The Top 10 Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Brooklyn
It used to be that vegan food was only found in select places the heart of New York City, but thanks to a boom in plant-based eating in recent years, the vegan influence has stretched across Manhattan, and well into other boroughs. It's no surprise then, that Brooklyn is packed with vegan and veggie-friendly restaurants that boast delicious fare at affordable prices. Here we break down the top 10 spots to find plant-based options when in Brooklyn.
1. Modern Love
317 Union St., Brooklyn, NY
Perfect for: A romantic date night
Plant yourself: Self-described on their Instagram as “swanky vegan comfort,” Modern Love is home to the hands-down best vegan food in Brooklyn. Owned by Isa Moscowitz, former Post Punk Kitchen blogger and bestselling cookbook author, the restaurant boasts a happy medium between ornate and homey decor in addition to a cool, calm, and collected ambiance, even when every seat is filled, which is more often than not.
Don't miss: Modern Love's dishes boast rich sauces, fried-to-perfection proteins, and ample portions that remind the eater that five-star food doesn’t have to be skimpy. Can’t choose between protein, pasta, salad, or bread? Not to worry: the chickpea parm boasts all four on a single plate because Modern Love understands the impossibility of choosing between those most important food groups.
Must try: look no further than the Brooklyn Fried Tofu. This jaw-dropping creation is dipped in a savory batter and fried until no bite lacks a decadent crunch, comes complete with creamy mashed potatoes and tangy cabbage slaw, and leaves nothing to be desired but an extra helping to-go. My favorite dishes are the Chorizo Nachos, Buffalo Tempeh Wings, Chickpea Cutlet Parmesan, Brooklyn Fried Tofu.
Take Note: Modern Love’s menu changes seasonally, plus they add specials all the time, so make sure to check their menu and Instagram before you head to this vegan nirvana.
2. Bar Velo
394 Broadway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Best for cocktail connoisseurs
This chic, bike-themed bar/restaurant reminiscent of a bygone era will charm any skeptic at first glance. Bike parts litter the walls and windowsills thoughtfully while patrons gather around the circular bar for such inventive drinks as the No. 1; a mesmerizing concoction of gin, sage, ginger, allspice, and angostura, or the brunch special “breakfast beer” which is mixed with rich stout for a creamy finish. But the real magic of Bar Velo, in this breakfast lover's opinion, is a full English breakfast plate of baked beans, tofu scramble, buttered toast, avocado, and your choice of tempeh bacon or veggie sausage, all for just $13. If brunch isn’t your bag, swing by for a happy hour filled with BBQ eggplant, mac and cheese and a selection of flatbreads. One bite is all it takes to make this spot your new ride or die.
Must try: Veggie breakfast plate, fettuccini with slow-roasted tomato sauce, cocktail No. 4; website: , Instagram: @barvelobrooklyn; location: 394 Broadway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
3. Riverdel Vegan Cheese
820 Washington St., Brooklyn, NY 11238 and Essex Street Market, 80 Essex St., New York, NY 10002
Calling all: cheese cherishers! How many times have you heard someone say, “I’d love to go vegan! I could just never give up cheese...”? Well, now you have your perfect comeback: Riverdel Vegan Cheese. Situated off Eastern Parkway by the top of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum, Riverdel proves no one has to give up the coveted sharpness, tang, fullness, or even moldiness! celebrated in their favorite cow’s milk-based cheeses.
Be Sure to Enjoy: Riverdel hosts a wide variety of vegan cheese brands inside its tiny storefront (Cheezehound, Treeline, Miyokos, and Vtopian to name a few), where most utilize a rich blend of tofu or cashews and miso, vinegar, or wine to achieve the flavor profile most of us appreciate so much in cheese, helping to ease the transition for many trying to go plant-based.
