The gorgeous city of Ithaca on Cayuga Lake is known for its lakes, gorges and mesmerizing waterfalls – as many as 100 within 10 miles – making it one of the best areas in New York to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
Ithaca is not only acclaimed for its waterfalls, but is also home to some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants around.
You’ll find an appealing selection ranging from vegetarian comfort food and American staples to plant-based cuisines inspired from around the world.
So let’s get started!
Seven Exceptional Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants In Ithaca, New York: Food Worth Waiting For!
1. Angelhearts Diner
Enjoy some of the best vegan comfort food at this classic diner with a super retro decor and great food.
Craving some of the best vegan comfort food in Ithaca? If so, then Angelhearts Diner will be right up your street as they offer incredible plant-based home cooking, all prepared from scratch.
Located less than a 10 minute walk from Cascadilla Gorge Trail, this diner is a great stop to refuel, whether you’re looking for an all-day breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, salads or some indulgent fries.
Who said the heyday of classic diners is over? This diner lives up to expectations thanks to its classic retro decor, incorporating chequered tiles, and pops of colors from the white and blue vintage chairs. You’ll find loads of seating space here too, and the friendly staff are always happy to provide recommendations if you’re unsure what to order.
If you’re an early riser and want to get some of the best filling vegan breakfast in Ithaca, then get your hands on their delicious Chick’n & Waffles which consists of home-made seitan cutlet which isserved on a fresh Belgian waffle with NY maple syrup.
As for other popular dishes, we highly recommend the Beets Me Burger. This burger is prepared with a handmade beet burger patty, cashew cheddar cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, roasted garlic aioli and then topped with their smoked coconut bacon – it’s one of the most loved items by regulars.
For something a little healthier but equally satisfying, we recommend going for their Beet Burger Salad which is also made up of their home-made beet burger, but it comes on a bed of organic greens, local sprouts & vegetables, topped with smoked coconut bacon and cashew lemon tahini dressing.
Angelhearts Diner is open Wednesday to Friday from 7:30am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3pm, but is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Address: 401 E State St Suite G-2, Ithaca, NY 14850
A well-established restaurant with charming outdoor patio serving a large array of vegan and vegetarian fare, prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
Vegetarians, eat your heart out at Moosewood – this well-established restaurant that’s been featured in The New York Times offers an amazing selection of vegan and vegetarian entrees, all prepared with some of the freshest local produce.
Moosewood is renowned, not only for being the country’s longest-running vegetarian restaurant, but also for the excellent cookbooks they publish which will teach you how to make your own vegetarian dishes at home.
But who wants to cook at home, right? So if you do decide to treat yourself and dine here, then expect a seasonally-inspired menu with lots of creativity, flavors and passion poured into each dish.
You can grab a seat indoors in their cozy dining area which also has comfortable booths, large windows and warm lighting that all adds to this restaurant’s charm. Or dine outside on their patio area which is adorned with flowers – perfect on warmer days.
The menu here changes seasonally so we can’t make one recommendation or another, but what you can expect is for the chefs to incorporate loads of fresh local produce. Regardless of the season, you’ll still likely find plenty of starters that are great for sharing, and about 4 mains to choose from. Although the mains seem quite limited, rest assured that Moosewood covers all bases with choices to please vegetarians, vegans, and even those with gluten intolerance.
Moosewood is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm and for dinner from 5pm to 9pm, but is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Address: 215 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850
Excellent Mediterranean vegetarian-friendly restaurant with hip and relaxed atmosphere serving vegan and vegetarian food with loads of flavors and seasonings.
With such a diverse culture in Ithaca, you’ll be pleased to be introduced to this Mediterranean restaurant that serves an impressive selection of both vegetarian and vegan food.
The hip and laidback atmosphere here makes it one of the most popular spots in the city to kick back and enjoy some wholesome food. The decor incorporates flowers, brass pots and a variety of infused oil containers that definitely add to this place’s homey vibe.
