Hands Down: These Are The Best Healthy Spots in NYC

New Yorkers go out to eat a lot. Plans with friends or coworkers typically revolve around eating and drinking.  As a self proclaimed foodie and restaurant lover, I’m not complaining. Even after multiple weeknight happy hours, we don’t want to sacrifice the weekend socializing to get our health back on track.

Fortunately, the Big Apple’s blessed with healthy food options on every corner. Whether you’re coming from yoga with your BFF looking to test out the newest trend & a quick bite (ahem, CBD infused coffee) or are heading out for a night out on the town and are looking for something that feels a bit more nourishing, NYC’s got your back.

The only problem? Cognition overload. There are so many good spots, it’s almost paralyzing.  Where do I go? What do I order?

So, to help you save your decision making skills for something more important, here are 10 of my favorite healthy weekend hot spots in Manhattan. We’ll cross the bridge to BK next time.


1. Two Hands

Source: Two Hands

Where: 2 locations – TriBeca 251 Church Street & NoLita 164 Mott Street

Best For: Brunch


Why I Love It


The Aussies know their stuff and by stuff I mean coffee & avocado toast.  But it doesn’t stop at the food at Two Hands. They’re some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and you’ll feel like a better person just by being there. Even though they have two locations in NoLita & TriBeca, it’s always busy, so get there early.


What to Order


You can’t go wrong with the avocado toast because, well, it’s avocado toast. But try to branch out, expand your horizons and get the Brassicas Bowl.  Not only does all food taste better in bowls, the roasted veggies mixed with the insane flavors of their house made hummus will have you dreaming about it for days to come. If you’re craving something a bit heartier, go for the prosciutto sandwich on delish baguette. To drink? Try their freshly squeezed OJ and an almond milk cappuccino – extra foam, please!



2. Westbourne

Source: Westbourne

Where: SoHo, 137 Sullivan Street

Best For: Casual Lunch


Why I Love It


This small cafe has all of the Cali vibes you could ask for in the heart of SoHo. The food is fresh and the scene is cool with their communal, first come, first served seating. You’ll find yourself overhearing what you only see on @overheardnewyork and wondering where you can get a pair of super casual yet chic sweatpants and slides.


What to Order


The menu is relatively small, and you’d think this would make decision making easier – it doesn’t. Every description sounds delectable and as you browse the food as it comes out of the kitchen, it looks equally as good.  The Over The Rainbow bowl is the best though. With lentil falafel, brown rice, cauliflower, kale, cucumber, radishes, pickled carrots, and jalapeno tahini you’re going to get all the feels with every nutritious bite. You might  want to add halloumi – actually, you do want to add halloumi. To finish, you’ll regret it if you don’t try the celery Kombucha and a piece of pie from their rotating options.



3. Citizens of Chelsea & Gramercy

Source: Jelena Marija

Where: 2 Locations – Chelsea 401 W 25th St.  Gramercy 362 2nd Ave

Best For: Brunch


Why I Love It


Yes, I know…another Aussie cafe.  But when they’re taking over the city, it’s hard to avoid. I love the casual energy at Citizens.  I’ve only been to their Chelsea location but I think it’s safe to assume the Gramercy locale will be equally as good. The best part? You can head to Citizens a little sweaty in yoga pants for solo dining or for a fun group brunch and you’ll have fun either way.


What to Order


They have Kombucha on tap so let’s start there and add a cappuccino with milk of choice. Then move on to the salmon eggs.  This plate of epicurean delight is big, so you could even share with your friend. The sourdough is thick, the eggs are soft, the salmon is like butter, and it comes with beetroot labneh and pickled onions. That’s at least 5 of my favorite things on one plate.



4. Cafe Clover

Source: Nut Free Meg

Where: West Village 10 Downing St.

Best For: Dinner


Why I Love It


It’s hard to find a full-service restaurant for dinner that’s actually healthy, but Cafe Clover fits that bill. They’re kind of the OG. If you’re not a healthy foodie, you might be surprised by some of the items on this menu, but give it a shot – the flavors are unique and tasty. Plus, it’s in the heart of the West Village. And, let’s be honest, that’s where I’d prefer to spend most of my time.


What to Order


What not to order!? The mains are pretty straight forward and you should go with your gut there, but make sure you get the cauliflower steak.  There’s no red meat involved and it’s insanely good. If you’re getting a starter, order the loaded sweet potato & you’d be remiss not to get the chickpea flour hush puppies as a side. If you’re boozing it up with your girlfriends try the Garden Cocktail which has organic cucumber vodka, green juice, elderflower, honey, and lemon or the Two Hungry blondes with tequila, grapefruit, sage, and lime la croix. Fruit & veggies, healthy, right!?



5. abcV

Where: Flatiron 38 E 19th

Best For: Brunch or Dinner


Why I Love It


The ABC family of restaurants by Jean George are some of my favorites in the city and home to my favorite margarita, pancakes, and vibes.  Although they’re all health conscious and ‘farm-to-table’ ish, abcV is the most surprising family member – a flavorful, beautiful, plant-based sister. If you’re not a vegetarian, abcV will make you want to be one.  If you could only make magical sauces one might think were only available to the gods at home. Above all though, as a lover of eating well that also serves the planet, their mission is ‘offering high vibrational foods, embracing balance with beauty, wellness, wisdom & love to nurture our personal and planetary ecosystems.’ That simple mission along with decor that makes me feel like I’ve tapped into a deeper sense of being will make me a loyal customer for life.


