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NYC's Top 5 Organic Restaurants: A Sustainable Choice for Foodies

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

According to Open Table, there are over 24,000 restaurants in New York City as of 2023. If you ate out once a day, it would take you 24,000 days to eat at every single one of them, which equates to nearly 66 years of your life! Wow! That means you can never be bored with the city's cuisine selection.


Now, you might think that a city with such a selection of restaurants would have a grand list of organic dining options too. However, that is not the case, nor is it easy to find a restaurant promoting itself as organic. Open Table, which is the most popular search platform for restaurants in NYC, has over 60 available filters for dining options, from Israeli, Middle Eastern, Korean, Vegan, Vegetarian, Georgian, Comfort, to Peruvian, but only 6 Organic and 12 Farm-to-Table listings are found there.


Meanwhile, Trip Advisor has a healthy category of 292 dining options, but they do not provide any details if they are organic or not. When added all together, New York really does not have many organic restaurants. Our question is, are restaurants not promoting themselves as organic? Or perhaps, there aren’t actually that many in the city at all.


Oddly enough, this number is a big surprise to us, as the demand for organic food at supermarkets across America has been rising exponentially in recent years. Millennials, who are now the largest generational cohort in the United States, have addressed that organic food is their leading food priority. Yet, a majority of these individuals don’t seem to assess restaurants quite in the same way as their groceries, which could be one of the reasons there is not a wider selection of organic restaurants out there. Other reasons might include, that organic ingredients are more expensive or not easily available, and it is difficult for a restaurant to be certified as entirely organic.


Nonetheless, organic and sustainable dining is a growing trend in NYC, as many restaurants are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and adopting sustainable practices, from relying on local farmers and producers for fresh and organic ingredients to composting food waste, and using sustainable packaging. NYC restaurants are creating sustainable dining experiences that promote health and well-being while caring for the environment.


Certified Organic Food Labeling: What does it Mean?

The USDA recognizes organic food as grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Food labeled as organic cannot obtain any artificial flavoring, preservatives, or GMOs. Animals have to be pasture-raised and fed with 100% organic food in order to be labeled as organic.


How Can Restaurants Obtain Organic Labeling?

A restaurant in the US can be labeled as "organic" if it meets certain criteria set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).


The USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) sets the standards for the organic labeling of food products, including restaurant products. Restaurants can use the "organic" label on their menu or in their marketing materials if they meet the following requirements:

  1. The restaurant must use organic ingredients that have been certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

  2. The restaurant must maintain detailed records of all organic products purchased and must provide those records to the certifying agent upon request.

  3. The restaurant must follow strict procedures to prevent commingling and contamination of organic and non-organic products.

  4. The restaurant must display the name and address of the certifying agent on the menu or in other marketing materials.


5 Top Organic Restaurants in NYC You Need to Try in 2023

New York City is quickly becoming one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world. With a commitment to sustainability and green initiatives, many of the top restaurants in NYC are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. As we look toward 2023, here are five of our favorite organic restaurants that you should be sure to check out:


1. AbcV: This vegetarian spot in NYC is a temple to healthy, plant-based eating. The menu here is creative and vibrant, featuring dishes like roasted carrot salad with avocado, a coconut yogurt bowl with berries, and an Indian-inspired dosa with spiced potatoes. The flavors here are fresh and bright, with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients that are prepared with care. It's the kind of place that will make you feel good about what you're eating, without sacrificing any flavor or excitement.

2. Nix: Another vegetarian restaurant, this one is located in Greenwich Village, and is a true standout. The menu here is inspired by Mediterranean flavors and features dishes like charred eggplant with tahini and za'atar, crispy artichokes with lemon aioli, and a decadent truffle risotto. The flavors here are bold and luxurious, with a focus on using high-quality ingredients that are prepared with skill and precision. It's the kind of place that makes you realize just how satisfying vegetarian cuisine can be.




3. The Butcher's Daughter: With three locations in Manhattan, it offers a plant-based menu with a focus on organic and locally sourced ingredients. They have a diverse menu that includes everything from juices and smoothies to salads, sandwiches, and entrees. If you are looking for a chic ambiance with healthy food options, TBD is the place to visit!






4. Blue Hill: This farm-to-table restaurant in Greenwich Village sources ingredients directly from the owner's farm located in upstate New York. They serve a rotating menu of dishes featuring organic meat and vegetables. Totally worth the visit!




5. Cookshop: This is a popular restaurant in Chelsea serving a unique menu, which features a mix of American, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. They are committed to using local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients in their dishes, and source their ingredients from regional farms, ensuring that the food they serve is fresh and delicious. Additionally, they are a certified green restaurant, meaning they use environmentally friendly practices such as composting, recycling, and use energy-efficient appliances.




Key takeaways:


Organic restaurants often source their ingredients from local and organic farms. By supporting these restaurants, you can:

  • Directly increase the demand for organic produce, which can lead to more affordable pricing and a more sustainable agriculture industry.

  • Reap the benefits of eating healthier and more nutritiously dense food without the fear of obtaining pesticide-born illnesses.

  • Help create more jobs in a sustainable industry.

  • Help reduce the negative impact of conventional farming, such as soil depletion and water pollution.


If you liked our blog post, come join our virtual Emerald Summit: Eco-Business Network event on April 21st, at 11 am EST, where we will have leading experts in the industry talk about best sustainable practices, success stories, and much more. You will be able to network with like-minded individuals, and get valuable insights on how to start a sustainable business!


The event is FREE!



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