As I mentioned in a former post, I made some significant changes in my diet in 2012. I no longer drink coffee; I avoid sugar, soy, gluten, and dairy; and I’m loading up on fresh fruits, vegetables, wild fish, free range chicken and turkey, nuts, seeds and healthy fats like avocado.
You may think that such a diet would limit my options when eating out, right? Not so much! I can find something to eat almost anywhere. I still really enjoy some vegan and raw options-even though I discovered from trial and error that I can’t be completely meat-free. I need lean protein.
I wanted to share my top healthy restaurants in my area that serve fresh, healthy foods and are delish! If you’re in the New York City area and are looking for quality dining, try the following, then let me know what you think!
- Pure Food and Wine: This is the top raw food restaurant in the city. (Raw food simply means that it’s fresh, unprocessed, uncooked, and vegan.) All meat, dairy products, flour, and refined sugars are banned from the kitchen, and they don’t serve coffee, but their wine is organic with no sulfites (which can cause headaches). The menu changes often, and all the items are healthy and really tasty. And it’s got one of the best patios in NYC!
- GustOrganics: This is New York City’s only certified organic restaurant, which means that a third party has actually inspected the place and granted it organic certification. One-hundred percent of what they serve is made with certified organic ingredients. They offer a wide selection, from vegetarian options to grass-fed meats. They also offer delivery and catering.
- Le Pain Quotidien: The mint tea here is real mint-you’ll find the leaves right in your pot! They use organic ingredients as often as possible, and offer gluten-free breads and vegan options, as well as some turkey and salmon dishes. I am obsessed with vegan gluten-free quiche! To die for. And I adore their pesto salad dressing. Plus they have the best smoked salmon in the city, and it’s even wild! Great lunch spot at decent prices.
- Angelica Kitchen: This place has been around since 1976, and has very satisfying vegan meals. They use no refined sugars, preservatives, dairy, eggs, or animal products whatsoever. You may be surprised vegan can taste this good-get ready for great grains, beans, tofu, veggies, and wonderful, flavorful soups.
- Peacefood Café: Another great place to enjoy light, vegan, and gluten-free meals. Their famous bakery is stuffed with delectable muffins, cookies, and pastries you won’t be able to resist. Fresh juices and great sandwiches are common-how about a roasted pumpkin sandwich or chickpea fries?
- Eataly’s Le Verdure: A shrine to Italian food, Eataly’s all-vegetable restaurant puts a new spin on Italian dishes. I love the vibe here! The Verdure Alla Piastra, for example, has warm, gently cooked veggies served around a faro salad, with simple seasonings that really bring out the flavor. The Portobello Con Pesche pairs Portobello mushrooms with peaches, which amazingly, complement each other really well. Nothing is over done here-you get to enjoy the true flavors of a vegetable diet. One of my faves for sure!
- Caravan of Dreams: These guys serve vegan-kosher food, with vegan interpretations of Italian, Asian, and Mexican dishes, along with some Spanish and Middle Eastern specialties. Try the tempeh burrito, for example, or the marinated-tofu quesadilla. You can also choose raw dishes with nut butters, veggie juices, stir-fry dishes, shitake burgers, and squash spaghetti. Yum!
- Candle 79: This is “NYC’s premier vegan oasis,” with foods fresh from farm to table, and organic wines. You’ll find a complete vegetarian menu of homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, and entrees, with plenty of gluten-free options including desserts. The pasta is handmade on site daily. This place has a reputation for converting even meat lovers! Find the Candle 79 Cookbook featured on Well + Good NYC. My favorite dishes include the seaweed salad (sans the edamame since I gave up soy), their lentil and kale salad, and I adore their polenta fries when I feel like a treat!
Do you have a favorite organic, vegetarian, or raw-food restaurant in New York City? Please share!