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A New Yorker’s Guide to Cheap Vegan Food in Brooklyn

written by Veren Ferrera March 6, 2020
A New Yorker’s Guide to Cheap Vegan Food in Brooklyn

Has Vegan Brooklyn replaced Manhattan on the international scene?

Possibly.

Will you end up there if you’re planning a vegan tour of New York?

Very likely.

Lately, Brooklyn is where all the cool, innovative stuff is happening in the vegan scene in New York.

Fortunately for you, I’ve done the plant-based legwork of scoping out the best spots for cheap vegan food in Brooklyn. I’ve clocked endless hours of travel on bike and train to see my stubborn friends who insist on living in the costlier, trendier New York borough. Now that the Sam and I have teamed up, we’ve perused the vegan Brooklyn scene with a vengeance.

Despite the reputation, Brooklyn is not an all-encompassing place with a singular face. The borough consists of a multitude of neighborhoods now mostly colonized by transplants. Visiting my friends in Brooklyn required a separate, dedicated day per friend. It’s that spread out and varied. So knowing the vegan places in Brooklyn was key.

Here are my go-to vegan restaurants in Brooklyn grouped by neighborhood.

$ = meal under $10

$$ = meal under $15

By the way, if you want to learn how to eat vegan on the cheap anywhere, don’t miss our resource: 11 Budget Vegan Travel Tips for a Tasty Trip!

Vegan Williamsburg Eats

Delicious vegan food in Williamsburg is just steps away from the subway station. Vegan restaurants in Williamsburg keep popping up so fast we can’t keep up. You’ll be excited at the plethora of options in this sprawling neighborhood.

North 7th street and Bedford Ave is the heart of the neighborhood. Get ready for tactful tattoos, generously sized ear gauges, and thickly spectacled mustached faces to assault your senses, threatening to drown out your unexamined mediocrity. But fret not, for all this hipness brings delicious eats for the vegan in Brooklyn.

$ Oasis – Omni, Vegan options

While many spots in Brooklyn sell falafel, none of them hit the sweet spot like Oasis.

My Polish American friend, born and raised in Greenpoint, saved me and my hunger during our college days. She’s always been a fan of the quick and cheap but quality eats.

Or ask my other born-and-raised New Yorker friend, who brings Oasis falafel all the way back to Queens for her mother, who never admits to liking food she didn’t make herself (she’s a great cook).

I’ve visited Williamsburg at the oddest of hours yet this place was always open. With such regular turnover, the falafels come piping hot and crispy fresh at virtually any time.

Nowadays it kicks the chickpeas out of Mamoun’s in Manhattan with the help of great toppings. Poise your taste buds for a pickled punch. Red cabbage turned bright purple, red onions turned hot pink, and many more vinegary bits will blast your pleasure brain waves into higher frequencies. Expect a post-meal sour burp – or two. BELCH. Excuse me.

Want some extra mileage from your food with minimum cost? Ask for a fifty cent schmear of babaganoush, a smoky rich eggplant spread that’ll cut through the layers with a snappy tang. Some prefer a hummus schmear, but you’re eating falafel – both are chickpea based – so that’s just redundant.

$ Two Boots – Omni, Vegan options labeled

Two Boots is a local chain (also featured in our Manhattan vegan guide), but I particularly like this location if you’re looking for vegan pizza in Williamsburg. Though the best vegan pizza in Brooklyn is a neighborhood over in Greenpoint (see Screamer’s below).

It’s got a small space for the counter and a more spacious dining room in the back. Especially convenient for those mid-winter pizza munchies when you plan your next trek through the arctic tundra that is New York’s winter streets.

The two readily available vegan slices are the Earth Mother and the V for Vegan, although recently they’ve been rolling out more vegan slices. The Earth Mother has a thick whole wheat crust, is cheeseless and salad-like, while the V for Vegan is crispy, cheesy, has two kinds of pesto, and is covered with red onions and artichokes.

Not satisfied even with those by the slice options? You can call in advance and order a whole vegan pie from their vegan menu section, topped with whatever your plant-based heart desires. We recommend the presets combos, like the Vegan Mel Cooley white pie with basil pesto. They use Daiya cheese, and before you fret, somehow Two Boots still manages to make damn delicious vegan pizzas.

Update: Daiya has revamped their recipe again and it’s soooo much better – we didn’t even know we were eating it.

$ Vinnie’s – Omni, Vegan options labeled

Once upon a time, all we had was Vinnie’s for vegan pizza in Brooklyn. Times have changed (see Two Boots above, Screamer’s below in Greenpoint) but Vinnie’s still slings solid vegan pizza in Williamsburg.

They boast a fine selection and the counter service is always happy to share the details. The best, consistently good slice is the eggplant parmigiana – it keeps me coming back. Breaded eggplant strips, saucy, and cheesy though not as cheesy as the dairy-laden brethren. If tradition isn’t your thing, their daily vegan specials are worth a glance.

This spot has limited seating and is usually full, but if the line is only a few persons deep, chances are a spot will open up while you wait. If you can’t snag a seat, get it to go, walk to McCarren Park and mow down that slice while lounging on the grass.

$ Vanessa’s Dumpling House – Omni, vegan options

If you want the full lowdown on the grubs at Vanessa’s, see our Manhattan vegan guide.

