This post is long overdue. I’ve been back from NYC for more than a month now. But it was quite difficult for me to start writing. I didn’t know if I wanted this post to be something like “OMG! I had such an amazing time, met the most brilliant people, made wonderful friendships, finally got to know so many Instagram friends in real life and oh yes, also ate some nice food”. Or if I wanted it to be more like “I enjoyed the most delicious food, explored every corner of the health scene, tried out so many new things, brought back even more inspiration and met some nice people at the SAVEUR Blog Awards”. You probably guessed it by now. My NYC trip was neither solely about the food nor was it only about the SAVEUR Blog Awards. But let me start from the beginning.
I had been nominated, very surprisingly, by SAVEUR as a finalist for the category “Eat the World” (read more here). Of course, I immediately booked my flight once the dates were confirmed. I knew even if I didn’t win it would be all worth it. And just to clear this up straight away… I didn’t win and I still think it was so worth it.
The last time I visited NYC was 9 years ago. I was a very different person at that time (at least, that’s what I like to think). I definitely was way more introverted and not as much into food as I’m today. How would that have changed my trip? Well, I probably would have stood in a corner by myself, too afraid talking to anyone. I would have missed meeting all these wonderful people, it would have been a very different experience. I also wouldn’t have appreciated all the good food, healthy or unhealthy, 10 years ago, I just didn’t have the taste buds and I didn’t acknowledge and love food nearly as much as I do now.
The moment I landed I was on the hunt. A healthy food hunt. I had 2nd rounds of avocado toast and acai bowls, just to try as many breakfast spots as possible. Also, I spend an hour on the subway to buy one single cupcake. I stringently visited every juice shop that was recommended to me by a friend (believe me, her list was long). It’s safe to say, I saw, ate and smelled a lot of good and healthy food in my one week of NYC. Okay, I also indulged in not so healthy food. I had amazing pizza at Robertas, the best pasta ever at Covina and a coconut cream doughnut I’ll remember forever at Doughnut Plant. Oh and that Corn and Truffle Quesidilla at Toloache after we watched a Broadway Show made me kind of speechless.
But this post is not about creamy doughnuts and crispy pizzas. It’s about hearty and delicate, fresh and fried, and quick as well as slow healthy food. It’s a food guide to New York for everyone who loves fairly healthy and nourishing eats.
A Healthy Food Guide to New York City
Some food in NYC demands more sacrifices than others. But if it’s as tasty as Butchers Daughter‘s breakfast, even a long wait can’t spoil the excitement. Order the vegan tofu bagel, avocado toast or rice flour pancakes. YUM!
19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012, United States
Two Hands Cafe
Two Hands Cafe is Instagram-famous and hyped but for a good reason. Order their avocado toast and you know what I’m talking about. Run by two Australian, inspired by the Australian food scene, this hip Cafe offers healthy and very delicious food. Come early during the week to avoid the crowds.
251 Church St, New York, NY 10013, USA
Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe
Another Australian-style cafe, Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe serves delicious coffee that is regarded as one of the best in the city and equally tasty food. Again, the avocado toast is a hit but the green eggs are amazing too if you long for something different.
55 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014, United States
A little off the beaten path but Dimes is worth a visit. Expect a relaxing atmosphere, friendly service, and colorful interior…and yes, their acai bowl is very delicious too. This healthy eatery is located in China Town and offers a variety of grain, veggie and breakfast bowls.
49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002, United States
Lunch & Dinner
Paleo-focused and gluten-free Hu Kitchen serves healthy food to cater all tastes. It’s a two-story eatery at Union Square with a coffee, veggie bowl and juice bar. There is also a sandwich bar and station where you can get prepared foods like chicken or veggie lasagna. Oh, and definitely have dessert at Hu Kitchen’s mashbar, a healthy and in my opinion yummier version of the traditional sundae bar.
78 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011, United States
I stumbled upon Terri more or less accidentally. I immediately noticed it’s Portobello sandwich with cashew ricotta and some insanely delicious pesto on the menu. It was love at first sight. Only later I realized that Terri is a NYC institution, the first vegan quick serve restaurant in the city. Their veggie and salad bowls are as popular as their smoothies and that Portobello sandwich was one of the best ones I had in a long time.
