Dinner Menu – River Café – Michelin Starred Restaurant – Nyc: Does It Have A Vegetarian Menu?

Dinner Menu - River Café - Michelin Starred Restaurant - Nyc: Does It Have A Vegetarian Menu?
Joe Squatch

Joe Squatch

September 7, 2022

Dining at a Michelin starred restaurant is on the bucket list of many people. 

Whether it’s the dream to experience an atmosphere of such high quality and class, or simply to be able to taste some of the finest cooking and presentation in the world, it’s a popular aspiration. 

Dinner Menu - River Café - Michelin Starred Restaurant - Nyc: Does It Have A Vegetarian Menu?

River Café in Brooklyn is one such restaurant, with its unique location, beautiful skyline views, and Michelin star to boot. 

However, if you have dietary restrictions, such as a vegetarian diet, you may be wondering if there is even anything that you could eat at River Café. 

In this article, we will be looking at whether River Café has a vegetarian menu and whether it is worth the trip if you don’t eat meat. 

Does River Café Have A Vegetarian Menu?

In short, yes, River Café does have a vegetarian menu.  However, other than the vegetarian appetizers that they offer, you will not be able to view the vegetarian menu in advance of making a reservation. 

This is perfectly fine if you aren’t too bothered about knowing what is going to be available on the menu and trust the Michelin star status of this restaurant to provide you with a delicious meal no matter what is on it. 

However, if you are someone who likes to be able to have at least an idea in advance of what might be available, this is definitely going to be a downside of River Café. 

It also makes it a little bit inconvenient if you have anyone in your party that is vegetarian and has allergies as it requires a back and forth between you and the business to establish whether it is a suitable location for you to visit.

Appetizers Menu

The overall appetizers menu at River Café features a total of eleven options.  Just two of those options are suitable for vegetarians and one of them needs to be modified to be vegetarian. 

This by itself feels disappointing when you have nine very meat-heavy options.  

Of the two vegetarian options on this menu, there is a burrata and melon salad which as standard features crisp pork guanciale. 

You can either request that the salad be made without the pork, or, if your beliefs allow, you could simply remove the pork yourself and offer it to another member of your party. 

Although, the second option isn’t ideal when you want to indulge in a Michelin star dining experience.  

The other option on the appetizer menu is a gnocchi dish featuring ricotta, summer squash, arugula pesto, and caramelized chanterelle mushroom sauce. 

This option is vegetarian as standard and sounds like quite a substantial appetizer.  Unfortunately, if you don’t like mushrooms, you will have to stick to making alterations to your alternative appetizer option. 

Entrée Menu

The entrée menu is a little more complicated when it comes to vegetarian options at River Café. 

When perusing the menu on their website prior to making a reservation, it appears that there are no vegetarian options at all.  That is until you reach the bottom of the menu. 

The River Café website states that there is a vegetarian menu that is available on request.  The good thing about this is that it suggests that there is a full vegetarian menu rather than one or two token vegetarian items. 

The bad thing about it is that there is no way of knowing what is on that menu before you have made a reservation and perhaps until you arrive at the restaurant. 

Dinner Menu - River Café - Michelin Starred Restaurant - Nyc: Does It Have A Vegetarian Menu?

This can be off-putting, especially if you like to have an idea of what you can choose from before arriving or booking a table.  

The general consensus from customer reviews is that the vegetarian menu that is offered upon request is still extremely limited and there is a lot of compromising that needs to be done (You might also want to check out Does Jean-Georges Have A Vegetarian Menu?). 

The main dish that seems to be offered as standard is mushroom wellington which, while a delicious choice of dish, isn’t ideal if you don’t like mushrooms. 

It also means that as a vegetarian diner, you are likely to have to choose two courses of mushrooms that don’t make for a very varied meal.  

Other customers have reported that they were able to come up with a dish that didn’t center around mushrooms with the wait staff, although these dishes seemed to consist mostly of stir-fried or steamed vegetables. 

If you are happy to scour the menu for ingredients and come up with a combination yourself, this could be a good option. 

Customer reviews suggest that the wait staff are very willing to help accommodate your dietary needs wherever possible, but the standard vegetarian menu is lacking in choice. 

Dessert Menu

As would be expected, the dessert menu is filled with vegetarian-friendly options and is surprisingly varied. 

From a well thought out cheese board to a coffee souffle, all the way to a goat’s cheese cheesecake, there is plenty to choose from.  However, the pièce de résistance of the dessert menu at River Café is the chocolate Brooklyn Bridge. 

This dessert is a sculpture of the Brooklyn Bridge that the restaurant is located under. 

Made from dark chocolate and featuring passion fruit ice cream, banana-macadamia ganache, and banana spuma. 

It really is the dessert to end all desserts and it will make you forget all about your onslaught of mushrooms. 

How Accommodating Is River Café?

Although the options for vegetarian diners are fairly limited from the menu at River Café, the wait staff are incredibly friendly and are willing to help create special dishes that accommodate your dietary needs. 

They appear to have a strong understanding of the ingredients that are available for the kitchen to work with and strive to ensure that you end up with a dish that is not only vegetarian but equally as delicious as the dishes that contain meat.  

It is possible to contact the restaurant prior to your reservation and arrange a specific menu for your vegetarian guests in advance. 

This can significantly reduce the stress and pressure of coming up with a dish on the spot with a waiter.  Customers have reported doing this before and ending up with delicious, well-prepared vegetarian dishes.

Frequently Asked Question

Does River Café Have Vegan Options?

Vegan or plant-based diets are becoming more and more popular.  As such, it is important for restaurants to alter their menus so that vegan options are available as well as vegetarian options. 

Although it can be very difficult to change vegetarian dishes into vegan dishes on the spot due to the cream and cheese elements that are likely intrinsic to the recipe, River Café strives to offer vegan alternatives when it can. 

If there is a vegan member of your dining party, it would be beneficial to contact the restaurant prior to your visit to ensure that they are aware of the dietary restrictions of some of your party and can work out a menu that will meet their needs.

Final Thoughts

River Café is a high-quality restaurant with incredible views and ambiance. 

While their vegetarian menu may be lacking, they are willing to alter dishes and create special dishes to accommodate any dietary restrictions that guests may have.

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