The 25 Best Vegan Restaurants in New Jersey

Whether you follow a plant-based diet or are simply looking to lessen your carbon footprint, these vegan restaurants will surely satisfy.

An assortment of vegan dishes at Leaf in Haddonfield. Photo by Michael Persico

Alternative Plate

Lake Como

Peter Teevan rode onto the vegan scene in his Alternative Plate food truck. Last year, Teevan opened this brick-and-mortar spot. Feast on the Loaded Mac Attack, made with rice pasta and cashew-based nacho “cheese,” topped with avocado, tomato, cilantro and a tangy sauce. A crowd favorite, the Pork Roll Egg N Cheez often has house-made, wheat-based pork roll and tofu scrambled like eggs. The gyro, with coconut and tofu-based tzatziki sauce, and the Reuben are just as flavorful as their meat-based counterparts. BYO—SV
1602 Main Street, 732-552-3319

Blueberry Café

Newark

Growing up in East Orange, the seventh of eight children, Rashena Burroughs disliked meat so much she rejected it. She didn’t drink milk, either. Though meatless, she ate pastas and sugary things and became an overweight adult. Finally, she says, “I learned about ancient grains and healthier things and lost 60 pounds.” Burroughs, 45, opened Blueberry Café in 2017. It serves hemp-seed thickened smoothies, juices, pastas, soups, quinoa patties, tacos and a $16 wild-rice platter. Burroughs says people come for atmosphere and service as well as food. “We want to take care of the neighborhood,” she says. BYO—CC
547 Central Avenue, 973-732-1711

Good Karma Café

Red Bank

Shore natives Gail Doherty and Tiffany Betts opened Good Karma in 2010. Doherty, co-author of You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan, says just 20 percent of their customers are vegan. “We try to be welcoming and friendly and don’t judge people for not being vegan,” she says. “We try to make delicious food that just so happens to be vegan.” Doherty says 90 percent of the menu is organic. The popular, crispy, baked buffalo wings ($10), made from tempeh, come with house-made soy-based ranch dressing that tastes like the real thing. One menu section is dedicated to “live foods,” meaning not heated above 108 degrees. Doherty says low heat keeps alive enzymes that aid digestion, and that live foods help cool the body in hot weather. In 2018, the partners opened the take-out only Karma 2 Go on Bridge Avenue, where they also offer vegan cooking classes. BYO—BM
17 East Front Street, 732-450-8344; 1 Bridge Avenue, 732-268-8630

Falafel with sriracha tahini sauce and the Cuban panini at Greens and Grains. Photo courtesy of Greens and Grains

Greens & Grains

Galloway, Northfield, Margate City, Middletown, Shrewsbury

Since opening in 2015 in South Jersey, this fast-casual vegan empire has expanded throughout Atlantic and Monmouth counties, as well as Philadelphia. Popular items include smoothies, pitaya bowls, and falafel or chk’n wraps. Build your own greens or grains bowl topped with two or three sides, such as the excellent coconut-curry lentils and sweet potatoes; smoky eggplant and chickpea ragoût with cashew cream; or the spicy buffalo chickpea salad. BYO—SV
80 West Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway, 609-277-7060; 1600 New Road, Northfield, 609-380-4337; 7801 Ventnor Avenue, Margate City, 609-300-5088; 1040 Route 35 South, Middletown; 454 Shrewsbury Plaza, Shrewsbury, 732-945-6551

Healthy Hippy

Newark

Its slogan, “making health affordable for the ’hood,” refers to the Weequahic area on the south side of Newark. The walls, peppered with peace signs, flowers and slogans like, ‘Why can’t all my friends be vegan?’ are fun to peruse while waiting for a dairy-free smoothie ($5). There are a few tables, but most business is takeout. The Healthy Hippy serves both the Beyond and Impossible brand vegan burger patties, which mimic the taste and texture of meat. The burgers can be had with vegan cheese, fried onions and peppers, lettuce, tomato and pickles ($11–$13). Fish sandwiches, hot dogs, sausage and chicken tenders ($10 to $13), mostly soy-based, are adorned with house-made Hippy Sauce, like mayo but lightly spicy. Many items are fried and not necessarily low in calories. Co-owner and Newark native Charles Harper says it’s important to offer the community a style of food that feels familiar. It seems to be working. The few tables in the 10-month-old eatery are consistently full. BYO—SFG
154 Elizabeth Avenue, 973-368-2212

Heart Beet Kitchen

Haddon Township, Ocean City

Ashley Doyne, who formerly worked for the Philadelphia Wings, opened Heart Beet Kitchen in Haddon Township in 2015. The entire menu is gluten free, dairy free, meat free and egg free, from watermelon feta salad (with almond feta) to chorizo tacos (tempeh chorizo, cashew cream). Smoky, tender eggplant meatball sliders are topped with cashew Parmesan. The BLT is made with coconut bacon; a cheesesteak is put together with mushrooms, sautéed onions and cashew cheese. The Ocean City location is open only in summer. BYO—SV
29 Haddon Avenue, Haddon Township, 856-240-4406; 801 8th Street, Ocean City, 609-938-9786

House of Flavor

Bayonne

Melissa Drullard and Diogenes Suazo’s vegan journey began a few years ago when their first child would not eat meat. It led them to experiment with meat alternatives, which in time transformed the whole family’s diet. Almost two years ago, they opened House of Flavor, a small, bright space emblazoned with messages such as Hippocrates’s, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” There are a build-your-own organic salad bar and vegan renditions of comfort foods, many with Spanish and Caribbean influences. A juicy, meaty-tasting Philly cheesesteak, made with seitan, bell peppers and onions, has a (potato starch) yellow cheese that really does taste like melted cheese. BYO—CS
911 Broadway, 201-858-4200

Kaya’s Kitchen

Belmar

The walls are covered with masks from Eastern Asia, South America and Africa, representing the range of dishes offered at this Shore favorite with outdoor seating. “We have everything from burritos, curry and falafel to a meatloaf-and-mashed-potato dinner,” says Omer Basatemur, who opened Kaya’s in 2004. Though Basatemur says he doesn’t believe in “labeling diets” good or bad, he advocates eating mostly organic and non-GMO, which is what he serves at Kaya’s (named for his daughter, now 14). The Kaya’s Combo ($14)—with tofu buffalo wings, tempeh wings, seitan ribs and a stellar potato salad—is a great way to take the plunge. BYO—BM
1000 Main Street, 732-280-1141

Killer Vegan

Union

Many of the Latin, Italian and American comfort foods recreated here taste surprisingly like the originals. Owner Janelle Soto says the restaurant, opened in 2014, was born of her desire to introduce people to plant-based eating, whether or not they become vegans. She says the killer dishes at Killer Vegan are its double-bacon cheeseburger, the patty made from mushrooms, beans and wheat, the bacon from coconut; and the panini, with Southern fried seitan subbing for chicken, plus avocado, red onion, tomato, and a delicious, spicy vegan chipotle mayo. Brunch (every first and third Sunday of the month) offers vegan pancakes, biscuits and tempeh bacon. BYO—CS
996 Stuyvesant Avenue, 908-964-8600

BBQ jackfruit flatbread; bagel with carrot lox; cauliflower buffalo bites; heart of palm “fish” tacos; and pad Thai with zucchini noodles at Leaf in Haddonfield. Photos by Michael Persico

Leaf

Haddonfield

Sisters Melissa, Rebecca and Ashleigh Mastandrea, who are all vegan, opened Leaf in 2017 to show that veganism is anything but boring. “It doesn’t have to be all salad and tofu,” says Melissa. Brightly lit, open and airy, the eatery has a diverse menu that attracts vegans and non-vegans alike. Buffalo Bites, baked cauliflower tossed in buffalo sauce, are a crowd favorite. So is a flatbread topped with barbecued jackfruit, which credibly mimics pulled pork, and the TLT, made with tempeh bacon. Fish tacos, with fried heart of palm replacing fish, are topped with red cabbage, cilantro and chili-lime dressing. At Sunday brunch, you can get a turmeric-tinted tofu scramble with spicy soy chorizo, and a bagel with veggie cream cheese, briny, herbaceous carrot lox, red onion and capers. BYO—SV
6 Kings Court, 856-528-5715

Living on the Veg

Beach Haven Gardens

On LBI, where the choices are mostly seafood or fast food, a vegan option is a haven­—one might say, a beach haven. Husband and wife Lauren and Rob Ramos opened the restaurant in 2005 and stay open roughly from St. Patrick’s Day to New Year’s Day. Brightly painted, with colorful picnic tables out front, the Veg offers creativity with humor. Take the Knuckle Sandwich ($11), combining steamed tofu, tempeh bacon, tomato, vegan cheese and ketchup on multigrain ciabatta, or the Tu-no Melt ($11), with vegan tuna salad made from mashed chickpeas, celery, onion and vegan mayo. All’s well that ends with a King Smoothie ($7) of banana, all-natural peanut butter, granola and chocolate almond milk. BYO—TLG
2613 Long Beach Boulevard, 609-492-4066

Mahonrry Hidalgo and his wife, Eslin Morris, do all the cooking at the Mexican-themed Luna Verde in Bradley Beach. Photos by Michael Persico

Luna Verde

Bradley Beach

Eslin Morris worked in restaurants for years before she and her husband, Mahonrry Hidalgo, opened Luna Verde in 2018. At the Mexican restaurant, where the couple do all the cooking, dishes have a personal touch. “We serve what we eat at home,” she says. A vegan since 2006 and a vegetarian for 15 years before that, she says she wanted to “veganize” traditional Mexican food, which is similar to the food she grew up eating. “We’ve had vegan customers come from as far away as Alaska or as close as down the street,” she says. “We also have many who are not vegan, but are interested in our food.” Ceviche—traditionally made from raw fish cured in citrus juices—at Luna Verde is made with cooked heart of palm, which convincingly mimics the texture of seafood. The $13 al pastor tacos, made with seitan and jackfruit, are mildly spicy, with the texture and flavor of the traditional pork. The $9 tres leches (“three milks”) cake is made with one milk, namely coconut. The sweet $9 flan is made with cashew milk and agar, derived from algae. BYO–CC
400 Main Street, 732-361-8180

More Life Cafe

Jersey City

A literal buffet awaits you at More Life, where owner Marcell Portes draws from his family’s Dominican heritage (his mother runs the nearby, not-vegan El Sol Del Caribe, where he learned to cook and to run a restaurant). The buffet changes daily. Pack a plate with tangy stewed jackfruit (mimics pulled pork), coconut-flaked plantain cake, rice and beans, or vegan meatloaf with mashed potatoes (minus butter, of course). Pay by weight ($8.99 per pound). On the set menu, on the other hand, you’ll find plant-based cheesesteaks, burgers, quesadillas (most $9.50 to $12), and mac and cheese ($6). Portes, a Jersey City native, considers these a good way for skeptics to give vegan food a try. He would know. Now 26, he switched to a vegan diet five years ago in the hope of relieving his migraines. Now migraine free, he says his initially skeptical friends and family are now regulars. BYO—SFG
191 Mallory Avenue, 201-985-0001

Mundo Vegan

Montclair

When Fanny Fuentes-Phalon and Tracey Phalon met in the mid-’90s, they worked at a Red Lobster. More than a decade ago, the pair went meat free to help save animals. They opened Mundo Vegan in 2014 and married in 2013. Fuentes-Phalon, who is Salvadoran-American, veganizes traditional Latin and Italian dishes. Phalon helps with the latter, having grown up in an Italian-American neighborhood in Paterson. In the gluten-free ropa vieja (“old clothes” in Spanish), an $18 best seller, well-seasoned jackfruit mimics the shredded beef of this traditional Cuban dish. It comes with rice, beans and avocado. The popular, gluten-free, organic lasagna ($19) is made with a cashew and tofu ricotta. Mundo’s $18 barbecue seitan, one of the few dishes not gluten free, is seasoned with turmeric. It comes with house-made barbecue sauce, coleslaw (made with vegan mayo or lemon vinaigrette), rice and beans. The $8 nut-free, gluten-free organic brownie is made with avocado oil and flaxseed. Mundo offers a $40 vegan cooking class. BYO—CC
20 Church Street, 973-744-5503

Check out other stories from our vegan package:
Why More People are Going Vegan
The New Generation of Plant-Based Burgers

Naked Lunch

Cherry Hill

Inside MOM’s Organic Market, this café offers a host of organic grain bowls, veggie burgers and raw juices that are good on the go. The Lin Bowl, with brown rice, miso-roasted tofu, carrots, seaweed, zucchini and mushrooms, is tossed in sesame oil and topped with kimchi and pea shoots. The Crowder Bowl—brown rice, spinach, peppers, tofu and cashews—is tossed in coconut-curry dressing. A cauliflower steak marinated in lemon juice, dill and garlic is served with brown rice, vegetables and chimichurri dressing. You can opt out of the actual cheese that comes with certain items to make them fully vegan. BYO—SV
1631 Kings Highway North, 856-685-5760

