The Healthy NYC Guide
While it’s LA that gets all the credit for being a health-centric city, the wellness scene in New York is getting bigger and better by the day. Healthy restaurants and juice bars seem to be popping up on every corner, and between the West Side Highway, the High Line, and Central Park, there are ample outdoor places to run and stroll. Meanwhile, old favorites (like the Shibui spa at the Greenwich Hotel) are as compelling as ever. Below, a clean sweep of our favorite health-centric spots (many of which represented at our most recent In goop Health summit) for a clean-eating, self-care-focused take on the city that never sleeps. (Plus, a few places in the outer boroughs thrown in for good measure.)
ABC Kitchen35 E. 18th St., Union Square | 212.475.5829
Helmed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this airy, all-white space—attached to ABC Home—is a temple to inventive, seasonal, and local cooking sourced from nearby farms and cooperatives. It doesn't come as much of a shock that the fare is GMO-free and also grown and made without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, or hormones. It's not surprising because you can taste the well-sourced provenance on the plate, whether in the form of house-made ricotta ravioli or fried organic chicken in a hot butter sauce. (We never said the offers were ascetic.)
Little Park85 W. Broadway, Tribeca | 212.220.4110
Little Park is actually huge. It has banquet and bistro tables, plush booths, and it occupies an entire corner in Tribeca (right below The Smyth hotel). For late-night revelers, the adjoining Evening Bar is a cozy spot to sip on mixologist Anne Robinson’s inventive cocktails. To craft the most seasonally sound menu possible, Chef Andrew Carmellini tapped local farmers, foragers, and ranchers for organic produce, grass-fed meats, and heirloom grains. Come here for traditional breakfast fare as well as lunch and dinner.
Momofuku Ko8 Extra Pl., East Village
David Chang's Ko is a multi-course gastro experience, while the Noodle Bar next door is its laid-back, no-reservations, ramen-specific sibling. Meanwhile, up the street, Ssam Bar, which is attached to Milk Bar, offers a wider range of options. Chang, who is now legendary, does pretty revolutionary food, whether it’s noodles or pork buns, meaning that if there’s just one must-try foodie experience downtown, one of his restaurants would probably be it. At Ko, the reservation policy is a bit tough (email at 10 a.m. EXACTLY for the same night, tables are gone by 10:03) but worth a shot. >>Photo: Noah Kalina
Momofuku Milk Bar360 Smith St., Carroll Gardens | 347.577.9504
While working at Momofuku in its early days, Christina Tosi—office manager at the time—started baking the occasional treat for the team; her insanely sweet, totally novel confections quickly took off. Soon, she had her own shop next door (and now many more all over NYC) where she and her staff crank out ridiculously complex layered cakes, the aptly named Compost cookies, and unusual soft-serve flavors—all simultaneously nostalgic and unlike anything you've ever tasted.
Jams1414 6th Ave., Midtown | 212.703.2007
Chef Jonathan Waxman was one of Alice Waters' protégés, and after stints at Chez Panisse and Michael's in Santa Monica, he was one of the first to bring that hyper-fresh, California-style cooking to New York. His new restaurant at 1 Hotel Central Park resurrects the name of his first-ever New York operation, and brings that same seasonal cuisine to a spacious corner space with simple, Scandinavian-style design. Because it’s connected to the hotel, there are several private rooms available for events and celebrations as well. Obviously, get the chicken.
by CHLOE.185 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village | 347.620.9621
Chloe Coscarelli was fresh out of culinary school when she won an episode of Cupcake Wars with a vegan cupcake recipe: She was the first person to do so on that show or any other televised cooking competition. She’s since opened a casual restaurant in the West Village (followed by others), with an adorable interior (striped wooden floors, colorful tiles, hanging swing) and a little fridge with pre-packaged food. While the menu is focused on smoothies, juices, and great vegan burgers, you can still pick up her famous cupcakes.
