The tastiest vegan restaurants in NYC

Even meat-eaters will be in awe of the variety and taste

For those who have made the choice to eliminate all animal products from their diet, even milk and eggs, finding a vegan restaurant can be a challenge. Sure, plenty of "regular" restaurants offer a vegan dish or two, but the limited selection isn't all that exciting, especially when dining out is supposed to be a special experience.

But leave it to NYC to have a variety of all-vegan restaurants that are animal-free and full of wholesome and wonderful veggie-based menu items. Even meat-eaters will be in awe of the variety and taste. Here are five that have fans flocking.

Blossom

Via yelp.com

Something delicious is blooming at both of Blossom's NYC restaurants – one in Chelsea and the other on the Upper West Side. Only fresh, organic ingredients from local farms are used to create healthy and flavorful dishes that vegans and non-vegans alike have been enjoying since 2005. Diners can't get enough of Blossom's tasty dishes like their Buffalo risotto croquettes, cashew cream ravioli, tofu BLT, and Moroccan tagine. A side of truffle mashed potatoes or garlic kale with butternut squash topped with slivered almonds rounds out the plate. Vegan "cheesecake," apple cobbler, or tiramisu with coconut mascarpone ends the meal with a sweet touch. If you're in the mood for pizza, be sure you hit up the UWS location for a wild mushroom, pesto, potato rosemary, or Margherita pie.

187 Ninth Ave. New York, NY

507 Columbus Ave. New York, NY

Candle 79

Via yelp.com

What started as a health food store and juice bar has grown into one of Manhattan's Upper East Side's favorite vegan dining establishment, Candle 79. Plant-based, wholesome ingredients go into every dish, delighting diners with great taste that matches their Earth-friendly vegan lifestyle. Starters like pomegranate-BBQ seitan skewers, breadcrumb-crusted cauliflower, and hydrogen farm edamame set the stage for entrees including Candle 79's black bean pumpkinseed burger, spaghetti and "wheatballs," and pan-seared porcini seitan. Save room for their mouth-watering Mexican chocolate brownie, a vanilla-cinnamon crepe, or the chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich made with coconut ice cream. They even have a gluten-free menu available too!

154 E. 79th St. New York, NY

Avant Garden

Via avantgardennyc.com

Upscale and utterly delicious, Avant Garden makes the most of vegan fare and allows diners to experience vegan cuisine as they've never tried it before. Their unique preparations and dedication to freshness makes each plate beautiful and bountiful. House made rigatoni with vodka sauce, confit garlic, olives, tofu, and ricotta is divine, and scorched cauliflower with toasted garlic, fried capers, and cauliflower puree is simple and sophisticated at the same time. The exposed brick walls of the restaurant and clean layout match the vegan sensibilities of the talented chef. One trip to Avant Garden and you'll see why this garden's popularity is growing.

130 E. 7th St. New York, NY

Seasoned Vegan

Via yelp.com

Described as "vegan soul food," Seasoned Vegan is a counter-serve destination that is hitting the spot for vegans who love eating organic, flavorful, and culturally-diverse cuisine. Owned and run by a mother-son duo, the restaurant is friendly and fresh, with dishes that are satisfying and well-seasoned. Some of Seasoned Vegan's signature dishes include lemon-crusted soy "chicken" nuggets, their pizza quesadilla, homemade hummus, BBQ soy "riblets," and raw zucchini mac covered in cashew "cheese." Ice-cold smoothies are a hit with fruity flavors like berry lemonade and pineapple blitz (pineapple, apple, and banana). Cupcakes and ice cream for dessert make customers smile. And for the late-night crowd, Seasoned Vegan is open 'till 2AM!

55 St. Nicholas Ave. Harlem, NY

Sun in Bloom

Via yelp.com

Vegans in Brooklyn and Manhattan can get their fix of fine vegan foods served up at Sun in Bloom. Plant-based, high-quality meals are prepared with care and love, bringing health and heartiness to diners who maintain a vegan or gluten-free diet. With menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, vegans can fill their bellies any time of day, with the goodness and great service that Sun in Bloom brings. The brunch tart (butternut squash, tofu, shitake, onions, garlic, and sage) is a hit with the weekend crowd, as is the "Orgasmic Granola Delight" (homemade live granola and coconut kefir with fresh bananas and berries). Add goji berries or chocolate chips for an even tastier temptation. Apps like chickpea miso soup, avocado toast, and kale chips with sesame ginger please the palate, and entrees including Sun in Bloom's shiitake lentil burger with cashew cilantro lime crème, and lightly roasted vegetable lasagna with ricotta cashew basil pesto cheese and marinara sauce is filling and fabulous. Stop in to Sun in Bloom and you will see why it's hot with the vegan crowd!

460 Bergen St. Brooklyn, NY

165 Church St. New York, NY

Vegan eating has never been more accessible. NYC is the place to be for veggie-focused fare.