Upon entering the Williamsburg outpost, you’ll notice something immediately – it’s prettier than their Manhattan counterparts. You could take a low key date here if they’re like the Sam aka the girlfriend, who refuses to go to any establishment with white tablecloths.

In general, go for the veggie dumplings, fried. While I prefer steamed, the only other offer is boiled – steam’s distant, drowned out flavor relative. If you’re looking for more than a snack, add a plate of their housemade cold sesame noodles.

A cheap dumpling word of caution. A famous Alaskan once confided in me that he knew another dumpling spot that was even cheaper than this. I knew exactly where he was thinking. This “cheaper place” turned out to be a regular rat rampage that was consequently shut down by the authorities. You have to draw the line somewhere and not leave your dignity/hygiene on the wrong side. Moral of the story: cheaper is not always better.

$$ Terms of Endearment – all vegan

Oh, deary me, a completely vegan patisserie!? Of course, it’s in Brooklyn. Of course, it’s in Williamsburg. What can you do but lament and appreciate at the same time?

For a full review, stay tuned for our upcoming article on vegan brunch and breakfast in Brooklyn.

Terms of Endearment is a full on cafe, with a savory menu, as well as their myriad expected desserts. While it’s not the most budget friendly place, you can easily budget it up by sharing, plates, and many are under 15. Our NYC vegan crew assembled a sampler spread, meaning we ordered a bunch of stuff and shared. 

Nostalgic for a cheese danish? Miss that ham and cheese croissant? They have it here in plant based spades. 

The cinnamon roll was delicious, but could use a quick reheat, as it was not so soft but very tasty, and in our experience, even the best cinnamon buns need to be served warm.

Oh and that biscuit was damn fluffy, fluffing out in layers as we gently ripped it to shreds with greedy vegan fingers.

While we need more time to go through the entire menu, so far we are excited to try more. The pastries are so top notch, and so necessary for the massive vegan scene that is New York. For many, this will be the closest they get to Paris (and I don’t care about getting any closer).

This is a great spot, and don’t just take my word for it. Online reviews already have people exclaiming they just can’t believe it’s vegan.

$$ Jajaja – all vegan

We’ve been meaning to catch Jajaja for a while now. But every time we checked the Lower Eastside original, it was always jam-packed with over an hour wait.

So we opted for their quieter, seemingly forgotten stepchild in the surprisingly-not-crowded North 3rd Street Market in Williamsburg. If you want a less rowdy, more spacious experience, go here instead of the LES and West Village locations.

Jajaja at North 3rd Street Market

While most items will be hitting the upper tier of budget, there’s no reason you can’t budgetize this spot by sharing plates. Sam and I love splitting a big appetizer and an entree, for example.

One way we judge a Mexican spot is by its nachos. It’s one of the few items where you get to try nearly most of the flavors on offer. If the nachos are subpar, it gives me little reason to try much else. And here, my stomach was going JAJAJA for reals, full of spicy bean induced activity. I mean this in the best of way, because we inhaled those nachos.

Fresh fried corn tortilla chips, zigzags of crema, a homemade cheese sauce, a tvp crumble. The flavors were sharp and popping. All the crunch I needed, followed by belly filling beans and tvp based chorizo, with great guacamole to boot. I’m always more likely to try a side or topping of guacamole than commit to an order, aka meager spoonfuls of guac offered by most NYC spots. I know avocados aren’t cheap, but I’d rather pay a few bucks more, than receive what looks like guacamole ingredients glued together by avocado. I want those ingredients swimming in avocado, not the other way around.

vegan nachos at Jajaja

Also an interesting first for me is the charcoal hot sauce, which is mild and as smooth as rehydrated charcoal dust would be imagined to feel like on the tongue.

My usual advice for any skeptical vegan food goers? Go for the house made; if that’s not impressive, why would anything else be? Case in point, a local fellow to the side of us enjoyed his quesadilla, but wasn’t particularly wowed, which may have something to do with it being advertised as stuffed with coconut cheese. Yeah, stick to the stuff they make themselves, rather than the products they buy, then prepare and assemble (especially at these prices). I don’t say this to be a jerk (though I am a jerk), but as a budget eater outer, I want my dollar spent on food I couldn’t easily make myself.

Jajaja is easily my pick for best vegan Mexican in Brooklyn, and all of NYC really. Of course you can look around for a Mexican place with vegan options, but why do that when you can have it all in one place?

$ Van Leeuwen’s – Omni, Vegan options labeled

For more info, see our entry in vegan Greenpoint below.

$$ Vish – vegetarian; serves eggs but otherwise vegan

This spot we first experienced in Manhattan, and since then they’ve either opened another location, or relocated. They make great fresh hummus served warm. If you’ve never tried freshly made, not store-bought hummus, you’re missing out.

For the full scoop, read more in our Manhattan guide.

$ By Chloe – All Vegan

If you’re vegan, you’ve probably heard of Chloe Coscarelli. She became famous for winning Cupcake Wars as a vegan chef. She took New York by storm a few years ago with her line of vegan fast-food style eateries.

Unfortunately, Chloe is no longer part of the franchise after some drama involving her co-founder wanting to open a non-vegan restaurant in her name. Still, if you’re looking for only plant-based places, By Chloe is a solid, affordable all vegan restaurant in Williamsburg.

By Chloe’s menu ranges from burgers and sweets to healthier fare like bowls, salads, and juices. If you’re looking for a vegan breakfast in Brooklyn but don’t want to go as far as Champs (see below), By Chloe is another spot for vegan brunch in Brooklyn (brunch menu is available weekends only).

Definitely check out their rotating baked goods, which (in our opinion) are much better than the savory food. Last time, we stopped in and tried a gingerbread cookie – deliciously gingery snappy with a crunch.

Vegan Greenpoint: Cafes, Pizza, and More Ice Cream

I earned my first inter-borough travel chops from Queens in this neighborhood where my Polish American friend grew up. She showed me all the cool places that New York natives didn’t feel were overrun by transplants – yet.

Things have changed, and while Greenpoint looks like a quaint, old school preserved neighborhood, it’s merely a well maintained aesthetic. Apartments 20 minutes walk from the neighborhood center are astronomically out of our price range, so imagine the rent on that cute little boutique. So while there are full-service vegan restaurants in Greenpoint, they aren’t cheap. Fortunately, there are some stubborn remnants of the old neighborhood, and with that, cheap vegan food in Brooklyn that’s actually still cheap, and we just generally prefer this over the sit-down, table service experience.

$ Screamer’s Pizzeria – All Vegan

Holy shit Screamer’s pizza had me screaming after the first bite. Authentic New York style pizza made vegan that doesn’t suck, but does not make me miss moo goo shreds one bit? I sold any remnant of my omnivore soul to Screamer’s.

Somehow Screamer’s pizza keeps getting better every time we pop in. Crispier, chewier crust. Richer, tomato-ey sauce. Meltier, gooier cheese (thank the vegan cheese product by Violife, a European vegan staple).

While some people go nuts for toppings, I have to judge a pizza spot by their regular aka plain aka cheese slice. Screamer’s does not disappoint; it actually looks like your typical slice of New York style pizza with the cheese and sauce melding together. The texture and flavor are vastly superior to their Daiya days.

I’d be quite satisfied with just this, but Screamer’s goes above and beyond with a recently added Margherita slice with Brooklyn’s own Numu vegan mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Don’t leave without trying this.

And of course, all their topping slices are excellent as well. Expect the usuals like pepperoni and sausage, but also more inventive combos like the artichoke spicy basil (see abobe). Try something with their homemade almond ricotta – like the Bianca or the white slice. They even sport a Sicilian slice – expect a thicker, doughier crust pizza. Tried them all? Come late at night when they get really creative with all the toppings that need to finish that day all over the last pies.

Note: the Sam aka the girlfriend ranks our recommended vegan pizza in Brooklyn spots as following: Screamer’s, Paulie Gee’s, Two Boots, Vinnie’s. I don’t disagree.

$ Van Leeuwen’s – Omni, Vegan options labeled

Go immediately here after finishing your pizza at Screamer’s; they’re right next door:

Screamers-and-Van-Leeuwen-exterior

Van Leeuwen’s make the best vegan ice cream, literally. Our omnivore friend’s favorite flavor, Pistachio, is vegan. I have a good friend who jokes on veganism, yet inhaled the vegan Honeycomb flavor shamelessly, while another boyfriend of Sam’s sister just couldn’t believe it was vegan (he inhaled it too). Suck on that one, dairy-dooers.

Van Leeuwen’s offers a variety of vegan ice cream flavors to assuage your animal-free attitude. This is not just an also to their dairy flavors, but something they take pride in. Their vegan ice cream is cashew coconut based and you honestly won’t miss the frozen mammary secretions. The interior in this location has a nice wooden panel homely feel: a twist on Williamsburg hipsterdom and New York chic minus the pretension. They even have a couple of seats outside.

Try the peanut butter chunk – it’s got just the right amount of peanutty-ness and doesn’t overpower the vanilla base flavor. Or try the amazingly rich chocolate: its cocoa density exceeds a neutron star and its darkness rivals black holes. Or the salted caramel – just bring yourself some water. Definitely split a tub of pistachio with a loved one as they don’t usually offer it by the scoop.

After trying almost every vegan ice cream out there, Van Leeuwen’s is still honestly the best vegan ice cream you can find in stores besides Austin-based Nada Moo. Van Leeuwen has more unexpected twists on flavors, usually with more topping style ingredients mixed in.

earl gray ice cream from Van Lleuwen

$ Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop – Omni with vegan options

Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop is a styled after a classic nostalgic NYC slice shop and this is a great option if you’re dining with uncompromising omnivores. They use locally made NUMU and Follow Your Heart vegan cheese on their slices.

Our major gripe is that they could be a bit more generous with the toppings. More cheese on the cheese slice and even the slices with supposedly more toppings were a bit too untopped (think like two pepperonis on your slice). I wonder if they’ve ever tried a slice barely half a mile down at Screamer’s, which by the way, is much better and cheaper too.

We went here to scratch our pizza itch before a concert, only to go for another round of slices at Screamer’s after the concert. Paulie Gee’s, you need to give us vegans a better reason to come back than to appease our stubborn omnivorous friends.

