HappyCow is loading...

Candle Cafe

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 83 reviews )
Contact 212-472-0970

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. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun 11:30am-9:30pm.

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

Reviews (83)

First Review by Poundie

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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).

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

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!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms


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!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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.

1 Response

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

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

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great But Expensive - Edit

You get what you pay for. Oddly enough couldn't agree more with previous reviewer who stated Cajun seitan wasn't spicy enough .. Still I love this place its so warm and social and has a buzz.

Pros: Bacon

Cons: Cajun

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Choice - Edit

I love the Candle Cafe. The menu has a great selection, and the food is well prepared. The staff is mostly helpful, and friendly. When it is crowded, it is a little noisy, but worth braving the noise.

Pros: Great Food, Knowledgeable Staff, Good Environmental Practices

Cons: Expensive, Noisy Sometimes

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

solid place in NYC - Edit

Great food, staff, menu. Go there, be happy.

the frozen food of theirs is nasty, not in my faves. bad try.

Pros: food, staff

Cons: frozen fare

1 Response

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

kindlizard 02 Jan 2008 - This place is so consistent. We go here more than any other place in the city. Seemingly whenever we can go here because they are so consistent and the food always rocks. One of the top 3 in the country, easily.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Good restaurant - Edit

I ate at the bar after arriving in town on a late flight. The people were friendly and helpful. The menu looked great, and although the Cajun seitan sandwich was good, it needed salt and could have been spicier. Nonetheless, I would try more from their menu (and ended up going to Candle Cafe West later in my trip)

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Quaint but Crowded - Edit

Here's a cafe where they have tried to pack in as many tables as they can - so you are literally elbow to elbow with the next guest. At least the restaurant was warm and cozy though. It does have a great menu though and I would have loved to have lunch or dinner because I saw other people's food and it looked and smelled delicious. I went there for coffee and cake and I wasn't disappointed. The desserts were all really good, I had the chocolate peanut butter cake, my husband had the chocolate mousse cake and my friend had the brownie dessert - we also had cappuccinos made with almond milk which were very good. The service was great. It was slightly expensive though. I would definitely recommend this place.

Pros: Extensive Menu

Cons: Crowded and Noisy

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Always nice - Edit

We occasionally eat at Candle Cafe, and have always found it pleasant, the food delectable and the service friendly and attentive. This time we had the Beluga lentil wrap entree special, the BBQ seitan sandwich and the pan-seared seitan au poivre. The seitan au poivre was probably my favorite of the three. We also had the special blueberry bundt cake (with soy ice cream) for dessert - great. An enjoyable visit as usual.

Pros: vegan, reliably good, good service

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Cozy vegan spot - Edit

Candle Cafe is akin to Cafe Blossom in that it is the more moderately priced sibling to an upscale vegan restaurant. Unfortunately, Candle Cafe was still at the upper limit of my budget. The food here is interesting and varied. I ordered a jerk tofu dish with quinoa and plantains - yummy and unusual. For dessert, we shared a slice of berry pie and a rich chocolate moose tart.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

An amazing meal - Edit

This place is rather small but has great ambiance. The waiters were so friendly and accommodating, it was a pleasure to dine there. The food was delicious. We had chipotle grilled tempeh and some sort of delicious mashed potatoes with walnut crusted seitan. So good, mmmm. Would definitely recommend to anyone.

Pros: Ambiance, Location, Food

Cons: A bit small

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Amazing! - Edit

While visiting New York City for the weekend, I was overwhelmed by all the vegan restaurants and wanted to try them all! I went to Candle Cafe on my last day in the city and it was definitely my favourite food destination. The prices are moderate and the quality is 5 star. They have a HUGE selection of food and it took my forever to decide because everything sounded wonderful. I finally went with a chipolte tempeh over quinoa and kale in a mango salsa, and an order of spring rolls to go (for the trip back). Both were delectable. Only con was that the service was slow.

Pros: Great selection, Taste

Cons: Slow service

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Cajun Seitan Sandwich and juice. - Edit

Really good, big, delicious sandwich!
The quality of the seitan was unpredictable, but it seems they worked it out. Phone folks uneven, too - could be super nice or just nasty.
$16 sandwich and they charge you $2 extra for a tiny container of extra sauce - is there any way to explain that as more than greedy?
Juices are good.
Lots of the main courses are mediocre and way overpriced.

