#1Thing: Our Favorite Meatless Monday Restaurants in NYC

September 9, 2019
Happy Cow

(Photo: 1stGallery/Getty Images)


By Lori Melton

Many countries around the world have joined in the health-focused and environmentally friendly Meatless Monday effort to cut meat from our diets once a week.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced that all New York City public schools will have “Meatless Mondays” beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.

The mayor addressed the importance of the initiative in a statement. “Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “We're expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”

NYC’s sustainable practices expand beyond the school system into many facets of the city. Restaurants, for example, are committing to the New York Green Business Program. Under this effort, businesses receive recognition and incentives for being “committed to sustainable practices and conserving New York's environment and natural resources.”

An easy way for New Yorkers to support Meatless Mondays is to dine at one of the city’s many restaurants serving delicious vegetarian and vegan options. Five of our favorites are listed below.


Nix is the first solely vegetarian restaurant from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and James Truman. The menu boasts a variety of shareable options that dare to be different. Lighter selections include a mix of griddled squash, bitter greens, cherries, and macadamia nuts, or English pea dumplings, snap peas, miso, and scallion oil.

Bolder choices include cauliflower tempura with steamed buns and house pickles, or Tofu-skin pockets and sweet potato with tomatillo-pepita salsa. You can also dunk Tandoor bread in an array of house-made dips, like red pepper and walnut, or House hummus and zaatar.

Location: 72 University Pl., New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-498-9393

The Little Beet

With several locations sprinkled across the city, The Little Beet launched in 2014 with a gluten-free menu and a mission focused on offering “wholesome, healthy food that not only tastes great but makes you feel great.” The restaurant features a comfortable, fast-casual style, with nutritious and delicious “plant-inspired, veggie-forward food.”

Create-your-own dishes include a base of brown rice, organic Quinoa, or field greens with multiple warm and cold veggie options, such as charred broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper, green beans with garlic and Aleppo, or chipotle slaw with radishes and kale, to name just a few. Meatless protein choices include tofu, grilled sesame avocado, and beet falafel.

Location: 135 W. 50th St., New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-459-2338


Falafel is one of NYC’s beloved, scrumptious meatless culinary delicacies. Taim’s Chef Einat Admony launched her restaurant (whose name means “tasty, delicious” in Hebrew), in 2005 in a small space in the West Village. Today, the eatery includes multiple locations. The falafel is made from scratch daily and prepared to order. With chickpeas as a base, there are no fillers. It comes in three varieties —traditional, kalamata olive, and Tunisian spices.

Location: 222 Waverly Pl., New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-691-1287

Superiority Burger

Superiority Burger offers a vegetarian burger that’s a blend of quinoa, lentil, and black bean. The popular East Village restaurant’s core value is “humility.” The traditional burger boasts Muenster cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and dill pickle. It notably contains nuts, but you can request a vegan version. The Sloppy Dave features “frizzled onions,” and the Megamouth is a bigger version of the signature sandwich. For dessert, flavors of gelato and sorbet rotate frequently.

Location: 430 E. 9th St., New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212-256-1192

Dirt Candy

Dirt Candy assumed its alluring name with a clever declaration: “because vegetables are just candy from the dirt.” The eatery proudly distinguishes itself from NYC’s hundreds of steak, seafood, and tapas restaurants by only serving vegetables. Award-winning chef Amanda Cohen develops the regularly changing menu options and the staff notably doesn’t accept tips due to the restaurant’s living wage philosophy.

With a goal to make “people to crave vegetables the way they crave fried chicken and pizza,” Dirt Candy offers “the vegetable path” or “the vegetable garden.” Menu options include jalapeno hush puppies, Korean fried broccoli, Brussels sprouts tacos, and more.

Locations 86 Allen St., New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-228-7732