The Little Beet2 Penn Plaza, Midtown
Ask someone with a gluten allergy about the Little Beet, and you're bound to get an earful of praise—the entire, delicious menu is celiac-friendly. Chef Franklin Becker was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when he was in his 20's and devoted the rest of his career to rebuilding his cooking style; the menu is full of light, healthy meals with an emphasis on lean protein and tons of vegetables. The seasonal menu items are always a sure bet, as are the make-your-own-plate options. There are two other locations, on 50th and Park Ave.
Morgenstern’s2 Rivington St., Lower East Side | 212.209.7684
This ice cream place is run by Nicholas Morgenstern, a classically trained pastry chef (he was formerly head pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern) who turned out to be a whiz at crafting elevated flavors. Using only the highest quality ingredients, if you're craving a creamy and non-processed—treat, this is the spot. Beyond the scoops, the shop on Rivington is incredibly charming: The exterior is painted royal blue and the inside is set up like an old-fashioned parlor with counter seats and a window ledge. Note: It's cash-only here.
Souen210 6th Ave., Soho | 212.807.7421
A New York mainstay since the '70s, the prevailing theory at Soeun is an old-school Japanese-based macrobiotic one: there is no meat, dairy, or eggs on the menu and certain veggies are prohibited. One could argue that the cult of the macro plate began here, but there are plenty of other dark green veggies, grains, beans and fish on the menu to leave you feeling pleasantly sated. Salmon or black cod can be ordered with teriyaki sauce; the yuba, tofu "skins" are served with Chinese cabbage, carrot, and scallion in a tamari kombu broth. Both downtown spaces (the other is in the East Village) are light-filled and sparsely decorated. Bonus: They deliver.
The Butcher’s Daughter19 Kenmare St., Nolita | 212.219.3434
Count on Joya Carlton, the former chef at Buvette, to help open up another stellar brunch spot. Set up on the corner of bustling Kenmare Street in Nolita, the Butcher's Daughter offers the kind of vegetarian fare you can feel good about—their version of a breakfast sandwich features an egg, cashew cheese, kale, and tomato jam on an English muffin; their organic muesli is topped with fresh fruit and almond milk. The cold-pressed juices are easy to make a habit of—the honey bee, with grapefruit, turmeric, yuzu, kumquat, honey, and bee pollen is good for fending off colds. The minimalist (but Instagram-ready) decor includes big-picture windows, bleached wood, and exposed brick; produce hangs from meat hooks and herbal infusions are lined up behind the bar.
Superiority Burger430 E. 9th St. East Village | 212.256.1192
Superiority Burger made a name for itself with chef Brooks Headley's (formerly the pastry chef of Del Posto) rakish take on vegetarian fast food. The menu is brief, but you can't really make a bad choice—the small-but-mighty veggie burger, a Sloppy Dave (their version of a Sloppy Joe), and burnt-broccoli salad are stand-outs. Daily specials range from soarana beans with parsley to kabocha squash with pea shoot pepita pesto. Grabbing one of the few seats is basically a competitive sport, so better take your food over to Tompkins Square Park and grab a bench. Check their Instagram feed for daily specials. They're closed on Tuesdays.
De Maria19 Kenmare St., Nolita | 212.966.3058
You’ll hear a lot about how stylish Nolita's De Maria is (and Instagram-ready, too): The bright, sun-filled minimalist space enlists lots of soft earth tones and a beautiful bar to warm its sleek furniture and white-painted brick walls. From the pretty ceramic plates to the staff’s striped Everlane-designed uniforms, everything is as photogenic as the food itself—which is, of course, much more than just photogenic. Helmed by Camille Becerra (previously of Navy and Café Henrie), the menu is stacked with of-the-moment, elevated healthy favorites (think: chili-turmeric bone broth with milk-foam, herbs, and mustard seed oil; radish and jicama salad; sweet potato with beet borani, walnut, and mint). Their famed Fire Dragon Bowl—turmeric poached egg, heirloom beans, avocado, and tarragon tahini–is not to be missed. Photos: Nikki Brand
abcV38 E. 19th St., Union Square | 212.475.5829
It's no secret that we love Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen, along with the rest of the world—and his adjacent and very new restaurant abcV, which employs the same GMO-free, sustainable ethos to an equally stunning effect—is certainly no exception. With a breakfast service that starts at 8am, abcV offers everything from omega seed butter shakes with raw almond milk, wild blueberry, hemp, chia and dates, to gluten-free almond pancakes, to lunch and dinner menus that boast incredible and varied plant-based dishes, there's really something for everyone. While you can still power-lunch in the back, you can also order takeout, or sit at the bar; if fresh-pressed juice, wellness tonics (which feature adaptogens, rhodiola, and ashwagandha), or kombucha aren't your thing, they have a cocktail menu, too.
