John's of 12th Street

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 18 reviews )

302 E 12th St (at 2nd Ave, East Village, Manhattan), New York City, New York, USA, 10003

Serves meat, vegan options available. Old-world Italian restaurant established in 1908. Introduced an entirely vegan menu in 2010 that includes in-house-made seitan, vegan bruschetta, garlic bread, vegan cannolis, and more. Dedicates half of kitchen and utensils to vegan dishes. Open Mon-Sat 4:00pm-11:00pm, Sun 4:00pm-10:30pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Italian, Non-veg

18 Reviews

First Review by nailina

Very Vegan friendly old school Italian - Edit

How refreshing to be able to eat in an authentic old fashioned NYC italian, and to have a vegan diet fully catered for - starters, pizza, pasta, mains, desserts. The seitan parmiagiane is outstanding and the staff were all awesome.

Pros: extensive vegan options

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Awesome Italian Food - Edit

I went to John’s because I was travelling with a non-vegan. They have vegan menu on the back of their regular menu so you don’t have to ask for their vegan options. Their garlic bread is amazing. I had the stuffed ravioli with the vegan Alfredo sauce. The sauce was a little sweet, but I still liked it. They also have a wide variety of vegan desserts. Johns is a great place to go if you are travelling with people with a variety of diets. The service is really great too.

Pros: Lots of vegan options , Reasonably priced

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maybe good for non vegans? - Edit

Terrible vegan food!!! Felt like I had to eat it because it was so pricey

Cons: $$$, taste

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Wonderful vegan italian menu - Edit

Me and my friend (non-vegan) had a perfect experience in this restaurant, they have a separate menu for vegan options, with a lot of options. Ravioli was amazing! :) We have appreciate a lot our evening in this restaurant. The owner is really sympathic and welcoming. It's simple it's the best italian food that I've eating!! 😀

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Perfect (vegan) Italian meal - Edit

I think it's really cool that John's of 12th has an entire vegan menu! Yes, an entire menu, not just a couple of options. They offer many amazing, traditional Italian dishes, like Seitan Scallopini and Vegan Ragu. Love that they also remember the little things, like vegan parm for the table, vegan garlic bread, and most importantly - vegan desserts!! Great place, love the old school decor.

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wish I could rate 5 stars. - Edit

Incredible meal. We had the vegan ceased salad, mushrooms, garlic bread, eggplant parmigiana and chocolate cannoli. On par with by Chloe. Huge portions. Highly recommend. Was very busy in December. Make a reservation, even then you may wait but worth it. Go hungry.

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Fantastic - Edit

As a Vegan spending time in New York with my meat eating husband and two meat eating kids(10 & 7-bit on the fussy side) this place was an Oasis to us!
The choice for Vegans was amazing and my meal was great. Everyone enjoyed their meals-totally stuffed as the portion sizes were huge. Attention to detail was fantastic for Vegans and service was great. It did get busy but they service was still good. They only take cash so that is a down side but their is an ATM next door. Eating lunch in New York wasn't a problem with all the fresh Delis but evening meal was a challenge because New Yorkers interpretation of Vegetarian or Vegan is a bit odd so we were very happy to find Johns. We would certainly go next time we are in the city.
Please do a kids menu with slightly smaller portion sizes!!

Pros: Vegan food, Great service, Choice for vegans

Cons: No kids menu, Only take cash

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Hit or Miss - Edit

I really wanted to love this place since it's close to where I live and has both vegan and non-vegan options. However, it can get super crowded and both the food and service are hit-or-miss. The vegan ravioli and lasagna were great, but the pizza was nothing to write home about. I also really like the vegan Caesar salad, and the dessert options are awesome. My boyfriend, who isn't vegan, was pretty unimpressed with his meal off the non-vegan menu, particularly the pizza.

The last time I went there with friends, we had a waiter who clearly just wanted his shift to be over. It took forever for him to take our order and to get us the check, and seemed annoyed any time we asked for something. Maybe he was just having an off day, but it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

Pros: Full vegan menu with lots of options!

Cons: Pricey, Crowded

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just meh- better options elsewhere - Edit

Was really excited to try this place. Vegan Alfredo? Yes please! Sadly the food was underwhelming.

Bruschetta is delicious. Expensive at $10 for 4 slices of bread with avocado, tomato, and basil but the flavors were spot on.

Pastas were cooked to perfection but the dishes overall were just ok. The Alfredo was good but a little sweet which seemed weird. The broccoli rabe and fire roasted tomato was the better dish but could have used a touch of sweetness to balance its bitterness. I did appreciate how many veggies they gave- the dish was overflowing with them!