Must have: It doesn’t start and end with cheese at Riverdel, where a menu of almost twenty sandwiches draws even the most reluctant omnivore. Between their famed McDel (a vegan version of the classic NYC bacon, egg, and cheese), Norwegian Bagel (a carrot-based lox bagel), and M. Night Shalami (you guessed it--vegan salami stacked high on ciabatta), there’s truly something for everyone. My game plan? Load up on picnic essentials and spend a day at the park with twenty different kinds of vegan cheese... even if it sounds nuts.
Don't Miss: The McDel, The French Club, Vtopian caramelized onion camembert, Cheezehound cashevre.
4. Bunna Cafe
1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn NY, 11237
Calling all: Vegans trying to stretch their dollar! Ah, Bunna, light of my life, taker of my coins. If any restaurant knows the meaning of “bang for your buck,” it’s this all-vegan Ethiopian gem in the center of Bushwick, where only $17 gets you a literal “feast,” as per their menu, of 7 dishes, and just $37 gets you and a friend two helpings of all 9 dishes--that’s $18.50 a head for even more food than the “feast” option, for those of us who are too hungry to focus on math. But what exactly does this feast entail? Only the best veggies, legumes, and spices this world has to offer--gomen (steamed collard greens with ginger, garlic, and onion), shiro (split peas with tomato and berbere), and my personal favorite, butecha selata (kale and cranberries with chickpea flour stuffing), just to name a few. Now, if you somehow think this isn’t the best deal this side of Myrtle Avenue, the lunch special allows you to try 7 dishes for just $14.
Don't Miss: Every dish rests atop a platter of pillowy injera, Ethiopian sourdough flatbread traditionally used in place of utensils. If you’ve never had Ehtiopian food, it may seem like a challenge at first, but you’ll soon be asking yourself how you could ever eat with a fork again. Plus, with a lengthy list of creative cocktails and several Ethiopian beers and wines, you’ll find there’s plenty of reason to visit Bunna even if you aren’t hungry--but honestly, how could you not be?
Must-Try: Feast for 2 so you can try every dish (bring a friend, or just treat your future self with leftovers), lentil sambusa, baklava, Pushkin (Ethiopian white Russian).
5. Loving Hut
76 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn NY, 11221
Calling all: Tired commuters looking for a quick option. Though not exclusive to New York, Loving Hut has secured itself a very special place in many vegan hearts. Quirky, cheap, and steps from the Grand St. L train, this Williamsburg favorite offers a hodgepodge menu of vegan Pan-Asian and American staples to satisfy those lazy nights when you just want some General Tso’s delivered to your door... and some butternut risotto, French onion mac and cheese, and a side of yam and yucca fries, of course. A collage of supposed vegetarian and vegan celebrities and historical figures adorn the walls of the restaurant at the Brooklyn location, making a fun and informative experience of dining in.
Don't Miss: Get there between 11 and 4 any weekday for perhaps the best lunch special in the borough: just $7-$8 for one of thirteen options, from curries and salads to saucy seitan dishes. Add only $1 for a side of soup, salad, or spring roll (or, let’s be real, all three).
Must-Try: Golden nuggets, crispy rolls, General Tso’s Delight, Thai iced tea.
6. Rip's Malt Shop
10 Clermont Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205 and 48 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10012
Calling all: Picnickers! Leave the picnic basket at home--at Rip’s you’ll have all the charred burgers, “beefy” dogs, and mayonnaisey salads you could ever want without worrying if you forgot the checkered blanket. Tucked behind a small storefront by the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Rip’s turns regular old Beyond Burgers and Field Roast franks into masterful stacks of flavor.
Don't Miss: Late-night cravings too strong for a single patty? Make it a double for just a few more dollars, plus most toppings and sauces free of charge. And because no burger or dog is complete without a side, splurge on some coleslaw, potato, or macaroni salad. True to its name, this malt shop also offers milkshakes and sundaes-- dairy say more?
Must Try: Chopped cheese, Chicago dog, burger with special sauce, loaded potato salad.
