Top Picks for Vegan Brunch in Manhattan

Words by Bethanie Ashton

Advice for first timers in New York: know that you will never go hungry! The Big Apple offers food vendors on every corner. The ease of access to fresh food will give you the necessary energy to stride your way around Manhattan. Think: roasted chestnuts, bagels, burritos and tacos on every corner. But when you’re planning to stop and massage your arches, we have reviewed our favorite vegan eats for fellow vegivores and as the vegan cheese scene improves, the plant-based market can also be enjoyed by skeptical omnivores alike. Looking for a certain cuisine? You’ll have no trouble finding a café to satisfy, as vegan French, Pizza, Thai and Mexican eateries pop up frequently.

Beatnic (previously By Chloe) 

Fast food got a whole lot prettier when vegan chef Chloe Costarelli and her then-pal Samantha Wasser founded By Chloe in 2015. The concept of high fashion meets fast food (done healthy) was an instant success. Media ablaze, fans Miley CyrusSarah Silverman and Anna Kendrick. You’ll find the style of By Chloe fresh and kitsch with glass display cabinets that showcase an array of oversized monster-sized cookies and toasted s’mores bars. Their outdoor seating is surrounded by white picket fences and topiary. If you ever entered a McDonalds, you’ll receive the same fast food delivery with upbeat service, with bites like hamburgers with ground walnut and bean patties, air-fried ‘fries’ and an array of vegan mayonnaise and dressings – ideal if your belly is already grumbling. Despite the controversial lawsuit between its founders, you can rest assured that this take-out and diner still brims with creativity and quirk and is now also rapidly gaining momentum in the UK. With several Manhattan locations (note that the one in West Village is temporarily closed), you’ll be attracted by its bold branding and simple ‘grab and go’ offering.

Kajitsu

If you’re the kind of gal who polishes her shoes the moment she arrives home, permeates calm and if Japanese food is your go-to, this tranquil restaurant off Lexington Avenue is all for you. Rest assured, there is no Teppanyaki tossing here. Owner chef, Hiroke Yabe is devoted to the ancient ritual of shojin ryori cuisine, which is an outgrowth of Zen Buddhist Monasteries and served as a seasonal multicourse meal. The service is precise, plant-based meals exquisitely presented and many of the handmade plates are more than two centuries old. When you treat meals as an important part of harmony, you’ll know that this isn’t simply a grab and go. Take the time to enjoy a peaceful meal here while the commotion of Midtown continues beyond the walls.  

125 E. 39th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-228-4873

JaJaJas Mexicana

Craving comfort food with a squeeze of lime? This restaurant has established itself in several of New York’s boroughs, including Hudson Yards, West Village and Lower East Side. Following a similar palette of natural materials and beautiful Spanish mosaics as West Hollywood’s Graçias Madré, this Mexican restaurant boasts a chilled vibe for you and a group of friends. Their nachos soar with lashings of cashew cream queso, faux chorizo and fermented black beans. With an all-day brunch menu, you’ll find it tough to choose between their triple stack of Kale Pancake dripping in coconut mango jam and shaved coconut; Beet and creamed Pumpkin Empanada; or decorating your table with a selection of street food, each beautifully arranged in eye-popping color with bursts of citrus.

162 E. Broadway, at Rutgers St.; 646-883-5453