Candle Cafe West – Upper West Side, NYC

I have to say, I can not believe I haven’t blogged about Candle Cafe West yet. This is one of four (yes FOUR!) vegan restaurants within walking distance of our apartment – and happens to be the closest. When it opened up a year or two ago, we were elated. There are two Candle locations on the East Side, but to have one in our hood was even better. It is one of my most favorite vegan restaurants in the city (along with Pure Food and Wine but this one is sans commute). Maybe I’m the only one…but as a vegan without many vegan friends and family, there are certain places that I love but wouldn’t dare take a meat-eater to. This is not one of those places. In fact, Candle is THE place I take meat-eaters to experience vegan food. The service is always fantastic and it actually has ambiance!

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The restaurant used to be a wine bar and Italian meat-and-cheese heavy locale but the new owners kept the same nice restaurant vibe minus the meat. (You know you’ve lived in a neighborhood for a while when you start referring to locations that used to be). In any event, my good friend Paula and I headed here recently for a much needed catch-up. Surprisingly, we went during the week and there was a good 15 or so minute wait. The bar was full, so we had to stand awkwardly by the door (note to self – apparently this place is getting more popular and we should have made a reservation) but the staff was very polite and actually apologized for the wait and neither of us minded.

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Paula ordered what she always orders at Candle – the BBQ seitan quesadilla. In addition to the BBQ seitan, the quesadilla is filled with sweet potato, black bean puree, tapioca cheese and comes with salsa and really decent guacamole (for a non-Mexican restaurant). Technically an appetizer, it suits one person for dinner just fine.

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I went with one of the fall-themed entrees, the porcini crusted tofu with truffle cauliflower puree, green beans, radishes and mushroom gravy. It was very good and very rich. Maybe I’m a bit truffle crazy, but I thought there could have been more truffle in the cauliflower. Otherwise, I almost licked my plate clean.

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We were talking about my joining of a gym, since I haven’t worked out in a month, and completely contrary to that, we decided dessert was in order. (I still have yet to join a gym….) We went with the peanut butter chocolate mousse pie. Which was absolutely delicious. However, neither of us read the menu close enough to realize that there was a cranberry coulis with the pie. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and fruit. And chocolate and peanut butter. But chocolate and peanut butter and cranberry together was pretty strange. We even called the waitress over to ask if there was a mistake (did someone put fruit sauce on the plate instead of chocolate?). No, it’s intentional. If I ordered again, I’d opt out of the cranberry. But otherwise the pie was fantastic. And clearly, we had no issues finishing it.

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So if you find yourself in my neck of the woods, looking for a nice restaurant with good service and ambiance, look no further. But I’d recommend a reservation, it seems like the word is finally out about Candle’s West Side location.

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3 responses to “Candle Cafe West – Upper West Side, NYC

  1. So jealous that you have so many options so close! My nearest vegan restaurant is across the border, over two hours away! Looks delicious!

  2. Pingback: Best Vegan Brunch in NYC at Candle 79 | Girl Eats Greens·

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