What to Order


The dosa. THE DOSA…with avocado and sprouts will change your life. It’s amazing and it happens to be gluten free. While I haven’t been for brunch, I can tell you that when you go to abcV you must go with a friend & order all the things. After starting with the Dosa, give the wild blueberry bowl, coconut yogurt, and basmati rice a try.  Dinner is really the shining star with the whole or half roasted cauliflower being the feature. You’ll wonder how the heck they get the outside so browned and crispy. Don’t ask questions. Just eat. Then order the market carrots, potatoes, and green chickpea hummus. If you’re still hungry, okay even if you’re not, get the chocolate mousse for good measure.



6. The Smile & The Smile to Go

Source: cityfoodie

Where: NoHo 26 Bond St.  

Best For: Dinner & Grab-and-Go Breakfast/Lunch


Why I Love It


The Smile makes me smile.  Their main location on Bond Street is a down a small flight of stairs and is divinely cozy. It makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across a quaint, simple restaurant in the middle of the woods where you’re ready to curl up in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of red. You haven’t. You’re still in NYC, and while the menu is simple the flavors are not.  The Smile boasts a mediterranean menu filled with healthful options. If you’re looking for a quick meal and coffee to go, check out their 3 to-go locations in NYC and Brooklyn – their market plates & treats are awesome. I travel miles for the banana quinoa muffin.


What to Order


Like many menus, I prefer the creativity of the starters over the mains. Give the baked halloumi, mezze plate, and meatballs a try.  If your tastebuds and tummy are still hungry, move on to the little gem salad and then the flank steak with…wait for it…whipped avocado.



7. The Butcher’s Daughter

Source: @thenamestesa

Where: 3 Locations Nolita 19 Kenmare West Village 581 Hudson Williamsburg 271 Metropolitan

Best For: Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Dinner AKA anytime.


Why I Love It


Aside from the fact that their name is a play on words (they don’t serve meat) this vegetarian institution is one of the best places to get a vegan meal that really, truly tastes insanely good.  The light atmosphere, filled with greenery makes you feel like you’re at a fancy, very healthy, garden party.


What to Order


I’m obsessed with the anti-inflammatory honey bee, which has honey, turmeric, and lavender in it, but any and all of their juices are great. They’re famous for their spicy kale salad and you won’t be sorry if you stick with the tried and true here – it’s awesome.  If you’re there for dinner, start with the loaded potato skins, the vegan cheese actually tastes good. For the mains, the angel hair carbonara is hearty & comforting. You won’t even miss the real gluten pasta. And the plantain party bowl is just that…a party in a bowl. More of a morning dining person? They’ve got breakfast too! I know it’s basic, but what’s not to love about an almond butter & jelly toast? Nothing.



8. Cookshop

Source: imajenate

Where: Chelsea 156 10th Ave

Best For: Proper Brunch & Dinner


Why I Love It


Cookshop is the first NYC brunch I had. It was before I moved to the city, and I remember feeling ‘omg this is so NY.’  The energy at Cookshop is vibey yet unpretentious and I’ve never had a bad meal there. The American menu features sustainable ingredients, humanely raised animals, and focuses on sourcing locally. Their menu changes regularly so you know you’re eating close to home and discover some veggies you’ve never even heard of before.


What to Order


If you’re heading in for brunch, plan for it to be your only real meal of the day because you’re going to want to dig in.  I always like to have a little something sweet for the table, and here I’d go with the almond pancakes. When you’re ready to head savory order the cheddar spinach scramble or the grains & greens if you’re not an egg person. The bloody mary is pretty epic as well.  Heading there for dinner? The scallop ceviche is the perfect light start to your meal. Go big or go home for the main and get the steak. If you’re not a red meat eater or looking to share, their seasonal pizzas are perfect.



9. The Studio at The Freehand Hotel

Source: ebcnewyork

Where: Flatiron, The Freehand Hotel, 23rd & Lexington

Best For: Lunch or Late Afternoon Hang


Why I Love It


When you enter the Freehand Hotel, you’ll quickly realize you never want to leave.  As you head up the staircase surrounded by gallery style artwork, you feel a bit fancy and when you turn left and walk into the studio, you’ll have entered hygge heaven. You might even for a minute mistake yourself for a very cool European.  The vibes are chill but be prepared to be patient with the service.


What to Order


While this spot might be a bit more ‘healthy-ish’, there are plenty of options.  Try the market grains bowl with roasted chicken or the dorade. Both are enough to keep you satisfied but clean enough so you won’t walk out feeling heavy.  You might even have room for a glass of wine or a paloma. The shaved cauliflower is a perfect share plate & the labneh is delectable. If you’re feeling wild get the lamb burger – go no bun if you need to healthify.



10. Seamore’s

Source: @seamores

Where: 6 Locations – NoLita, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, DUMBO, Urban Space Vanderbilt, Brookfield Place

Best For: Lunch or Dinner


Why I Love It


I love seafood, but finding a spot that’s sustainable, affordable, and delicious is damn near impossible.  That is until Seamore’s entered the scene in June 2015. Seamore’s has all the good, chill vibes and is incredibly approachable.  The music is usually pumpin’ out some good tunes, the crowd is friendly, and it won’t break the bank.


What to Order


The kale salad, shrimp tacos, and sweet potato fries make me want to dance, but you can’t go wrong if you build your own bowl with the selection of fish the Daily Catch board. If you build your own bowl opt for the miso brown butter. You’ll thank me later. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, there’s a cheeseburger on the menu and who doesn’t love a good burger? If you’re having a little drinky drink order a signature cocktail. The beer & wine list is good, but their homemade cocktails feel extra special.


The list is never ending, so here are a few more favorites grab & go spots: