A few NYC restaurant reviews

I took the liberty of going to 3 of the well known raw restaurants in NYC: Quintessence, Caravan of Dreams, Pure Food and Wine. I thought I’d post my thoughts about the places…

Quintessence: Lovely, but very very small. Come early on a busy day, or be prepared for a 45 minute wait. Service is very good, cute place despite the size. The food was delicious for the most part. Try the Indian and Moroccan platters for an authentic-feeling ethnic food experience. Make sure you try the kamut bread, the best I have ever tasted! The mock tofu “fofu” (in the Moroccan platter) was really unique and yummy. Any of their desserts are really amazing, and definitely try the yerba matte chai latter made with cashew milk.

Caravan of Dreams: Nice atmosphere with live music (noisy), fair sized place. Try the avococo soup, it was divine, and the corn chips are also very very good. My only complaint with this place was that my main meal was more of a salad. In fact, when it came, I had my mom ask me “Why did you order two salads?” So all in all, a great place to go for a fantastic big delicious green salad, and the appetizers are nice, but I was less than impressed by the main meals. Not that they didn’t taste good, but generally I expect more entree type things from raw restaurants.

Pure Food and Wine: Definitely my favourite place. Absolutely beautiful decor, very fine dining type atmosphere. The garden is especially beautiful. The food is quite expensive and the portions are pretty small, but I wouldn’t expect anything else from a gourmet restaurant. The food was just amazing. I loved the ravioli (tastes like real pasta, don’t know how they do it!). The spanakopita was absolutely incredible, so authentic tasting. The Saag Paneer was also very very good (sorry if I spelled that wrong=). The sangria is sooo good, and the tiramisu (again, spelling?) was delicious.

Overall, I’d recommend Quintessence or Pure Food and Wine readily. To introduce someone to raw food, I’d go for Pure Food and Wine, they have a really unique thing going for a raw restaurant. Its less hippie (nothing against hippies, but it tends to be a stereotype among raw foodists), and more like the kind of restaurant you wouldn’t even know was raw or vegan (even after finishing the food).


  • Thanks for the review. We’ve been trying to get to NYC to visit all those Quintessance & Pure Food. This is good to know! Isn’t Candle “something or other” there too?

  • i have been to pure food & wine/one lucky duck juice and takeaway several times, always a favorite. i always leave with a huge bag filled with things, then i try to recreate them at home (i have the cookbooks too). delish! even when i mess up they're great! pricey though.

    i went to quintessence last week, on a recommendation from a friend. also delicious, though not as easy to get to via mass transit. the shakes are amazing, so are the salads and the fofu. in fact, i've been going crazy looking online for anyone's version of this. i used to love tofu and lament the lack of the versatile soy in my diet. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA HOW TO MAKE FOFU? maybe someone will see this and post a suggestion :)

    happy holidays everyone :)

  • What kind of prices do these places have?

  • The raw tofu recipes are in Matthew Kenney's books. You need cashews and Irish moss.

  • Hey Noelle,

    Here is Matt Kenney's recipe. I've never made it yet but if you do, please do post an update on how it turns out!!

    1 c. soaked cashews, drained

    1/2 c. young thai coconut meat

    1/2 c. raw carageenan (irish moss soaked to removed salt and blended w/ equal parts water)

    1/4 c. water

    1/4 t. salt

    Blend all ingredients in Vitamix until completely smooth. Pour into a square pan lined w/ plastic wrap, should be ~ 1 1/2 inches thick. Refrigerate ~2 hours until firm. When ready to serve, remove "tofu" from pan by lifting plastic wrap out and transferring gently to a cutting board. Cut to 2-in squares.

  • Candle 79 is pretty good-really interesting and inventive menu. Their servers and bartenders are really knowledgeable (and good looking too =p) but definitely be prepared to spend. I found the portions slightly small, and I'm not one to really load up a plate, so you may need a few courses to feel satisfied.

    Great atmosphere, and close to Central Park, so I'd say, a perfect date!

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