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Personal finance is extremely complicated. But we don't really like to admit it. There's this weird expectation that once you're thrown out into the real world, you're required to know every little thing about finance. Where does that stigma even come from? I never took a single finance class in school, nor was I ever given the option.

I looked up the best way to manage money online and was greeted with a slew of Microsoft Excel tutorials. Is this really the best way to do this? I mused over the different chapters on formulas but felt like I was reading a different language.

I didn't have time to learn a brand new software, but I still needed a way to stay on-top of my finances. I knew there had to be an easier way (and obviously there was).

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Destinations

How to Visit New Orleans During a Pandemic

What can you do when you're wearing a mask and social distancing? Plenty.

Ask most people what they conjure when they hear the words "New Orleans," and they'll come up with the usual suspects: Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, young drunk people, costumes and beads and debauchery.

Oh, and there will probably be some great food in there, too: those weird French doughnuts covered in powdered sugar; some sort of thick dark soup called something-or-other; and "what's the difference again between jambalaya and gumbo?"

Regardless of whether people have actually made a trip down to the Big Easy or not, they'll have some preconceived notions about the city–and we residents say that's fine. It's cool. Sometime, maybe, you'll see more than the inside of a Hurricane drink cup.

But here's the thing. Not only is a visit to New Orleans in autumn the perfect time to check out America's most unique city, but it's an ideal getaway in the middle of these COVID days. The weather breaks in the Gulf South in October. While Minneapolis dips into the twenties, New Orleans luxuriates in the balmy 70s in the day, inky sweet nights in the 60s.

What can you do when you're wearing a mask and social distancing? Plenty. It will be a slower and more gentle visit than one to Bourbon Street, but if you feel absolutely compelled to walk the French Quarter, go for it. While you're nearby, visit the art galleries in the Central Business District. The gallery owners and artists would appreciate your business. And wherever you land for a place to lay your head—all hotels and local temp rentals are beyond clean and ready—you should head out for a bit of nightlife. Yes, even in these COVID times.

But a good wander away from the usual traps will give you a much better understanding of the city. And in most places, you can even take off your mask.

Ride The Streetcar

Sure, this is a bit of a touristy thing to do, but in autumn–in a pandemic, no less–it's infinitely safer and more beautiful than riding in an Uber. The streetcars are nearly always empty at the end of their lines. They have real wooden seats and open windows, and except for a short stint after Katrina, they have been in service since they were very first installed to travel the neutral grounds, the grassy medians of our boulevards.

The last stop in the Carrollton streetcar line will land you at The New Orleans Art Museum. Don't go in it–not to start, at least. Your time might well be better spent walking the adjacent sculpture garden, newly expanded, free, and with that invaluable open-air factor. To round the bend and take your first look at "Karma" is to experience something much bigger than your average landscape painting, although the Rodin sculptures put up their dukes too.

Go for Barbecue and Snowballs

You can just walk down lovely Carrollton Boulevard, traipse beneath the ancient live oak trees and past the stately old homes for a couple blocks until you arrive at Blue Oak BBQ. Your nose will guide you. Again, considering COVID restrictions, you can't get better than Blue Oak's huge outdoor dining areas, multiple shaded and tented spots with plenty of room to properly socially distance. Their staff is as friendly in their masks as it comes, and the food? The ribs are luscious, arguably the best BBQ in the city, but their Happy Hour specials make for the perfect fit after a walk-around in the sculpture garden.

Save room for dessert just across the road. Head to Pandora's Sno-balls. There's a walk-up window, and you only need to stay the requisite six feet away from the other eager patrons lined up at this iconic locale. Flavor recommendations are unnecessary, because every one is divine. Choose your own, but if you want to act like a local, try the wedding cake or pink lady. Shaved ice is a far cry away from a typical snow cone, and you might well be spoiled for life with the soft texture and New Orleans' unique flavors.

Bacchanal in the Ninth Ward

Yes, the word is out about Bacchanal. It's no longer a secret. But it's still a destination worth experiencing, in no small part because it does a much much better job of representing New Orleans than some daiquiri hut with neon green icy drinks. Bacchanal has a massive outdoor seating area, extraordinary wine selections, and incredible nibbles. They support local musicians, and you'll find live music here that will always knock your socks off. You can't visit New Orleans without hearing music, and Bacchanal is a great place to start.

​Find the River

New Orleans river

Of course you can find the river by walking across the street from the Cathedral in the French Quarter. You can stand and watch its roiling waters, but it's not so easy to experience the majesty of one of America's grandest rivers watching shoulder-to-shoulder with others in their masks in a pandemic. Consider a couple of other options: Go to one of two places—both of which are local secrets, so you're going to have to do a little research. Head across the industrial canal and into Holy Cross. Take a right at the first opportunity and drive straight towards the Mississippi River. Try it at sunset. Park and walk up onto the levee. You will not be disappointed. It will tell you everything about this old and wise city that words can't say.