The vegan Caesar was gross. Ridiculously salty and not creamy at all. You're better off getting this dish at Blossom on Carmine.

And the chocolate cannoli was orgasmic and something I've missed tremendously since going dairy-free.

Will go back for dessert only.

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vegan Italian! - Edit

John's of 12th Street is a wonderful Italian restaurant that serves meat. They have an extensive vegan menu of traditional Italian dishes. It's amazing. It's so hard to find vegan Italian food. John's is located right next to the famed Angelica Kitchen, but even though John's serves meat, I honestly confess that I will choose John's vegan dishes over the food at Angelica any day. Angelica is just too crunchy for me. It is veggie food of yore. I don't find the menu there particularly imaginative. Some people like it there but I just don't.

But I digress. I have been to John's twice now. The bread they put on the table is all vegan! The avocado bruschetta is delicious but very expensive. The stuffed mushrooms are very good, though they taste as if they're filled with breadcrumbs. Most recently, I sampled the eggplant parm, the seitan parm, and the seitan mushroom marsala. Each dish came with pasta and marinara sauce, and the server gave us vegan parm for the table. Everything was excellent. My parents who are meat eaters also really enjoyed the food, so this place is great if you're with mixed company.

Last time I recall having the seitan scallopini and the seitan alla rosa. I remember it being really good. My husband remembers it being small, but based on our most recent visit, when the dishes were HUGE, I think he may be mistaken. Though this place is a little pricey, the portions and quality definitely justify the price

The restaurant has an array of vegan desserts including vegan tiramisu, but both times we have ordered the vegan chocolate cannolis, because WHERE ELSE CAN YOU FIND THAT?? Da bomb!!!!

Only downside is the restaurant is cash only (and they serve meat). Service is excellent.

Only other place I've found awesome and authentic vegan Italian food was 3 Brothers Vegan Cafe on Long Island.

Pros: delicious!, portions justify the price!, vegan cannolis!

Cons: cash only

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Amazing Old School Italian Vegan Style! - Edit

This is a really amazing find and one of the best places for a vegan meal in NYC. A traditional old school family style Italian restaurant that has been there about 100 years, with a great atmosphere and a separate vegan menu. The staff are so friendly and they saw we were celebrating an engagement and went out of their way to make it a very special evening. Check out the huge candle sculpture in the dining room. All the vegan items are great, but especially the vegan ravioli with alfredo sauce, and the vegan cannoli for dessert!

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Unique menu - Edit

Maybe only in NYC can you find a traditional Italian restaurant with such a diverse and ambitious vegan menu. I loved that the host presented the separate vegan menu without having to ask. It's not a particularly large restaurant but its coziness added to the authenticity. There were several very large parties, much wine flowing and dishes being passed joyfully around. The seitan parmigiana was outstanding, the seitan grilled perfectly, with Daiya cheese and great sauce. A side salad was fairly pedestrian but good enough. The seitan came with spaghetti that was adequate but I wish that I had noticed the whole wheat option before I had ordered. The cannoli was great. I had a conversation with either the owner or manager, who convinced me how seriously they take presenting quality vegan options. Even given NYC's variety of veg dining, this is one of my favorites.

Pros: Homemade seitan, The desserts, Lots of animal foods surrounding you

Cons: No credit cards but ATM on premises, A bit pricey, Right next to Anjelica's: tough choice

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We loved it - Edit

This place has buckets of old-world charm and hospitality. We are vegan but were with our meat eating friend so were looking for somewhere with a mixed menu.

The waiters were excellent: very knowledgeable about all aspects of the menu, very helpful and very attentive. The vegan menu did have lots of choice. Everything we ordered tasted very, very good. Particularly good was the vegan desserts - they make their own vegan 'ice cream', meaning that they could offer excellent vegan cannolis (which my partner had) and I had a vegan panacotta (both of which were great). Half way through the meal the owner came over to introduce himself and chat to us for a moment, which was really nice and made us feel very welcome.

The restaurant is small and has slightly old fashioned decor, but that adds to it's charm. I would definitely return if I was in New York.

Pros: good choice of vegan food, good for mixed group, great vegan desserts

Cons: veal on the menu

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All Vegan Italian Menu - Well Worth The Trip - Edit

I think this is the only Italian restaurant in NYC with an all vegan menu, or at least the only one that I know of that serves a variety of vegan Italian pasta dishes. It's located next door to Angelica's Kitchen, one of NYC's oldest vegan restaurants,

Out of curiosity, I asked the waiter why there's a vegan menu, wondering if perhaps the owner went vegan. Apparently, it's because the owner was irritated that Angelica's always had a line out the door, so he decided to add vegan menu to see if he could entice some of their vegan customers. The waiter said that when Angelica's is full, they often get the spillover, so perhaps that worked.

