These 10 restaurants—many of which sprouted up this past year, plus some perennial favorites—cater to your craving for kale and don’t add too much butter.
And they’ve mastered the art of dining al fresco, with charming back gardens and people-watching sidewalk seating, or walls and windows that open wide to the city.
(Photo: Pachanga Patterson, Grubstreet.com)
Pure Food and Wine
Sarma Melngailis runs the city’s It restaurant for high-end raw, vegan cuisine in New York.
Its 70-seat outdoor garden feels almost as big as Gramercy Park.
The cushion-strewn banquette, tables with umbrellas, and long list of organic, biodynamic wines beckons on a summer afternoon.
This casual dining newcomer calls itself the “foodie’s raw vegan spot,” and our taste buds agree. There are no outdoor tables, but an all-glass facade allows the summer sun to stream in while you dine.
East Village, www.gingersnapsorganic.com
Josie’s signature vegetarian dishes (Veggie Plate Deluxe!), wild fish, and grass-fed beef are longtime staples of the healthy Upper West Side dining scene.
Its second location in Murray Hill, while not a must-visit neighborhood, has lovely outdoor seating (and cornbread with sweet potato puree), making it worth the trip.
Murray Hill, www.josiesnyc.com/josie_east
Spring Natural Kitchen
Spring Street Natural’s brand-new little sister opened this year, with a similarly fresh, organic menu packed with vegan options.
And while the uptown location doesn’t have open-air seating, it has plenty of sunlight and way more elbow room than its mobbed Soho counterpart.
Upper West Side, www.springnaturalkitchen.com
Café Blossom West
The newest addition to the Blossom vegan empire opened on Carmine Street in March, and its menu has similarly delicious fare (although many menu items are original) compared to its sister restaurants.
It also has a front wall of doors that open completely to the street when the West Village summer sidewalks are humming.
West Village, www.blossomnyc.com/cafecarmine
This one-year-old Mexican spot in Astoria sources veggies from a rooftop farm just a few blocks away, and the flavor reflects the freshness. There aren’t many places you can find kale empanadas, and the spacious back patio feels like a cozy, colorful secret garden.
Mundo’s vegan-friendly menu draws culinary inspiration from Turkey, Argentina, and more—with a healthy thread connecting each dish.
Try the famous Red Sonja, made with red lentils and bulgur wheat, while sitting under a sidewalk umbrella.
Maimonide of Brooklyn
This brand-new vegan spot serves free kale chips—and open-faced sandwiches on plates shaped like the Brooklyn Bridge. You can read the comic book that comes with your menu in the lovely (and expansive) outdoor garden.
Boerum Hill, www.mob-usa.com
The Farm on Adderley
Ditmas Park’s lauded restaurant has an adorable garden in back, and it’s usually packed in summer with brunch-goers and diners here for the farm-to-table fare.
The exceptional kale salad is probably the lightest menu option.
Ditmas Park, www.thefarmonadderley.com
Prices at Park Slope’s haute barnyard mainstay won’t give you a cow, and the brunch menu in particular has a lot of vegetarian choices, with produce supplied by upstate farms.
Tables out back, surrounded by brick walls and greenery, are the first to fill up.
Park Slope, www.flatbushfarm.com
(Photo: Heather Sperling for starchefs.com)