Pros: Cajun Seitan Sandwich, Green Goddess juice

1 Response

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - they make their own seitan, as do I, and I can tell you it is an inexact science. I'll save you the process details, but their seitan is the best, and if yours was not as good, try something else, perhaps. Their menu is extensive and sure to please anyone!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Wonderful food & experience - Edit

On a trip to New Jersey, we went into the city to visit Candle Cafe and it did not disappoint! The porcini crusted seitan was awesome, as we're the chimchurri seitan appetizer and the carrot cake for dessert. Being from DC, we have limited options for vegan fare, so this was definitely a fantastic treat.

Pros: Nice staff, Awesome food

Cons: Little bit noisy

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

What a dissapointment - Edit

I finally convinced my mom to go to an all vegan restaurant and I wish I had chose a different restaurant. The fries came out cold and mushy almost as if they warm them up in the microwave and lacked flavor big time. I also got one of their "shakes" but it was somewhat icee instead. My mom ordered the mac n cheese and it tasted awful. It was almost as if they just took some noodles and warmed some Daiya cheese on top.

Cons: Bland food, Cold fries, Poor services

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Amazing! - Edit

The Candle restaurants have consistently been some of my favorite dining options in the city. Everything my friends and I have tasted has been excellent and some of my omnivore friends said they enjoy the food enough to consider becoming veggie- score(!). These restaurants are my first vegan and gluten free experiences in New York City, they have never disappointed and raise the bar high for others to try meet- the perfect dining introduction to NYC. I love that the menu changes seasonally, they support the local farmers and buy organic produce, their menu is inventive and delicious, they are eco conscious and give back, they have a great selection of beverages of all kinds, too. Yummy!

Pros: Amazing, seasonal menu, friendly staff, cater to food-allergies, too

Cons: none

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great food - Edit

I love the canjun seitan sandwich. It is the most amazing sandwich in recent memory. Get and you'll be good for the rest of the day.

I've also tried the seitan appetizer. It is good but different than the one served at Candle 79.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Classics and innovative dishes! - Edit

Candle Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants in town. They have tasty and hearty food, affordable, and in a fun/informal place. I specially like going there for brunch, even if I usually just order from the regular menu. The deserts come in large portions (good for sharing) and with beautiful presentation. Most of the people who work there are warm and helpful.
If they have enchilada DO ORDER IT - you won't regret!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Downtown food, uptown prices. - Edit

In short: The food is very good, but doesn't justify the price---not even close.

In long: Had the Cajun Seitan sandwich and the Tuscan sandwich. Regarding the Cajun Seitan: The side, coleslaw, was weak. Some spices and what looked like precut cabbage with veganaise. The sandwich was actually the best thing we had. The seitan was flavorful and the caramelized onions were a good match. But the Tuscan sandwich was much worse---I'd call it a "vegan pizza burger." They say it's topped with "tapioca cheese," which I'm also certain is a euphemism for Daiya cheese, a way to charge $15 for a small sandwich. The sides for this dish were bizarre: plastic bag french fries (Tuscan?) and a small salad.

Look, the food is good, but not that creative, not that homemade, and not that generous of portions. I would love to pay $7--9 a dish. Unfortunately, they're asking $15-20.

Pros: Pretty good food

Cons: Price

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Upper East Side Gem - Edit

I have been to Candle Cafe about 5 times and have never been disappointed in the food. Lack of planning on my part made for a longer wait than I would have liked but it was quality food and service every time.

Love the entrés, juice, salads and side. Love Candle Cafe and even chose it to celebrate after running my first half marathon!

Pros: well crafted menu, taste sensations, fresh and wholesoe food

Cons: cramped

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Not So Impressive... - Edit

First of all, the waitresses don't seem to want to be there. They have a blah attitude which made me feel like they didn't care about serving good food, just in it for the money.

Secondly, the food for those high prices is not very good. Sure, it is descent food and well balanced but the quality was not aligned with the price. A little bland too.

Third, it took a long time to get the food. I don't mind waiting for amazing food, of course, but when it is only so so, it makes me wonder what they were doing to take so long.

I am NOT one of those complaining people who always give bad reviews. I was just unimpressed and wanted to share. Hopefully they can raise the quality or lower the prices.

On a positive note, the menu is awesome. They have a great selection of vegan food to suit anyone who goes. Wow, they really love seitan there! They have good juice and tempeh.

Pros: Juice, Good Menu, Tempeh

Cons: Service, Quality/Price, A Little Cramped

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Delicious and Always Changing - Edit

I have been to the restaurant twice now and the menu is always changing. The juice bar is amazing and vey welcoming. I sat by myself and read a book. Another time I went with my family and it was delicious from start to finish. I even own the cook book from this restaurant "The Candle Cafe Cookbook" and I use it often. It is a little pricey but hey you are in NYC.

Pros: Welcoming, Delectable , Friendly

Cons: Small, Pricey, Rushed

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best burger in NY! - Edit

If you go here, you MUST try the Tuscan Seitan parmesan sandwich (it's vegan), it's simpaly the best burger in NY! The "bread" is made of potatoes and oinion, and their "parmesan" sauce is just amazing!

Cheesecakes were excellent too, and the prices were raisonable. Will go back next time I'm in NY!

Pros: burgers, cheesecake, all food!

Cons: none

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

AMAZING!! - Edit

This place is so great. The food is fantastic and the staff was extremely friendly. Although the prices are high, it is totally worth it!! I will be dreaming of the sandwich I had for a long time to come, mmmm so yummy!

Pros: Great Food, nice atmosphere, great staff

Cons: expensive

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

AWESOME Juice, Food, and Prices!!! - Edit

I can't say enough about how wonderful this cafe is. We live in PA so when we go, its been a planned visit just so we can eat here. I love their fresh juices and knowing all things are vegan! I have tried some of the green juices with ginger - yum. Hubby usually gets a seitan sandwich of some sort. I have tried various salads - their dressings are wonderful. Last time, I tried the tofu club (very good but i missed my yummy salad). We had our two year old with us on the last visit and he had a 'cheese' pizza - ate every single bite!

Pros: fresh juices, ALL VEGAN, excellent prices

Cons: parking

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I loved it once upon a time.... - Edit

It's such a cute and cozy cafe with a menu filled with vegan goodness. The first time I ate here was for lunch with my husband a few years back and we thought the food was delicious!! Couldn't forget the amazing soup and seitan burger. So yummy!! We recently came back to the NY area and stopped by once again, and we were disappointed this time around. The cafe itself hasn't changed in terms of service, atmosphere and having a nice selection on their menu. It was the taste of the food that has changed a bit. The soup and sandwiches this time around were bland and not what we had remembered it to be.
Updated from previous review on Friday October 29, 2010

Pros: Vegan, Great for lunch

Cons: Can get crowded when busy

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

excellent - Edit

I went to Candle Cafe for the first time this weekend and it was great! The service was amazing, and the food was incredible. Prices were a little high, but for all vegan, organic food stuffs, worth it. And they had very cute shirts for sale, I couldn't resist buying the one that said KALE on it :)

Pros: tasty, great service, dessert!

Cons: small space, pricey

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Not all it thinks it is - Edit

Candle Cafe was a huge disappointment. The service was inattentive, slow, bad. That would have been fine if the food was exceptional, but it wasn't. I dined here four times (once delivery) each time hoping to have a different better experience. All the servers seemed to be preoccupied with themselves and each other. I almost had to refill my water cup after the only good server I had had a shift change and I got the most oblivious server on the planet.

I had a crumble cake that was dry, cold and stale. The tofu in the wraps had no flavor. The best was the delivery meal and my last meal the Tuscan burger. The food is incredibly overpriced.

Pros: location

Cons: overpriced, poor service, bland food

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

So close ... - Edit

Candle cafe is so close to being great , but alas ther are some problems. It is also so close to my apt but I confess I do not go there too often. The food is generally great but the staff is generally not. The seem completely unprepared for the crowd which is odd because the crowd shows up daily and nightly. And when you come during the off time the staff are happily not being busy and don't seem to appreciate having their leisure time interrupted. It's also a tad overpriced. But, again the food does not disappoint. The atmosphere is also terribly lacking. I suggest going to the sister location Candle 79.