Visit The Fly

The Fly Orleans

Across the literal way and around the bend of the big loop of river, you can find The Fly. A local favorite hangout, it's adjacent to the zoo. Don't go into the zoo either—at least not right away. Save it for another day when the pandemic has abated. Bring lemonade or a couple locally brewed beers to The Fly and make sure to clean up before you leave. Take a seat at one of many spots with a clear view. Consider what it means to see water passing that originates in a tiny creek in Minnesota. Melted snow, tributary waters, it all ends up right here. Watch passing tankers from Russia, tugboats pushing flats of one thing or another, sip your beverage, and enjoy the fresh autumn air.

The River Shack

Follow the wobbly straight line of River Road upriver. You'll probably drive past The River Shack the first time. Just double-back. The place has been around longer than most of us, its exterior old signage now preserved for its historical treat. Try their gumbo. You won't be disappointed. You can sit outside, of course, but you can also take a gander at the dozens and dozens of framed photos on the walls that bring context to the locale.

It's nothing new to say that New Orleans is steeped in history. But that's sort of the point these days, to "go back" and experience a place that's stood the test of time. We have carved out a place unique to this country. Find the unbeaten path and walk our cobbled lanes. There is wide-open breathing room in a beautiful autumn in one of America's oldest cities.

Amanda Boyden is an American author and recipient of Nerve.com's Henry Miller Award for Best Literary Sex Scene in Pretty Little Dirty. Her latest work, I Got the Dog: A Memoir of Rising was released on September 15th, 2020 and is available for purchase here.


7. Low Prices (vs. other Airbnb lodging options and flexible cancellation policy)

Before I found out about Getaway, I thought, gosh. Travel can be expensive, even with everything that is going on. Cabin rentals on Airbnb are so pricey, not to mention their no exceptions cancellation policy—which is totally a turn-off. Even the discounted all-inclusive lodging vacation I've been daydreaming about was out of the picture with my work schedule, sigh.

I was almost at my wits end, then, my friend Kiara brought up this cool new Getaway experience she recently got back from at a beautiful tiny cabin outpost nestled nearby in Hill Country, Wimberley, Texas for $99 a night! I immediately told my boyfriend, and we decided why not go ahead and try it for the weekend!

6. Facilities and Amenities (What's included)

So we went online to Getaway's website and chose the Cabin for Two, which actually had everything we wanted for a weekend escape in nature—giant windows with beautiful views and great amenities including: a comfy queen bed that sleeps two, warm shower, bath products, AC and heat, plus a mini-kitchen stocked with cooking supplies and light meal provisions available for less than $10 each. And, with self-check-in and check-out, booking was as simple and easy! That next weekend we set off into the auburn sunset, next stop—Getaway Hill County!

When we got to our tiny hand-crafted hideaway we instantly fell in love.

5. The Blue Hole Experience

The next morning after my boyfriend cooked us breakfast (yes, he's house-trained), our first stop was the Blue Hole Park Trail Loop with one of the most beautiful natural swimming holes in Texas. We made sure to make a reservation in advanced, and boy can I still smell the oak, cypress and cedar trees surrounding the crystal blue water and canopied trails, I didn't hesitate for a second and jumped in body-first. After a dip, we spent the rest of the afternoon in leisure completing the 1.6-mile hike around the Blue Hole Trail, can you say unplug and unwind, I couldn't recommend visiting this magical place enough.

4. The Wimberley Valley Driftwood Estates Winery Experience

Later in the evening, we headed to the Driftwood Estates Winery which had a great wine varietal, and the winery hostesses were very friendly and helpful in explaining the various wines. The building garden areas and facilities were set perfectly on lush rolling acres of surrounding vineyards with the cutest donkeys and little ponies—and the passing burros, longhorns, double decker English buses which added to the atmosphere, just perfect. Plan your to make a reservation in advanced and soak up the experience of tasting and exploring, a must-go winery!

3. The Wimberly Zipline Adventures Experience

After a sound sleep under the moon and stars, we woke up the next morning with one thing on our mind, the last and final stop on our Getaway weekend-adventure (and arguably most favorite) which included soaring over 10-miles of breathtaking views of Wimberley Valley creeks and canyons, absolutely a thrilling and unforgettable experience. Another must-go, you'll learn about the local ecosystem of plants and wildlife, local history, and other interesting Wimberley area facts. By the end of our tour, I was bursting with adrenaline and excitement. We had so much fun, and I must say I can't wait for our next weekend escape!

2. Disconnect to Reconnect

We got back home late after a late dinner following the ziplining, we were so exhausted but honestly I would not trade a great experience for anything else in the world. It's nice to disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with nature. I was so happy with my stay and how clean and cozy the cabins were. If you haven't had the chance to Getaway, then what are you waiting for!

1. Experience Your First Getaway

If you're looking for a safe, clean, and rejuvenating place to both relax and have an adventure, whether with your partner or friends, I'd highly recommend Getaway.

Plan Your Escape With Getaway! Book One Month In Advance And Take $20 Off Your Fall Adventure With The Code FALL20!