156 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 and 12 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 10003
Calling all: Hipsters! With locations in Park Slope and the East Village, this all-vegan Latin American restaurant proves that plant-based is translatable in every cuisine. Gone are the days of just eating rice, beans, and tortillas, of asking for no cheese, of waving goodbye to the arepa cart longingly. At VSpot, you can have it all: tacos, burritos, nachos, arepas, and best of all, empanadas.
Don't Miss: For $10, you can choose three of four creative empanadas (Colombian, red bean, Jamaican, or Philly), though you certainly won’t regret trying all four. Best of all, VSpot knows when you want Latin food, you want a lot of it, resulting in generous portions of all the best things in life. And if you can’t choose between all those things? The appetizer sampler is your new best friend--$22 will score you two empanadas, supreme nachos, avocado fries, and buffalo strips. Never waste valuable eating time in the name of decision-making again.
Must-Try: Red bean and Philly empanadas, arepa con todo, buffalo chk’n, bandeja paisa.
395 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn NY, 11238
Calling all: cozy breakfast spot seekers! For such a vegan-friendly city, I’ve found that New York is still lacking in a very important department: vegan breakfast. Sure, you’ve got your delis that serve Tofutti, and who doesn’t love a bagel on the go, but there aren’t very many sit-down spots that offer a proper plate of breakfast. Clementine, a patisserie cafe, makes this mission a cakewalk.
Don't Miss: Start with a giant cinnamon bun, work your way to a jalapeno mozzarella scone, and finally arrive at a savory biscuit and gravy, classic tempeh B.E.C., or a tofu scramble breakfast burrito literally stuffed with tater tots. Wash it all down with a bowl of their decadent soft-serve (but watch out if you’re like me with eyes bigger than your stomach: it’s self-serve). But the real cherry on top is that Clementine is just so cozy--the perfect place to work on, say, a Top 10 Vegan Eateries of Brooklyn list, maybe?
Must Try: Biscuit and gravy, cauliflower wings, cinnamon sticky bun, blueberry cheesecake.
9. Crif Dogs
555 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 and 113 St. Mark’s Place, New York, NY 10009
Calling all: bar-hoppers! At first glance you might not expect to see any vegans in Crif Dogs, a no-frills Bedford Ave. hot dog joint, but don’t judge this book by its carnivorous cover. The veggie dog here is like nothing I’ve ever had before--on two separate occasions, I was convinced I accidentally got a beef dog because there was such little difference between the vegan dog and the real deal.
Don't Miss: With onions, relish, and sauerkraut provided free of charge, go ahead and splurge on some jalapenos, avocado, and even pineapple. In my opinion, the only way to go is the two-dog meal deal: two veggie dogs and a drink for only $9.50 (add a side of tots if my friend says they’re “not really hungry” but will totally eat my second dog otherwise). Open until 2 am Monday to Thursday and 4 am Friday to Saturday, Crif Dogs is the perfect last stop before a harrowing 20 minutes of waiting for the L.
Must-Try: Veggie dog special with all your favorite fixings, fries, tots.
10. Stay Fresh Deli & Grill
889 Broadway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Serving all serial Seamless-ers
Calling all: Plant-based people in a pinch! Okay, this isn’t exactly a destination spot, and I’m biased because it’s in my neighborhood, but Stay Fresh knows what vegans want--24-hour access to sandwiches. Boasting a menu of over ten vegan sandwiches, ranging from the NYC classic chopped cheese to the American favorite “chicken” club, in addition to pints of Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream and myriad vegan snacks, this Bushwick bodega is far more than meets the eye.
Don't Miss: Though served on a roll free of charge, for just a dollar more you can basically double the size of any sandwich by requesting it on a hero. With nearly all of its food, snack, and beverage options available to order for delivery on Seamless, you don’t even need to leave your bed--just don’t fall asleep before it gets there.
Must Try: Chopped cheese, turkey cheddar, chicken club, meatball parm.