Downtown joints offer vegetarian, vegan dishes

Courtesy of Taim Falafel

New York City is one of the easiest places for vegetarians and vegans to eat out. There are more and more restaurants sprouting up that cater to specific dietary needs and ultimately push the boundaries of typical dining. With so many options, even just in the area surrounding NYU, it is hard to know where to begin. Here are some top picks for vegan and vegetarian-friendly places to grab a delicious meal around campus.

One Lucky Duck

If you are in Gramercy and in need of a healthy snack, One Lucky Duck is a great option. This takeaway restaurant and smoothie bar offers everything from cucumber-tarragon juice to a classic banana split. However, don’t be fooled by their enticing menu. Everything here is vegan and cooked to maximum nutrient-preservation temperatures. Menu items range from $2.50 to $22.

“I always get the Spanking Shake which is a blended combination of fresh coconut, blueberry, banana, cashew milk, cinnamon and vanilla,” Gallatin sophomore Moriah Berger said. “Everything there is raw, vegan and organic, so the salads and raw desserts are worth a try as well.” (125 E. 17th St.)

Saigon Shack

Saigon Shack is an ideal place for both meat-eating and vegetarian friends to meet for lunch between classes. Saigon Shack’s menu offers traditional Vietnamese cuisine at a reasonable price, as most dishes are under $10.

“Saigon Shack serves a tasty vegetarian pho, perfect for days when I want to opt for a vegetarian option while my friends have the beef pho,” CAS sophomore Rachel Tio said. “The soup is light yet flavorful, and the string beans, bok choy and broccoli are very fresh.” (114 MacDougal St.)

Taim Falafel

Falafel is a satisfying and filling choice for vegetarian students. There are many falafel carts and delis around the city, but Taim in West Village is one of the most popular locations. Taim also offers salads and smoothies, all with a fresh Mediterranean taste.

“They have my favorite falafel in the city,” CAS junior Grady O’Leary said. “Sandwich prices are around $6 [to] $7 but worth it, especially when you order it ‘with everything’ — pickles, amba and s’rug — delicious. It’s an extraordinary amount of food for the price.” (45 Spring St.)

Hotel Tortuga 

Ordering food from a Mexican restaurant can be a somewhat daunting task for someone on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Many traditional plates are filled with meat or topped with sour cream, but Hotel Tortuga offers their delicious menu with the veggie-eater in mind, and most vegitarian options are under $10.

“Hotel Tortuga has really amazing vegetarian burritos,” CAS sophomore Melissa Esguerra said. “I’ve only ordered for take-out as they’re on Seamless, but they have a really great selection of vegetarian options, and they can even substitute sour cream and cheese with dairy replacements if you want to do it vegan.” (246 E. 14th St.)

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 8th print edition. Kate Marin is a staff writer. Email her at dining@nyunews.com.

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