Candle Cafe

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 89 reviews )
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212-472-0970
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1307 3rd Ave (at 75th St, Upper East Side, Manhattan), New York City, New York, USA, 10021

NYC vegan cafe, sister cafe to Candle 79. Offers farm-to-table dining, daily specials, and uses Daiya vegan cheese. Serves breakfast 7:30-11:30 Mon-Fri and brunch on weekends until 4:30pm. Open Mon-Sat 7:30am-10:00pm, Sun 7:30am-9:30pm.

Categories: Vegan, American, International, Organic, Delivery, Catering, Fusion

89 Reviews

First Review by Poundie

what a disappointment - Edit

We went here, Very enthusiastic and loving the menu on paper.
Unfortunately the food served was very greasy, and extremely heavy.
When asking for the check the waiters seemed to completely forget us and we spent a serious time waiting at the table. It felt like we ate a brick. Kitchen lacks sophistication and digestability.

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great! - Edit

Great cafe with really attentive, nice staff. Food is fresh and delicious. Love their home made sauces. Had a mushroom seitan burger that was flavorful, filling and not greasy!

Pros: wholesome food, nice staff

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Herbivore

  Contributions +286

Great new look - Edit

My first visit after their latest renovations. The interior is brighter and more streamlined, and gone is the constant whine of the juicer that was a former feature.

The food and juices are still excellent and the waitstaff helpful. After many years, this is still my go-to place on the Upper East Side; and not just me, the tables are usually filled with long-time, dedicated customers. Well done
Candle!!

Pros: Great food, desserts and juices, Great variety on the menu, Great location

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Wonderful!! - Edit

What a wonderful find! The staff is friendly and helpful and knowledgeable about food allergies. The Mexican lasagna and the Indian plate were outstanding. We will definitely be back.

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nice lunch - Edit

Everything was good, no show-stoppers. Friendly staff, casual crowded-ish atmosphere. Good spot to eat after a visit to the Met.

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Nice spot for lunch - Edit

We liked the spaghetti and wheat balls and the chocolate mouse pie, delicious.

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nice lunch on upper east - Edit

went here to have lunch during NYC holiday, place was full crowded and by that somewhat noisy, but had a super nice staff by our experience and quality atmosphere, food was delicious by any standard but just some sandwich i had was not that special in comparison to other, cheaper places to eat at Manhattan! still would go over again and again to try all different stuff ( :

Pros: nice staff, so much different stuff to have lux food

Cons: just a bit pricey vs quality, so popular that was crowded/noisy

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Tasty food - Edit

Came here for lunch. It was very busy and it felt like a rather long wait for the food. I ate the buffalo cauliflower which I really enjoyed as it was tasty, crispy, and not oily. Some might find the portion small but it was perfect for me. Next time I want to try the grilled cheese sandwich or Mac and cheese, both looked really good. The chocolate peanut butter pie was really tasty (and came comparatively quickly, as the lunch rush was over).

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Fantastic venue for casual lunch or dinner - Edit

Great choice of vegan and gluten free dishes, which taste great. Service also superb. Juices made on the spot complete the fantastic experience.

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Vegan Gold - Edit

Best meal I've ever had! You are guaranteed to find something amazing on this menu whether your vegan or not. It's an amazing blend of flavours without being too rich and filling. The Mexican chocolate cake is to die for!! My new favourite restaurant :)

Pros: great service , nice ambiance , food is incredible

Cons: tightly spaced

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Beautiful options - Edit

So much great vegan food to choose from. Your hardest task of the day will be to narrow your options from the delights of the menu!

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Awesome! - Edit

This place was incredible! My mom and I ate here when we came to NYC over spring break. My mom isn't vegan or vegetarian and she loved this place! We got the dumplings for an appetizer, they were yummy and the sauce was too. I got the tempeh BLT with sweet potato fries. It was AMAZING. My mom got the Mediterranean wrap and it was yummy too.

Pros: friendly staff, delicious food

Cons: a bit small but it is NYC

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One of the original vegetarian spots - Edit

Candle Cafe is one of the original vegan spots to me in NYC. It certainly feels more "healthy vegan" than even any of the Blossom restaurants, but that's part of its charm. It can be hard to snag a table here, as it's maintained its popularity through time. A few weeks ago, my sister, mom and I met my aunt for lunch during the week. My aunt works nearby but hadn't been and was pleasantly surprised (she's not vegan or vegetarian)!

