So, FYI, the top searched blog post on this entire site is my review of Candle Cafe, Candle 79’s more casual, and slightly less expensive sister restaurant. So I’m really pleased to finally get to tell you about Candle 79! It’s a really lovely, upscale all vegan restaurant located in the upper east side of Manhattan. I decided on it because of its super close proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Candle Cafe is just a little further south.) I originally planned on having brunch, but once I got there, found the lunch menu more tempting.
Upon arriving, they asked if I had reservations, (nope!) but it wasn’t a problem. It was about 2pm on Sunday, and it was just slowing down from the brunch crowd. I was seated upstairs and enjoyed the quiet & luxe ambiance of the purple velveted walls and gold leafed mirrors.
Everything sounded delicious, so it took a little while to make selections. I ordered a really delicious ginger tisane tea to drink while tending to my arduous task, ; ) It came as a loose tea steeped in a personal size teapot. The server also brought some wonderful banana mini muffins to nibble on.
After a tough decision on appetizers, I ordered the chimichurri seitan. I’d had it at the Cafe before, and it was amazing, so I had pretty high expectations. It did not disappoint! The texture of the seitan was perfect and it was SO delicious. It had all of that wonderful smokiness that I remembered with the fantastic flavors of the chimichurri and 79’s extra sauces.
GRILLED SEITAN CHIMICHURRI, horseradish cream, red pepper coulis… $10
Deciding on lunches was an equally difficult task.
BLACK BEAN-PUMPKIN SEED BURGER with mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, and chipotle ketchup… $14
This was really, really good. Especially the more you got into the burger and past the oversized bun! There were caramelized red onions that made every bite incredibly tasty, and the polenta fries were so satisfying. It was like eating savory fried cornbread. The chipotle in the ketchup was not easily discernible.
STUFFED AVOCADO on baby greens, stuffed with quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, english peas, grape tomatoes, radishes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzled with a chipotle-avocado dressing… $16
My salad was spectacular, albeit a little small. The waitress said it was really meant to be a starter salad more than an entrée salad, which makes you wonder at the $16 lunch price. For $4 more you can get tofu or tempeh added to a salad to make it more substantial, though because we had the seitan first, I ended up getting quite filled up. It had a wonderful variety of different tastes and textures, and the dressing was delicious!
I was pretty stuffed after this, but wanted to try dessert. The MEXICAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIE with caramelized bananas, vanilla mole ice cream, toasted pecans, chocolate-ancho sauce $12, sounded awesome, but I was just too full, so I ordered the HOUSE MADE ICE CREAM & SORBET SAMPLER chef’s daily selection $9, instead.
From Left to right: Peanut Butter ice cream, I can’t remember what the sorbet selection was, and Dulce de Leche ice cream. The peanut butter was absolutely the winner! It tasted less like peanut butter and more like vanilla ice cream infused with fresh roasted peanuts. Superb! The sorbet was super sour and mouth puckering, and quite a contrast to the super sweet and creamy Dulce de Leche.
If you have the opportunity to go to either Candle 79 or Candle Cafe I highly suggest you do so! The food is just amazing, the service is excellent and they have either 79 if you want a more upscale dining experience or the Cafe if you’re feeling a little more laid back. I think it would be difficult to order something bad at either location, and they have plenty raw and gluten-free options too!
Candle 79 is located at 154 East 79th Street at Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, is open M-F for lunch and dinner and Sat & Sun for brunch, and take both credit cards and reservations.