V)
760 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
This is such a cute little place. When I say little, I mean tiny! And on the weekend expect a line from the register to the door. You are really lucky if you get a seat, and fortunately for us, another couple was so nice and invited us to sit with them. In my opinion, it is worth checking out because the space is cute, they offer good coffee, and the food was just what we needed. I had the quinoa bowl because it was loaded with so many healthy goodies, and Luke ordered the tofu scramble with toast. It took me awhile to understand why they were called Brooklyn Whiskers, but after noticing framed cat photos and crocheted cat butts for coasters, I figured it out.

*From here, we walked around the neighborhood and decided to hunt down more coffee!

Variety Coffee
146 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
This shop serves ethically-sourced coffee. It tastes great and provided a wonderful escape from the cold, bustling streets. In the middle of the room, we found a seat and the perfect spot to enjoy our coffee and people-watch for a bit.

Sol Sip (V)
203 Wilson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Sol Sip did not deliver our favorite meal, but it was a good snack stop to tide us over until dinner. I ordered a quinoa turmeric cereal, but I honestly don’t know if that’s what it was supposed to be. It tasted like a lukewarm cereal with quinoa and bananas, which happen to be a couple of my favorite foods, so I liked it. Luke had an SLT sandwich—can you guess what that is? It is a seitan, lettuce (kale), and tomato sandwich that was wrapped in a tortilla. If you add Sol Sip to your itinerary, think snack, not a full meal.

Modern Love Brooklyn (V)
317 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
If you are staying in Brooklyn, Modern Love is a must-hit. It’s a nice restaurant perfect for a romantic evening. They serve delicious comfort food including the spicy lettuce wraps and the mac and cheese with crusted tofu from the photos below (bottom right and top left).

The Bedford (N)
110 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Stop here for wine or cocktails and when you head to the back bar for a lounge setting, ask for Pat, our friend from L.A. who moved to Williamsburg. He will select a wine to match your preference or craft a delicious cocktail… especially if you tell him Justine and Luke sent you.

Day 4 Site Summary:
We weren’t in search of any sites, so we just wandered around Bushwick and Williamsburg and absorbed the Brooklyn vibes.

Day 5:

Champs Diner (V)
197 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206
This is another must-hit! Go to Champs Diner for breakfast or brunch and plan to have a full, satisfied belly!  I mean seriously… just take one look at the loaded tofu burrito from the photo below. (top right)

Whole Foods
238 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Check out the salad bar at Whole Foods in Williamsburg. You can count on WF to get all the veg foods you need for the day ahead!

Day 5 Site Summary:
We just chilled. We walked around the neighborhood and took in rooftop views. 

Enough photos already. I will leave you with some additional vegan information, our list of sites we saw along our food tour, and our top five favorite vegan food restaurants you must try.

Airport INFO:
Cibo Express (N) at JFK: A marketplace offering plenty of vegan options
Terminal 2 Built (N) at LAX: They offer a veggie burger that you can request on a bun or atop lettuce. It is surprisingly yummy for airport food.
Starbucks: Occasionally they sell a vegan salad. Cross your fingers, but you better not count on it.

Here is a quick summary guide to our site-seeing spots!

Day 1:
Battery Park
Statue of Liberty
Charging Bull
9/11 Memorial
Freedom Tower
Times Square
Chrysler Building
Rockefeller Center

Day 2:
Central Park
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Lake
Guggenheim and The Met
Park Avenue
Empire State Building (You can easily see this along with the other Midtown places, but we wanted to visit the top deck and spend extra time here, so we saved it for the second day.)
Greenwich Village – Friends building

Day 3:
Street Art in Bushwick
Citi Field (Queens)

Day 4:
Explored Bushwick and Williamsburg

Day 5:
Explored Williamsburg

As you can see the first half of the trip we were on the go and it got a little more chill as our trip progressed. The good food didn’t stop though!!!

Our top 5 vegan must-hit restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn were:

  1. Dirt Candy (Veg) – expect to pay over $100 for two but soooo worth it.
  2. Jajaja Plantas (V) – super chill – refreshing and delicious dishes and cocktails.
  3. Modern Love Brooklyn (V) – hip, chill environment, quality comfort food
  4. Urban Village Kitchen (V)– awesome neighborhood, energetic atmosphere, good options for light fare, or comfort food.
  5. Champs Diner (V) – Fun retro diner – lively, corky, perfect last day comfort to soothe a hangover or get you feeling full and satisfied for your travels.

Have you been to NYC and know any other restaurants that you love that we missed? Let me and other readers know.

Have a great trip to NYC and let me know how it goes in a comment below.

Justine and Luke


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