My mom, sister and I all got the lemon-ginseng ice tea (decaf and unsweetened). It is super good - we all are frequent ice tea drinkers and found theirs to be exceptional. So much flavor without added sweaters. It was very lemony but not tart. My mom and sister both had the avocado BLT, which I was going to order too, but my sister convinced me we couldn't have three of the same. Theirs was a very large portion and the sandwich was topped with lots of avocado and tempeh bacon. I got the Good Food Plate, which is a you-pick any four sides and two dressings. I got the sweet potato, daily bean - a pinto, caramelized onions and brussel sprouts. I got the carrot ginger and country gravy sauces at the recommendation of the waitress. All of the vegetables were sautéed perfectly, again with good portion sizes. I still felt the plate was a bit expensive at $20 for four veggies, but I will say I was full and satisfied until I had dinner about seven hours later, which is impressive.

I've had their desserts before too and they're also quite good. I'll say, my dad, a non-vegan/vegetarian will sometimes cringe when we mention going here, as he doesn't feel there's quite enough flavor or food to satisfy. I'd argue there's lots of options, but just a note to others who are mostly meat or fish eaters.

I enjoy Candle Cafe and will definitely be back on future trips to NYC.

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mediocre - Edit

Very friendly staff and cozy atmosphere, but the food is bland. The descriptions on the menu sound way more appetizing than the food actually is. The juice I had was great but both dishes I had were disappointing. I would be willing to try again with some different dishes though!

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Best food I have ever ever had!!! - Edit

So many amazing choices that I ordered like a king!!!! Some things ordered two!!!!

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Acceptable, but not much more - Edit

Came for lunch, we were amongst the first to arrive. I had the cajun seitan which was very nice, my friend the lasagne which he said was very nice. But it wasn't $45 worth of lunch, which is what it came to with tax and tip. Waiter was standoffish, never checked up on us after taking our order, forgot the juice shots. For the money you pay, you'd expect better service, and better food.

Pros: decent food

Cons: disinterested service, poor value, poor service

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Great service and cheesecake! - Edit

The service here is amazing and the food is delicious. Was sad to hear they no longer serve the jackfruit tacos, but they still have the jackfruit nacho plate. The BLT was ok but I'd try something else next time. The pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon ice cream was out-of-this-world!

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Wonderful dinner! - Edit

We had an amazing dinner at the Candle Cafe. I had the eggplant napoleon and my husband had the bbq seitan. Service was great too. Reminded us of Plant in Asheville NC. Great food!

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An experience beyond great food - Edit

A couple of hours after arriving in NYC I decided to have dinner at Candle Cafe with friends that are not vegetarian. The waiter Justin hosted us with a wide smile and an impressive menu (something rare at the city famous for grumpy service). So many delicious options, even for me that have a diet with gluten restrictions. We started the meal with raw Live Crystal Rolls and a fresh juice. I had the amazing Avocado Club Sandwich with side fries with vegan maionese and ketchup. My friend had the daily wrap that looks more like a burrito with mesclun salad. Even without any hungry we had to share the outrageously good chocolate mousse pie with a scoop of Candle's daily artisan coconut based sorbet (an explosion of flavor with a delightful texture): the best way to end a special feast.

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yum! - Edit

Ordered the guacamole, dumpling, jackfruit taco & manicotti apps as well as the mashed potatoes. Also had the Pineapple Express cocktail. Everything was great & the service was great. The only negative thing was the vegetables that came with the manicotti were bitter making me think maybe they weren't thoroughly washed?

Pros: awesomeness

Cons: bitter veggies

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AMAZING! - Edit

I enjoyed everything about this plant based establishment. From the craft cocktails to the rustic ambiance. For appetizers we had the seitan skewers and the stuffed artichokes. We then split the Cajun seitan sandwich. So delicious and filled us perfectly for a stroll thru Central Park!

