Unbelievably, the summer is over, Labor Day is behind us, and Autumn is around the corner. If you are looking for healthy ways to jump start the coming months, detox from all the end of Summer parties, and get healthy for the colder months ahead, you might want to take advantage of the healthy cuisine options NYC has to offer. Whether it is take out, a casual meal with friends, or a candlelit affair, NYC has some of the best health conscious restaurants in the country. Enjoy!
Pure Food and Wine
The raw restaurant with the upscale cuisine and outdoor setting is the perfect way to start off the weekend on a healthy note. If you ever wondered about how good raw food could be, then just make your way to this amazing Irving Place restaurant where they serve up some delicious global cuisine, but with a twist: it’s all raw, made from vegetables, fruit, nuts, coconut and sprouted beans and seeds. Truly a treat.
There is so much to choose from and enjoy at Pure but I will mention my favorites which include the three pizzettes, with different toppings such as crimini and kalamata olives, spinach pesto with arugula, and pizza margherita. I tend to share this as an appetizer with a friend in order to enjoy one of their inspired entrees afterwards such as the sweet corn and cashew tamales or one of their specials such as the truffled cashew stuffed zucchini blossoms or on a more recent trip, zucchini noodles tossed with a cashew pesto that knocked my socks off. Another favorite is the sushi rolls made with jicama and pignoli “rice”, stuffed with mushrooms, vegetables and avocados. Or you can always go for one of their salads, topped with assorted nut “cheeses” that always taste like the real thing.
One thing you should know about Pure is that it is not cheap. Unlike Quintessence that offers more casual fare at down-home prices, Pure is all upscale extravagance. Despite this, it is still one of my favorite places to dine. And don’t forget to leave room for dessert. If I may suggest one must-have it’s the trio of assorted ice cream which are all made from nuts~ no dairy! It’s like dessert without (too much) guilt!
Location: Downtown Manhattan (54 Irving Place) Website: Pure Food & Wine
If you feel like re-exploring the east village this weekend, then stop by Quintessence on 10th street between Avenue A and 1st Ave for a raw food treat that is not to be forgotten. This tiny restaurant, tucked away on a quiet street just up the block from Tompkins Park offers a remarkable variety of exotic and delicious raw options that taste so much like the original you’ll never believe that the ingredients are 100% raw. One of my personal favorites is the falafel platter that comes with sprouted and dehydrated chick pea falafel balls (taste WAY better than they sound), raw sprouted crackers and a delicious, creamy sprouted chick pea hummus that is better than the original. Other favorites include the amazing enchilada made with a flax crust and mock refried beans and cheese, served with a mole sauce. Or you can try the assorted ravioli’s made with paper thin root vegetables and tasty pesto and tomato fillings. Their soups and salads are also great and you can round out your meal with fresh coconut water, strait from the tree. All of this for under $15 a person. A total bargain and a meal not to be forgotten. Even non-raw foodists will enjoy what Quintessence has to offer.
Location: East Village, Manhattan (263 E 10th Street) Website: Quintessence
The original Candle, up on Third Avenue and 74th street is the upper east side mecca of vegetarian yogi’s and socialites alike. In fact, I bet the majority of their clientele are not even vegans, but instead discerning connoisseurs that enjoy a good, healthy meal.
Established through the winnings of a random lottery ticket, Candle Café has been dishing up delicious, organic, vegan food since 1994, satisfying New Yorkers from all walks of life with their hearty, home-made cuisine. On any given day you will find a plethora of options to satisfy your cravings, from burrito’s to veggie burgers, Indian stews and yam casseroles. My personal favorite? The Good Food Plate; a choice of 4 side dishes (typically the bean of the day, brown rice, sautéed greens and steamed vegetables) with the most amazing wasabi dressing I have ever had! It is satisfying, healthy and delicious.
Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan (1307 3rd Avenue) Website: Candle Cafe
Free Foods NYC
If you’re in midtown and looking for a quick, healthy, organic or free range lunch, you must stop into Free Foods NYC, which also happened to be the impetus for my raw food journey. It was their 7 Green Juice that inspired me to juice daily which in turn gave me the idea to try raw. They were also instrumental in helping me keep to my commitment with their great daily raw options, from lasagna to tacos. But if raw isn’t your thing, fear not, there is plenty to choose from between their savory, rich soups, abundant sandwiches, daily buffet with a variety if free range protein options and juices and smoothies. Definitely not as economical as your local take-out but certainly worth it. And if you really feel like indulging, do not pass up their raw cookie… absolutely delicious!
Location: Midtown, Manhattan (18 West 45th St) Website: Free Foods NYC
I hope you all enjoyed your Summer and are gearing up for a healthy, abundant Autumn~