The dishes here are simple and authentic, but never fall short of having great flavors and seasonings. But what makes this restaurant a regular choice amongst locals has got to be the large portions and the reasonable prices. After all, who doesn’t love some leftovers that you can dig into the next day?
When it comes to food choices for vegans, we recommend trying their vegan Zaatar Savory Pie which is prepared with thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and olive oil. As for mains, a popular favorite is the vegan Vegetable Tangine which is prepared with turnip, parsnip, carrot, squash, onion, tomato, chickpea, dried apricot and served with a side of rice.
For a vegetarian choice, we think you’ll love the Nabulsi cheese Sandwich which is packed with cucumber, black olive, tomato and mint. Another great option is their Labneh Sandwich consisting of delicious cheese, tomato, cucumber, olive oil and mint.
Although not solely vegan or vegetarian, this eatery on our list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Ithaca has a great variety to choose from and is open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 11pm and on Sunday from 11am to 8pm.
Address: 114 Dryden Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850
Down-to-earth eatery serving Ethiopian cuisine, including a variety of tasty vegan choices.
Situated just a few minutes walk from the State Theatre of Ithaca, Hawi is a quaint mom-&-pop eatery offering incredible Ethiopian cuisine in a laid-back setting.
This restaurant’s down-to-earth setting, alongside minimal decor and friendly staff ,alongside fast service makes this a popular choice for families.
Although not solely vegan or vegetarian, the laidback ambience, family-friendly setup, fast service and authentic cuisine makes this one of the best restaurants for vegans and vegetarians in Ithaca.
It’s no doubt that one of the greatest pleasures of Ethiopian cuisine is sharing a platter around the table, and you can do it in true Ethiopian style with your fingers, rather than your fork! This makes it a great way to experience this cuisine. But if you do want some cutlery, they are provided upon request, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Their entrees include choosing one veggie for your main which comes in a bigger portion, as well as 2 smaller veggies for sides. Then you can dig into this delicious food with unlimited injera – which is the traditional Ethiopian flatbread.
In addition, vegans and vegetarians will also enjoy the Veggie combo which is all the veggies they have served on one plate – the perfect way to get to try a variety of Ethiopian food at one go.
Hawi is open Tuesday to Thursday from 3pm to 9pm, Friday to Sunday from 12pm to 9pm, but is closed on Monday.
Address: 113 S Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850
5. Taste of Thai Express
A laid-back restaurant offering you an authentic taste of Thai cuisine in a minimal, yet modern interior.
Whether it’s a treat after a long day at work or catching up with friends and family around good food, Thai cuisine never fails to impress.
This pick on our list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Ithaca knows the perfect balance between sweet, sour, hot and salty in each dish they prepare, which makes Taste of Thai Express one of the most loved spots for vegans and vegetarians in the city.
This low-key eatery has a sleek, minimal and modern decor, alongside a Thai wood carved sculpture welcoming you at the entrance. But you’re not here for the decor but for the food, and this restaurant definitely gives you a real taste of Thai cuisine, especially as their sauces are made with authentic ingredients that pair well with their dishes.
Although not solely vegan or vegetarian, we think you’ll love the fact that most of the dishes can be prepared to suit vegans, vegetarians and those with a gluten intolerance. When ordering, simply pick your preferred choice of protein – which are tofu, vegetable or mock chicken – and choose from the wide range of soups, curries, stir fries, fried rice and noodles on the menu.
One of the most popular items has got to be their Panang Curry which is on the spicier side and is a version of red curry with cumin, coriander, Thai herbs, red and green bell peppers which is then served on a bed of shredded green cabbage.
But if you want a milder curry, consider their Yellow Curry which has a nice blend of Thai herbs and spices with Indian accents, potatoes, carrots and Spanish onions simmered with your choice of protein.