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Highly Recommend this UES Vegan Institution - Edit

This was one of the first vegetarian restaurants my husband and I visited when we were dating, and we continue to return for birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions now that we are married. The food is lovingly prepared and is delicious. The grilled chimichurri skewers, seitan burger, paradise casserole and smoothies are not to be missed! We met one of the co-owners, Bart, on a January afternoon when he was making preparations for a huge snowfall predicted for the following day. He was so gracious to take time to speak with us, and we were happy to share how much we love his restaurant. We own the Candle Cafe Cookbook, though some of the proportions of ingredients are off and not scaled correctly for home versus restaurant cooking - better to eat in the actual restaurant. Too many vegetarian and vegan restaurants have disappeared from NYC; we are so happy Candle Cafe has stayed a constant fixture on the Upper East Side and continues to deliver excellent service, ambiance and vegan food. Definitely check them out.

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Three words...YUM YUM YUM - Edit

Has to be the best food I've ever found.
We had these grilled tofu skewers for a starters and texture was amazing!
My boyfriend had a Portabello steak and I had a light fried chicken with seasonal veg, mashed potato and gravy. The presentation was fantastic, takes vegan food to another level.
We had some of their juices which were perfect, the waiter called Jackson was extremely friendly, even though they were busy he still had time to chat to us.
As we were full we took more drinks and some desserts back to our hotel. Had a carrot cake, pumpkin pie cheesecake and my favourite out of the three, peanut butter and chocolate pie, it's like a torte and melts in your mouth.
They even have some cookbooks, I bought the "Vegan Holiday Cooking" book, can't wait to try the recipes myself and there's some cocktails in there too!
Overall a great experience and I recommend it to everyone, was really worth the 17 blocks walk from our station at the time.

Pros: Reasonably priced , Delicious food and drinks, Fast and friendly service

Cons: Tables are really close together which might make , Nowhere to put bags or shopping anywhere.

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Candle Cafe 04 Feb 2015 - Adele, thank you so much for stopping by and joining us for what sounds like an amazing meal! We'd love to see how your recipes from our "Vegan Holiday Cooking" cookbook turn out. We hope to see you again soon here at Candle Cafe!  


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Loved it! - Edit

This gorgeous cafe has to be one of my favourite vegan places in NYC. I am more of a Lower East Side kind of guy but Candle Cafe is chic without being pretentious. I love the concept of "organic vegan food fresh from farm to table" and compassion for animals among many other things I support plus fantastic food. The crystal rolls, the cajun seitan sandwich and the smoked tempeh & grilled vegetables sandwich were all excellent. The watermelon limonades went great with our lunch and we left completely satisfied although we had to skip dessert because portions were really filling. I got a copy of their cookbook so I can try to make this amazing food back at home in Madrid!

Pros: Excellent food, Gossip Girl like atmosphere

Cons: There isn't one in Madrid

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Good but overrated - Edit

I enjoyed my meal at Candle Cafe, but I wasn't blown away. I'm a bit critical of it, not so much because of the establishment itself, but how ignorant New Yorkers who've not eaten vegan food in other places rave about it. I think that Sprig and Vine, in New Hope PA, is a better version of this restaurant.

That being said the atmosphere and service are wonderful. Part of the reason I may not be as crazy about the food is that they don't have as many gluten free options compared to the other options on the menu (though they do have a GF menu). That's an issue for me because I'm allergic to most night shades meaning that I can usually only eat half of most menus (gluten free or otherwise) anyway. But the menu for today looks good so I guess I'll give it another try.
Updated from previous review on Monday August 18, 2014

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Definitely go there! - Edit

We had so many things on the menu and they were all good, but our particular favorites are the chocolate mousse pie (SO creamy!!!), the ginger-miso stir fry, and the Indian plate (each flavor was very distinct). The staff are so friendly, greeting you as you enter and exit, and they accommodated our groups during busy lunches even when we were on a time limit.

Pros: Awesome food, Amazing desserts, Really friendly staff

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Enjoyed very much - Edit

We went to two gourmet vegan restaurants in NYC - V-note and this one. This was less fancy as far as the decor, no tablecloths (maybe because it was in the afternoon?) etc., but the food was also very good, though I thought my GRILLED PORTOBELLO STEAK was a bit too salty. Or maybe it was the capers on it. But the sauce was great, the asparagus excellent, and overall I enjoyed the creativity of the dish. My spouse had the CAJUN SEITAN SANDWICH and enjoyed it a lot. We also had tea for me, coffee for him and shared Chocolate Mousse pie, which was super. It was rich, but the chocolate was bitter chocolate and we loved it. Service was good.

Pros: Great food , Great dessert, good service

Cons: could use a little spiffing up the decor

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