Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 25, 2019. I deleted inactive links on February 24, 2021.
Update May 25, 2019: This restaurant closed in 2017.
Original blog post:
I spent ten days on a research trip in Manhattan in May 2011, and ate at (mostly vegetarian) restaurants at least twice a day. Lunch at Angelica Kitchen, an organic vegan restaurant in the East Village was hands down the best dining experience I had during my stay in New York City.
The restaurant has been around for a long time, it opened in 1976. It serves 100% vegan food, and at last 95% of the ingredients used are organic and fairly traded. They don’t use refined sugars or preservatives and serve no bottled drinks of any kind (including alcohol). Leftover food is donated to City Harvest, a non-profit organization that “Rescues Food for New York’s Hungry.”
You might find it strange that I start a review with a long introduction into a restaurant’s philosophy; but being vegan is so much more than not wanting to eat meat, fish, and dairy, or refusing to use animal-based products: it’s also about respect for the environment and the desire to minimize one’s ecological footprint.
There are so few restaurants that recognize and honor their responsibility for the environment that it’s important to spread the word about those businesses that try to do more than just serve food.
But enough about philosophy, let’s concentrate on the food:
Angelica Kitchen serves daily specials, which you can look up on their website, in addition to their everyday menu (also available online). I chose one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, which they’ve been serving since they opened their doors 25 years ago: the Dragon Bowl.
The Dragon Bowl is a “combination of basics,” which can be ordered with or without soup and bread, and also as a “Wee Dragon” (half size).
I ordered the “Wee Dragon Bargain,” a half Dragon served with a cup of soup and bread with spread (priced at $ 14.00). I could choose between a selection of dressings, breads, and spreads.
Soup of the Day was creamy sweet potato and coconut with cilantro. It was served with two slices of bread (I chose sourdough) and a spread. I chose the onion spread, miso-tahini and ginger-carrot were the other two available options.
The Dragon Bowl (served on a plate, but named for the Chinese bowls in which these dishes were originally served) consists of brown rice, beans, tofu, sea vegetables, and steamed vegetables. I ordered the Black Sesame Dressing with wasabi, garlic, and toasted sesame oil.
The food was delicious and the portions were huge, even though I only ordered the half Dragon.
The hostess seated me at the communal table, where a pitcher with tap water was freely available, so I didn’t order any drinks. The waitress didn’t pressure me to order a drink in addition to my food, which was nice. It was all very low key and relaxed. I thoroughly enjoyed eating there, and not just because of the food. If you ever visit New York City, make sure to stop by for lunch or dinner.
Angelica Kitchen doesn’t take reservations but seats patrons on a “first come, first served” basis. Please note that the restaurant doesn’t accept credit cards, only cash.
The restaurant has also published a cookbook, “The Angelica Home Kitchen: Recipes and Rabble Rousings from an Organic Vegan Restaurant”.
Address: 300 East 12th Street between 1st & 2nd Aves., NY, NY 10003
Opening hours: daily, 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Website: no longer in service