Another super sought-after dish is their Pineapple Fried Rice which can be made vegetarian and is packed with the sweet taste of pineapple, tossed cashews, peas, carrots, raisins and your choice of protein.
Taste of Thai Express is open everyday from 11am to 9pm.
Address: 209 S Meadow St, Ithaca, NY 14850
6. Viva Taqueria & Cantina
An eclectic and lively Mexican restaurant offering loads of food perfect for sharing, as well as indulgent mains.
Fun, eclectic and quirky are what best showcases this Mexican restaurant in Ithaca. Walk into this eatery and immediately feel like you’re ready for some fun in Mexico thanks to the Mexican decor and photo-worthy bar area.
Whether you’re craving for some food after a hike or just want to enjoy something delicious with a few drinks with your friends, Viva Taqueria & Cantina will be right up your street. You’ll find plenty of vegan options, as well as vegetarian dishes that have both a depth of flavor and freshness from the citrus, fresh herbs and vegetables that they use.
For some vegan options, we recommend starting with their tasty Vegan Nachos which is topped with rice, black beans, calabacitas, jalapeños and served with ranchero sauce and guacamole. As for mains, one of the popular items is the Vegan Burrito Plate consisting of calabacitas, spinach, rice, black beans, smothered with ranchero sauce and served with guacamole.
Or if you’re a fan of enchiladas, their Vegan Enchiladas Plate is always a great choice. This dish is prepared with calabacitas, spinach, refried beans and served with guacamole and your choice of sauce.
For those who love some cheese, we recommend the Cheatin’ Vegan Nachos which are also topped with poblano cheese and sour cream. For mains, vegetarians can also opt for the Tofu Spring Roll Quesadilla Plate which is a cheese quesadilla served with slaw, lettuce, tofu and guacamole.
Viva Taqueria & Cantina is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm to 9pm, but is closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
Address: 101 N Aurora St &, E State St, Ithaca, NY 14850
7. MIX Kitchen and Bar
An upbeat and lively vegetarian-friendly eatery with an internationally-inspired menu, creative dishes and weekly live music.
The next choice on our list is one of the most upbeat and vibrant places in the city. No wonder too, as not only will you get to enjoy some seasonal cocktails as well as a selection of globally-inspired vegan and vegetarian dishes, but they also have live jazz and blues on a Sunday.
The decor here has a very elegant touch with warm lighting from chandeliers, beautiful glass art in the middle of the dining area and a large bar area with stools where you can grab a drink and even make some new friends if you wish.
You’ll find a separate menu for breakfast/brunch items, lunch, as well as a dinner menu. We think vegans will love the decadent and super filling ‘Crab’ Cake Benedict on the breakfast menu which is prepared with sauteed kale, grilled corn relish, charred tomato chile sauce on a toasted English muffin, as well as some brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal and fresh sliced fruit on the side.
Vegetarians will find a larger variety of breakfast items to choose from, and if you love sweet over savory, you’ll enjoy their Original Cannoli which consists of pistachio crusted batter, fresh strawberries, chocolate chip ricotta, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
When it comes to dinner, we recommend both vegans and vegetarians start with the Vegan Crab Cakes or Cajun Parmesan Truffle Frites. And for mains, vegans can go for the Thai Noodle Bowl where you choose your broth, noodle and protein. But our recommendation for vegetarians would be the Black Bean Veggie Burger which is stacked with two veggie patties, guacamole, salsa, Monterey Jack cheese and other delicious toppings.
Although not solely vegan or vegetarian, MIX is a great place to enjoy some cocktails with friends around a large selection of food, and even live jazz and blues on Sundays.
Opening times: Wednesday & Thursday 10am to 2:30pm, 3pm to 9pm, Friday 10am to 2:30pm, 3pm to 9:30pm, Saturday 8am to 2:30pm, 4:30pm to 9:30pm, Sunday 8am to 2:30pm, 4:30pm to 9pm, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Address: 205 Elmira Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850