Nefista Kofteh

Cliffside Park, Clifton

Kofte are traditional Middle Eastern or South Asian meatballs. Nefista, an international franchise that originated in Turkey, opened its first American location in Cliffside Park in 2016, with Clifton following about a year later. Tahir Kirklar, owner of the Clifton franchise, says he opened to serve the large Turkish community in Clifton and nearby Paterson. Nefista’s vegan meatballs are made with grains such as bulgur, with cumin and garlic. Choose mild or spicy kofteh for wraps or plates, which include lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. The flavors evoke the originals, and there’s vegan baklava for dessert. BYO—CS
656 Anderson Ave, Cliffside Park, 201-774-4080; 1279 Main Avenue, Clifton, 973-928-1303

Papa Ganache

Matawan

Opened in 2010 with the Papa Ganache Project social services agency, Papa Ganache is a kosher, vegan, partly gluten-free and 100-percent organic bakery. “We have the average person coming in,” says owner Lisa Siroti, “because, well, ours is healthier than the average cupcake.” Siroti, who has maintained her practice as a clinical social worker, says everything is made in small batches and is cholesterol and preservative free. Gluten-free items are made and stored in a separate kitchen. After bestsellers like the Instagram-worthy chocolate obsession and crème brûlée cupcakes helped Papa Ganache win Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2012, the bakery has expanded to offer cakes, truffles, bagels, pot pies, quiche and baked ziti. “We’re not afraid of taking on any new possibility,” says Siroti, who herself is neither vegan nor gluten free. “Whatever hits our creative nerve, we try to bring it.” BYO—BM
106 Main Street, 732-217-1750

The Impossible Burger at Seed Burger in New Brunswick. Photo by Michael Persico

 

Seed Burger

New Brunswick

Even non-vegans love the new generation of plant-based burgers. Seed Burger offers the two most popular brands: the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger. There are also chick’n, black bean, or kale-and-quinoa patties. Build your own and top it with your choice of fixings and four sauce options: a tangy vegan mayo-based Special Sauce, buffalo, chipotle or shoyu mayo. Save room for vegan ice cream from Asbury Park’s Cookman Creamery, stocked by the pint in the self-serve freezer. BYO—SV
176 Easton Avenue, 732-339-8897

 

 

 

Seed to Sprout

Avon-by-the-Sea, Fair Haven, Wanamassa

What started as a juice bar in 2012 has grown into two restaurants and a bakery. Co-owners Alex Mazzucca and Cara Pescatore attended Rumson-Fair Haven High School, but didn’t become friends until mutual acquaintances reconnected them after each finished college and nutrition school. “The foundation for what we do,” says Mazzucca, “is filling our bodies with the healthiest, most nourishing foods and avoiding toxins, carcinogens, chemicals, pesticides.” The most popular items at the all-organic restaurants are the Seed Salad ($15), with marinated kale, baby greens and creamy tahini dressing; the Mexican omelet ($12) with tofu-cashew mix subbing for eggs, taco meat made from sunflower seeds, plus pico de gallo, cashew cheese and avocado. The bakery, in Wanamassa, has counter service, tables, and a design-your-own-cake option. Cooking classes are offered at both restaurants. BYO—BM
410 Main Street, Avon-by-the-Sea, 732-774-7333; 560A River Road, Fair Haven, 732-268-7533; 1405 Wickapecko Drive, Wanamassa, 732-361-3636

Simply Green Café

Ramsey

This cozy luncheonette, opened in 2017, does vegan versions of diner classics: breakfast sandwiches made with tofu scramble, cheese and meatless sausage; French toast stuffed with dairy-free cream cheeze; chick’n parm panini; cheezeburger empanadas; and eggplant po’boys on baguette, made with a crispy breaded eggplant topped with kale slaw, tomato and chipotle mayo. Desserts, like chocolate cheezecakes with walnuts and dates, are made in house. BYO—SV
25 North Spruce Street, 201-661-8905

Yvonne Rodriguez, left, and a sandwich and juices from Subia’s Cafe in Jersey City. Photos by Michael Persico

