We all have those non-vegan friends who have no desire to eat a vegan restaurant, even if you tell them they have great margaritas (Ja Ja Ja Mexicana) or a spectacular scene (Gracias Madre). It makes it harder for us vegans to find something on the menu that isn’t a house salad or spaghetti with red sauce. This is how I ended up discovering the best meatballs in New York City.

We all wanted to go to dinner, and I was completely outvoted, so my chance to defend a seitan burger and french fries was just not going to slide. Luckily, we ended up going to Lola Taverna, a new Greek restaurant in SoHo, which meant I could eat a bowl of hummus, olives, crudites, and pita bread, or so I thought. But they had a lot more delicious vegan food on the menu than I ever would have anticipated.

First, I recommend starting with a shared Pikilia platter, which is generally vegan and ordering the Melitzanosalata (smoked eggplant, tahini, and garlic), muhammara (roasted red peppers, pomegranate, and walnuts) and the fava (caramelized onions, and capers), with a side of delicious roasted pita, cut into smaller triangles.

The Best Vegan Meatballs In New York

Then, once we were all satisfied and feeling pretty full from the Greek dips, I took a deeper dive into the menu, and noticed they had meatless meatballs; which just so happened to be the tastiest vegan meatballs I’ve ever had. They were better than any meatballs at any vegan restaurant I’ve been to, in New York or Los Angeles, or even my favorite store-bought brand of meatless meatballs, Gardein.

 

(Side Note: The meatless meatballs are great served as prepared by the chef for vegetarians, but for vegans, you have to ask for "no feta foam," which the kitchen happily can do.)

The texture is very similar to an actual meatball and far superior to most, which taste like a ball of soy. The closest thing I can compare it to are Sweedish meatless meatballs, because they were on the smaller size and had a sweet finish.

I couldn’t believe that they were actually vegan and forgot to take a picture of the beautiful dish before I entirely devoured it (in this case the phone did not eat first). By the time I remembered to photograph them, there was only one bite left. See below for that bite.

 

I can't wait to tell my vegan friends my newest discovery of meatless meatballs at a non-vegan restaurant. And, aside from the food, the atmosphere feels like you're at a chic restaurant in Santorini with really large windows, but with a view of New York City's busy streets. I will be back soon and often.