Maoz is most famous for its expansive salad bar, but its falafel ($4.95)—a home-baked pita bread filled with crispy, handmade balls of vitamin-rich chickpeas, fresh spices, and vegetables—lends itself better to a leisurely lunchtime eat-and-amble through the nearest park. You can build off the falafel's delicious base with a splash of hummus, eggplant, baba ganoush, avocado, and more ($0.50–$1/add). Pair it with Belgian fries and sauce, side salad, sweet potato fries, or seasonal soup ($3–$4), and wash it all down with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Coupled to CEO and President Radhika Oswal's vision of a lush, happy planet, Otarian loads gleaming recycled tables with vegetarian feasts. Chefs draw upon culinary traditions from the Mediterranean and Asia to fill cool wraps, and the crunchy baguette shells of bahn mi launch dispatches to nostrils, foretelling of mint, pickled daikon, and other exotic accents. The eatery's staff keeps an eco-conscious eye on ingredients, carefully scrutinizing each item's carbon footprint. Warm chatter drifts amid chairs woven from recycled plastic and pendant lights constructed from pieces of glass in order to reunite star-crossed plates from rival families. Otarian harnesses sustainable resources including electricity drawn from wind, water, or sun and ovens and grills heated by the snoring of napping dragons.
If you believe that all sentient beings should live and love in harmony with each other, the Chelsea outpost of Loving Hut – one of more than 120 locations worldwide – is the place to be, offering conscious eaters a guilt-free vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner. From tofu and avocado salads to sautéed udon and mushroom quesadillas, the restaurant – under the tutelage of Supreme Master Ching Hai – seeks to fulfill its mission of a healthier, more compassionate planet through dietary changes and tasty meat alternatives. Slimmed-down eaters that have gone completely veg will have no problem fitting into the surprisingly narrow dining area, which has a simple line of small white tables and stools along one wall, inscribed with inspirational vegan messages for hungry eaters.
Flavorful, internationally inspired raw food often draws celebs such as Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler to this East Village eatery, according to Time Out New York. But Quintessence has plenty to offer beyond star-spotting. Chefs lovingly construct each dish on the menu from organic fruit, vegetables, and grains never heated above 118 degrees. The staff piles raw pizzas with toppings such as spiced nuts, kalamata olives, and avocado, and craft raw pastas from yellow squash. The brunch menu incorporates sprouted-kamut bread and sweet yam crepes to recreate breakfast staples from benedicts to bagels. All desserts are nondairy and sugar-free, including the house-made ice crème and the pecan pie on a crush of soaked almonds, walnuts, and dates.
On select Friday and Saturday nights, Project Playdate opens its doors and arms to young ones for three-hour bouts of evening childcare. Designed to allow parents a night out without having to find a babysitter, the not-for-profit organization hosts drop-off evening-care pajama parties for children aged 2 to 6. In a caregiver-to-child ratio of 1:3, professional nannies lead little ones in activities such as story time, arts and crafts, and dancing, all designed for optimum tuckering out before bedtime. Each event is also punctuated by a dinner of all-natural, whole-food pizza, which accommodates specific food needs and is capped with a feature film.
This summer, Project Playdate is taking its evening care model and adding some sunshine to bring you drop off daytime playdates. These three-hour playdates might visit locations such as the Central Park Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Tribeca Children’s Museum of the Arts.
All proceeds from Project Playdate events are paid forward to fuel social change and help at-risk young mothers.
Diners at this BYOB East Village Vietnamese eatery will find many of their favorite dishes on the menu, minus one ingredient—meat. According to New York Magazine, that’s because owner Lan Nguyen chose to thank Buddha for helping her mother recover from illness by swearing off meat entirely. Foregoing the usual beef, the chefs steep a medley of vegetables to compose a pho broth that impressed one Serious Eats blogger by how rich, flavorful, and well balanced it was. They take a similar approach for the hot-and-sour soup, balancing ingredients such as pineapple, tamarind, and okra. Noodle entrées, such as the popular grilled lemongrass seitan on rice vermicelli, along with traditional dishes such as banh mi, celebrate vegetarian flavors with a kaleidoscope of bean sprouts, carrots, and other colorful veggies. Specialty beverages complement the meatless morsels, from iced Vietnamese coffee to shakes spun with freshly milked fruits.