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Reviews (28)

First Review by ivorygate

Raw Never Tasted This Good - Edit

Quintessence is a small, but lovely cafe tucked away on E 10th street (and 1st avenue). It's quiet and homey. With only five tables and one waiter, this organic raw vegan cafe is magical. From the Caesar salad to the scallion cream cheese roll, everything was delicious. And as if the meal did not impress us enough, the raw chocolate molten lava cake was devine. The decadent creamy chocolate filling encased in a raw chocolate cake, topped off with chocolate sauce and berries was pure decadence.


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Cute place but poor food - Edit

I always want to like raw food more than I end up liking it. To be fair, I went here a few years ago with my sister (whose vegan) when we had a Groupon, so maybe it's changed since then. We had such a poor tasting meal, we literally had to walk down the block and grab more food after the fact to feel satisfied. At vegan restaurants, I usually finish the whole plate of food, since it's not so large; I simply couldn't do it here. I even went with a safe option in terms of ordering, having the pesto pizzette. The flavors just didn't work well together, and I guess I myself am more of a cooked pizza girl.

If anything, the one star is for the ambience. It's a very cute (and tiny, so be prepared to wait) spot, that's well-decorated. Needless to say, we likely won't be back.


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cute and cozy restaurant - Edit

This was the first restaurant I've ate in my trip, and I've felt really welcoming. The place is very cozy and I've loved my choices. I've asked for the bean enchilada and the quinoa with mushrooms.
Everything was delicious!


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Quietly dishing up raw power - Edit

Admittedly, I haven't gone to Quintessence in my eating journeys in NYC because it is a raw restaurant. However, this place makes raw look and taste good, really good. Raw food has a new face - it is not just salads and fruit, it is what this mainstay in the raw vegan NYC scene dishes up artfully, affordably and compassionately. If you have never given raw a run, go here. If you are a raw foodie, you have been here or you will go here and be happy, very happy.

The prices do not seem high for what they offer. The portions do not seem small for what they offer. The food is fresh, organic and raw. That means the cost they have is high, but, amazingly, they don't kill your wallet for that. In fact, I would say it's a steal. The portions are also perfectly sized unless you eat 4000 calories a day, meaning eating is your other job. The ingredients they use are packed with nutrients and the nut and coconut bases provide some hearty calories. So, you will not leave hungry. However, you will also not leave with that "oh, I ate too much, gross, what did I do" feeling. You will leave perfectly happy.

Everyone loves brunch, and I love that they have brunch all weekend. Their creative offerings from the fake tofu (aka fofu) to "bread," are impressive and satisfying to the palate. Just about every raw foodie loves avocados, and I am happy to say they bring avocados into their menu with good success. They also have a good base of nuts and seeds to make their sauces and "breads"/ bases like the nachos, pizza-like offering and "sandwiches." Traditionalists will rest easily with a hearty salad or a romaine-wrapped entree or a nori-wrapped rice-free sushi roll. Ok, maybe that's not super traditional, but it's super tasty.

They make it all raw, except, they do have cooked quinoa... which, is okay, but, I might suggest going for raw sprouted? No matter, raw foodies can eat just about everything here without reservations. Vegans can eat everything. Gluten-free concerned can also eat just about everything.

Really the selling points here for me are the brunch and the dessert offerings. Oh my, the dessert. They have berries, chocolate and coconut, not necessarily all together. Raspberry chocolate? Tiramisu? Coconut creme? Chocolate chia? Chocolate mousse in a coconut cup? Drool-worthy offerings that if you know anything about the ingredients, are very fairly priced.

Final selling point for the 5 cows for this place: the staff is happy and informed.

Pros: 100% vegan, 95% raw, 100% organic

Cons: Not 100% gluten free, Menu is too large - me want all., Too far from where I live...


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Destination for Raw Foodies - Edit

This was one of the original raw food restaurant in NYC. When I went to The Seed vegetarian/vegan market in the Altman building I got to meet the owner of Quintessence and compliment her on her restaurant. This is truly a raw restaurant, so if you like your food cooked this is not the place for you. The times I have dined in and taken out the service has been friendly, prompt and courteous. The real standouts here are the desserts; the original chia pudding, housemade ice cream and FABULOUS coconut cream pie are delectable. Though not a raw foodie, I have enjoyed my occasional visits to Quintessence.

Pros: Vegan/Raw NYC Mainstay, Desserts

Cons: Bit pricey, Small restaurant


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Excellent - Edit

This cozy restaurant serves excellent vegan meals and great drinks like a fresh matcha smoothie. The staff is very friendly and you feel absolutely comfortable there. I'd recommend to reserve a table in advance as there are only like 10 tables and it is well-frequented.


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Great brunch - Edit

We had brunch in this little cafe on our last day in NYC. It was a very pleasant surprise. The fofu benedictine and the avocado florentine were tasty enough to make this a memorable meal.

Pros: Good food

Cons: A bit pricey


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OMG! - Edit

i jusy had a blast at this restaurant.
the minipizette was fantastic, and i would have tried everything if i could.
the waitress was very nice and service very prompt.
the tiramisu was too much after such a meal, even if the quantities don't seem huge, it's very filling

Pros: quality, taste, raw

Cons: pricey


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Modern Vegan Cuisine - Edit

Food is fresh and tasty. Variety of choices so everyone can be happy. Personally, I really enjoy this restaurant.

Seating is tight, so it's best to go with party of 4 or less.

Pros: Excellent Food, Friendly Staff

Cons: Few Seats


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NOT Recommended!! - Edit

This place deserves a terrible rating due to the lack of hospitality, service and racial tension experienced! A friend of mine and I (both vegetarians) were in the area this past Saturday evening and decided to stop in to grab a bite to eat. This place was tiny but cozy. As soon as we walked in, we were seated immediately. There was one female waitress waiting on two tables and a cashier at the desk. The waitress approached our table once we sat, placed down 2 menus and 2 glasses of water in front of us, then walked away without greeting us (first sign of incorrect steps of service). My friend and I sat there looking through the menu trying to figure out what we were going to order. 15 min past and we still weren't greeted and our drink orders still weren't taken. We patiently waited, watching our waitress pass us numerous times to attend to the other two tables. After watching our waitress as well as the cashier avoid eye contact and avoid taking our orders while proceeding to serve two tables, we became frustrated but still sat patiently. We were deliberately being ignored. My friend and I have worked in a restaurant, so we are both familiar with the steps of service and this "service" was clearly in their training "manual". This place wasn't busy at all! It was so obvious that they were ignoring us. After 15 min of not being greeted, attended to and clearly ignored, we decided to leave. While we were putting on our coats, the waitress then decided to approach our table asking us if we were ready to place our orders!...?? We ended up walking out without eating! I have never experienced this type of service anywhere! We're approaching 2013! These workers were clearly trained by the Owners and/or Manager to attend to our race (African American) in this manner! We were furious and extremely disappointed by the lack of hospitality, poor service, and the racial tension that we experienced, as we were looking forward to enjoying a great dinner. Our first and last visit to Quintessence!

Cons: Service, Racial Tension


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a real RAW gem in NYC - Edit

Wasnt sure what to expect. But very friendly welcome (at lunchtime it was just me and a couple of other customers). Relazing "new age" music and film soundtracks and free filtered water added to the "health" vibe. The menu is really interesting and it took me ages to choose something as it all looked so good. Went for the raw superfood soup and raw "bread" with vegan pesto & salad. Was all really delicious and surprisingly filling. Followed up with a smoothie made with almond milk which again was beautifully done. Wasnt the cheapest meal of its kind but you see how much care and attention had gone into it and it was made fresh to order so I guess its worth it! I would recommend to all but the most budget conscious. Delicious.

