Rounded up here you will find the spots you should absolutely consider checking out in New York City. I have a much longer list, but I myself find it overwhelming, so the places and spaces listed below are my “musts” – they incorporate good business, good design, good service, good food and a commitment to being health-forward! Below the “musts” list, you will find a list of other great places I also recommend – but if you only have select time, start at the top!
Hangawi I have not visited NYC without enjoying a meal at Hangawi. After more than a dozen visits, I still find the menu interesting, offering a varied and incredibly large selection of vegetarian Korean fare that is fun to share (although also worth going on your own). Try as many dishes as you can, and include the Vermicelli Delight and Spicy Kimchi Mushroom Pancakes, plus a sake cocktail or green tea. The restaurant is always busy and has great energy. Make sure you are wearing clean socks, as you take your shoes off at the door…the entire experience will leave you feeling satisfied and quite zen.
ABC Kitchen ABC Kitchen & Michelin star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten are passionately committed to offering the freshest, safest ingredients, presenting a seasonal menu, that is locally focused and globally artistic, while cultivating a healthy relationship with our tables and for the planet. No matter how you eat, their menu will satisfy, and they are incredible with accommodations, should you have specific dietary requirements. The space is absolutely beautiful and inspiring – it is a very happy food kind of place. Try brunch and dinner and their new plant-based concept in the building too.
ABC Carpet and Home A portal into collective creativity—integrating the elements of healing, education, sanctuary, theater, art, and interconnectivity to create the experience of a three-dimensional living magazine and interactive museum. You might choose to spend hours here even if you aren’t shopping because you can learn about so many products and artisans, or even catch some art collections or a special event, depending on the day and time. This was one of the first stores that carried eco-friendly clean makeup that thrilled me (RMS Beauty) and they continue to always have something new and interesting – at least one thing, every visit.
The Green Table A charming organic, farm-to-table eatery and bar, nestled in the heart of the Chelsea Market. The daily menu reflects what’s freshest at local farms and greenmarkets and their wine and beer list is composed of sustainable, organic and biodynamic offerings. Although the selection is limited if you are eating plant-based, you will be satisfied.
Confectionery! This joint sweet shop between Sweet Maresa’s and Lagusta’s Luscious (on our favourite chocolate list) is in the East Village and is charming and decadent in the best possible way. It’s organic, fair trade and vegan, so I really don’t need to say more to convince you to go, right? Just in case you need more incentive, think about chocolate croissants, sponge toffee, dozens of macarons and caramel-filled chocolate bars (the best ones that I have ever had).
Nudie Jeans A high quality product made in a fair way. 100% organic cotton denim, socially responsible, transparent production. They offer free repair service, onsite, immediate hemming, they resell second hand products, and recycle worn out products. If you aren’t yet part of the Fashion Revolution, now is the time to start dressing like you care, and you’ll need a great pair of jeans to start.
United by Blue (and all of Elizabeth Street for that matter is worth a visit.) This certified B Corp (Borden Communications is too!) puts a lot of thought into the materials that make up each piece and always opt for textiles that keep our oceans, air and soil a little cleaner. For every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from our world’s oceans and waterways. Go buy an organic cotton t-shirt or a pair of hemp socks, you’ll notice the difference in how you feel immediately.
Credo Beauty The Soho location offers a comprehensive collection of safe, effective beauty products that are totally clean, super good, and absolutely beautiful. The service is great, with really knowledgeable staff. One of the best ways to detox is through your skin, so clean up your act. Plus, with skin being your largest organ, if you put it on your skin, it’s in your body. This is a great place to take your kids if they are getting interested in makeup and personal care to get educated along with the products.
Dun-Well Doughnuts Ok, so doughnuts aren’t exactly healthy, BUT, these are vegan donuts made with health-forward ingredients, mostly organic ones, with a rotating list of 200 varieties, plus ice cream and french-press coffee. It’s a teeny space with a few window seats in the east village. Perfect for dessert after enjoying dumplings at Mimi Cheng’s or vegan, organic pizza at Double Zero (both to come on this list, below).
1 Hotels I don’t like hotels. Never have. Anyone that knows me even laughs at my intolerance of public spaces, no matter how “high-end” they might claim to be. Everything changed upon my first stay at 1 Hotel Central Park. It was an exciting and luxurious hotel experience – I was so impressed with everything thoughtful aspect from hangers explaining what they were made of, laundry bags begging guests not to use or take if not needed, a fruit stand in the lobby full of local, organic fruit for the taking on the way in or out – there are so many ways that this property is inspired by nature. You will relax in comfort, surrounded by living green plants and thoughtful touches of nature like reclaimed woods, treetop views, custom hemp-blend mattress and 100% organic cotton sheets. You will have a restful, healthful sleep here. Read more about 1 Hotels in my interview with Kane Sarhan, Vice President, Brand Marketing at Starwood Capital Group.
Van Leeuwen If you like ice cream, Van Leeuwen Classic and Vegan ice creams are made from scratch with just a handful of quality ingredients. Each flavour is a celebration some of the world’s best artisan producers and farmers. The Vegan scoops are made with house made cashew milk, organic coconut milk, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter and organic carob bean. The Turmeric vegan ice cream with sugar cookie was the last one that I tried and loved. Although their locations are fantastic, look out for their ice cream truck!
Double Zero A plant-based pizza concept by Matthew Kenney in the east village is a great place for a casual lunch or a dinner with great wines. Visit this vegan pizzeria for wood-fired pies with vibrant toppings, plus small plates and nut-based cheeses.
Arata Arata highlights the diverse and abundant plant-based ingredients of Asia. Japanese for fresh and new, Arata offers steamed buns, small plates, noodle bowls, tempura, vegetable sushi and Japanese inspired desserts. Arata has an innovative cocktail and sake program.
Bar Verde Matthew Kenney’s plant-based Mexican cuisine, featuring sharing plates, including variations on guacamoles, ceviches, chips and salsas, a full taco menu, and a large number of unique main course preparations paired with an extensive list of organic and sustainable tequila and mezcal cocktails in a warm casual environment, located in the heart of the East Village in NYC.
XYST Mediterranean Inspired Cuisine and Cocktails by the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Team in Chelsea, NYC.
PLANTMADE An all-day cafe serving artisanal coffee, plant-based pastry and an extensive menu of casual offerings. Located in the East Village, Plantmade’s menu is suited to complement a boutique coffee program and for all day dining.
Green Market at Union Square As Greenmarket’s flagship market, the seasonal bounty is unparalleled, with hundreds of varieties to choose from during any given season. From just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables, to heritage meats and award-winning farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, a profusion of cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup and much more. If you are a tourist in the city, it still merits walking through, no matter the season – you might find yourself a perfect snack while you roam, or learn about a new veggie. That’s what markets are for!
OTHER PLACES AND SPACES IN NYC I LIKE
Little Choc Apothecary NYC’s First 100% Vegan Creperie. They offer sweet and savory crepes, and homemade baked goods. Everything is plant based, free of chemical binders, gums, artificial flavors, and overly processed sugars and flours. They source their ingredients from farms and distributors who focus on sustainability, and provide local, organic, and fair trade products.
Hu Kitchen Veggie-oriented, paleo-friendly, gluten-free eatery offering juices, bowls, soups and mains, many of them organic. If you like really dark, healthy chocolate, their bars are great, and also made our favourite chocolate bars list.
Blossom Established to creatively bring vegan dining to a fresh, new and delicious level.
Candle Café and Candle 79 Eclectic vegan – nice enough for a dinner date, with a great cocktail list. If you eat vegan, try it, if you do not, I would suggest somewhere else for your plant-based dining experience.
Dirt Candy Inventive vegetarian – chef and owner Amanda Cohen shows off what can be done with vegetables and will even satisfy and impress carnivores.
Beyond Sushi Vegan sushi. Super casual, and would recommend this for takeaway. Maybe a perfect thing to grab on the way to catch a broadway show or to the airport when you want to avoid eating whatever they offer there or on the plane!
Moo Shoes A great, bright little boutique selling kind soles – all vegan shoes, bags and wallets.
Orchard Grocer Nestled in Manhattan’s lovely Lower East Side (and adjacent to Moo Shoes), this is an all-vegan deli and food market inspired by the delicatessens of New York’s past. You’ll find lots of hard-to-get or new vegan food products and can get a bagel, lox and cream cheese to go.
Mimi Chengs Organic and locally-sourced Taiwanese-Chinese dumplings, made with a family recipe. Multiple locations. Solid, satisfying fast food.
Jennifer’s Way Artisanal, organic bakery crafting healthy treats without gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar or peanuts. This spot is definitely only for those who want goods meeting this criteria, their baked goods definitely taste super-healthy.
Quintessence Super-small cafe promoting healthy living with a menu of raw, organic, meat-free dishes.
Le Botaniste Homey, apothecary-inspired counter serve for vegan, organic bowls, juices and natural wines.
I will keep adding to this list!