60 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10010, United States
My friend Amanda ‘lured’ me into this restaurant Santina with the argument that they’d serve the most popular dish currently on Instagram. She was wrong. They did not only dish out an Instagram-worthy plate of Pumpkin Carpaccio but probably one of the best and most unexpected dishes I’ve ever had. We also ate chickpea pancakes and their dipping sauces by the spoonful.
820 Washington St, New York, NY 10014, United States
Blossom du Jour
There are many vegan places in NYC. They mostly offer superfoods or healthfoods or foods I even haven’t heard of before. And I love that. But sometimes I want comfort food, vegan comfort food. And that’s exactly what Blossom du Jour is very good at. Slightly greasy sandwiches, wraps and other meals, most of them with lots of plant-based mayo. Maybe not super healthy. But always vegan, extremely delicious, really comforting, nourishing and environment friendly. In my opinion, a great vegan fast food restaurant.
15 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003, United States & other locations
On one of the evenings in NYC, my friends and I were close to Union Square and wanted some Mexican food. We found Tacombi on Tripadvisor with raving reviews and were sold instantly. It is a taqueria, so tacos make up the bulk of the menu. The vibe is hip. I’ve never been to Mexico but people say it has a local feel. Their guac and veggie tacos are definitely worth a visit.
267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012, United States
Juice & Smoothie Shops
Juice and smoothie places in NYC behave like Starbucks. You can be spot one at almost every corner. Now, I’m not a huge juice expert. I know what I like and that is green juice without any added fruit expect for lemon. I also love smoothies and acai bowls but I’m very particular about those two things too. So out of probably 8 different places, I loved these four the most:
The Juice Shop
Without a doubt, The Juice Shop has the best all-green juice and it also happens to be the cheapest of all the ones I tried in NYC.
7 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001, USA & other locations
Their nut milks are amazing, their green juice ranks number 2 of my favorites but their vanilla milkshake is a little piece of heaven. If you order one thing at Organic Avenue, go for one of their shakes. Also, it’s not just the name but their products are actually organic.
216 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011, United States & other locations
Juice Press does a lot of things very right. Their acai bowl doesn’t look very fancy but convinces in taste. Same for their green juices, it all is very delicious.
1 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011, USA & other locations
Lucky me, my Airbnb in Brooklyn was relatively close to one of the many locations of Juice Generation. I could have eaten their acai bowls every morning for breakfast and drink 5 bottles of their nut milks every day.
210 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States & other locations
Farmer’s Market at Union Square
Even if you are staying at a hotel and can’t buy ingredients to cook yourself dinner, you still need to visit Farmer’s Market at Union Square for the atmosphere. And to feel food market envy. Because New Yorkers can call themselves very lucky having such an amazing weekly farmers market.
E 17th St & Union Square W, New York, NY 10003, E 17th St, New York, NY 10003, United States
I probably don’t need to explain what Whole Foods is all about. In case you’ve never heard of it, just imagines aisles of organic, vegan, healthy, delicious, environmentally friendly products. Filled with items that you didn’t know excited (vegan probiotic coconut kefir) but definitely need in your life. At least for those days visiting NYC. It’s a (health-) foodies dream come true.
4 Union Square South, New York, NY 10003, USA & other locations
Not as big as Whole Foods, LifeThyme is actually much smaller but offers a great selection of organic and vegan products.
410 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011, United States
It’s become a tourist attraction but Chelsea Market should still be on your “sightseeing” list. Here you find an endless number of deliciously smelling and looking food stands. How about some Mexican Japanese fusion food or artisanal mini doughnut station?
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011, United States
Erin McKenna’s Bakery
Initially I thought there is a more generous supply of vegan baked treats in NYC. But finding a bakery that specializes in vegan and gluten-free goods isn’t that easy. No reason to despair because I found one for you. Erin McKenna’s Bakery offers various cupcakes and muffins. And guess what, you don’t think they are vegan because they just taste simply delicious.
236 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004, United States
Quick & Easy
Pret A Manger
This is not some secret, hip, unknown and super trendy food spot. This is Pret A Manger, a chain that you can find throughout NYC. So if you are in an area where there aren’t any healthy places close by but there is Pret around the corner, go for it. Their salads are more than decent and I usually go fort he falafel salad if I just want a quick but nourishing bite.