Pros: Fresh & lovely, Made to order, Great service

Cons: Bit pricey


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yum. yum. for the tum. - Edit

ever enjoy a meal that each savoury bite reminds you of love? that's how I felt thru much of this meal. awesome mostly raw food spot. love the atmosphere. seats less than 20. cozy. raw food dishes simply offer more flavor. i taste nuances in flavors of food. q's creations provide an explosion of tickles in my mouth. my 5-course meal leaves me stuffed and in bit of trance. fortunately, all the live enzymes in raw meals mean it will digest properly. feel like a cigarette now. ;-D highest recommendation.

Pros: yummie dishes, super service, good value


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Eyes Bigger Than Stomach - Edit

Freshly raw, I was excited to try a few places. I was only in New York for 2 days on business, but I made sure to make my way down to this restaurant. My friend and I met there and were met with a lovely server who was well versed in every cleanse/detox there was under the sun, which helped because my friend was doing a candida cleanse. So he was able to recommend specific dishes that would be within her restrictions. This was the first time I've ever met a server that was so helpful and understanding. The food was to die for! I LOVED it! There were pages of choices, so much to choose from! I ended up getting the Big Moc and a salad, I got a juice and some of the garlic bread. Needless to say, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. It was soo good, I HIGHLY recommend going.

Pros: Food, Service


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no longer completely raw - Edit

Pity they don't take reservations here.
We went there twice during our stay to New York. The first time we managed to get a table and tried the Indian Platter and Mexican Platter which where delicious. The second time we tried to book in advance but they said they didn't take reservations but where assured they would fit us in.
We arrived and where told a table would be available in 10mins, nearly 40mins later we where still waiting outside (as it's such as small place you can't wait inside).
If we'd have known it would have been longer than 10mins we would probably have ordered a take away so where a bit disappointed once we finally got a table. The food was very good on both occasions but they do now also serve cooked food.

Pros: tasty food

Cons: very small, could end up waiting ages for a table


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Sublime eating experience - Edit

My boyfriend is trying to eat more raw and is trying to get me into it too. I have to say that if I could eat raw food like this every night I would be a very happy woman. The restaurant is a small, intimate affair. We were lucky getting the best spot by the window. We ordered a small taco to share for starters and it was delicious. But it was nothing compared to the Mexican chilli main. A warm chilli broth with pieces of tender marinated portabello mushroom, with a serving of guacamole, salad and a sort of cornbread. We also shared a sausage pizza but the chilli dish really was the best thing there. To finish we then shared the dessert platter - also yummy but I could have eaten more chilli!

Pros: delicious food, cosy atmosphere


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It was...ok - Edit

The first impression I got was that it is very cramped, and it is, there are 2 tables that seat 4 and and then 4 tables that seat 2 all within a very small space so you literally are almost rubbing shoulders. The food was pretty good but a lot of the food I feel is overpriced for the serving you get. For example you get a fairly large burrito and a small taco for $22 although good and filling I don't think it is worth that much. The desert upset me. I bought the valentine boxed candies they were selling for a high price. I got home to find out... they are not vegan!! I would have liked some kind of warning, they used honey in all the chocolate. This makes me wonder what else are they sneaking honey into? I will not go there again and I made sure to call them and complain about selling not vegan items in a supposedly vegan restaurant.


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Best Tacos in NYC - Edit

Had a late lunch there today and was totally thrilled with the taco platter. I also shared the dessert platter with a friend, and was a little disappointed with the desserts. I will be back for more food, but maybe pass on dessert. Lovely atmosphere, very clean and relaxing.

Pros: Atmosphere, Food, Cleanliness

Cons: Desserts, Price


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Quintessence always satisfies - Edit

Went here last night and as always --- I leave Quintessence feeling really good.
I really think this place is under-rated; I find their food consistently fresh and full of flavor. And they've gotten bolder with the spices. The trick is to order pretty simply; even though it's all raw some of the recipes can get a little complicated / dense. I had the Peter's Pot soup and a sesame salad and my friend had a delicious butternut squash / walnut concoction -- a little complicated but very tasty.
Of course, it's rather tiny and cramped (NY style) but that's part of the charm..

