The 4 Best Sustainable Restaurants on the Upper West Side
- by Christine Huang
- Dec 10, 2015
Though New York City is home to countless organic, local, and ethical restaurants, finding delicious, sustainable dining options on the Upper West Side can be a bit trickier than, say, in Brooklyn.
Luckily, if you know where to look, the UWS has a number of hidden gems that deserve a visit (or ten). Check out some of the best spots for brunch, lunch, dinner, and more:
Best for Brunch: Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table
Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table is a slice of heaven on the Upper West Side. With a spacious patio, white picket fence, and set of porch swings, Elizabeth’s looks more like a cozy lodge in Maine than an organic eatery in Manhattan. The restaurant’s homey interior (think teal walls, bright paintings, and mindfulness-inspired décor) makes it a charming and relaxing brunch spot.
Having been featured in the Clean Plates Guide and more than once in both the Michelin Guide, Elizabeth’s is known for combining great taste and enlightened ingredients. Their brunch menu features free-range eggs from Finger Lakes Family Farms, pancakes and French toast served with organic maple syrup, and a selection of sandwiches and burgers. Fans of traditional breakfast fare should try their phenomenal Brioche French Toast selections, which are perfectly crispy on the outside and ultra-fluffy on the inside. Those who prefer heartier options can opt for their burgers paired with organic ketchup and seasonal toppings. All their beef is 100% grass fed, raised on open pastures, AWA Certified for animal welfare, and raised on small family farms in Missouri and Wisconsin.
Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table
680 Columbus Ave.
New York, NY 10025
Best for Lunch: Peacefood Cafe
Founded in 2009, Peacefood Café is the type of vegan spot that even your carnivorous friends will rave about. The café, which calls itself a “vegan kitchen and bakery,” has a playful and endearingly hippyish vibe. According to its website, Peacefood strives to serve cuisine that is “transformational, healthy and delicious; prepared and served with mindfulness, gratitude and the intention to nurture.”
Their menu features raw food selections, gluten-free options, and seasonal ingredients that are locally-sourced whenever possible. Their ever-popular sandwiches, served on toasted whole rye sourdough, won awards from the NYC Vegan Guide in 2010. Other popular menu items include the Green Thai Curry, Penne Un-Chicken Parmesan, and Chickpea Fries. They also offer a wide assortment of decadent vegan desserts and baked goods ranging from cookies and brownies to tiramisu and macaroons.
460 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10024
Best for Dinner: Blossom on Columbus
It’s easy to forget that Blossom on Columbus is a vegan restaurant. There’s nothing crunchy about it, and its elegant, sophisticated ambiance makes it one of the best spots in town for a date.
Dishes at Blossom are tasty, unpretentious, and reasonably priced, especially considering the large portion sizes. Dinner selections include the staff-recommended Seitan Scallopini with truffle mashed potato and sautéed kale, as well as the Salmon Tofu with trumpet mushrooms, leek-and-fennel compote, rice, and broccolini. Those who prefer heartier fare can opt for the excellent Southern Seitan Sandwich with breaded seitan, caramelized onions, avocado, and chipotle aioli. During dinner, they also offer a special “In Bloom” menu with “seasonal, vegetable-focused creations.” The restaurant also includes a full bar serving a selection of cocktails alongside local wine and beer.
Blossom on Columbus is the newest addition to the Blossom family—the original is in Chelsea, and the second is in West Village. All three restaurants serve vegan, organic food with ingredients from local farms and small distributors.
Blossom on Columbus
507 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
Best for a Quick Bite: Beyond Sushi
If you’re looking for a quick bite near the Upper West Side, Beyond Sushi is likely one of your best bets. Though the small, casual eatery is technically in Midtown, it’s accessible enough from the UWS to make this list, and totally worth the trip. Boasting a plant-based menu with local produce, Beyond Sushi serves up vegan Japanese-inspired dishes at affordable prices. Menu highlights include sushi with whole-grain rice, rice paper wraps, and agave-sweetened desserts.
Be sure to try the Nutty Buddy wrap, a staff favorite featuring buckwheat noodles, cashews, cilantro, jalapenos, peanut butter, avocado, and tofu. Equally delicious is the Sweet Tree sushi roll with avocado, sweet potato, and alfalfa sprouts. The Green Machine roll, another staff pick, is packed with delicious and nutritious ingredients like six-grain rice and basil-marinated vegetables, topped off with jalapeno wasabi. Fresh ingredients are sourced from local vendors including the Union Square Farmer’s Market.
62 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019