Best Vegan Bushwick Eats

The vegan Bushwick scene has been positively exploding in the past few years. If you’re a returning reader, you’ll notice that this section has more than doubled in our latest update. For the best vegan food in Bushwick, we got you covered.

For those not familiar with New York, Bushwick is an industrial area turned alternative artist hot spot. Bushwick’s street art is truly amazing, so don’t miss checking out some murals while you’re in the area.

Bushwick is a neighborhood in transition and unfortunately gentrifying rapidly. Read more about Williamsburg and Bushwick gentrification in this fantastic article in The Gothamist. As sustainable travelers, we always advocate learning about the city in which you are traveling (or living) and to make sure to contribute in the community in the best way possible.

Read more: 20 Sustainable Travel Tips for the Conscious Traveler

$ Bunna Cafe – All Vegan

I had a dream about Bunna’s last night. I kid you not. Our experience eating here was so memorable, it persists in my mind’s eye.

Here is a place that will impress anyone, carnists and vegans with everyone in between. This food is no joke authentic; not some vegan Bushwick posers attempting some fusion nonsense. There are unashamed vegetables in every dish and it all tastes so damn delicious. This is without a doubt one of the best vegan restaurants in Brooklyn.

Bunna Cafe, a vegan restaurant in Bushwick, NY

I had my first try of Ethiopian food years ago and was impressed at how vegan friendly it was. I especially loved eating it with my hands. They have these rolls (think roll of carpet, not buns) of steamed bread that you use to grab pieces of food. Here is no exception. If you come here don’t disrespect them by asking for a fork, you heathen.

Not only are they one of our top food experiences ever, but they also take the vegan cake for lunch deals. Come here and split the lunch for two $16 Feast plate with 8 dishes. You won’t be disappointed. At 8 bucks a person, it’s a steal. A literal plethora of stewed chickpeas, sauteed squash, tomato’d lentils… I have to stop talking about it because I’m sad last night was a dream.

Ethiopian food at one of the best vegan restaurants in Brooklyn, Bunna Cafe

Lunch is by far the best deal, but for dinner, you can order half plates for $7 – 8, and full plates for $14 -16. And they have brunch! This makes our budget list because you can get plenty to eat for under $15 no matter what. For a detailed description of their dishes (and tons of house made beverages) and how ordering works, check out their menu page.

It doesn’t matter what you get here – it’s all good. If you’ve got room, try dessert, but especially their pistachio baklava with coffee syrup. It’s flakey with pistachio crumbles all drenched in syrupy coffee goodness. There is no way you could not like this unless you don’t like coffee.

If you’re into coffee then you must know that Ethiopia handles it like no one else. It’s such an integral part of the culture. The menu at Bunna’s Cafe shares the wonderful coffee origin story about a goatherd finding his goats jumping off the walls, only to realize they ate this peculiar berry. They even host a traditional coffee ceremony every Weds and Sunday.

Come pay respect to Ethiopia and thank them for their curious goats with their nondiscretionary palates.

Champs Diner

When we first wrote this guide, Champs technically fit the criteria of an under $15 meal. Back then, they still had 11 dollar plates at the cheapest. Now, most plates are $16 and up, and their already pricey $8 milkshakes have risen to $11. To be fair, it’s not their fault but rather the rising costs of rent in NYC. Cinnamon Snail, the OG of vegan comfort food in NYC (the entire nation in fact), is about to close its doors after nearly 10 years in business. Vegan times are a-changing.

But we digress. We still mention Champs because it’s one of the most famous Brooklyn vegan restaurants. If you’re willing to pay a little above $15 a head, Champs is still a classic in the vegan Brooklyn scene. We recommend anything with their tofu scramble, Blackbird seitan, or pancakes!

$ Dunwell Doughnuts – All Vegan

With a smaller location in Manhattan, we felt we owed the flagship store of vegan donuts in Brooklyn a proper review. It’s right around the corner from Champs, so if you’re waiting for your table (which you inevitably will be), you can pop into Dunwell for a pre-brunch donut (#gluttony).

This spot has a super old school retro feel, with black walls and an art deco radio the size of R2-D2. The donuts are fluffy soft and standards like the glazed come with our seal of approval. Also, the size of the space here allows for some time to stop and enjoy some coffee with your donut. Very good donuts – fluffy, soft and fresh. We’ve had vegan donuts all over the world and these rank pretty high.

Although the best we’ve ever had are in Madrid at Delish Vegan Doughnuts.

Read more: Ultimate Vegan Guide to Madrid

$ Brooklyn Whiskers in Bushwick – All Vegan

Whether you want a meal, a quick dessert, and/or a coffee break, these cats have got you covered. 

They offer an assortment of all day breakfast plates, signature sandwiches, desserts and coffee. There are a ton of options for such a tiny cafe and most items are in the $8-12 range.

Take your pick of either indoor or outdoor seating. Indoors can be a bit tight as there are only a few tables. Weather permitting, the extra seats outside are a welcome addition, especially considering the several seater long table was blissfully occupied by a sole laptopper when we went, despite the line of people ordering food. Luckily, we were able to enjoy the nice fall weather outdoors while we snacked.

