The 5 Best Vegan Restaurants in New York City for New Vegans

Along with being the city that never sleeps, New York City is also the city with endless food options. It's a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, so you can bet that there's a little something for everyone's taste palates. If you're a new vegan and live in or plan to visit New York City, there are five restaurants you have to visit to get a tasty introduction into the vegan lifestyle.

Dao Palate

Dao Palate is near the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. They describe their food as Pan=Asian vegan cuisine and offer almost all the familiar Chinese and Thai takeout meals like General Tso's and Pad Thai, just made the vegan way. You'll find an assortment of drinks made by hand such as their wild ginger ale, Thai iced tea, and their virgin mojito. And you'll fall in love with their Zen décor. Tall stalks of bamboo line the walls while beautiful Asian ornaments adorn the ceiling. They serve your food on chic square china decorated with nonedible flowers. If you want to beat the crowds, it's best to visit this restaurant before 5 p.m. during the weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends. If you've got room after your meal, order a dessert like their peanut butter bomb ice cream to enjoy there or to go.

Angelica's Kitchen

In Manhattan's East Village, Angelica's Kitchen serves organic plant-based meals. This is a meat-free zone and is perfect for vegans looking for a casual atmosphere whether you choose to eat in or takeout. Their food is made from organically grown ingredients and their menu items are reasonably priced. Celebrities love this place. You'll see a photo of Taylor Swift up on the walls, snapped when the singer visited. Restaurant patrons flock to this restaurant for their mouthwatering and always warm southern style vegan cornbread made with whole grains. Try it with their three bean chili that's so good you won't notice it's made without meat.

Zen Vegetarian House

This lovely hole-in-the-wall restaurant is near the heart of Flatbush in Brooklyn. They offer all vegan inspired menu items and use soy or veggie protein as meat substitutes. Like Dao Palate, Zen's meals are like items found on your traditional Asian takeout menu, only they are made for the vegan taste buds. Menu favorites include their vegan nuggets, their mango soy protein and for dessert their raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. You can either eat in or takeout although because of limited space, it's best to visit this restaurant during the weekdays as you'll have a better chance of finding a seat.

Candle 79

In the Upper East Side near the ritzy Park Avenue, this upscale restaurant is where vegans go to eat fancy. Their prices are higher than the other places on this list, but the flavor their food packs is well worth the extra cash when you want to treat your vegan palate. And you need to make a reservation before you can sit comfortably to sink your teeth into their delicious cuisine. Takeout is also offered if you can't get a reservation or if you prefer to eat at home. On the subject of delicious, their menu offers options you'd think were limited to vegan eating. There's food for brunch, lunch and dinner. Desserts, wines, beers, and their eco cocktails can also be found on the menu. Everything is organic and made to order. One of their standout menu items are Angel's Nachos made with corn chips, "mozzarella," guacamole, chili beans, chipotle seitan, salsa, sour cream made of tofu, and romaine lettuce. Practically everything is tasty, but if there's anything you have to try it's their onion rings with the chipotle aioli. They give more than enough so this may be ideal for two.

Veggie Castle II

This tiny vegan house is in Queens, less than 15 minutes away from the JFK airport and hotels near it. They offer a Caribbean take on vegan food with their vegan barbeque drumsticks, jerk tofu, and vegan mac and cheese. You can order a three meal buffet choice or go for their yummy vegan burgers with your choice of seasoned fries or sweet potato fries. What's better is their large menu of smoothies and juices. They use all natural ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables to concoct drinks that are not only taste amazing but offer natural cures for ailments that range from migraines to high blood pressure. You can either eat in their back room or get your food to go. The staff is friendly and helpful, especially if it's your first time visiting.

Even if you aren't vegan but want to give meat and dairy a break for one day, these places are a great alternative to check out.

Samantha Greaves is a freelance writer and lifelong Brooklynite. She admits that the pizza and Juniors strawberry cheesecake are two reasons she's never left. She posts commentary about life, love, and everything else in between on her personal blog​