Anyway, on to the food. The vegan menu includes many of the same items as the regular menu, but veganized. They are all listed on their site: dishes like seitan Parmesan, veggie ravioli with Alfredo or tomato sauce, and so on. I had the ravioli with Alfredo sauce, and shared the stuffed mushroom appetizer with my colleague, as well as a basket of vegan garlic bread. The ravioli were excellent, and the sauce was very creamy and quite good. The stuffed mushrooms were good, but they needed a bit more time in the oven, but not too bad overall. The vegan garlic bread was excellent: crispy, lots of garlic flavor, and plenty to go around. Finally, I ordered a vegan cannoli, which they served as a split regular and chocolate, so half and half. It was delicious. Just a heads-up: the house red wine wasn't amazing, so if you order wine, consider upgrading a little.

A couple other points: they don't accept cards, so come prepared with cash. It seems like it's less full if you come early, we were there at ca. 5PM on a Tuesday, and it was almost empty. The service was excellent.

As mentioned elsewhere, it's surprising to see no women working there, and also that the main menu contains veal. This alone might make some potential vegetarian/vegan patrons run for the hills, but my philosophy is that the more people who order from the vegan menu, the more value they will see value in it, and one can always hope that some day they will revise their main menu, if fewer an fewer people order from it.

In short, if you're looking for old world-style vegan Italian cuisine in NYC, this is as good as it gets, and I will definitely be going back.

Pros: Separate All Vegan Italian Menu, Friendly Service

Cons: Regular Menu Contains Veal, and Meat, Cash Only

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Lovely restaurant, unique vegan/traditional menu - Edit

John's is the kind of Italian restaurant with old-world hospitality. They have a full bar with a few seats to chat with the bartender, as well as two cave-like dining areas with loud, crowded tables. In the back a handful of candles burn with the wax of a thousand candles before them melted onto the fixture. At one point the manager asked us to scoot our table and chairs over a bit to accommodate a party seated by us, and sent out a table wine (served in a carafe like water) which more than compensated for our trouble!

Service was quick, friendly and accommodating, but I couldn't help but notice only men seemed to be employed there. I hope that was a coincidence and not a sexist culture.

Calling ahead for a reservation might be a good idea on busy Fri/Sat evenings, especially with a large group, but I think most times you'll be able to get a table without one.

The separate vegan menu was great, with plenty of choice for vegans. We liked our dinner and they even sent out a vegan parmesan shaker for our table! However, the highlight was definitely the dessert. I was told they only make the cannoli vegan, and no wonder, it was wonderful.

The odd part was that while I so enjoyed the vegan food, I also saw the standard menu which included loads of animal products, including veal. I wish I could support a great restaurant without the exploitation. That said, with a mixed group or for good Italian food, I would go back.

Pros: Delicious, Fun atmosphere, Awesome vegan desserts!!

Cons: Also serves a lot of meat

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excellent vegan Italian - Edit

We prefer to patronize all vegan establishments, but based on a recommendation, we came to John's after a long day of sightseeing. Their awning out front already says vegan on it and they bring the separate vegan menu without asking. As I was parched, they refilled my water as quickly as I drank it. I was very pleased. They are white tablecloth and cash only, so make sure you bring enough money. The service is attentive and friendly. We also had beer and wine. We ordered a side of garlic bread to go with our entrees of vegan ravioli with marinara (alfredo is an option too) and the seitan alla Rosa. It was lovely to have good Italian food. For dessert, we got the panna cotta and a cannoli. Delicious! I'm so glad we went as the recommendation was spot on.

Pros: excellent Italian food, nice atmosphere, attentive service

Cons: cash only, not all vegan

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Worth trying - Edit

My husband and I visited the restaurant and were so impressed we went back 2 more times in a 1 week time span. All of the vegan food is delicious and the staff is very attentive. I must say, it is the only restaurant in NYC that refills your water in such an impressive manner.

Pros: Delicious food, Attentive staff

Cons: I wish it were all vegan

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awesome vegan menu!! - Edit

I went here with my non-veg family because it has both traditional italian and vegan italian, each with their own separate menus.

We all loved the food (I loved my veg items, they loved their non-veg). I got the vegan bruchetta for an appetizer, which was awesome, and my non-veg family agreed- they loved it too! I also got the vegan eggplant parm, which was so good. They even have vegan cannolis, vegan icecream, and other desserts as well.

This is a great place to go to with non-vegans who aren't willing to try a vegan restaurant, because both options are available, and both menus are really good

Pros: separate vegan menu, bruchetta, nice atmosphere and staff

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