Pros: Great food, Good soups, Very tasty sauces

Cons: Staff, Ambience, Crowd control

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

What a great find! - Edit

This place was the dining highlight of our entire trip to NYC. Fabulous food and friendly staff. A great selection of food to choose from and made with love!

Pros: Great location, Healthy Cuisine, Good value

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

enjoyed it! - Edit

I had a good experience here and really enjoyed my food. We shared the crystal rolls and grilled focaccia for starters, then I had the Tuscan seitan parmesan sandwich and my friend had the BBQ seitan sandwich. Everything was delicious, but I am glad I ordered the Tuscan seitan, and I highly recommend it. Since we ordered sandwiches instead of entrees, we were able to afford two apps and not break the bank. The staff was also friendly. I also enjoyed the fries served with my meal. Overall, a pleasant dining experience.

Pros: good portions, tasty sandwiches

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

hurried service - Edit

I went there during lunchtime. The food was excellent. My friend had the Indian plate and I had a noodle dish. The dessert was also delicious. It was worth the price.
What I didnt like was the service. The waitress looked overworked and when we asked for advice she answered very hastily. After we finished the dessert, not even 5 minutes have passed, the check was laid on our table without us even asking for it.
This may be a restaurant with excellent cooking. But the atmosphere was way too hurried and thus felt uncomfortable. It is not the place to have a good talk with your friends and relax. We had barely spent 35 minutes inside just because they wanted to make more money.

Pros: Organic, Food

Cons: Service

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

yummy! - Edit

ok so i finally made it to candle cafe and i must say it was well worth the shlep up to the UES. i went on a saturday afternoon and it was packed. i never sit and eat alone so of course i took it to go which i was quite happy about cause of the crowd. i ordered the cajun seitan sandwich and man it was delicious! it had avacodo and carmelized onions which were great. the sandwich was very filling and i was full pretty much the entire day. i don't know if i would make the trek and eat there being crowded and on the UES(not my favorite hood to say the least) but if i happen to be nearby i would definitly swing by.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Boring food...not very good - Edit

After hearing the rave reviews from the local vegans, I was excited to give this place a try. My dad and I went here for brunch on our last day in NYC and were not impressed.

We each got the Green Goddess fresh juice. It was served warm, on the verge of hot. It was gross. I had to ask for ice on the side. Once the ice cooled it down a bit, I was able to get it down.

For meals, I got the breakfast burrito and my dad got an indian dish. My burrito was huge but very plain tasting. I don't even think there was any salt and pepper added to this, nevermind any other seasonings. I could barely even eat it. I tried to be polite and took it home. But it ended up in the trash. My dad's indian dish was pretty good but nothing amazing. He felt that his dish lacked seasoning as well.

Unfortunately, after having a weekend full of delicious vegan food, Candle Cafe was a big disappointment. :-/

Pros: vegan

Cons: bland food

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I love Candle - Edit

I go whenever I'm in the neighborhood, and I haven't been disappointed (although I haven't tried the Cajun Seitan sandwich. I think I steer clear of their sandwiches because they're so pricey.) I submitted the third picture, of pan-seared tofu with polenta and greens; I believe on that trip I also got an obscenely huge piece of their chocolate layer cake--their desserts are easily sharable, but I was dining alone--and commented to the waitress that I was totally blissed-out from the meal. I ended up taking home half the piece of cake.

I've never gotten delivery from them, so I can't say anything pro or con about that. They use local produce, and apparently most or all of it comes from Mountain Dell farm, a long-standing organic farm in upstate New York.

Interestingly, they're right next door to a steakhouse; when you walk in, the juice bar is to your left along with an array of cookies and muffins. I usually get one or two muffins or cookies, and this last time, one of the muffins I got was hard, dry, and burnt on the bottom; since I live way downtown from them, I didn't bother to bring it back. Normally their baked goods are great, and this had never happened to me in my several years of going there.