Pros: Inventive and fresh food, Fair prices (hey - it's NY), Good menu for low density eaters

Cons: A little cramped


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Small but delightful - Edit

The restaurant is quite small, but the menu is quite extensive and the food excellent. We had an excellent meal. Really tasty. So much choice you didn't know what to go for. But we were blown away by the bill. It wasn't cheap. Actually, it was really expensive. And we weren't exactly full. But it was an outstanding raw food dining experience. Recommended if it falls within your budget.

Pros: excellent food, healthy cuisine, lots of choice for raw foodists

Cons: Expensive, Lack of seating if you go at peak times


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NEVER AGAIN!! - Edit

i have visited quintessence a few times with friends and my husband. everytime i go their i am more and more displeased with the service and the food. I had just taken my sister for her 18th birthday their for a raw food meal yet it was a disaster. First off, the place is extremely tiny. People are right on top of you in their and people just walk around very close to your table and food, which makes you feel uncomfortible. Maybe city people like that kind of atmosphere, but not people generally who live in eastern long island and are used to a more private setting with room to breath. The service i have always had a problem with. they always seem very nasty and inconvienanced by the fact that they wait tables and are very unprofessional. they are rude and make you wait a long time before even giving you a menu. the food is also very mediocre. in my 21 years i have been a vegan for 15 and a raw foodist for 2, and in that time you learn proper food combining that this restuarant clearly seems to lack in their creation of dishes. my whole party was discusted at their meal. the dessert was o.k for the most part but the tirumisu tasted like lipstick.... literally.

The high price is expecteed for raw cuisine in nyc, but i feel they neglect to hold up their end of the bargain by making the raw food meal a pleasurable experience. i am extremely unhappy with this last visit and will not be attending quintessence again. i will give pure food and wine a try.

Pros: raw food

Cons: service, food, atmosphere


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Very UNenjoyable - Edit

We've eaten raw food before, and had happy food experiences in NY at Caravan of Dreams, Rawstar in Brooklyn, and a neat place in Maui. But we found our meal at Quintessence to be very disappointing.

The flavours of the food were poorly coordinated and the dipping sauses had no taste or a bad taste. Several of the entrees overly spiced. The salads were accompanied by a gross tasting green dressing. The desserts were the only saving grace to the meal, but most of our party were so repulsed by what they had already eaten, they could not enjoy them.

A green soup was so bad tasting, it could not be eaten but only tasted and sent back. This set the stage for an indigestion causing meal for 3 out of our party of 4 who definitely wound up eating two many different odd tasting items. A Chic Pea Soc was a overly spiced mix of guash, as was an Indian Platter (probably not the best choice, fake Indian Food). The only passable items was a Mexican PLatter (still guash).

The place is fairly small and it was pretty warm inside as the above the door air conditioner didn't cool the room well. As the other review said, the prices were quite high and the bill also came with an automatic 20% tip attached (gee thanks), although we have no complaints about the service, we prefer to give our own tip.


Pros: Dessert, Attentive Service

Cons: Bad Tasting Food, High Prices, Bad A/C


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amazing - Edit

It is a privaledge and a pleasure to be the first person to review this restaurant. My girlfriend and I took a raw foods voyage into the Northeast, and this ws our first stop in New York City. We came back for food twice more before our short 5 days in New York City ended.

The first evening was dinner, upon which we shared a caviar parfait, replete with chia seeds and tofu made from Irish Moss (aptly titled "fofu"). The next dish was the best one I think I ever had - a raw sausage pizza. I had been pining over the pizza menu with this restaurant, and the walnut sausage tasted exactly like how I remember it. The dessert consisted of their raw pumpkin pie with cashew nut cream.

We followed with lunch a few days later, and then brunch on the morning we had to catch our plane back to Florida. The brunch menu had fofu benedict and fofu Florentine - superb and creative beyond words.

Quintessence has been operating as a raw venture since 1999, the oldest and longest running kind in the city. Raw Soul, Pure Food & Wine, and even Organic Avenue offer superb choices for the raw lifestyle - Quintessence, however, trumps them all. A spectacular dining experience each time.

Pros: atmosphere, prices, food!

Cons: none


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