Two Hands164 Mott St., Nolita
For classic Aussie-style avo toast, or an insanely decadent banana bread topped with honey and mascarpone, look no farther than this charming, low-key café with outposts both here and Tribeca. The menu focuses on simple, health-centric food–and the space is bright (read: white-washed brick and string lights overhead) and totally relaxed thanks to its Aussie roots.
West-Bourne137 Sullivan St., West Village | 347.534.3050
West-Bourne brings a bit of the West Coast to New York with its Cali-inspired, veg-based menu and zero-waste philosophy. LA native Camilla Marcus delivers dishes centered around seasonal, local produce elevated with some of her favorite artisanal products from her home state. Everything is healthy and hearty (try the farm grains with almond butter)–and the wine list is solid, focusing on a large selection of varieties from California. Furthering the Cali influence is the sustainable design that includes reclaimed wood, custom furniture, and nostalgic, throwback-y art highlighting 1960's LA. A portion of all meal proceeds goes toward The Door, a New York non-profit dedicated to youth empowerment. Photos: Nicole Franzen.
Ancolie58 W. 8th St., Greenwich Village | 646.524.5929
Ancolie is a self-described "epicurean canteen"—serving healthy, ready-to-eat meals packed to-go in sustainable glass jars. Founder Chloe Vichot—like most us—grew frustrated not only with the overly salty, often processed ingredients in the ready-made meals she would pick up for lunch, but with the waste they generated. In building Ancolie, Vichot focused on the container first, creating custom-designed mason jars that are truly a joy to eat from—wider than the typical jar with curved edges (to make scooping that last bite of farro a little easier), stackable, and leakproof. For lunch think rainbow salads (cabbage, greens, cauli-rice) or the Ancolie jar (a little heartier with lentils, carrots, goat cheese, chicken, and walnuts), breakfast could be a creamy chia pud, and for those who like something warm, there are hot options daily.
Avocaderia254 36th St., Greenwood | 347.227.0350
Avocaderia is—believe it or not—the world's first avocado bar, located appropriately in painfully hip Park Slope. The creamy, green superfood is celebrated here in its every possible form with toasts, salads, bowls, smoothies, and more. The brainchild of Franceso Brachetti—who made his way to NYC via an avocado-saturated stint in Mexico—with his cousin (a former architect) and best friend (a former journalist) import the freshest, most perfectly ripe avocados from Mexico's avocado belt to create everything from an avo burger (this one is for the purists, it's a lot of the green stuff, really), to flavor-packed salads and smoothies that will keep you going all day. The pretty, plant-filled space doesn't hurt either.
Brodo Broth Shop496 Hudson St., Greenwich Village | 212.366.0600
Broth really is one of the great culinary elixirs—how can something so simple and pure be so incredibly flavorful and essential? While bone broth is nothing new—many cultures from the Japanese to the Irish have been consuming it for centuries—the best broth is simmered for a good eighteen hours to release the collagen, glutamine, and minerals from the bones. Brodo (Italian for broth) offers the full spectrum of broths from spicy to almost sweet—try chicken, beef, or vegetable-based (seaweed and mushroom) broth and then spike the soup with add-ins like roasted-garlic purée, chili, turmeric, pickles, even butter. We're especially partial to the Tom Yum (chicken, chili oil, lime, curry, and coconut milk) when feeling under the weather. For even the laziest home cooks, a pro-tip is to buy a jar, throw in some shredded chicken, and some vegetables for a hearty soup, or add a ladle or three to pasta or grains for a delicious and truly nourishing meal.