Subia’s Cafe

Jersey City

Siblings Nilsa, Yvonne and Eddie Rodriguez opened this cozy café and organic market in 2003, naming it for their mother. The café occupies the space that once housed their parents’ bodega. On our visit, soup du jour was a thick cauliflower purée with hints of carrot and garlic. The spicy buffalo strip sandwich shows just how flavorful vegan can be. It’s made from soy chicken in spicy buffalo sauce, with lettuce, onion, avocado, vegan tomato mayo and cashew cheddar on whole-wheat ciabatta. It comes with gluten free, organic blue corn tortilla chips, and adds up to a meal. BYO—CS
506 Jersey Avenue, 201-432-7639

Veganized

New Brunswick

“Our food is balanced, organic and made from scratch,” says chef/owner Ron Biton, 48, who has followed a plant-based diet for a quarter century, “and I think we go above and beyond in decor and vibe.” He must be doing something right, because by the time you read this, he will have moved Veganized half a block to a space triple its size, with 100 seats, including an outdoor patio. Unlike the original space on Spring Street, the new space, on Elm Row, will have a liquor license and an actual bar. All the beers, wines, sake, spirits and cocktails are organic. In food, Biton wins hearts with dishes like the Off the Grill, which, though made primarily from grilled oyster mushrooms, mimics skirt steak and has a garlic-rosemary marinade. The Mackin Cheeze, with elbow pasta, sweet-potato-cashew cream, smoked shiitakes and roasted broccoli, is virtually indistinguishable from the dairy version. “We don’t compromise on textures and flavors,” Biton says. Meanwhile, he has transformed the Spring Street location into Veganized Pizza. Choices range from a Margherita made with cashew cheese to a cauliflower, bell pepper and maitake pizza with cashew cheese. “You can get vegan options at pizza places, but, “he claims, “we’ll be the only exlusively vegan organic pizza restaurant in the state.”—EL
1 Elm Row and 9 Spring Street, 732-342-7412

Vegan sushi, veggie crispy chicken with green beans, barbecue veggie ribs, smoked veggie duck and vegan cheesecake at Veggie Heaven in Denville. Photos by Michael Persico

Veggie Heaven

Denville, Montclair and Teaneck

The menu resembles that of any other Chinese restaurant, except that everything is vegan. That includes wonton soup, lo mein, barbecue veggie ribs, General Tso’s chicken, beef and broccoli, and salt-and-pepper shrimp—all using meat and seafood substitutes made of soybean protein, mushrooms or wheat gluten. Standouts include crispy chicken with black pepper, a stir-fry with potatoes and sautéed string beans; and a veggie-smoked duck that tastes surprisingly like the real thing. There are 34 sushi rolls and 11 desserts, including a tofu ice cream and an outstanding vanilla cheesecake. All three Veggie Heaven locations are owned by the same family but managed separately, with slightly different menus. BYO—SV
57 Bloomfield Avenue, Denville, 973-586-7800; 631 Valley Road, Montclair, 973-783-1088; 473 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, 201-836-0887

Wildflower Vegan

Millville

In 2011, Eric Nyman bought a food truck and operated it around Cherry Hill. A year later, he sold it and opened this café in Millville’s Glasstown Arts District. He serves a rotating menu of soups, salads and wraps with local ingredients. Stuff your wheat or gluten-free coconut wraps with sun-dried tomato hummus, roasted vegetables, buffalo tofu, spicy seitan sausage or a bean burger, and add toppings. Sweets include dairy-free cookies, Popsicles and cupcakes. The lavender lemonade is stellar. BYO—SV
501 North High Street, 856-265-7955

The Zucchini Bar

Newark

Rashena Burroughs, who owns the Blueberry Café next door, turned her hair salon into the Zucchini Bar in 2018. She named it for her signature zucchini muffin. She calls the place an “organic, vegan dessert and herbal tea bar.” Specialties include $8 apple-caramel cheesecake, made with cashew cheese and coconut milk; a banana split with plant-based vegan ice cream; and Crazy Shakes (example: banana, dates, pumpkin seeds, vegan vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, almond butter and chia seeds). For a dessert place, it offers a lot of savory items: oyster-mushroom gyro, empanadas, nacho bowls, and pizzas topped with cashew cheese and crumbled fennel. Burroughs eschews seitan and tempeh, which she considers processed foods. “We use vegetables, mushrooms and a lot of ancient grains like spelt, teff and rye,” she says. Having cooked for her large, meat-eating family, Burroughs says she relies on smell to get seasonings right for Caribbean and soul-food dishes. “We want to inspire wellness in communities like Newark that don’t have many healthy food options,” she says. BYO—CC
547 Central Avenue, 973-732-1711

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