Guys. I went to Peacefood Cafe today… again.
I’m never disappointed.
If you haven’t yet been, allow me to enlighten you on one of New York’s best vegan restaurants. (Check out our list of the best vegetarian restaurants in NYC, which, duh, includes Peacefood Cafe.)
I hate that I have to qualify this, but I just want to mention here that I didn’t even know this restaurant was all-vegan until the third time I visited. Peacefood is just a yummy, good-for-you cafe, with really fun food, and it doesn’t try to slide by on just being vegan— meaning it’s simply good food, and you should go there because it’s delicious, whether you’re vegan or not (our meat-loving editor, David, even agrees).
Peacefood Cafe is a sweet, cozy restaurant with smoothies, awesomely-cooked veggies, scones, gluten-free muffins, tamales, dumplings, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Sheerly out of convenience, I always go to the location on the Upper West Side, so that’s the one I’ll refer to here, but there’s also a Union Square establishment (with the same delicious food).
The UWS space has silly, vibrant posters adorning pastel walls. There’s a fast-paced coffee-bar as you walk in (just don’t look at all the decadent baked-goods unless you plan on gaining a pound or two, which in my opinion is probably worth it), and there’s seating along the side all the way to the back. Even though it’s busy and popular, I’ve never had a problem getting a table, although I’m sure there are times when there’s a line out the door.
Enough about the place, let’s talk about the food. There’s a lot, so I’ve broken it down into more manageable “bites.” Let’s start with the smoothies.
Yes, they’re expensive, but think about what you’re getting, and remember that we’re in New York City — fresh, quality fruits and vegetables are costly, and every other good smoothie place in the city sells them for the same price. If you can splurge every so often for a $7 smoothie, I would do it (and I do).
Please, order the Bombay Delight ($7-$8). Do it for me. I got this the first time I ever came here, and I’ve ordered it on every other visit (I know I should branch out, but I can’t help myself — it’s too perfect). This hearty smoothie is made with coconut, banana, date, cardamom, & nut-milk. It’s almost a meal by itself, so sometimes I just get it to-go.
If you’re in the mood for a juice, go for the Green Lemonade ($7-$8), which is made with mixed greens, apple, lemon, and ginger root. It’s pretty dang refreshing.
If you can afford a $4.50 chai (come on, it’s the same at Starbucks), get the Brazilian Nut Chai. Holy smokes. I also love their frothy, milky coffee drinks with nut-milk ($3-5).
My favorite thing to get here, along with a smoothie, is an appetizer or a smattering of veggies, so my favorite options are smaller-plates, but don’t let that fool you — these helpings are pretty substantial. I love their Vegetable Tamale ($7), which is packed with delicious veggies and topped with diced tomatoes and cilantro oil. Oh man, I would eat one every day if I could.
My other favorite things to order are any combination of the vegetables and soups. I usually get the Choice of Two + Soup ($11.95), and order the Japanese Pumpkin, the baby bok choy heart, and the soup of the day.
The only thing I’ve ordered that I don’t rant about are the Chickpea Fries ($8.50), which are more like doughy rectangular cakes. At least on the day I tried them, they were super smoky and the dressing was somewhat bland, but people rave about them on Yelp, so I wonder if I got a mediocre batch (Editor’s Note: you got a bad batch, they were delicious when I went.)
Other spectacular honorable mentions are the Pan-Seared Shanghai-Style Dumplings ($8.50), which are entirely homemade and “filled with Chinese chives, shiitake & wood ear mushrooms, marinated tofu and vegetarian protein, served with a ginger balsamic dipping sauce,” and the Fluffy Quinoa ($10.95), which includes “baby greens & sprouts of the day, avocado, sweet peppers, corn & onions tossed with creamy lime mustard vinaigrette.”
Tummy rumbling, yet?
So yes – if you get a coffee, and a smoothie, and a meal, you’re looking at $25 per person. It’s not cheap for a cafe. I will say, though, that the price is super manageable for grabbing a small, healthy meal, which I find difficult to do in the city. Just grab a smoothie and a tamale, or go for a coffee and a scone.
Fellow food-lovers, which dishes do you love at Peacefood? Which other cafes should I try? Let us know below in the comments!
Laura is an actor/writer/teacher/hiker/camper who grew up in colorful Colorado drinking chai and yodeling from mountaintops. She traded in the Rocky Mountains for the skyscrapers of NYC, where she now lives with her four-legged mutt. She holds a master’s in Acting from the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.