Some sandwiches feature vegan cheese from the Cheezehound, one of my favorite artisan cheese makers who used to set up at the Vegan Shop Up. Hopefully things are going real well for her – she deserves it.

$$ Hartbreakers – All Vegan

Whether they’re breaking my heart or hearts of palm, Hartbreakers is doing it house made and they’re doing it generously. Hartbreakers is the latest star of vegan Bushwick, and yet another concept created by the team behind two now classic vegan restaurants in Brooklyn: Champs and Screamers. Named after the street it is located on (Hart), Hartbreakers is a 70s style comfort food joint.

Leading up to their launch in 2018, their creative team was hyping up Hartbrakers hardcore. We are happy to report that they live up to the hype. This is some of the best vegan food in Brooklyn. Their fried chicken sandwich, aka Picnic Basket, again, is probably the best fried chicken sandwich we’ve had – Sam had it twice within a week. This baby is the product of six months of development, and our mouths are thankful for the developer’s patience.

Think of this as a sandwich, some salads and sides sort of place. Rich, indulgent comfort food where everything (except the bread and sliced cheese) is made in house, down to the waffle fries, and they’re proud of it. I’d say the stars of the show are the veggie meats that are all exceptionally well executed, whether it is tender and crunchy fried chicken style seitan, or crumbly sausage chunks.  I especially liked the sausage chunks and bacon bits on top of the Dynamite Fries. The cheese sauce was creamy and rich, and I suspect they use a squash base. I am always improving my vegan cheese sauce efforts and take notes whenever we dine out.

For those not into seitan, their tofu is delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the Early Morning Traffic Jam, a take on the New York classic Bacon, Egg, and Cheese.

Not to miss are the waffle fries. Even if you can’t commit to the loaded platters, get a side to share with friends or all by your lonesome gluttonous self.

Also, when’s the last time you’ve heard of a place fresh cutting their own waffle fries?

$ Toad Style – All Vegan

Toad Style is another vegan restaurant in Bushwick (some say Bedstuy) and it pisses me off. Why? Because all these amazing vegan food spots are in Brooklyn, not Queens (our home base when visiting NYC).

Toad Style, along with Hartbreakers, are what I lump into top-notch vegan comfort food. I say “comfort” because junk food implies they’re using cheap, overly processed ingredients, which is not the case in any of these spots. If there’s a French fry, they cut it in house. If there’s a sauce, they made it from scratch. You get the idea. However, that doesn’t mean this is food for every meal. It’s for vegans to feel like they never gave up such sinful gluttony that carnists partake in regularly. When Sam and I go out to eat we like comfort food. Salads and smoothie bowls are better left to make at home.

It would be hard to go wrong at Toad Style. They use fried oyster mushrooms as a fried chicken substitute, so if you’ve yet to try fried oyster mushrooms, don’t miss it. My personal favorite here were the disco fries – pure collegiate nostalgia. Many a time I’d duck out with diner buddies for a sloppy plate of greasy goodness slathered with American cheese product and questionably brown gravy during my college days.

Fortunately, nothing is questionable here at Toad Style; they’re handcrafting every part. Also, Toad Style is a few bucks cheaper than Hartbreakers if you’re really watching your budget and find yourself deciding between the two.

$ Sol Sips – All Vegan

While we haven’t yet made it to this spot serving up vegan food in Bushwick, it 100% deserves a mention for this incredible initiative by owner Francesca “Sol” Chaney. Noticing that the vegan and wellness community was often out of affordable reach for many people of color, she created Sol Sips, offering a sliding scale for diners based on their income. Favorite dishes at Sol Sips include a classic NYC bacon egg and cheese, jackfruit panini, gluten-free waffles, and their assortment of freshly made smoothies and juices.

Read more about Sol Sips in this article on Essence.

$ Norbert’s Pizza – Vegetarian with vegan options

This pizzeria makes the cut because it’s cheap and quality. The crust and sauce are so on point, I just have to give them a shout out. Also, they’re a vegetarian spot that offers at least a vegan option. It was so good that I was able to ignore the paltry portion of vegan toppings. That being said, this is your best bet for vegan pizza in Bushwick unless you like paying for pizza without cheese for the same price.

But! If you order that whole vegan pie deal with two additional free toppings (on top of the cheese) then maybe I’ll find out they can redeem themselves. If their choice in cheese portions is based on taste, they need some higher quality vegan cheese, maybe local brand Numu, or store brand Violife.

Hopefully Norbert’s will do right by vegans and get some more toppings on their by the slice vegan offering. I literally could count the cheese shreds. This is why we go to vegan instead of vegetarian restaurants in Brooklyn.

$ Los Hermanos – Omni, Vegan options

Los Hermanos is actually a tortilla factory with a self-service front. The deli case inside contains dozens of fresh ingredients waiting to be sliced, rolled, smashed, scooped, chopped, and diced on the prep counter behind it. What’s wholly guacamole impressive here is the veritable montón of avocados they have stocked. These perfectly ripened, green buttery bad boys need to be on everything you order here.

A half-dozen army assembles taquitos, cemitas, tostadas, and tacos non-stop. Virtually everything up for offer is a set of toppings/fillings on a corn/wheat tortilla or sandwich bread, either quickly pan-fried or heavily deep fried. I recommend getting the tacos as real fresh corn tortillas are rare in NYC.