Pros: reasonable for upper east side, friendly staff, big portions

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Very enjoyable - Edit

I made a point of trying out Candle Cafe while in NYC and was not disappointed. The circumstances of my visit were not ideal but the food was so good I forgot about the rest. I had the BBQ tempeh and sweet potato sandwich and simply loved it. I also liked the location and the atmosphere in the restaurant. Wish I had had more time in NYC to try out other items in the menu!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Get the Cajun Seitan Sandwich!!! - Edit

Candle Cafe was one of my favorite places in NYC. It's a restaurant that's a bit nicer so you can dress up if you'd like or wear something casual (we wore what we walked around in all day). We ordered the Cajun Seitan Sandwich and the Tuscan Seitan Parmesan Sandwich. I highly recommend both; however, the Cajun sandwich was the winner out of the two. The best part of the entree was the Cajun sauce that came with it! I can't wait to move to NYC, this will be a regular eating place for me.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Wasn't Impressed - Edit

I had heard so many good things about Candle Cafe, but I wasn't impressed my first time there. I don't think I'll be back - given the fact that there are so many other great vegan restaurants in NY. The place is busy, and the seating is very close to each other. The place was smaller than I expected and definitely a 'cafe' and not a restaurant. The split pea soup we ordered needed salt, and the little pieces of pita or flat bread on the side were tasteless. Not a good way to start out our lunch. Our entrees were definitely lacking something, and neither of us finished our meals. The service was as lackluster as the food...disinterested and too busy to care. Prices run about $14 for a sandwich - which I think is pricey considering that it's a cafe and not a real dining restaurant. I'm bewildered by all the great reviews this place gets.

Cons: Food lacks taste, Overpriced, Crowded

3 Responses

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - you knock all the great places... how much space in NYC should there be? Some cities have all one big table!! You'd really hate that. Being busy is a blessing; you know your food is fresh, doesn't have time to go bad, and you are in NYC!!! You want a room w a view, a room alone, in quiet? Wrong town.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - You do knock it for being busy and cramped. Again, not the burbs, NYC is a premium of space especially so, you don't know what you're talking about in that regard. Also, I can see how the Candle CAFE could fool you into believing it would not be a CAFE experience, which you also knock it for being. Many cafes employ an all-hands on deck approach where water is filled by back waiters and so forth. Having read all your reviews it is TASTE I think you lack most however and think if it came to you likely would your appreciation of this and some other pretty good spots. There are some flaws to this CAFE, but not anything you mentioned.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Kell Bell 22 Feb 2013 - Dear Kindlizard,

Thanks for the response to my review.

If you care to re-read my review of Candle Cafe, you'll see that I am not knocking the fact that it is busy or that tables are very close together. I am merely making an observation of the environment and surroundings. However, what I am knocking is the tasteless food. Split pea soup is one of the easiest vegan dishes you can make. I've had it in countless restaurants - all better than the Candle Cafe. Our entrees were bland, unoriginal, and after a couple bites, quite boring. It's rare that we ever leave food uneaten on our plate, but it happened at this place. Maybe they were training a new chef, maybe they had a mishap with the seitan, maybe I have just high standards, or maybe, just maybe, I'm opinionated. But isn't that what writing a restaurant review is all about?

I used to work and live in Manhattan so you shouldn't make judgments about people you don't know. I know a little about cramped quarters... a 375 sq. ft. apartment is luxuriously spacious in NYC. I also managed a busy casual dining/catering joint, so I know all about customer turnover and how it relates to food freshness. However, being busy is no excuse for poor service. We saw our server at Candle only once when she hurriedly took our order. Runners served our food, and a busboy filled our water glasses and cleared our table. We had to flag down another server down to ask for our check. She was clearly in the weeds. Maybe our server was new, maybe they were under-staffed that day, or maybe... you know what, I'm through with making excuses for them. I really wanted to like this place, but the bottom line is that the food wasn't tasty. That's my review, and I'm sticking to it.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Nice menu, delicious food - Edit

I eat here fairly regularly and always enjoy my meal. It is an excellent menu and the food is always tasty. It is always crowded and I don't think it is cheap at all..... in fact, I think it is rather pricy. That said, I always have a good experience when I am there.

Pros: good food, pleasant service

Cons: crowded, fsairly expensive

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Good Solid Place - Edit

My friend and I went there last month and enjoyed our dinner. I had heard alot about this place and since I was in the city for a night, I thought we'd make our way there. Nice atomsphere. The tables are a little too close together, but, hey, it's NYC. But the food was really good. I only wish the portions were a bit bigger because the pricing is on the higher side. But I will return. It was an enjoyable night out.