Nix72 University Pl., Greenwich Village | 212.498.9393
For Michelin-rated food that is vegetarian and vegan, flavorful and filling, Nix serves up an international-style menu in a clean, bright space. Food-wise, expect smooth, rich hummus and punchy za'atar, marinated cucumbers with creamy labneh, vegetable dumplings, and a particularly indulgent sweet potato and truffle dish. The white-washed space with comfortable booths for crowds and smaller tables for duos feels fresh with its red color accents and pops of greenery, but it's the beautifully plated flavorful food that keeps New Yorkers coming back. (One goop staffer was so enamored she filled-up on Nix's incredible veggies and cocktails two nights in a row—a crowd pleaser for sure.)
Fields Good Chicken44 E. 23rd St., Flatiron | 646.895.6831
Former financier-turned-pro-cyclist-turned-chicken-enthusiast Fields Failing converted his passion for the most perfectly cooked, crispiest-skinned bird into a business. With five locations across the city all serving up the same four styles of cooked chicken—herb grilled, grilled mojo, pulled bbq, or chicken salad—a good lunch is minutes away no matter where you are. The free-range chickens are sourced from Freebird family farms in Amish country, Pennsylvania, from sustainable farmers Failing has built relationships with. These protein-heavy bowls and salads (Christina's Kale, cobb, mo' miso) are filling, healthy and delicious, the perfect nutritious lunch to pick up on-the-go in the city.
Dimes49 Canal St., Chinatown | 212.925.1300
Dimes is one of those perfect spots where you can order everything on the menu and feel really good about it. Breakfast could be matcha buttermilk pancakes or huevo kathmandu (spicy chickpeas, spinach chutney, and date relish on a corn tortilla), for lunch a watercress, farro, blood orange, shiso vinaigrette salad or togarashi salmon and pickled carrots—all of the above are the type of food so bright in flavor and color it jumps right off the plate. The space itself is a cozy, cave-like nook with simple wooden tables, bright whitewashed walls, and a sloping ceiling—all flooded with light from the near floor-to-ceiling windows out front. This is a Cali-centric place, where every bite is healthy but not necessarily health-food (there's a Dimes market retailing their favorite purveyors next door), chefs and founders Alyssa Wagner and Sabrina DeSousa have gotten the balance—and the aesthetic—just right.
Dr. Smood Organic Café181 E Houston St., Lower East Side
Healthy fast food seems like an oxymoron—but Dr. Smood has cracked the code. The menu has six categories (power, immunity, beauty, detox, energy, and health) all of which are certified kosher. Whether you’re looking for a juice cleanse, a latte infused with anti-inflammatory turmeric, salads or sandwiches, this is an easy, super-delicious place to get something fast.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.25 E 17th Street, Union Square | 646.442.8946
Assistant district attorney Chloe Epstein’s pregnancy had her craving ice cream—but a quick look at the nutritional label left her concerned with what she was feeding herself and her future child. She started to experiment with making her own at home, and settled on a satisfying recipe with only three ingredients—fruit, water, and organic cane sugar. Now a full time glacier, the flagship store has classic flavors like dark chocolate and strawberry, plus great seasonal options and sweet and savory toppings like gluten-free gingersnaps, fresh fruit, and warm peanut butter sauce.
Ladybird111 East 7th St., East Village | 917.261.5524
Ravi DeRossi’s collection of vegan restaurants and cocktail bars (Mother of Pearl, Avant Garden, cienfuegos) are all delicious; Ladybird, backed by animal-rights activist/musician Moby, has tons of tapas—hummus crudites, vegan fondues, and veggie toasts. All of the cocktails are packed with vegetables, so they feel a just little bit virtuous. The late-night happy hour re-creates classic bar food from mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings to mac 'n' cheese—all of which are mind-blowingly good.