Want to get your order veganized without a hitch?

Here’s a veteran tip: write your order on the card in Spanish, with the following: [insert taco, cemita, or tostada, etc] vegetariana sin crema ni queso, con aguacate. Every time I’ve ordered like that, they didn’t charge me extra for the avocado, which they normally do. Once you grab your order, help yourself to lime wedges and red and green hot sauces.

Also highly recommended: a pound of a freshly made tortillas, to go. For a buck! I used to frequently leave on my bike with tortilla stacks dangling from the handlebars.

Vegan Restaurants near downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, and Cobble Hill

One could easily live their lives entirely in this part of Brooklyn, with its own massive downtown, and slightly quieter, more residential Boerum and Cobble Hill. We’ve spent a decent amount of time in this part of Brooklyn, having house sat here a couple times and visiting a good friend in the area.

These are our picks for affordable Brooklyn vegan restaurants near downtown. The sooner you get away from the Atlantic Ave madness, the better.

$$ Luanne’s Wild Ginger – All Vegan

This local NYC chain serves Pan Asian food, which generally means Asian fusion. Great spot if you make it for lunch, as their lunch portions are plenty and many. It’s impressive how much food they have on offer for lunch – no item will break 10 bucks a piece.

Luanne's Wild Ginger, a vegan restaurant in brooklyn

I particularly enjoyed the seitan steak as it broke apart and was a bit meaty. It wasn’t just a solid or gummy texture like seitan can be sometimes.

What makes this place extra cheap is if you catch the lunch special that many Asian restaurants and NYC ones offer. Luanne’s lunch comes with soup or spring rolls. Outside of lunch, all of their entrees are under 15, with most being 11 – 13, still fitting within our budget criteria.

There are several locations, so check their website for others.

$$ Kor Tor Mor  – Omni with separate vegan section on menu

This vegan friendly restaurant in Brooklyn gets an honorable mention for their well executed and clearly labeled vegan options as well as a separate vegan section on the menu. In general, Thai places in NYC will have vegan options. Just make sure to confirm for seemingly vegetable based dishes or you may end up with fish sauce in your food.

You’ll have two choices of protein, with tofu and vegetables being a buck cheaper than mock duck. The lunch special comes with salad and spring roll or soup.

If you’re not into tofu, or prefer something different, the mock duck here was excellent – just as good as my favorite ever Thai place in Queens that has unfortunately closed since.

$ Van Leeuwen’s – Omni, Vegan options labeled

Probably the best vegan ice cream you’ll ever have. Omnivores willingly eat the vegan flavors – they’re that damn good. For more info, see our entry above on vegan food in Greenpoint.

At the Cobble Hill location there are a few tables and high chairs, so you can reasonably expect to grab a spot.

Vegan ice cream in brooklyn at Van Lleuwen

$$ BareBurger – 50% vegan menu with gluten-free options

Originally based out of Queens, this chain has expanded beyond NYC and even into Japan. See our section on Astoria in our Budget Vegan Queens Guide for more info.

Vegan in Carroll Gardens

This neighborhood is part of the jumble that’s right south of downtown Brooklyn.

$$ Planted Community Cafe – all vegan

Now this is what I love in a vegan cafe/coffee shop. So much homemade goodness. And if you’re already going to have a vegan cafe, might as well make your own plant milks. Here they are expertly crafted, and make such a fine cappuccino, that I came back, and back again. Expect freshly espresso’d coffee roast from whatever local brand roasted, sourced somewhere distant and underpaid, but makes for great coffee drinks. 

It’s a neighborhood spot for a sure, with all the accompanying vibes. The interior is cozy, with tiled walls, wooden tables, and lots of plants! There is even a play area for children in the back.

They have lots of baked goods and sweets, with a few seasonal items. These are to be expected at a cafe, and were quite good, but we didn’t expect the full on cafe menu items to be so damn good.

We tried the huevos rancheros (usually eggs smothered in an enchilada style sauce but here it is tofu scramble), with tons of these homemade cashew cheese chunks. This homemade cheese is something they should be selling as a product, cus it was so damn delicious. I couldn’t wait to find another chunk underneath all that sauce.

vegan huevos rancheros at Planted Cafe

It was creamy, but sort of chewy, and I was honestly at a loss for how they made it (usually I KNOW EVERYTHING). If you come to try something savory, make sure it comes with these cheese chunks. We also got the tortilla soup, and hot damn, it had the same cheese chunks in it. Double win for the day.

Vegan in Crown Heights

Eating as a vegan in Crown Heights Brooklyn is becoming easier and easier. There are new places that we still need to try, like Greedivegan (which gets excellent reviews from friends and on Happycow) and Ital Kitchen. The number of vegan restaurants in Crown Heights just keeps growing. Below we list those we have tried and can honestly recommend.

$ Screamer’s Pizzeria – all vegan

Looking for the best vegan New York style pizza? Look no further than Screamer’s Pizzeria. Their original location in Greenpoint Brooklyn features a different menu (but still offers the same basics like plain, sausage, etc), but in Crown Heights, their second location, they have easily three to four times as much space and a much bigger counter with more slice variety.

variety of vegan pizza slices at Screamers Pizzeria
Isn’t it beautiful?

