Le Botaniste

If I closed my eyes and wished for the perfect plant-based restaurant, Le Botaniste would appear. After eating there several times to ensure it wasn’t a mirage, I’ve concluded it’s among the best I’ve visited. I prefer to cook my own food, but I’ll make an occasional exception to return to this fantastic restaurant.

After seeing photos of their food online, I sprinted to Le Botaniste, conveniently located on 63rd and Lexington on the Upper East Side. If you didn’t know the address, you may mistake it for a charming Parisian neighborhood cafe. The communal tables encourage customers to engage in appetizing conversations which inevitably will be about their food. Eka, the restaurant’s welcoming operations manager, greeted me. I listened to her discuss the restaurant’s mission with my ears, but my eyes were squarely focused on the food festival before me. No need to imagine what the food will look like. It’s laid out behind glass and ready to experience.

To order, guests walk up to an open kitchen and select from a dizzying array of choices that include Chili Sin Carne, Moroccan Vegetable Stew, and an unapologetically seductive Omega 3 Brownie. It’s all organic, gluten-free, and vegan. If you eat plant-based, you’re going to do cartwheels on your way to your seat. The vibe is super cool and relaxing, the energy is positive, and the people are as friendly as the food.

Oddly enough, Le Botaniste’s website doesn’t contain photos of their food. Given their presentation and cooking skills, I suggest all it needs is photos of its food–and an address. If you want to flip through photos and take a tour through this plant-based Neverland, you can find them in their glowing Yelp reviews.

I ordered the Chili Sin Carne and Jackfruit Tuna Salad. These dishes are ridiculously good. I shook my head in awe and made satisfaction noises with each bite. They call their menu “Plant-based Prescriptions” and their motto is “A responsible food concept that cares about health and our planet.” Visitors will be wildly impressed by how they’ve maximized taste while keeping the food healthy.

Le Botaniste is one of my favorite vegan restaurants. It’s going to take an act of Congress to knock them off the the top spot when I publish NYC’s Best Vegan Restaurants. One of three locations, you can also find Le Botantiste on Broadway and Grand St. and on 43rd and 3rd Ave. If you decide to go, the odds are good you’ll see me there.

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