One of the most amazing features of New York City is its ability to bring together people and food from all over the world, and Latin American cuisine is no exception. In the past few years, NYC’s vegan food scene has blossomed with new plant-based options and alternatives to some of our favorite Latino classics. Whether you’re looking for an all-out fiesta or just a delicious appetizer, there is a nacho spot for you! In queso emergencies, use this helpful guide to help you find the perfect place for you and your friends.
Lower East Side, West Village, and Brooklyn
Jajaja first opened its doors on Cinco de Mayo in 2017 and has been serving the city amazing and authentic Mexican food ever since, including some of the best nachos in the city, the country, and maybe even the world. The extra few bucks to top it off with guac is well worth it, and the small is definitely big enough for two. We highly recommend sitting at the bar for a drink (or two!) while you wait for a table, as Jajaja also boasts delicious craft cocktails and Mexican-style beers. The Pineapple y Mezcal is to die for!
Located in the heart of the East Village, this vegan Mexican eatery was pioneered by none other than Matthew Kenney, the vegan restaurateur behind Plant Food + Wine and Double Zero. Kenney, who claims to be “crafting the future of food,” does exactly that at Bar Verde, especially with the out-of-this-world nachos. Available during both brunch and dinner, these nachos are a must-have when visiting Bar Verde. The delicious butternut squash queso is pretty hard to top and pairs beautifully with the cashew crema loaded onto these chips. These are also gluten-free, perfect for sharing with friends with a gluten sensitivity or allergy.
Modern Love Brooklyn
If fine dining and comfort food met and had a vegan baby, it would be named Modern Love. The menu options at this innovative establishment range from mac and shews, to fig & bacon ricotta toast, to—of course—gluten-free chorizo nachos. Everything here is so tasty that it’s hard for a menu item to stand out, but the nachos definitely do. This flavorful, spicy dish features an amazing sun-dried tomato and walnut chorizo, putting an inventive spin on a classic comfort food. Visit Modern Love when you’re in the mood for a variety of flavors, with no compromise on quality, especially if you’re looking for the perfect Brooklyn date spot.
Taco Dumbo is the perfect go-to spot for a quick power lunch or an after-hours dinner with co-workers. Their beachy ambience will make you forget you’re in bustling New York, transporting you to an oceanside, market-fresh taqueria. Their locations are conveniently located throughout Manhattan, making their vegan-friendly menu readily available and accessible all over the city. The loaded nachos come with an amazing cashew queso and lime crema, perfect for sharing with your gluten-free and omnivorous friends alike. To impress the vegan-skeptical, top it off with a healthy serving of Impossible beef crumbles—it’ll be worth it!
Veggie Grill is an all-vegan chain that has been serving up delicious, convenient, and affordable plant-based dishes in the West Coast since 2006. They opened their first NYC location in the Flatiron District in December 2019. The menu is expansive, featuring both seasonal specials and comfort food staples in an easygoing, fast-casual dining environment. While they have many amazing items to offer, one of our favorite menu selections is the Mondo Nachos. Classically constructed with nacho chickin’ and queso chorizo sauce, it’s a delicious starter to split with friends and pairs great with anything on the menu.
If you’re looking for truly traditional Mexican food in an adorable and colorful space, Hotel Tortuga is the place to go. While not 100% vegan, they offer plenty of plant-based alternatives, including tofu scramble, vegan chorizo, vegan bacon, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, and even a rotating selection of vegan desserts! Their vegan nachos are timeless and delicious, served with vegan cheese, tofu sour cream, your choice of beans, pickled jalapenos, and pico de gallo. Plus, they offer plenty of vegan add-ons that can completely elevate the dish—take things to the next level with guacamole, vegan chorizo, or Portobello mole sauce. Enjoy all by yourself or split with friends, and follow up a nacho appetizer with some enchiladas for a delicious and authentic Mexican meal without the meat and dairy!
Candle Café East
Upper East Side
Good morning, Upper East Siders! As we rang in 2020, the vegan community mourned the tragic loss of Candle79, who closed their doors after 16 years of serving some of the best vegan fine dining in the city. But there is still hope—Candle Café East, a cozy café run by the same group, continues to serve locally-sourced vegan goodness just a few blocks away from Central Park and the front steps of The Met. This café offers quite an eclectic menu with plant-based options—ranging from classic burgers and sandwiches to cauliflower steak risotto—for everyone, but their featured nachos are out of this world. Taking plant-based meat alternatives to a new level, Candle Cafe East’s nachos can be topped with Beyond steak, mixiote chicken, or mushroom chorizo. And if you feel like shaking things up even more, opt for plantain chips instead of corn chips for a truly unique and delightful experience.
The Butcher’s Daughter
The most Instagrammable spot on this list easily goes to The Butcher’s Daughter. This sunny and plant-filled vegetarian restaurant first opened its doors in Nolita in 2012, specializing in sustainable plant-based meals. Their rotating menu always features a wide array of vegan options, but a permanent staple we love is their nachos. Featured on their evening dinner menu, these nachos are made with a tasty and inventive jackfruit chorizo you won’t find anywhere else. To make this dish vegan, sub out the mozzarella for vegan cheese! Enjoy with their Goddess of Green Juice and any of their seasonal specials for a well-rounded, healthy dinner you won’t regret.
With locations all over NYC, Blockheads is a great place for happy hour drinks with friends or coworkers. Their menu is not all-vegan, but they offer vegan substitutes for many of their classic dishes, in addition to providing a separate vegan menu for entrees! The Nachos Grande is a great menu selection and perfect for splitting. Add the house-made vegan sour cream, guacamole, and Daiya cheese to make the dish 100% vegan without sacrificing any of the flavor! If you’re up for it, follow up those nachos with a vegan burrito and one of their famous grande frozen margaritas.
V-Spot is an all-vegan, pan-Latino and Caribbean restaurant in the heart of Park Slope. Their menu offers a lot more than just classic Mexican food, including Jamaican Style Empanadas and Carabano Arepas (named after the founding brothers). That being said, you can’t go wrong with the classics. Great for splitting, their Nachos Supreme is out of this world and can be upgraded to include kale, seitan carne molida, or soy chicken for a little extra protein. On the weekends, they also feature a brunch remix of this dish, topped with a scrumptious tofu scramble. Pair this with their mimosa deal for an unforgettable vegan weekend! [Note: Nachos are only available at their Brooklyn location and not at the St. Mark’s Vegan Food Court in the East Village]
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