At the Crown Heights location, you can grab a seat and stay awhile, whereas the Greenpoint location feels a bit cramped, a more hole-in-the-wall punk vibe joint (which we like). Crown Heights feels better lit and more family-friendly, thanks to way more seating.

We’ve had so many visits here and it’s without a doubt one of our favorites for vegan food in Brooklyn. Sure, there are some interesting other items on the menu, but every time I venture off, it’s not that it’s ever bad, I just wished I kept that stomach room for more pizza instead.  By far the best place for authentic New York style vegan pizza in Brooklyn, and all of NYC.

Screamer's Crown Heights Interior

Also I’m late to join the vegan ranch scene, but I usually ask for a side of tomato sauce to dip my crust in, but was offered a choice of ranch, and now I’m hooked. Though delicious, you can’t really beat out the old red sauce for dipping crust. However, I know there are some ranch dressing fiends out there, up there with the Srichacha fanatics, who like to dump the stuff indiscriminately on everything.

$$ Luanne’s Wild Ginger – All Vegan

See Cobble Hill section for more info.

Vegan in Clinton Hill

Seems like veganism is becoming so widespread, that you can find not just vegan options, but all vegan spots in many neighborhoods these days. Being a vegan in Clinton Hill will be no exception.

$ Clementine Bakery – all vegan

A cozy cafe and bakery right on the edge of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. While it’s a neighborhood favorite, you don’t have to come here to try their baked goods, as they offer them all over the city. We came around their opening, and enjoyed a brownie, cupcake or two. A couple blocks away is their new project Izzy Rose, a coffee house by day and bar at night.

Their menu is definitely budget friendly, as all dishes are in the $8-12 range. They offer sandwiches like bahn mi and a tempeh reuben, bowls, wraps, and breakfast items like a breakfast burrito.

$$ Luanne’s Wild Ginger – All Vegan

See Cobble Hill section for more info.

Vegan in Fort Greene

Just when we thought neighboring Clinton Hill had some great vegan spots, vegan Fort Greene steps up to the plate.

$$ Rip’s Malt Shop – all vegan

If you’re looking for some New York classics made vegan, look no further. I honestly felt their chopped cheese was much better than the upscale Seasoned Vegan in Harlem (and much more affordable).

I’m sure this is a great hang spot in the summer. There’s a patio out back, and this block borders the newly updated Brooklyn Naval Yard.

I especially enjoyed the breakfast sandwich, as it features a Just Egg patty that’s exclusive to restaurants.

BEC at Rip's Malt Shop

That being said, you should know this place is primarily an assemblage of premade products. If having store-bought stuff made for you is your jam, you’ll be very pleased. I personally prefer a place like Toadstyle, where most of the food on offer is housemade, as opposed to house assembled. But it’s worth noting that I’m a very spoiled vegan snob. We need more – not less – unpretentious, low key vegan spots. So Rip’s got you covered on this front.

$$ Next Level Burger – all vegan

We originally tried this spot back in Portland where it all started, and now there’s one open right on the edge of Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn.

Read More: Epic Vegan Guide to Portland.

Think fast food joint but instead organic and quality instead of crappy and sloppy.  You can choose from preset combos, but all come from five patties: classic meaty, sausage style, umami quinoa and mushroom, black bean and veg, and quinoa and chia. They also serve sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, shakes, and salads, though the stars of the show are the burgers and shakes.

We recommend the Signature Sauce and Sausage Style. The fries are good, but nothing spectacular. But I’m a stickler for fresh-cut fries and don’t care ’bout much else.

$$ Brooklyn Coffee Roasters – vegan options

We include them, because they have literally 6 different plant milks, including the rarer macadamia milk. Also they have lots of locally supplied vegan goodies to-go, and in a pinch, can stave off the hunger from a few hour jaunt into the city.

Vegan in Park Slope

Eating out vegan in Park Slope is a bit tricky if you’re on a budget. The most vegan-friendly places are difficult to get a satisfying meal under $15 per person. But if you find yourself in the area, you’ve got some budgety options for Brooklyn vegan food, Park Slope style:

$ Hanco’s – vegan options

This Vietnamese spot slings salads, summer rolls, pho, and banh mi. They make a surprisingly good vegan banh mi – a Vietnamese sandwich that features fresh veggies stuffed into a french style baguette. Here you can opt for vegetarian chicken or pork. The pork they slather in a sweet tangy sauce and considering the price given your other more expensive options (see right below), it’s not a bad deal for eating vegan in Park Slope. If the mock meats aren’t your jam they do offer tofu as well.

$$ The Vspot – all vegan

Here they focus on a broad swath of Latin American cuisine, much like Luanne’s Wild Ginger focuses on Pan Asian cuisine. Expect to find a little bit over everything here, and with some finagling, you can make it work for under $15 if you avoid the big plates. My biggest gripe is that the portions are a bit small for the price although quite tasty. Like really good guacamole, but I could’ve eaten the entire portion in two to three chipped dipped bites.

$$ BareBurger – 50% vegan menu with gluten-free options

Originally based out of Queens, this chain has expanded beyond NYC and even into Japan. See our section on Astoria in our Budget Vegan Queens Guide for more info.