Pros: Flavors, Location, Staff

Cons: pricing

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Incredible food even if they rushed us a bit ;) - Edit

So I'd been to another vegan place the night before and was really let down. I was afraid this might be the same, but nope, a total 180.. LOVED it.

I ordered very similar to the night before at the other New York Vegan restaurant... I got a veggie drink (delish) and a fruit smoothie (awesome) and a shot of wheat grass. My friend had a beautiful tofu dish which was on a bed of broccoli (perfect and I barely like it - but not overcooked -really tender and green) with lentils and on the top was the most tasty tofu I'd ever eaten (luckily she shared it!) No it wasn't raw but it was good! I'll definitely be back here. If they hadn't rushed us I'd have had dessert but as luck would have it my other gal friend stopped by with raw desserts from Pure.. What a treat. And then I caught my plane and went home.. feeling happy after my perfect meal...

Pros: excellent food, quick service, ambiance

Cons: felt a bit rushed, a bit crowded, bathrooms lacking a little

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of the best veg restaurants in the world - Edit

We went to NYC last summer for a week. We went to Candle Cafe on our first day there because it was one of the places I wanted to visit the most. By the end of the week my wife was slightly embarrassed that we were such regulars there! You must experience the dishes yourself. The seitan is so tender and delicious and all of the spices are just right. The lasagna was perfect. The hummus plate made a great "on the way back to the hotel" snack at the end of a long day of sight-seeing. This place became our home away from home and I can't wait to return.

Pros: awesome food, friendly staff, large portions

Cons: none

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Delicious - Edit

Just like Candle 79, the Cafe lives up to the hype. It's a little less expensive but the food is just as amazing. The staff is really friendly and attentive and the presentation is beautiful. Can't wait to go there again when we are in town!

Pros: Food, Service, Atmosphere

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Overall good experience. - Edit

Arrived and were seated quickly, service was friendly and upbeat. There was a good menu selection and a good atsmosphere - little crowded :) Ordered the Tofu "BLT" and was pleasantly surprised with the faux bacon. Would recommend and return.

Pros: Good Selection, Friendly Staff, Good Food

Cons: Crowded Dinning

1 Response

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - "Crowded" as being the only flaw is actually a good thing, I think. Crowded means the food is always fresh. Crowded as a negative though, welcome to NYC!!! Personal space is at a severe premium here and they couldn't afford you the luxury of any more space, or you'd be complaining about waiting outside. Somewhat spacious for some places in NYC.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Lunch & Atmosphere! - Edit

I had a delicious Vegan BLT Sandwich w/ potato salad it was truly a treat for my first meal in NYC. Also, the Seitan Kebabs were very tastey (also served at Candle 79). The atmosphere was fun as well, I liked observing the Upper East Side culture with all the skinny, wealthy and good looking people..totally different from the mid-west:)

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

My Favorite Restaurant! - Edit

I LOVE Candle Cafe. I used to go there with my boyfriend quite often, but I have been going less since I've been so busy with school. Every time I go there, whatever I order is absolutely delicious. The Tofu Club is great, and so is the BBQ sandwich with sweet potato. Their salads are super fresh, and the dressing is scrumptious. The limonade is very good if you don't mind sour tastes. The only thing I have tried that I did not like was the chocolate peanut butter shake. I was expecting it to taste like a Reese's, but it just tasted like a peanut in liquid form. As for the food, I think it's the best! I would highly recommend this restaurant.

Pros: Amazing Food, Friendly Service, Vegetarian

Cons: Far From Home

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

You have to try it! - Edit

It was our favorite restaurant on our trip to New York. The food was fresh and delicious. We had a group of five friends, only two of us were vegans. Everyone loved the food and we were passing around our dishes for each other to try. I had the best vegan lasagna I've ever had. The only setback was that the restaurant was very crowded, but if you're visiting New York you should definitely try it out.

Pros: Delicious food, friendly waitstaff, great desserts

Cons: small restaurant

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great place for a quick vegan lunch - Edit

Its a little crammed, but the review below says its affordable, and I wouldn't use those words :) The good thing is you can probably split what ever your getting with your significant other or close friend.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

great casual food - Edit

The food is great and affordable. It is kind of cramped and the blender gets a bit loud, but you'll be pleased once the blended drink lands on your table.

