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NYC Metro Area Vegan Restaurant Guide

Candle Café

Food: 44
Atmosphere: 3.763.76
Service: 3.963.96

(27 customer reviews. Leave your own!)

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1307 3rd Avenue
New York   NY 10021
(212) 472-0970
Fax: (212) 472-7169
Candle Café website

Veg level:

100% Vegan

Price Range:

$$$$$ (Average entree cost: $15-$20)

Accepted Payments:

  • Visa
  • ·
  • Mastercard
  • ·
  • American Express

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 11:30am-10:30pm; Sun: 11:30am-9:30pm

Directions:

6 train to 77th Street. Between 74th and 75th

Delivery notes:

Candle Café delivers.

Mon-Sat: 12:00pm-9:30pm; Sun: 12:00pm-9:00pm

Notes:

All vegan-- they now serve Teese Cheese. No more casein!

Bookmark and Share The information on this page was last updated on November 4, 2010.

User Reviews of Candle Café

Averaged user ratings:

(1 star = lousy; 5 stars = great)
Food: 44
Atmosphere: 3.763.76
Service: 3.963.96
  • Review by VeganMike on March 24, 2011:

  • Every time I go to the city it's SO hard NOT to go to Candle Cafe. I've been close to a dozen times and it's been great every single time. The food is really good. The chicken parm sandwich is one of those items that I struggle with not to get every single time I'm there because while I love it, I really want to try something new. I've brought non-vegans with me to this place and they want to go back for more. The place is always packed no matter when you go but I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get a table. The service is fantastic. And don't be surprised to see a celebrity every now and then.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by conniex721 on February 7, 2011:

  • I had a good time at this restaurant! For an appetizer I had the seitan skewers with chimichurri, which were AMAZING. My friends really enjoyed their juices. I had the special Indian Plate which I enjoyed. The chutney, sweet potato, and bread was really good. I thought the chickpeas could have been softer, and the rice wasn't fantastic. For dessert I tried the chocolate mousse cake which was good, but SO RICH and not very complex. It didn't blow me away. I suppose the prices are a bit high but I liked our service and the whole restaurant's set up, so I would come back!
    It seems that desserts are not their specialty, but the food is good!
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by stevenreichert on June 3, 2010:

  • What a lovely and sophisticated scene on a warm spring evening! This cafe is small, but the staff is friendly and efficient.

    The artful beet salad was an adventure to eat. There was an interesting flavor and texture with every bite. The apples added sweetness, the beets were soft and juicy, the cashew cheese was light and zippy, and the pumpkin dressing was sweet and mellow. The arugula and fennel was a nice, peppery addition. The balance of flavors and ingredients make this one of the best dishes in the city!

    The crusted seitan was comforting. The seitan was fried and had a crunchy texture, and was topped with a zesty, marinated oyster mushroom. Underneath was a layer of flavorful mashed potatoes. The base of the tower was a bed of spinach and green beans. I thought the green beans didn't quite fit here, but maybe they just didn't work well competing with another green veggie. A simple gravy covered the stack and gave a nice moisture to the dish.

    Unfortunately, my meal ended on a low note. I ordered the chocolate cake, and I knew I was in trouble when I saw it come right from the refrigerator. Desserts rarely shine when cold, but also this cake was hard and dry. I told this to the waiter and he promptly deducted it from my tab. My experience seemed typical of other reviewers on SuperVegan who also said the desserts here are disappointing.

    I would love to give Candle Cafe five stars for their food, but the poor dessert forces me to give only four.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by gmjohnso on May 8, 2010:

  • Waitress never checked on us after we received our orders, so we never had a chance to complain about the terrible food. I ordered the Barbeque Tempeh, and it was a block of tempeh, without any marinade or sauce, sandwiched between mushy sweet potato and wilted kale. It was very bland and uninspired. We also were disappointed that the waitress chastised us for bringing a soda bottle in with us. We had been walking the city all day, the bottle was empty, and we were waiting to recycle it later; but the waitress said nothing "unvegan" was allowed in the restaurant. We're both longtime vegans, and her comment made the atmosphere of the restaurant unfriendly and elitist.
  • Food: 22
    Atmosphere: 22
    Service: 22
  • Review by happyherbivore on January 6, 2010:

  • a lil' pricy but worth it. The seating can be a little cramped and hot at times; reservations on the weekends are a must! I've eaten here a number of times, usually in the company of omnivores who like it as much as I do.

    I highly recommend the paradise casserole or any daily special; my hubby is partial to the cajun sandwich.
  • Food: 55
  • Review by Sam C on July 12, 2009:

  • The food is as mind-blowingly good as at Candle 79, while the atmosphere is far more casual, which suits my typical jeans-and-T-shirt suit. Waitresses are attentive but not tripping over themselves. By far my favorite restaurant.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by Bookman on May 17, 2009:

  • My wife and I returned for my birthday, and I couldn't have been more happy with the food and staff! The Cafe is relatively casual, but we were seated immediately and given excellent service throughout the meal from two different servers (the first left at the end of her shift).

    The food was some of the best we've ever had! My wife got the taco salad, a huge portion with a great mix of spicy flavor and fresh ingredients. I ordered the pasta special spinach fettucini, which was covered in the creamiest, most delicious sauce I've ever had! For the first time ever, my wife conceded that I had ordered the better entree.

    Dessert was chocolate vanilla cheesecake, smooth and tasty, with great coffee. I even got to blow out the candles!

    I recommend the Cafe highly and enjoy it every time we go.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by myfi on April 21, 2009:

  • Well I've never actually been to Candle 79 so I can't offer a comparison, but we opted for this because we wanted a comfortable casual dinner, and that was delivered. The atmosphere is great, the juice bar smells amazing, the service is fast and friendly. But most importantly the food is fantastic!!! The quesadilla is one of the only soy-cheesy things I've had that didn't make me retch. The greek salad was delicious...and I rarely rave about a restaurant salad. The sweet potato smoothie was also super yum. Apparently it tasted like thanksgiving, but being from Australia I don't have much experience in that area.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by Minion of Seitan on April 12, 2009:

  • I agree with other posters - they have narrowed the price differential between Candle 79 and Candle Cafe to the point where you might as well just pay an extra couple of bucks and enjoy a much nicer ambiance.

    The food is fine, but I think the descriptions are a bit pretentious and a result the food doesn't live up to its billing. For instance, the porcini-encrusted tofu is fine, but it is not "encrusted"...it is breaded. Encrusted would be awesome little discrete bits embedded around the tofu. This is moist fried breading like you'd get at a vegan diner. I'm not complaining about the food--it is delicious overall--but I guess I do expect a bit more given the price point and high-falutin' descriptions on the menu.

    The service is great.
  • Food: 33
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by bollocks14 on March 25, 2009:

  • I don't normally bother to leave reviews, but come on. The food is bad, and the prices are high. You pay top dollar expecting some delivery on all the hype this place has gotten, but you're just left with atrocious food and a hefty bill. The food is uninspiring to say the least, and most of it was not at all as nice as it is described on the fancy menu. I would seriously suggest you try some other vegan place before you try this one. Not only would it be cheaper, but based on lots of experience at other restaurants, the food will probably be a lot better.
  • Food: 11
    Atmosphere: 11
    Service: 11
  • Review by turtledog on February 16, 2009:

  • The day before Valentine's Day my husband and I were going to go to Candle 79 but decided we wanted to go somewhere a little less formal since we were between lunch and dinnertime and on our way to the museum.

    I have only great things to say about my experience at Candle Cafe. My husband and I went there on a Friday afternoon; we were just after the lunch rush so we got a table right away (but after eating here, we would wait an hour if we had to). Our servers were all friendly and attentive.

    For appetizers we had the seitan skewers with chimichurri and the foccaccia - both were delicious. My husband had the Tuscan lasagna which we loved (and he's picky about Italian food). I had the porcini-crusted seitan with garlic-shallot mashed potatoes with gravy and sauteed green beans and spinach. What a great comfort food meal. It was the most delicious thing I've eaten since becoming vegetarian.

    For dessert my husband had the chocolate mousse cake and we had really good coffee. The portions were generously sized and the prices were fair. Our entire meal only came out to about $65 for the three courses.

    We can't wait to visit again. Since the place isn't that large, I would suggest going off-hours to ensure getting a table quickly but again, it is definitely worth the wait.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by beanmail on February 3, 2009:

  • You may as well just go to Candle 79; Candle Cafe raised their prices- presumably "since they could" & nothing has changed. For a few bucks more you can enjoy a better meal at a much more beautiful place.
  • Food: 33
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 33
  • Review by PlomeekSoup on January 27, 2009:

  • I came here today for lunch with a friend, and it was packed. We waited about half an hour outside for a table, but it was worth it.

    We shared the roasted pear salad, which was good, but definitely made worthy by the cranberry vinaigrette. For my main, I ordered the cajun seitan sandwich, which was HUGE and super tasty. It came with an ancho chili aioli, which went well with the sandwich.

    The only uninspired portion on the plate was the cole slaw, but I'm not a huge fan of cole slaw to begin with.

    I will definitely return.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by NotBuyingIt! on January 25, 2009:

  • I have been here about 3 or four times. I really like it. I brought my whole office here once (about six people) all who are not veg. They all raved about the food and I had no influence on what they picked. One person was a "Foodie" from Long Island, another was a "real" Italian woman who loves traditional home Italian cooking and is also from Long Island, another is an all American meat and potatoes older woman from Queens, another is a very picky all American girl from Queens/Long Island and the other is a traditional Latina from the Bronx. Everyone thanked me for convincing them to go here and a couple made arrangements to come back again. The food is above average and the atmosphere is pretty nice. Each time I've eaten here I've spent about $30 and found it worth every penny (this is coming from a cheap-o). If you go during busy times expect to wait a little while.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by vegbuddhalife on January 16, 2009:

  • I feel bad about leaving a bad review for the ole Candle, but I've eaten their food 3 times (once for a sit down meal, twice for takeout) and have never come away with an opinion better than "meh". For those prices, the food should be awesome and the desserts should never, ever be stale. Sadly, my carrot cake was just that. Dry and stale. Far better food and prices to be had at snice!
  • Food: 22
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 33
  • Review by smalltownvegan on January 1, 2009:

  • This was our first vegan meal in NYC...and it was good until I got to try some other places. I got the cajun seitan sandwich which is excellent, but not for that price. The Mexican burrito has some interesting flavors (mostly related to the basmati rice). I couldn't believe the prices for the food though. The staff is a little holier than thou which is disappointing. The COOKIES SUCK. Do not get any desserts here!!
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 22
  • Review by BankBank on June 27, 2008:

  • Oh my god! I came on a Thursday evening by myself and it was *packed*. I sat at the bar and ordered a sauteed broccoli appetizer and one of the daily specials: a southwestern tofu wrap. The broccoli came out steamed, but it didn't take long for me to get the attention of the waitress and she quickly took it back. The "sauteed" broccoli that came back was obviously the steamed broccoli, which I guess is okay since wasting food is lame, but it just did not taste all that exciting. Nowhere near 'snice's broccoli (epic broccoli).

    But then: The Wrap. Oh lawd, has I gone to heaven? The tofu had the texture that other proteins envy from across the room. This tofu was succulent, this tofu was flavorful, this tofu was sensational. The beans inside were great, the dippin' sauce was zesty and delish, and the cole slaw seemed pretty healthy.

    I will hopefully be coming back to this place soon. Yeah, the location is a bit out of the way, and it's a little pricey, and I could see it as generally being pretty busy, but for food this good, I would do a lot more than bike 50 blocks!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 44
  • Review by chelsey on May 3, 2008:

  • I've been disappointed with Candle Cafe in the past (maybe because I love Candle 79 so much) but their new menu for the spring changed that for me today.

    First of all, they use Teese (Tease?) vegan cheese now so you don't have to worry about the unvegan soy cheese anymore. My boyfriend got the quesadilla appetizer which had that lovely substance in it and it was mind blowing. He compared it to the stuffed manicotti at Candle 79 which speaks for a lot. It's not manicotti-ish but I guess awkward to eat in the same way? Whatever, just get the quesadilla at Candle Cafe.

    I was really happy to see the Aztec Salad on the spring menu too. I had it once before at 79 as a special and dreamed about it ever since. I promise you it's not "just a salad". I would recommend this to anyone.

    For our main course, we got the porcini-crusted seitan and the pumpkin seed crusted seitan (the special). If you know Candle Cafe and Candle 79, you know the seitans are a must. I can't go to either restaurant without getting one of the seitan dishes. The porcini-crusted seitan came with some potato thing and was just perfect and creamy and wonderful and I want some right now. My boyfriend like the pumpkin seed crusted seitan better. It came prepared much like a Mexican dish with black beans and guacamole... but also quinoa and whatnot. Really really great.

    Oh, and don't forget to get the carrot cake. I never did until today and I'm not too sure what my problem was.

    Overall, the food was amazing, the service a little slow, and the price-scary. However, the value speaks for itself...I'm still full and it's been over 6 hours since the meal. It will be hard to eat anything else again because nothing will ever be so good.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 44
  • Review by I_like_veggies on December 5, 2007:

  • Sustainable???? Are you crazy?! They have some of the most environmentally unfriendly containers while they've known about Greenware, compostable "plasticware" made if corn, and Boipak 100% postconsumer waste containers for years and yet they still use those heavy plastic containers.
    Plus the casein thing, not to mention the bee pollen, is ridiculous They've been asked be customers for years to switch and they haven't. They've probably been too busy telling everyone how sustainable and caring of the environment they are to change. Plus a friend of mine who works there told me thier caring for the animals has its limits and their quite the hypocrites.
    I've been there and had warmed up "SoyBoy" raviolis as the special.
    Overall the food is pretty good.
    Most of the waitstaff are awesome, while a few of them suck.
    Candle 79 is better or try Cafe Blossom across town.
  • Food: 33
    Atmosphere: 22
    Service: 33
  • Review by the_food_prude on November 25, 2007:

  • i totally love candle and am surprised by people's postings. however, like any establishment, a bad experience can easily set the tone.

    i've eaten there for years now and its usually great. i recall maybe 3 boring dishes but overall they are stellar. so much, in fact, that i got the cookbook which is quickly proving to be a hit as well.

    my biggest complaint is the lack of space--not an uncommon issue in this city. i think their desserts could be a bit better too depending on what you get. i'm not a sweets person though so don't quote me there.

    also, the service is definitely above average--the servers are friendly, accomodating, knowledgeable. funny how they're all hot too....
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 55
  • Review by gjo on November 5, 2007:

  • I was quite disappointed with Candle Cafe. The Porcini Crusted Seitan, although edible, was fairly tasteless beyond the marinated mushroom on top. The Spinach Pie was bland, lacking both salt and spices, and was accompanied with a poorly made gravy and squash puree, which was actually decent. As disappointing as the entrees were, however, it was no comparison to how bad the dessert was. I had the "Decadent Chocolate Cake," which was anything but decadent. It was denser than a brownie, but it was so dry that it made an Oreo look moist. Even if one could put aside the horrible texture, the flavor was quite lacking. I could barely take a few bites of it.

    Although, especially given all the positive review, I shouldn't generalize from this one experience, I won't be going here again unless someone else is paying and I most certainly would not bring a non-vegan here.
  • Food: 11
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by jaundice on October 31, 2007:

  • Incredible food and a great atmosphere. The group I was with all loved this place and put it near the top of best places to eat. Except the chocolate chip cookie, which was inexplicably cakey and bland. Otherwise a slam dunk.
  • Review by ariela on October 19, 2007:

  • I hadn't been here in years but decided to go here for lunch with my mom today. We split the chipotle grilled tofu & the cajun seitan sandiwch. I wasn't a fan of the tofu in the first dish because I'm not a fan of smoked flavor but the rest of the dish(avocado,quinoa,beans,mango salsa) was so so good. very flavorful. The sandwich was amazing! so so good. I really wanted cake but I was so full but it was a healthy full not a sickly stuffed full. The portions were a good size. The waitress was very very friendly & helpful. I can't wait to go back again!!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by elizabet on May 14, 2007:

  • I think this less-fancy sister of Candle 79 is great.
    I highly recommend it!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by Laura Leslie on November 20, 2006:

  • I'm not too impressed with Candle Cafe. They're a slightly above average vegetarian place, but with the prices they charge, they need to be a lot better.

    It's generally crowded and the atmosphere is nothing special. The dishes sound great on the menu, but they're always a little disappointing, generally because they're too bland. I can't get my non-veg friends to go here because they think of it as stereotypical boring hippie vegan food. And the prices are ridiculous.

    There's also no excuse for them to serve cheese made with casein in an otherwise vegan place. Honestly, know your audience, people.

    Try Candle 79 instead. They've got even higher prices, but the food, service, and atmosphere are actually worth it there.
  • Food: 33
    Atmosphere: 22
    Service: 33
  • Review by frank language on September 2, 2006:

  • I just love Candle; whenever I'm in the neighborhood, I like to go here. I almost feel like a "vegan ambassador" taking people here; I even took my mother and sister last week when they were in town and they were impressed with the excellent food. (My sister calls herself a "pseudo-vegetarian" - meaning she'll eat chicken "if I have to" - and my mother is an omnivore.)

    Being a sustainably-run establishment is a huge plus as well; I wonder how long it will take for people to make the connection between sustainability and survival. Candle has been a sustainably run restaurant for over ten years now, and does it with style. And even when I don't have the time or money to eat in, I like to get a couple of their cookies to go.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by mykeywestangel on May 11, 2006:

  • Although the food is great here, sometimes the staff can be a little surly. The clientele are a little pretentious which I have never really encountered at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant before. Their restaurant (candle 79) had a much better atmosphere but was more expensive!
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 33

Restaurant reviews are temporarily closed. We look forward to accepting your reviews again soon!

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