1. Cultivate, Rahway, NJ

This vegan spot has become my absolute FAVORITE in the last year. Its "Not a Chicken Sandwich," paired with French fries and a berry hibiscus iced tea, is a delicious first meal to try out.

Its location and menu options are a great pair for a solo date or a group hangout with friends, with a menu filled with dishes everyone will want to try!

Bonus Recommendation: The crispy fried mushrooms as an appetizer are a MUST!

2. Veganized, New Brunswick, NJ 

A go-to for me has to be New Brunswick's very own, 'Veganized.'  My go-to order (which has not changed in almost three years of visiting the restaurant) is the deluxe mac & cheese with a side of fries.

The restaurant is a little more on the expensive side, so I would recommend visiting with friends, splitting the bill, and trying new things off the menu together! The appetizers of "Off the Grill" mushrooms and "Hen of the Woods" introduce a new world of everything mushrooms can be; they're worth a try, even if it's only one!

3. Menya Ramen House, Metuchen, NJ

I LOVE ramen, but sometimes, finding spicy ramen with a non-meat base can be difficult. Menya Ramen makes it easier with its selection of Vegan Ramen Dishes.

Feeling a bit under the weather? The "Vegan Spirit Lifter" is a true lifesaver. The dish is a curry-flavored broth with an array of veggies and is perfect for rainy April weather. The location atmosphere is perfect for a date or a hangout with a friend, and it is located next to some amazing dessert spots to try out, too! 

4. Spice 24, Edison, NJ

The best food is the meal you get to fully customize. Spice 24 is a place I frequent the most during finals season/cram time for studying to get a full meal in. The spot is vegetarian and pescatarian-friendly with its multitude of topping options and variations! If you're a stir-fry and spicy food lover like me, this is a great place to try! I am a pescatarian and add seafood to my order, but my go-to flavor is ginger and scallion with a medium spice level.

Don't feel like customizing a stir-fry or feel overwhelmed with the choices (also me!)? They have menu items that are marked vegetarian and are worth a try! For example, veggie soup with glass noodles, shanghai veggie spring rolls, and veggie and egg fried rice.

5. LUA Vietnamese Cuisine, Edison

LUA is another good spot located near Spice 24 and is worth trying with a group of friends! The menu primarily fits those who prefer meat dishes, but it includes around four vegetarian dishes and a handful of pescatarian-friendly dishes!

I haven't visited in a while, but the dishes I have tried include the fried calamari and vegetarian phở chay (vegetarian noodle soup), which were delicious. The appetizer-size was great for sharing!

6. Destination Dogs, New Brunswick

Located right on the Rutgers—New Brunswick campus is an international travel experience. Destination Dogs is all about hot dogs with international flavor influences, and the best part is that they have meatless options to try!

The menu is split between "Domestic" options, "International" options, and "Pilot Your Own Dog." The environment is great for catching up with friends while trying something new. Certain menu items from "Domestic" and "International" are marked with a logo to indicate that they can be swapped for a vegetarian or vegan-friendly option. My personal faves were the "Conquistadog" and "The Oscar." I'm planning my next bite to be the "Scarlet Bite."

7. Ugly Dumpling, Edison, NJ

As one may have noticed, based on this list, I love a spot that allows sharing. Ugly Dumpling is a great choice for the next group day/night out.

Its limited-time menu item "tilapia bites" is deliciously shareable! My personal order is usually the vegan spicy dumplings, a scallion pancake, edamame, and cucumber salad to share.  

8. Soul Bowls, Metuchen, NJ

Once the sun and warm weather make its much-awaited return, I will be returning to Soul Bowls in Metuchen. Its menu includes smoothie bowls (of course), juices & shots, iced coffee, Nespresso hot coffee, and in-house-made snacks! 

The "VayKay" smoothie bowl is equally refreshing as it is filling. Soul Bowls offers a great portion size. Looking to enjoy a bowl by yourself? I would recommend ordering a small for your first order. Looking to share a bowl? The large one would be your best choice!

9. Rakkii Ramen, New Brunswick, NJ

As a broth and ramen lover, I had to include another spot. Rakkii Ramen is near the College Avenue campus on George Street.

On a rainy day, it's a great spot to enjoy the vegetable ramen (my personal go-to) or seafood ramen with charred edamame and takoyaki.

10. Sakana Sushi & Japanese Cuisine, New Brunswick, NJ

If there is one thing I love more than sushi, it's all-you-can-eat sushi! Sakana Sushi is another spot near College Avenue and is great for stress-eating pre or post-exam season. Its AYCE menu is expansive and includes some of my favorites, such as miso soup, udon or ramen soup, specialty sushi rolls, and more!