For all the city’s glitz and glam, there is plenty of natural and organic to be found as well—sometimes at the same spot. Here are our picks for organic or vegetarian restaurants and natural hotels.
The delicious all-vegetarian menu makes it difficult to choose which combination of vegetables, tofu, gluten, squashes, and sauces to have. Start with the spinach wonton soup and pick an adventurous main dish with a spring or taro roll on the side. The Upper West Side location is small and quiet, with a communal table for individual diners. www.zenpalate.com ; 2170 Broadway (between W. 76th and 77th St.); (212) 501-7768 34 Union Square E. (16th St.); (212) 614-9291 663 Ninth Ave (W. 45th St.); (212) 582-1669
Executive chef Christina Kelly serves seasonal, locally produced food at this French bistro. Although the restaurant is neither vegetarian nor organic, it offers its own organic Baby Fine baby food. Youngsters can feast on organic sweet peas, “goldy carrots,” and more (prices range from $2.26 to $3.50). 520 Columbus Ave. (W. 85th St.); (212) 932-2400
Begun as a take-out and catering venture, the all-organic Herban Kitchen became a sit-down restaurant several years ago. All the food is organic (much of it produced specially for Herban Kitchen) and fits all kinds of diets, so free-range chicken finds a place on the menu alongside Butternut Squash Tostada. www.herbankitchen.com ; 290 Hudson St. (between Dominick and Spring); (212) 627-2257
Hangawi wins praise for its serenity as well as its outstanding food. Remove your shoes and enjoy a spectacular meal in the peaceful surroundings. If you can’t decide what to eat, try the Emperor’s Meal, a selection of different items, from pumpkin soup to crispy tofu noodles. www.hangawirestaurant.com ; 12 E. 32nd St. (between Madison and 5th Aves.); (212) 213-0077
Dojo is a neighborhood “institution” offering very affordable meals for those exploring the New York University area. The decor is bohemian, the food is basic but healthy (well, some of it is, anyway). The soy burgers topped with carrot-tahini dressing are fantastic. 14 W. 4th St. (between Broadway and Mercer); (212) 505-8934 24-26 St. Marks Pl. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.); (212) 674-9821
Slip off your shoes and sit on a cushion beneath Gujarati village-inspired murals or the banyan tree. Only a single meal is offered each night. Dinner is a multi-course vegetarian event: miniature samosas, frittered chilis, chutneys, and stews are only some of the elements you might see in your dinner. For seconds of anything, just ask. 409 Third Ave. (29th St.); (212) 689-5666
Why can’t you always sleep as peacefully as you do at the Benjamin? Perhaps because you don’t have your own sleep concierge to help you choose from eleven different pillow styles, bedding options, or spa treatments—or to send you cookies and milk at bedtime. The Benjamin is one of a handful of hotels around the world to achieve all five Ecotel certifications for energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, land preservation, and employee environmental training. Staying there is all luxury, from the 100-percent cotton Frette linens to the Woodstock Spa. www.thebenjamin.com ; 125 E. 50th St. (at Lexington); (888) 423-6526; rates start at $420; keep your eye open for weekend specials that offer great savings.
Doubletree Guest Suites
Times Square is the hub of tourist and theater action. After your fill of fun on the town, get rest in a room on one of the Doubletree’s natural floors. These comfy rooms minimize global impact with all-natural amenities in dispensers, rather than little bottles; nontoxic cleaning solutions; a sheet and towel reuse program; and energy and water efficient measures. www.doubletreehotels.com ; 1568 Broadway (Times Square); (212) 719-1600; rates start at $199
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