April 1, 2013

Candle 79 aka Vegan Heaven

When I first moved back to NY this past fall, my cousin (who is not vegan) was adamant that I try this restaurant in Manhattan, Candle 79.  She had been a few times with friends, who were not all vegan, and absolutely raved about it. 

I knew when I moved back to the NYC area I would have a ton of amazing options in terms of restaurants.  However, that didn't prevent me from freaking out with excitement when my boyfriend showed me an extensive list of the top-rated vegan restaurants in the city.  That's right, top rated.  Because not only do they have vegan restaurants in the city, there are enough of them to be rated!!

Love it.

Candle 79 was at the top of the list.

My first time to the restaurant was actually a few months ago.  My boyfriend overheard me telling someone about my excitement to try Candle 79 with my cousin.  So he surprised me and took me there on one of our first dates.  I have to say, when I finally realized where we were going, I had a permanent smile the rest of the evening.  Seriously.

My expectations were high and I wasn't disappointed.  Literally everything on the menu is amazing.  And you don't have to be a plant-based rock star to appreciate their food.  Like I explain to people - good food is good food.  Good flavor is good flavor.  Whether it has meat or tempeh.....cheese or cashew cheese.....when food is good, it's just freaking good!!!

So in my pure and utter joy and excitement (and slight food coma), I didn't take pictures of the food that first visit.  Plus, I didn't want my date to think I was completely nuts, taking pictures of food.  However, now that he's aware that I'm completely nuts, we went back so I could take pictures!! 

And eat.  A lot.

First, we started with drinks.  As we usually do.  I got an amazing sangria and he got a "Rainforest" mojito-type drink. 

The coolest part of his drink?  Every time you bought one, a tree was planted in your name.  So you could get wasted and plant a forest!!

I love when ordering five drinks at dinner isn't considered excessive or indicative of a potential alcohol problem........it's saving the planet!!

Okay, on to the good stuff.  My dining partner wanted me to try everything at this place, and apparently wants to ensure I don't starve to death because he always orders food for an army when we got out.  So for appetizers, we did not get one, or two, or even three.  We got four appetizers. 


First was nachos.  Yeah you heard me.  NACHOS.
They were awesome - seiten and bean chili, cashew cream cheese, salsa, and guacamole.  To die for.

We also got the Seitan Chimichurri - this is one of Candle 79's signature appetizers.  I'm not usually a fan of seitan, but this is so freaking awesome, I didn't mind one bit.  The texture, the sauce - amazing.

Next was the appetizer special - a Chickpea Crepe filled with roasted veggies and topped with cashew cheese.  Again, absolutely delicious.

Onion rings with chipotle aioli.  Enough said.

We were both full from drinks and appetizers, but still managed to get a couple of entrees.  I love tempeh and I can usually never find it out, so we got the tempeh.  It came with a side of ratatouille which was also yummy.

We also got a raw zucchini something-or-other.  I really can't remember because I was getting really buzzed through my effort in saving the rainforest...

It was awesome whatever it was!!

Now that we were officially stuffed, it was time for dessert.  Because in my universe, there's always room for dessert. 

I met a really nice guy sitting next to us - a fellow vegan foodie (we can sense each other).  We chatted on and off throughout dinner.  When it came time for dessert, he insisted that I try the carrot cake.  He was actually nice enough to buy it for us! 

Must have been my lucky night.

It was absolutely amazing - maybe the best carrot cake I've ever had.  But what's dessert without chocolate?  So we also got a peanut butter chocolate mousse cake.

Definitely my lucky night.

Love & Kale,

So tell me, what's your favorite restaurant?  Ever been so excited about a particular restaurant that you had a perma-smile throughout your meal?  Please tell me I'm not the only one.....


  1. I feel like I had as much fun reading your post you had at dinner! I'm a pretty new vegan, so I' don't have a favorite restaurant yet, but I will definitely check out "Candle 79 aka Vegan Heaven" when I'm in the NYC area.

    1. That's so nice to say, thanks :) You should def go there if you're in the area - but you can always find good vegan options at restaurants that aren't exclusively vegan too! In fact, one of my favorite meals is guacamole tacos at a Mexican restaurant in Houston.

  2. Just discovered your blog Ali..love it! And I have to agree the Candle 79 is quite the vegan heaven. It's my first year in Manhattan and the prevalence of healthy vegan food is one of my favorite parts!
    The Blossom restaurants are also some of my favorites in the city!

    1. Thanks so much Alexandra, I appreciate that! Isn't it great to be a vegan in Manhattan?!? I have been wanting to try Blossom - it's on our list!! I'll be sure to post when I hit that one up :)

  3. All of it looks so good but that chickpea crepe looks especially amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah | Vegan Shampoo