22 Places Where Clean Eating Doesn’t Feel Like a Chore
Instead of spending your Sundays meal-prepping a week’s worth of recipes for your new diet of choice (paleo? Whole30? Japanese Paper Diet?), eat deliciously at these 22 healthy restaurants—from grab-and-go lunch spots to proper sit-down affairs—that will help you keep your resolutions and free time intact.
1. Divya’s Kitchen
Even non-vegetarians love Ayurvedic-inspired Divya’s Kitchen. The black lentil soup, vegetable cashew curry, lasagna, almond milk chai and carob coconut cake are fan favorites. Many ancient alt grains like house-milled sorghum, einkorn and amaranth flours make appearances on the menu, as well as natural sweeteners like dates and sucanat.
25 First Ave.; divyaskitchen.com
2. Le Botaniste
Following the motto “let food be the medicine,” the Upper East Side and Soho’s Le Botaniste is 100 percent botanical (aka plant-based), 99 percent organic and gluten-free. Founded by the creator of Le Pain Quotidien, Le Botantiste charms with savory “prescriptions,” like the Tibetan Mama rice bowl (peanut butter curry sauce served over brown rice with steamed vegetables and kimchi) and the Pasta Bolo, a gluten-free fusilli with botanical Bolognese, green herbal oil and superseed mix. Psst: It’s also the first plant-based organic restaurant to be certified CO2 Neutral.
Two locations in Manhattan; lebotaniste.us
The organic burgers at Bareburger definitely make the cut when it comes to staying on track. With everything from lean grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free proteins like beef, elk, bison and turkey (check out the Supreme, the American and the Buckaroo and newcomers like the Duke) to sprouted-grain buns, collard wraps and dairy-free alternatives, we’re not scratching hamburgers off our new diet plan.
The chain’s 50/50 menu is divided into vegan and non-vegan options, featuring alt ingredients such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, plant-based egg Just Egg, Follow Your Heart and Lightlife. There’s also a vegan kids’ menu, vegan dessert menu and vegan salads.
Multiple locations; bareburger.com
4. Lekka Burger
Tribeca spot Lekka (which means “delicious” in the South African dialect Afrikaner) is the plant-based burger concept from chef Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy) and partner Andrea Kerzner, a lifelong vegan.
The vegan burgers are made from whole ingredients and use an ancient Chinese technique to create their unique texture. We’re obsessed with the peri peri burger with peri peri sauce—a mix of chilis, herbs and spices—as well as the guacamole burger and masala burger, which comes topped with coconut chutney cabbage slaw and tamarind ketchup. They also serve creative sides, like broccolini Caesar, and fun desserts, like oat milk soft serves and milkshakes.
81 Warren St.; lekkaburger.com
This all-day, fast-casual café in Nolita offers veggie-forward dishes that use microgreens and herbs grown in an in-house hydroponic garden. The restaurant also sources produce from local farms and keeps the menu free of the top eight allergens. Think zoodle salads, a marinated avocado sandwich on a roasted red pepper bun, and cauliflower gnocchi. Diners can also expect smoothies, drinks like the avocado ice cream shake, plant-based baked goods and a variety of fresh juices and coffee.
384 Broome St.; orderoctober.com
6. THE WELL Kitchen & Table
Executive chef Sherry Cardoso of this restaurant and all-day wellness space works with a network of integrative doctors and healers to create a menu that uses vitamin-rich ingredients and herbs with healing properties. The menu is also free of artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners, inflammatory oils, fillers, stabilizers, added hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and GMOs. Plus, it has an array of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Some favorites include the soft dosa, a savory lentil and rice pancake served with turmeric-spiced scrambled eggs, and the coconut cauliflower fried rice with pasture-raised egg, baby carrots, fermented ginger and Cherry Lane farm chilis.
2 E. 15th St.; the-well.com/kitchen-and-table
7. Night Music
This all-vegan Indian spot from the man behind Honeybee’s, Ladybird and Mother of Pearl does not skimp on flavor, eschewing the notion that vegan food is any less layered and complex than meat- and dairy-laden meals. Owner Ravi DeRossi; his mother, Sharmilla Lalchandani; and executive chef Spencer Caine re-created Lalchandani’s traditional family favorites—but these versions are 100 percent vegan. Highlights include the patty melt (vegetable grain patty, tamarind ketchup, “cheddar”), cacio e pepe dumplings (mushrooms, tofu, black pepper curry), crispy eggplant lasagna (three “cheeses,” tomato coconut curry) and turmeric crepes (mushrooms, lettuce, sweet-and-sour sauce).
111 E. Seventh St.; nightmusicny.com
8. by CHLOE
The trendy fast-casual restaurant—which has now spawned international locations—is still a go-to when it comes to all things vegan and plant-based. The shop’s meat substitutes are always whole foods instead of commonly used “mystery meats.” By Chloe’s “bacon,” for example, is made of dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, and its “chorizo” is made of wheat-based seitan. French fries and other traditionally indulgent foods are air-fried to make them a healthier option. FYI: By Chloe’s cult favorites are the kale Caesar, the quinoa taco salad and the guac burger.
Multiple locations; eatbychloe.com
9. Beyond Sushi
Best known for its vegan sushi and dumplings, healthy fast-casual fave Beyond Sushi also has a full-service restaurant on West 37th Street with a fuller menu, which includes mezze platters; rice paper wraps with noodles, greens and vegetables; and heartier dinner dishes like the vegan truffle risotto with king oyster mushrooms. The menu is largely free of processed ingredients.
Multiple locations; beyondsushi.com
10. JaJaJa Plantas Mexicana
Mexican, but make it vegan. Dishes at JaJaJa are all prepared with plant-based ingredients. A tribute to Mayan cuisine, which is traditionally plant-based, the restaurant specializes in unexpected dishes like the beet and pumpkin empanada, coconut quesadilla with sautéed coconut meat, and hearts of palm ceviche. What’s more, JaJaJa has more than a dozen dishes designed to cater to a variety of dietary restrictions and lifestyles.
Two locations in NYC; jajajamexicana.com
Honeybrains might be the only restaurant(s) in NYC dedicated to serving food and drink that’s supposed to boost your brain health. Each dish by executive chef Steven Mettle is vetted by a neurologist and a nutritionist to ensure it’s nourishing for the brain. Some of the restaurant’s popular items include the daily catch bowl (Atlantic salmon or daily whitefish, kale, sweet potatoes, crushed peanuts), carne asada bowl (grass-fed sirloin steak, pinto and black beans, organic mesclun greens, watermelon, Himalayan ruby rice) and salmon toast (labneh, cucumber, dill and lemon zest on sourdough).
Two locations in NYC; honeybrains.com
12. Electric Lemon
Hudson Yards is worth the trek for Stephen Starr’s Electric Lemon, located in the Equinox Hotel. Executive chef Kyle Knall’s seasonal “conscious cuisine”–driven menu includes a.m. offerings like the Beauty Bowl (made with beet yogurt, Honeycrisp apples, grapes, pistachios and bee pollen) and sweet potato buckwheat pancakes. The p.m. highlights include the Contramar-inspired black bass with poblano, salsa verde and warm fresh tortillas, and the lemon ricotta rumplings, which contain Raven & Boar Farm pork, braised collard greens and pickled beech mushrooms.
33 Hudson Yards, 24th floor; electriclemonnyc.
13. Dr Smood
This sleek fast-casual spot with locations in NYC and Miami is entirely dairy-free and certified organic, plus it uses low-glycemic bread for its sandwiches (the wild-caught salmon sandwich with vegan cream cheese tastes as good as an old-school bagel and lox). Breakfast includes “probably the world’s best” avocado toasts, superfood-infused hot oatmeal, and coconut cashew yogurt. Oh, and Dr Smood’s coffee is pesticide-free, has low acidity and changes seasonally.
Multiple locations; drsmood.com
14. Mint Kitchen
Nothing on this ultra-fresh Israeli menu by executive chef Emily Brekke is fried, and everything is made fresh in-house daily. Dishes are very vegetable-forward (with many vegetarian and vegan options) and there are no preservatives or processed foods. A few of Mint Kitchen’s most popular dishes include the green baked falafel plate (baked falafel, salad and bread for a super-filling dish that uses minimal oil), the golden cauliflower, the magical falafel-crusted salmon and Mint’s best-selling Kibbutz Salad.
83 University Pl.; mintkitch.com
15. THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER
The self-labeled “vegetable slaughterhouse” treats fruits and vegetables as a butcher would meat, chopping, filleting and carving fresh produce into healthy vegetarian dishes. The seasonal menu changes daily, but the one constant is that it’s always 100 percent vegetarian with many vegan and gluten-free options. Faves include the Butcher’s Bowl (roasted potatoes, harissa aioli, maitake mushroom, spinach and fennel “sausage” topped with a poached egg); cacio e pepe cauliflower (served with pecorino and vegan butter) and pesto linguine (made with hand-spiralized zucchini noodles, walnut pesto sauce, baby bella mushrooms, tomatoes, cashew ricotta and almond “Parmesan”).
Multiple locations; thebutchersdaughter.com
16. Malibu Farm
The Seaport District welcomes health-conscious diners with fresh, whole-grain, organic meals at California-transplant Malibu Farm. The quintessential organic farm-to-table food (with the best views in New York—hello, Brooklyn Bridge!) is made using organic produce and grass-fed beef sourced from small farms close to the city and freshly caught fish. Enjoy the cauliflower crust pizza, vegan chopped salads, spaghetti squash lasagna and grilled salmon. The beverage menu features simple handcrafted cocktails featuring organic agave, fresh squeezed juices and local produce.
89 South St.; malibufarm.nyc
Craving Indian food? Indulge at Inday, an entirely gluten-free Indian-inspired café in Flatiron and Midtown East with build-your-own bowl options. The menu is 100 percent free of gluten, dairy, soy and refined sugar. Laden with curry, coconut and warming spices, the bowls are more veggie-focused rather than smothered in heavy, creamy sauces (get the cauliflower rice!). Try their best-selling curry chicken bowl, vegan Holy Macro bowl and bone broths. Don’t skip the Avo Cocoa for dessert, a decadent dairy-free whipped chocolate mousse made with dark cacao, avocado (for creaminess!) and coconut milk.
Two locations in NYC; indaynyc.com
18. Café Kitsuné
This Paris-meets-Tokyo spot in the West Village is a modernist reinterpretation of the classic Parisian café and wine bar. It’s a blend of Japanese flavors and ingredients prepared with French techniques (executive chef Yuji Tani was born and raised in Kyoto, where he began his culinary career at French restaurant Le Bellecour). The menu reflects Tani’s knack for taking French café must-haves and adding a light, healthy Japanese touch. Order the Green Green Salad (roasted broccoli, fried kale, Greek yogurt mousse), Chiks on Green (chicken, endive, mixed greens, baby potatoes, soft-boiled egg, croutons, Dijon vinaigrette) and edamame hummus (chickpeas and Japanese sesame).
550 Hudson St.; maisonkitsune.com/mk/
Check out the plant-based stir-fries at Honeygrow, made from egg white or whole-wheat noodles alongside all-natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free proteins. Sure to satisfy is the Sweet Soy Five Spice, which is a mix of brown rice, togarashi-spiced turkey, green beans, red onions and sesame seeds.
194 Joralemon St., Brooklyn; honeygrow.com
20. Hu Kitchen
Hu Kitchen sells paleo chocolate, ’nuff said. This place is one of NYC’s most popular go-to’s for paleo followers, and the chia seed puddings, root mashes and veggie lasagnas are some of the most beloved items on the entirely gluten-free menu (which also happens to be mostly dairy- and grain-free).
78 Fifth Ave.; hukitchen.com
A “paleo-inspired” eatery in Greenwich Village and the Financial District, Springbone is famous for its collagen-rich bone broths (get your hands on the signature Liquid Gold, a classic chicken broth with coconut milk and turmeric). While not strictly paleo, the mix-and-match, nutrient-dense menu is flexible, so even the most hardcore paleo folks can modify as needed. The Mexican bowl and beef chili bowl are fan faves.
Two locations in NYC; springbone.com
22. Veggie Grill
Veggie Grill’s 37th location opened in New York in 2019 with an entirely plant-based menu, and it happens to be the largest 100 percent plant-based, fast-casual brand in the U.S. All menu items are free of meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products (meaning they’re also free of antibiotics and hormones). Seasonal menu items include the Pozole Verde bowl and the Beyond Burger “Cheesesteak” sandwich. The permanent menu includes a variety of sandwiches, salads, and bowls, like the VG Beyond Burger, Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich, Rustic Farm Bowl and Mediterranean Supergreens salad.
12 W. 23rd St.; veggiegrill.com