East Village, Greenwich Village, and NOHO make up the section of Manhattan that lies between 14th street and Houston. “The Villages,” which were farmland back in the 1600’s, are now known for their cobblestone streets, eclectic dining options, and progressive culture. Manhattan is high-energy and can even be overwhelming for some, but life in this part of the city seems to happen just a little bit slower.
Washington Square Park is an essential people-watching spot, with a sprawling green area, a large fountain in the center that dates back to the late 1800’s, and plenty of benches to sit and enjoy a midday snack. The Park House building, which houses public restrooms, offices, and the pumps that operate the fountain, was built with environmental sustainability as a main focus. It is a LEED-Platinum certified building that makes use of solar panels and geothermal energy, and was constructed using reclaimed wood and locally sourced stone.
Head to this part of Manhattan for healthy, vegan, and locally-sourcing restaurants, quirky book stores, and sustainably-focused boutiques.
The Alchemist’s Kitchen is a magical multi-use space featuring an organic cafe, a botanical dispensary, and an eco-friendly spa. Their mission is to connect people to the power of plants, which they also do through workshops and events. You can order an herbal tonic and a healthy vegan snack from their cafe, then take some time to browse through their boutique which showcases a variety of herbal tinctures, books on astrology, and other conscious lifestyle products. An on-site herbalist can walk you through the different products and help you choose which ones will help support you and your wellbeing.
For an innovative menu of plant-based foods, an impressive wine list, and an interior that is both rustic and refined, Avant Garden is yet another veg-centric restaurant that should be on your radar. While definitely on the pricey side, their menu is full of inventive dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Take someone here that you’re trying to impress.
One of plant-based celebrity chef Matthew Kenney’s latest concepts is Bar Verde, where you can indulge in healthier versions of your favorite Mexican dishes, like nachos, tacos, and enchiladas. Matthew Kenney seems to have perfected the art of beautifully displayed dishes that actually taste as good as they look. The restaurant’s dimly-lit, intimate atmosphere makes it perfect for date night.
Featured in the Conscious Guide to Manhattan, CAP Beauty is a NYC staple for non-toxic beauty products, and they regularly host workshops related to conscious living. They have on-site spa featuring Tata Harper products where you can book a massage or a facial. Their product offering is upscale-leaning, and focused on high-quality ingredients. Be sure to grab a jar of their famous coconut butter, which is essentially crack for the health-nut.
When your sweet tooth strikes, be sure to check out this sweets shop which offers organic, vegan, and fair-trade chocolates, macaroons, and pastries. The New Paltz based company is committed to sustainability and social justice, working closely with small farmers both locally and throughout the country, and using 100% post-consumer recycled boxes for their packaging.
French cuisine is not exactly known for its veg-friendliness, but at this 100% plant-based restaurant, vegans can get a little taste of la cuisine Francaise. Dishes here like beef bourguignon, cassoulet, and French onion soup are totally cruelty-free, so don’t feel guilty for indulging. Its pint-sized space adds to its quaintness, but be sure you book reservations in advance.
If you thought plant-based pizza couldn’t possibly be as good as the real thing, think again! Double Zero might be the only vegan pizza that has ever truly made me not miss real pizza. Their farro-fennel sausage pizza has a meaty texture that is full of flavor, and mushroom lovers will fall head-over-heels for the truffle cashew cream pizza. To start, they have a beautiful “cheese” plate that is actually made using sprouted and cultured nuts.
A vegan approach to tapas, this East Village restaurant offers small plates that are intended to be shared, as well as a menu of creative cocktails, wine, beer, and kombucha. The vintage-inspired interior with royal green upholstery and gold accents looks like something straight out of the Great Gatsby.
M N D F L is a studio dedicated to meditation and mindfulness. Classes range from 30 minutes to one hour and explore different approaches to mindfulness, including mantras, breath-work, and sound meditation. A first-timer will pay $15 to try out one of their classes, but when there are no classes in session the studio is open for self-guided practice for only $5.
Seeing as New York City is known for being the melting pot of the world, what would it be if it didn’t have a vegan Polynesian tiki restaurant? Their Pupu platter is perfect for sharing, and it’s also just really fun to say. It comes with a variety of Asian-inspired dishes like pickled vegetable spring rolls, mushroom potstickers, and steamed buns. Throw in a tropical-themed cocktail and you’ll forget all about the blizzard raging outside.
Nix Restaurant is the result of Michelin-star chef John Fraser’s idea that vegetarianism should be about “celebration, not sacrifice.” The menu is both seasonally and globally-inspired, with a heavy influence of Mediterranean, Italian, and Asian cultures. The restaurant is 100% vegetarian with many vegan options, and sharing is highly encouraged.
This is the third and final of Matthew Kenney’s NYC restaurants, which are all located on the same block in East Village. Plant Food & Wine is one of Kenney’s original restaurant concepts, with a location in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles and one in Miami. On the menu you’ll find a mixture of raw and cooked vegan dishes, one of their most famous being the raw zucchini lasagna. It’s on the pricey side, with main courses in the upper-20 dollars range.
Rosemary’s is most known for their rooftop garden, which they source from to create a menu of seasonally-inspired Italian dishes. Rosemary’s Farm was founded in 2015 in the Hudson River Valley. Rosemary’s and all other Casa Nela restaurants now serve fresh eggs and produce from Rosemary’s Farm.
This paleo-inspired casual eatery serves nourishing meals made with organic, healthy ingredients. Bone broth is the main event, and they also have an option for veggie broth. Their lunch and dinner options include gluten-free grain bowls, zoodles, and salads. They also offer coffee and tea, smoothies, and healthy vegan desserts like chia pudding and raw vegan brownie balls.
This is the place to go for vegan comfort food- you know, all those things you miss from when before you were vegan. They’ve got chick-un and waffles, lasagna, BLT’s, and mac ‘n cheese, and also several gluten-free and soy-free options for the more health-conscious plant-eaters.
MODO Yoga is located just a short walk from Washington Square Park, and it is a studio that is whole-heartedly committed to giving back. They have a heated power Vinyasa class that will really get your muscles working, but they also have other classes that are focused on stretching and relaxation. They also sell yoga mats, accessories, and clothing from the eco-friendly brand Manduka.