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Friday, July 30, 2021

Vegan restaurants, Brooklyn style: where the plant-based eat in New York

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Once upon a time, the vegan foodie community was chained to New York central, but now? The plant-based love has spread out into wider boroughs and Brooklyn is chief amongst them.

When Brooklyn started opening vegan restaurants, it became clear that the movement wasn’t just a trend, it was a bona fide liftion. After all, the centre of New York is so diverse, what’s a few vegan spots in amongst the thousands of other eateries?

But when Brooklyn, NY opens its arms to a demographic, that’s when you know something niche is heading into the mainstream. Vegan options served with a side of charm and cost-efficiency. That’s Brooklyn’s plant-based scene.

Read what New Yorkers have to say about the city being deemed the most vegan-friendly in the US.

Catering to every palate with fast food, pan asian and even vegan pizza joints (which ain’t no joke in Brooklyn), the restaurants are varied and numerous, but which are the best? Let’s find out.

Riverdel Vegan Cheese

Washington St

 

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A restaurant that does exactly what it says on the sign, you’ll find cheese, cheese, oh, and more cheese at Riverdel, just minus the dairy. That doesn’t mean that the strong notes and creaminess is negated, though.

Artisan cheeses, added to a huge range of sandwiches and bagels, make this the perfect lunch spot that has everyone coming back for more and taking a few wedges home too. Be sure to try some of the miso-based options for a rich and tangy alternative to cashew cheese.

Modern Love

Union St

You can’t talk about vegan restaurants in Brooklyn without mentioning Modern Love. Essentially, it specialises in vegan comfort food with a modern twist, all served up in a gorgeous setting that’s perfect for date nights. It’s casual but special all at once and offers access to the home cooking that you remember, only fully veganised.

You never thought you’d be able to find, let alone love, meat free chicken parm, but here it is. Plus, Modern Love is considered to be one of the friendliest restaurants in the whole area.

Read our picks for 2020’s best vegan cookbooks, which include the Modern Love Community Cookzine.

Bunna Cafe

Flushing Avenue

 

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A serious favourite vegan restaurant in Brooklyn for many, Bunna Cafe brings delicious food to the table, Ethiopian style. The amount of food dished up for a trifling amount will actually blow your mind (and your waistband) here. Stacks of flatbreads, heaps of spiced lentil dishes, greens, split peas and kale how you’ve never eaten before appear before your eyes, and honestly? You wouldn’t be able to wait for cutlery even if it were offered.

This is dig-in-and-enjoy-with-your-hands food and the more people you bring with you, the better. We can highly recommend gathering at Bunna for a celebration meal and just going wild and ordering all the vegan options you can.

Loving Hut

Bushwick Avenue

The name is cute enough but add in the mantra of a healthy lifestyle and good vibes and you start to get an idea of what a treasure Loving Hut is even before you visit. Bringing together a varied menu of pan-Asian and traditional American dishes, the cheap, cheerful and convenient nature of Loving Hut has made it a go-to for many Brooklyn vegans.

The lunch special has proven especially popular, as diners can choose from a large number of dishes for a rock bottom price, with additional sides being only $1 extra. The spring rolls are a must-try.

Terms of Endearment

Metropolitan Avenue

A fully plant-based bakery with a distinctly Parisian feel, Terms of Endearment has a mix of savoury and very sweet dishes to choose from. The breakfast sandwiches are always popular but it’s the faithful recreation of classics such as croissants that are the real showstoppers here. That, and the toppings that get added, for a little NY flavour and fun.

Just as you’d expect in a French bakery, you can get a cup of proper coffee here too. This is a Brooklyn vegan restaurant with an artisan core.

Ital Kitchen

Union St

 

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A celebration of the diverse community that Brooklyn has built, Ital Kitchen is, arguably, the daddy of Caribbean plant-based cooking. It also offers a very different dining experience. Life in NY is traditionally fast-paced and here, you are forced to slow down.

The food comes when it comes and in the meantime, you can sit back and soak up the atmosphere and make some new friends. This is a restaurant serving love and good times, as well as delicious vegan food.

Champs Diner

Meserole St

 

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When the urge for some good old-fashioned American food kicks in, Champs Diner is the place to be. Few vegan restaurants in Brooklyn have mastered the art of veganising basically anything to the same degree.

That’s why you’ll find faux fried chicken, mac and cheese and even a truly authentic Philly cheesesteak all on the menu. Locals know this is one of the best spots to head to when the night before catches up and gives you a need for some serious fast food.

Toad Style

Ralph Avenue

 

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They say that if you want to visit the best restaurants, eat where the locals eat. If that’s the case, then Toad Style has to be on your list of places to visit. A much-beloved vegan restaurant in Brooklyn, this is where you’ll find everything, from some of the best vegan Mexican food in your life (the burritos are to die for) to, well, everything else.

You’ve not lived until you’ve tried the shredded oyster mushrooms but equally, the chili cheese fries will change your life. They are a religious experience in a cardboard container.

Screamer’s Pizzeria

Manhattan Avenue

 

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Pies are a big deal in NY, but especially in Brooklyn, which has a large Italian contingent. That’s how you know that Screamer’s Pizzeria isn’t messing around. Creating authentic pies from scratch and using only plant-based ingredients, you get the vibe, taste and experience of real Brooklyn pizza, just with an animal-product free bonus.

Vegan pizza can be a little hit and miss. We all know this, but when a simple Margherita is delicious enough to satisfy even the most discerning taste buds, you know it’s the real thing. Dairy cheese or not.

There are many more incredible vegan restaurants in Brooklyn, but this selection should give you variety and inspiration to enjoy a food tour of the area. In our wildest dreams, we’d love to visit every single destination possible and write a review for them all. But for now, sign us up for a table, booth or takeaway from these vegan havens, please.

Check out our guide to the best vegan restaurants in Atlanta.

Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.