Friday, July 22, 2011

Candle Cafe

This was a belated birthday present from my awesome Dad, who gave me a gift card to Candle Café back in April when I was too busy working on a film shoot to eat any veggie burgers. And then I’ve just been working too much (or camping, or going to the beach…) since then, and the upper east side is not exactly a neighborhood I find myself in very often. So it took me a few months to finally redeem the giftcard…


Someone told my dad that this restaurant was supposed to have one of the best veggie burgers in the city, and I had already had it on my to-try list too. But because it was also a birthday dinner, my friend and I had to treat ourselves to an appetizer too…

These seitan chimichurri skewers were AMAZING. If you go to Candle Café, you absolutely MUST order them!

But on to the veggie burger…


Completely vegan (like everything at Candle Café), the burger is described as a “seitan burger on seeded bun”, I splurged and paid an extra $2 for tapioca cheese… because, well, tapioca cheese! I’ve never seen or heard of tapioca cheese, and I’m always interested in trying new vegan cheeses.

all stacked up with the toppings

This is why I normally do not have photos taken of myself eating, haha.

The bun was hearty and very seedy, slightly sweet – it tasted very good although it was a bit chewier than I expected in a burger bun. It was closer to the consistency of a chewy french baguette.

The patty itself was heavily flavored with herbs – rosemary in particular stood out to me. It was delicious, and the taste kind of reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing. But unlike our juicy seitan appetizer, the burger was a little bit drier and breadier. It didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of it too much though, because my toppings compensated for it…


The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and juicy (it appeared that the chef had even cut out the center of one of the slices, something I myself do at home to avoid tough or green centers, but something I rarely see in a restaurant! How awesome!), the lettuce was fresh and crispy, and the onions added a nice crunch. But the tapioca cheese stole the show. Simply amazing! Perfectly melty and gooey, it tasted similar to daiya, which I have since learned (through google) also contains tapioca. Is daiya what Candle Café uses, or do they make their own tapioca cheese? Does anyone know? Either way, delicious. I normally hate paying extra for additional toppings, but in this case I would say it is definitely worth it, because including the cheese balances out the textures and moisture and elevates the burger to a much higher level.

And of course I had to order the vegan cheesecake for dessert ;)


Cost: $13 (+$2 for tapioca cheese)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4      Bun: 4      Toppings: 5

Candle Café
1307 3rd Avenue
between 74th and 75th street
New York, NY 10021

YumVeggieBurger review #67


  1. tapioca cheese? That sounds nuts- but looks so good and melty. Have to make it out there one day-but dragging a meat eating bf into vegan restaurants is hard, not because he's against it, but because we typically eat veggie/vegan at home, so when we go out, it's his chance to eat whatever he wants

  2. Liz, I bet your bf will love the seitan chimichurri so much he won't mind! ;)

  3. Ali, I do think both the Candle's use Daiya, but I've found that most restaurants that do don't call it by name. Try the cheddar!

  4. The tapioca cheese is made at the restaurant. I have the cook book on how to make it at home.

  5. