Mira Manek – food writer, chef, and creator of best-selling Indian healthy treats – tells us about the parts of New York that inspire her to creativity. Here, she walks us through Soho, giving the best places to grab a juice, indulge in ramen, or treat yourself with a gluten free donut. There are also tips on where to burn off the calories ready for your next meal, and ideas for some great hotels to rest your head.
Sitting in cafés, pondering, reading, being inspired and writing, is something I’ve always loved doing. This year, I’ve done lots of short trips, blasts of high energy, very different to the way I travelled over the last few years – weeks which extended into months. I’m in New York at the moment, one of my favourite cities which has an incredible selection of healthy cafes, with creative flavourful food and great atmosphere. And I’m finally able to do just that… sit, think, write, indulge in deliciously crafted healthy dishes, go to a yoga class here and there and meet friends. It’s been a number of years since I’ve stayed in Soho and I absolutely love this area! So I thought I’d put together my list of healthy deliciousness and wellness, little finds and recommendations, all in and around downtown Soho. So here it is:
185 Bleecker Street
There was a queue to get a table on Saturday afternoon but it was well worth it. Luckily, there were three of us so we ordered a few dishes that we could all try – the way it should be done. The Guac Burger, Kale Caesar salad with shitake bacon, Spicy Thai with tempeh and quinoa was all delicious! I was a little cold and fancied something sweet, so let myself indulge in a super sweet hot chocolate made with almond milk topped with marshmallow pieces. I’m definitely going back!
152 Prince Street/ West Broadway
These sweet and savoury Greek yoghurt creations are deliciously inventive, creative and gorgeous. I had a Greek yoghurt with hummus and za’atar and chickpeas, with a small portion of heart-warming lentil soup, followed by a sweet yogurt creation topped with dark chocolate, orange pieces, pistachios and mint. Grab a seat by the window – West Broadway has to be one of the best streets for people-watching.
75 9th Avenue, Meatpacking District
I love the Meatpacking district, just a fifteen minute walk from Soho, and Chelsea market has lots of great food all under one roof. The vegan ramen bowl at Mok Bar is simply perfect – tasty, spicy, wholesome and healthy.
19 Kenmare St, Corner of Elizabeth Street
‘…we treat fruits and vegetables as a butcher would meat’ love that! A cosy and earthy café, people walking in and out, great to sit outside if not too cold, and good food. I wasn’t very hungry so had a Solar Power green smoothie (frozen pineapple, avocado, kale, cilantro, young thai coconut and hemp protein), but I certainly want to come back for the food – Tacos Verdes for brunch with tempeh, avocado, Spicy Kale Caesar Salad and for dinner I want the Butcher’s Burger!
379 Broome Street
Such a beautiful light-filled spacious cafe where you can sit on sofas and work, enjoy Greek yoghurt – the real deal! And they have a delicious butternut squash soup for lunch, freshly baked cakes and lots more!
Equinox juice bar
69 Prince Street
If you’re into juices and smoothies, Equinox gym has a brilliant bar downstairs, just off Broadway. You might spend a good half hour mulling over the menu – there really are a lot of options. But everything I’ve ever had here is delicious. From staple orange and carrot juices to Green smoothies with frozen coconut milk or hemp or almond milk to thick peanut and almond butter and banana smoothies and acai bowls. Just yummy! A good place to grab a juice to go.
248 Broome Street, between Orchard and Ludlow, Lower East Side
Stroll over to the lower east side for some delicious vegan cupcakes and doughnuts. A cute cosy bakery with all that is gluten free, egg, dairy and soy free.
86 Allen Street, between Grand and Broome, Lower East Side
And this was the last quick stop on my trip, again on the lower east side. It’s open in the evenings and for brunch on weekends – fabulous gourmet vegetarian dishes. Brussels Sprouts tacos was definitely an interesting fun one!
175 Avenue B, Lower East Side
This new restaurant came recommended by a few people – a real creative and fun approach to Indian dining. I didn’t make it in the end but can’t wait to visit next time!
430 east 9th Street, Lower East Side
Apparently this hole in the wall vegetarian spot has the best burgers in town – again didn’t make it this time!
I like to fit in a yoga or spin class here and there when I can during all my trips and this time I started the weekend with a high-powered spin class at Soul Cycle – literally a few doors down from my hotel. I then went to Y7 during the week for a few hot vinyasa class in candlelight to hip hop music. Yogaworks on Broadway is also great for yoga. I do also love Jivamukti yoga in Union Square – always been one of my favourite yoga spots in New York, and their cafe is fabulous. If you want to try a barre class, Exhale Soho is great! Soho has so many fantastic options you’ll certainly manage to fit something in.