Pros: good prices, generous portions, friendly staff

Cons: noisy , cramped

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Tasty - Edit

I took my mom here for lunch before headed off to the airport. The portions were large enough for left-overs for dinner during the flight. The dining room was a bit crowded; I felt crammed in. It's not cheap, in fact the lunch bill for two was a bit more than dinner (sans the vino) for two at Candle 79. The service was mediocre to good. We were in a hurry to catch a flight and it took a while to get our courses close together and containers for the left-overs. In their defense it was VERY crowded.

Pros: Delicious, Large Portions, Good Service

Cons: Far from Time Square, Crowded, Pricey but worth it

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Not worth the hype - Edit

I ordered their veggie burger. The bun was so dry and dense I had to take it apart and create two mini burgers. Great vegan mayonnaise though! That really made the burger taste good. Their banana cake was awesome. Best part of the meal. My husband got a cajun sandwich that he enjoyed. He agreed that my burger was very dry and bland and you could build a house with that bun. I'm sure the food there is good but I didn't get something good. Avoid the soy burger. Get the dessert.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Absolutely wonderful - Edit

I ate here last year for my friend's birthday and it was amazing. The food was delicious, the menu was very extensive, and the service was cordial and friendly. I had one of the specials, which was an Indian dish of assorted vegetables, beans, and curries; it was so good! Everyone else enjoyed their meals as well. Plus, the restaurant is in a very charming part of the Upper East Side. I will definitely eat here again.

Pros: Delicious food, Great service, Extensive menu

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Food - Edit

The specials are always exciting and they have HUGE portions for all the food. I enjoy it everytime we go, and always get something new- can't say that for many other places.

It's a must go to if you're in the area.

Pros: Good food, nice staff

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Yummy Food and Wine - Edit

Candle cafe is a great place to relax with some friends and grab a bite to eat. The food is always great and they have a wonderful selection of organic wines and beer.

Additionally they also have a bar where you can just sit down and have a snack and a drink if you prefer.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Solid, simple, honest food - Edit

Candle Cafe has great ambiance, though it's a small place. The service was attentive and friendly. Their chocolate peanut butter smoothie was too liquidy for my tastes, but their Tuscan lasagna was layered, tasty and filling. Prices are high, sadly.

Pros: Taste, Ambience, Service

Cons: Expensive

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The better of the two - Edit

The "lower priced" candle cafe, lower priced is relative, but since an entree can run close to twenty dollars it's still alittle pricey. The atmosphere is fine...a little cramped for the cash. My friends like this place best because the food reminds them of "normal" food and they can order burritos, burgers, sandwiches and other things that don't intimidate them. The daily specials are good, and menu changes a little bit seasonally. The vegan rehash of regular foods can get a little tired, but the food is still delicious and runs the gamut from big saucy entrees to snack-y appetizers.

Order: Matzoh Ball soup (so good!), indian plate, macrobiotic plate, tofu club, rice pudding, mezza platter, daily specials

Skip: it's a matter of taste, but I could take or leave the casserole. Also, anything involving cheese actually contains casien (it is marked on the menu) but it eliminates several choices.

Joy and Barry are also really nice, and if you're a NYer who misses traditional Jewish food, you can get some pretty good imitation =)

Pros: "normal" food, tasty as all get out

Cons: price, small space

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Seitan Heaven! - Edit

Very casual atmosphere, great service, delicious food. I got seitan kebabs and was not disappointed. Three of us dined, each getting a different meal and sampling the others' and all of them were delicious. Desserts were delicious as well.

Pros: delicious, good value, good atmosphere

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great place - Edit

I have eaten here many times since it opened, and always love the food here. It is healthy and good tasting. It is less expensive than its cousin Candle 79, though not quite cheap. The place tends to be crowded and cramped. Still, the food makes it worthy a visit.

Pros: Healthy, good taste

Cons: cramped

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Link to this page from your site. .
Return to New York City Vegetarian Restaurants & Health Food Store Listings
Business Owners, if you see an unfair review, read this.
Why was my review removed? - details
Reviews are not endorsed by HappyCow - review terms
Has Candle Cafe closed, shut down, moved, or changed? Please use the Update Form.
This page has been viewed 12056 times.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now