[back to Food in the USA | Food Diary Index]


Arriving at Grand Central Station, a busy terminus that receives over 60 million passengers annually, can be a bit daunting. You’ll probably be excited to land in the heart of NYC, especially if it’s your first time here. But after a long train ride, what do you do when you arrive hungry in Midtown Manhattan? In cities other than New York, it can be tricky to dine meat-free, but that’s not the case here.

New York City is a melting pot of culture, and that diversity definitely permeates the city’s food scene. You won’t have trouble finding delicious food anywhere in the city, especially around Grand Central. Drop your bags off at a Grand Central luggage storage and head out and explore the meat-free options in the city. You’ll find tons in the area, but here are a few of our favorites to get you started:

Grand Central Station in New York Grand Central Station in New York

Le Botaniste

Specializing in 100 percent organic plant-based cuisine, we wouldn’t blame you if you made Le Botaniste your first stop after leaving Grand Central. The walk here will take you less than five minutes, so it’s best if you get here already hungry because the walk won’t exactly work up an appetite.

The menu at this charming eatery is full of foods with an international flare, and they offer starters, bowls, and shareable plates. The chefs here draw on flavors from around the world, with options like jackfruit curry, turmeric lemon hummus, miso soup, and a vegetable tajine. 

The bowls are where it’s at, though, and you’ll probably have trouble deciding which one you want. The good news is that everything is incredibly good, but particular favorites include the Tibetan Mama with flavors of peanut butter and kimchi and the Spicy Chili Sin Carne.

Location: 666 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017, plus other locations around the city.



When you absolutely need an Indian food fix, head to INDAY, a five-minute walk along E45th Street. The interior of the restaurant is full of warm tones and wood for a cozy yet clean atmosphere. Now, this isn’t an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, but you can customize your protein with most dishes, and they have plenty of meat-free options already on the menu.

Luckily, INDAY clearly lists allergens and vegetarian/vegan options, so you’ll have no trouble grabbing something that suits you here. The menu isn’t huge, but it rotates, so always check out their seasonal mains for something new. Some of the best choices here are the lentil falafel chaat, which is vegan and seasonal, the coconut chickpea curry (also vegan), and the complete macro bowl that’s jam-packed with tasty vegan specialties. Plus, they even have a vegan brownie for dessert, so save room for that!

Location: 708 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017, plus other locations around the city.


vegetarian spread vegetarian spread


Vegan On The Fly

When you don’t have a ton of time between trains or on your sightseeing itinerary, Vegan On The Fly is a perfect choice. They focus on a vegan take on gyros and burgers from their counter-service joint, another five-minute walk from Grand Central. This place is a nod to the famous street food scene in NYC, and although things are served up fast and to go, the food couldn't be better.

Most vegans and vegetarians have to give kefta a pass when ordering Middle Eastern food, but not at Vegan On The Fly. Traditionally made with minced meat and a variety of spices, this spot serves the Impossible brand version of this flavorful protein. You can have it as a gyro, as a sandwich, on loaded fries, in a salad, or as part of a platter. If you decide to eat here, definitely try something with the Impossible kefta in it.

Location: 24 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036


Franchia Vegan Café

A less than 10-minute walk down Park Avenue will land you at this Asian fusion vegan restaurant. This spot definitely skews toward the higher end of plant-based eating, and you can either order off their traditional menu or the prix fixe one. 

An assortment of delicious dumplings, kimchi pancakes, and Peking buns await you at Franchia. And those are just a few of the starters. As for mains, you can try tons of different salads, bowls, sushi, and ramen. 

If the weather is nice when you’re in town, try to get a spot on their sidewalk patio. There’s nothing better than enjoying some of the best vegan food in the area while watching the city go by.

vegetarian Asian vegetarian Asian


The Little Beet

When you have a craving for fresh ingredients and thoughtfully paired flavors, The Little Beet is a great place to eat near Grand Central Station. They are open every weekday from 11 am to 9 pm but keep in mind that they are closed on the weekends.

The name of the game here is customization. You choose your base of greens, rice, or quinoa and then go hog wild, adding whatever you want from a deluxe assortment of well-seasoned vegetables and proteins like sweet n spicy tofu and baked beet falafel. Add your sauce, and you're ready to chow down. 

If selecting every part of your meal doesn’t appeal to you, they offer chef’s creations to tempt you. Without substitutions, your only option from this part of the menu is the Beet Falafel Bowl since everything else has either meat or fish in it. This is an ideal location to go if you’re traveling with carnivores since there are non-plant-based proteins on the menu as well. 

Location: 125 Park Ave, New York, NY 10017



From Indian to Asian to Middle Eastern to Mexican, the area around Grand Central Station is full of some of the best plant-based eateries in town. There are options for vegan places, vegetarian spots, and even restaurants that serve meat but have an extensive selection of meat-free choices. Hopefully, you didn’t leave your appetite on the train!

See Also


Do you have feedback, a comment or correction? Let us know