How many of you identify with the meme of “Every time I ask my girl what she wants to eat..” where it’s the classic “What do you want?” scene of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook?! I personally both felt attacked and laughed hysterically when I first saw it because that is SO me. Now that I’m living back in the concrete jungle I made it a point to rediscover some of my favorite spots to eat as well as find new gems and boy let me tell you with there being so many delicious restaurants in NYC it can definitely feel overwhelming to pick one and one that offers healthy options at that! So whether you’re a native of the city, a transplant or just poppin’ in for a visit I thought I’d help make the decision process easier for you guys and compile a list of some of the top healthy hot spots in the city that are ideal for enjoying brunch with your girls, a date night, a nutritious cocktail or even for your “treat yourself” day!
While We Were Young
First things first, having a good spot to go to with your gal pals is super important when it’s time to catch up! The vibe has to be just right, the place Instagrammable of course and please keep the necessary but healthy cocktails coming! While We Were Young is located right in my neighborhood of the West Village and has the sassiest names for their cocktails- the Too Good For You is a favorite of mine which consists of Kale,Tequila, Lime, Agave and Cucumber, so it’s a great way for me to get my greens in with a refreshing twist!
It’s no secret I’m a pizza lover so it was necessary for me to find a spot where I wouldn’t feel guilty for indulging in my weakness. Located in the trendy neighborhood of Nolita, Rubirosa is perfect for any occasion and offers an entire gluten-fee menu including items such as mozzarella sticks, pizza, pasta and greens!
Every once in awhile you stumble into a cafe that makes you feel like you’ve left the city and this cute Aussie cafe is the ultimate escape. With it’s chill vibes and friendly staff, this is the perfect spot to eat an antioxidant filled Acai bowl or the Brassicas bowl to fuel up with protein!
Think chic but make it healthy! The third restaurant in the ABC chain is strictly plant based and every vegetarian/vegans dream! This is the optimal place to come for lunch or dinner when you’re in need of a veggie fix! If I’m looking for a pick me up during lunch I’ll have one of their smoothies which are rich in nutrients such as their Pollen + which has pine pollen, jungle peanut butter, dates, banana, almond milk and himalayan salt. For dinner I recommend the roasted cauliflower with turmeric-tahini and pistachios. This is the perfect place to come for a date night where you both can order a little bit of everything since the plates are great for sharing.
Citizens of Chelsea & Gramercy
The Aussie’s do it once again! This cafe is another insta-post worthy spot and every plant parents dream! Surrounded by greenery and amazing natural lighting (get those angles girls!) the mouth-watering menu has everything to satisfy your sweet or savory tooth! I usually go for the Smashing Avocado toast BUT every so often I’ll treat myself to the Fluffy Chocolate Pancakes and yes they are vege! Oh and did I mention they have Kombucha on tap?! Yes please!
Heading over to the East Village, this is a fun vegetable bar that has a healthy menu including items such as Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Ceviche BUT they also have a late night menu filled with all sorts of guilty pleasures such as Fried Mac & Cheese and Chocolate & PB Mousse – this is definitely the place you bring your friends who haven’t quite hopped on to the healthy eating train yet but hey maybe this is where you ease them on in to it!
I don’t know about you but Taco Tuesday is definitely a thing for me so the fact that I found a Vegan Cuban Rum room is MAJOR. Cienfuegos is the sister restaurant to Ladybird and it’s just as fun and delicious! Enjoy live music every Monday from 7-10pm while sipping on one of their famous punches such as the Lafayette (Bank Five Island Rum, Ginger, Beefeater Gin, Lemon, Cold Press Granny Smith Apple Juice, Club Soda, Peychauds Bitters.) Pair your drink with the Mushroom Fajitas or the Crispy Cauliflower Tacos and you and your friends are pre-gamed for a night of salsa dancing!
The West Village is definitely a popular place for healthy eating. Cafe Clover is located on the quaintest little street in the Village and is super inviting. With seating both inside and outside this is a great all year round restaurant you can enjoy and trust me their food will have you coming back! Their Stuffed Vine-Ripened Tomato (burrata, spinach, artichoke, chanterelles, basil, lemon dust) is exquisite and their Garden Cocktail (crop organic cucumber vodka, green juice, elderflower, honey) exhilarating!
The Butcher’s Daughter
I’m sure many of you have already heard about The Butcher’s Daughter but let me tell you I can definitely validate the hype around it! Don’t let the name fool you, this restaurant is veggie focused and AMAZING for your palette, mind, body & soul! They offer a seasonal menu that changes every month and all of their produce is bought from local and organic farms! Not only are each of their locations equally cute (Nolita, West Village, Williamsburg,BK) but their cold-pressed juices and Spicy Kale Caesar Salad are ON POINT!
Rounding out the list with one of my favorite tucked away gems in the city, The Smile is located down a flight of stairs on Bond St which I feel adds to the coziness of it. This is the perfect place to go to for a breakfast date or even have your “me” time enjoying a Quinoa Banana Muffin or their House made Granola (berries & Greek yogurt.) The Mediterranean inspired restaurant also offers a delicious dinner menu including my go-tos , the Olive Oil Baked Salmon and the Mezze Plate (carrot & feta dip, almond & greek yogurt dips, yellow split pea dips, crostini, crudites, seeds, fresh herbs.)
I barely made a dent with this list of all of the scrumptious and healthy eating spots NYC has to offer but I hope this helps you to be a little more adventurous with your palette! I know going to where you’re already used to is the easy and comfortable option but don’t be afraid to try new places and atmospheres!