Dirt Candy

Manhattan, New York City

3.6 / 1 vote

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Gourmet vegetarian food

This new gourmet vegetarian restaurant features many edgy dishes made with flair and style. Every item on the menu can be prepared vegan.

The head chef, Amanda Cohen, simply wants to make vegetarian food but does not want to cater to a "lifestyle" or a "diet." She studied at the Natural Gourmet Cooking school and previously worked at Angelica's Kitchen, Teany, and Pure Food and Wine, among others. According to the restaurant website, the chef/owner's philosophy is, "I don't care about your health. And I don't care about your politics either. But I do care about cooking vegetables. Most of the best vegetarian dishes I've eaten have been at non-vegetarian restaurants . . . . Just as BLT Fish is dedicated to seafood, and Peter Luger's is dedicated to steak, Dirt Candy is dedicated to vegetables."

Added by conde.kedar on Nov 2 08 (last updated Feb 17 09)

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Dirt Candy is tiny, so make reservations beforehand, and assume that two is the maximum size of your party. It's definitely a good place to take a date.

All of the menu can be made vegan and our waitress even stated that before we mentioned our veg-status. I liked that. We started out with the jalapeno hush puppies ($10) which were breaded, fried little things that didn't have much flavor on their own; they came with maple butter which made them slightly tastier, but not by much.

We also had a tofu ragout (~$15) which had an interesting green curry-type sauce, but the dish didn't come together on a whole, as the tofu wasn't marinated and didn't absorb the flavors very well.

The parpardelle pasta dish (~$15) was much better than anything else; it tasted fresh, had a little bit of spice, but not too much, and had a good balance between sweet-ish tomatoes and sour greens. It also felt more filling than the first two dishes.

I was generally impressed with the prices here. Other upscale vegetarian restaurants in NYC charge more than $15 a dish, but Dirt Candy manages to give you a fancy experience at a lower price. That said, the food didn't amaze me, and I think it's because the chef seems anti-vegan in her philosophy; that is, she'll make vegan food on request, but her expertise seems to lie in lacto-ovo dishes, and she has publicly stated this. As such, she's not focusing on trying to make the best vegan food she can with novel substitutions or innovations; she wants to make good lacto-ovo food which can be veganized without much effort, but might lose some or much of its flavor when it is. I think Dirt Candy has some way to go, but I applaud them for the ambience and the low prices and the solid pasta dish.

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East Village


Accepts Reservations

Not Wheelchair Accessible


$$$ - expensive


  • MasterCard Visa


  • American
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Eclectic (Fusion)
  • Eclectic (Varied)


  • Romantic



5:30pm - 11pm

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