Vegan in Sunset Park / Industry City

First, some quick geography to understand where this is: immigrant working class Sunset Park lies southward, while gentrifying South Slope is more north. Awkwardly nestled between these two Brooklyn neighborhoods is Industry City. One of NYC previously forgotten relics, this waterside industrial complex is still in the process of being facelifted.

$ Renegades of Sunset – All Vegan

Renegades of Sunset replaces Pickle Shack as your option for vegan food in Industry City. In fact, the Pickle Shack chefs are the very same ones behind Renegades, and several menu items are the same. So if you enjoyed Pickle Shack, you’ll be sure to love the newest addition to the Industry City food court.

They make everything (but the bread) from scratch, which we love. It’s too easy to take premade prepackaged shortcuts in the fast casual restaurant industry.

While we haven’t been to Renegades yet, we did try a couple of items at Pickle Shack that are on the menu here: the cheezesteak and cookie – yum!

This was definitely one of my favorite cheesesteak sandwiches – up there with Bud’s in Salt Lake City.

Read more: Ultimate Vegan Guide to Salt Lake City

When each ingredient is so top-notch, my taste bud neurons start misfiring so fast I can’t remember how to do anything but keep mowing down. I’ll say this much: these sandwiches are layered with freshness and fried goodness.

Also their three buck salted chocolate chip cookie is worth every cent. Top tier my friends. Best news about them? The owner estimates that at least 70% of their clientele isn’t even vegan as it mostly is just people who work in this strange place.

And yes, we never travel without our reusable container.

Read more: Eco-friendly Travel Gear

Honorable Mentions

We consistently write about budget vegan travel, because that’s what we actually do.

Read more: 11 Budget Vegan Travel Tips for a Tasty Trip!

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t break our own rules on occasion. Often, treating ourselves out means finding a way to make that experience cheaper. And sometimes the best vegan food out there isn’t cheap. While our philosophy is that good vegan food doesn’t have to be expensive or inaccessible, often many people equate higher cost with better food.

Not necessarily the case, as Sam and a friend’s experience with PS Kitchen (located in Manhattan) shows. While it’s honorable that they’re donating 100% of profits to charity, their food is overpriced and underwhelming in terms of flavor and portion. Your bill accounts mostly for ambiance and location here.

So in this section, we’ll share our favorite exception to our budget-conscious vegan restaurants in Brooklyn. And never fear, because it can be “budgeted” in if you plan accordingly.

$$$ Modern Love – all vegan

Isa Chandra is modernizing food while smothering it with vegan love. She gained cult vegan fame via her old YouTube channel with friend Terry Hope Romero. Nowadays she leading the plant-based edge on vegan comfort food.

The menu is varied, the portions are ample, and the presentation is top-notch. Often what’s lacking in most vegan restaurants is a real sense of flavor and texture. Meat and dairy has an almost incomparable richness and “mouthfeel” – a new plant-based industry buzzword – that’s hard to replicate. But that doesn’t mean that vegan food has to taste bland and feel mushy.

Whether it’s chicken-fried tofu, buffalo tempeh sliders, or breaded mozzarella sticks, all are perfectly prepared. I wasn’t sure where they sourced the tofu from, but the chewiness was on par with chicken albeit nothing like chicken. Meaning, it provided a texture that didn’t feel like a vegetable, but rather something unto itself.

The same thing about texture can be said about the mozzarella sticks. The filling, the mock cheese, was just so soft, but not oozy like most vegan cheeses, had a bit of heft and stretch, and just right amount of saltiness. Both the brooklyn fried tofu and the mozzarella sticks had their own distinct crisp breadiness to compliment the softer, chewier inside.

I had the buffalo tempeh sliders all to myself, and even the sourdough rolls matched the quality of freshness of the rest of the ingredients. Smothered in sauce, with crunchy veggies, on chewy but soft bread.

What’s not to like here?

How to Budget it Up: Go with a friend or two and catch the Happy Hour on Tuesdays to Fridays from 5:30 to 7 (hours subject to change and not posted online – let me know if it does change). You can expect discount drinks, like five buck rosé, and some appetizer specials that aren’t on the menu – like kimchi fries! Take advantage of these times and you could easily have a great experience just sharing a couple of appetizers or an appetizer, entree, and two rosés combo for $20 apiece.

Not a bad deal when you consider most more expensive NYC restaurants serve overemphasized presentation and underwhelmingly mediocre food.


So there you have it – the best cheap vegan food in Brooklyn. New York is exploding with new vegan eateries every day and Brooklyn is well within the epicenter of NYC veganism, so there are sure to be more that we haven’t tried (or possibly even heard of!) yet.

What spots for cheap vegan food in Brooklyn do we need to try next time we’re in town? Is Brooklyn on your radar as a vegan hot spot? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

*Editor’s note: This post was originally posted in February 2017 and has since been updated tremendously.

Eating out in NYC can be expensive - but it doesn't have to be if you know where to look! We've compiled this list of where to find cheap vegan food in Brooklyn, the center of vegan innovation in NYC.  Learn about the best affordable vegan restaurants in New York City, vegan cafes, and other places to find vegan bites in Brooklyn. Click to learn more. #VeganTravel #Vegan #Brooklyn

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