Explore New York City

The Best Sustainable Cuisine in New York City

Let your next meal in New York City be all-natural.

More people are starting to turn to healthier eating for their everyday meals. They're choosing dishes made from plant-based ingredients that help them give back to the earth. While some restaurants offer vegan or plant-based menus separate from the main course, other NYC restaurants are devoting themselves entirely to sustainable dishes. Whether you're craving Italian, Asian or American, you can find a restaurant that will give you the nutritious flavors you're looking to find in the Big Apple.

New York City's Sustainable Cuisine

Luthun

The East Village is a popular neighborhood to find the latest sustainable cuisine in the city, and this restaurant is the perfect spot to start. Luthun specializes in “Progressive American Cuisine,” creating small dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. The warm, open decor makes you feel like you’re sitting in your own kitchen, and each dish tastes like a home-cooked meal.

The seasonal menu offers options that you won’t find anywhere else in the city, but each one blends all-natural ingredients with your favorite flavors. Dip your foie gras into a bowl of sweet nuoc cham sauce, or slurp up some “Cod Collar Porridge” with coconut and green curry. Their “Spring Wreath” almost looks too good to eat thanks to its floral presentation topped with habanero honey and buttermilk horseradish snow. 

Spring Wreath at Luthun New York | WhereTraveler
Spring Wreath (Courtesy Luthun)

Hortus

Many Asian cultures use plant-based ingredients in their meals, creating a world of flavors you’ve never experienced before. If you want to try them all at once, head to Hortus in NoMad. This restaurant creates modern Asian cuisine in an open kitchen setting, using the most sustainable ingredients in their dishes. Start your meal off with a bite from their raw oyster bar, or try their other seafood appetizers like their “King Crab Noodle” pasta dish or “Yellowfin Tuna Crudo.”

The “Sea Urchin Donabe” is a popular main course, creating a seafood blend with the sweet tastes of cured egg yolk and truffle. If you’re looking for something more classic, their cod with Korean chive and Thai chili is the way to go. Hortus will have you feeling like you’ve traveled across the globe after that delicious first bite. 

Pumpkin Soup at Hortus New York | WhereTraveler
Pumpkin Soup (Courtesy Hortus)

The Wild Son Lunch Counter

If you need a new brunch spot in the city, take a seat at The Wild Son Lunch Counter in the Ukrainian Village. This restaurant puts a healthy spin on breakfast and lunch favorites, helping you eat nutritiously while feeling good too. It stands out thanks to the animal decor you'll find hanging on the walls, telling you that you're about to walk on the wild side. Breakfast fans will love their "Blueberry Corn Waffle" topped with the sweet tastes of honey butter and crème fraîche. The egg specials come with the healthy flavors of aioli and brioche along with favorite sides like bacon.

For lunch, their vegetable and herb-based "Cauliflower Melt" or grass-fed double smash burger can't be beaten. Add a delicious side, fresh drink or a fruity sweet treat to your meal, and you'll have a brunch that's sure to give you the energy you need for the day. 

Brunch at The Wild Son Lunch Counter New York | WhereTraveler
Brunch (Courtesy The Wild Son Lunch Counter)

Cadence

If you're visiting Tompkins Square Park, keep the outdoor fun going with a visit to Cadence nearby. This restaurant offers the hearty cooking of Southern soul food with the added treat of plant-based dishes. Cadence's primary focus is on health and sustainability in their meals, so every dish is vegan, free of soy and completely organic. Start off with one of their hearty salads, like the potato salad with red potatoes and dill. For the main course, try their "Southern Fried Lasagna."

The combination of red wine bolognese and pine nut ricotta creates a blend of Italian and American flavors that you won't forget. You can also find a healthy twist on a Southern favorite when you order the "Smoked Grits." At Cadence, you'll be treated to a good meal for both your body and your soul. 

Entrée at Cadence New York | WhereTraveler
Entrée at Cadence (Courtesy Overthrow Hospitality)

Sestina

Have you been looking to try Italian food but can’t find a healthy way to do it? You’re in luck! Sestina in the Bowery is the place you've been waiting to see. Chef Matthew Kenney created this Italian restaurant serving vegan dishes in a pasta bar style. Customers can step inside and find their favorite pasta dishes made with a healthy spin. Their tagliatelle is topped with the intense flavors of truffles and lemon, making you beg for more with each bite.

The "Pumpkin Ravioli" comes with classic Italian flavors like roasted garlic and thyme, but the pumpkin puree makes it a healthy addition to your day. For a twist on a favorite pasta dish, try their shells with vodka sauce that come with an added pop of chili pepper. Add a salad or garlic bread to your meal, and this is one Italian feast that will have you wanting seconds. 

Scen

One of the newest restaurants in New York City is taking nutritional science to the next level. Scen only opened this year in NoMad, but it’s already making waves in the sustainable cooking scene. This restaurant offers quick meals for city visitors to take with them on the move. Each of their dishes is vegan and guaranteed to be zero waste, as they're made with the goal of protecting the environment.

The signature dishes at Scen are their "Savory Bowls," filled with fresh vegetables and grains like quinoa and brown rice. Their "Sweet Bowl" is a great morning snack, thanks to the hearty flavors of nuts and fruit blended together. For a more traditional breakfast, try their bagels covered in nut and vegetable spreads.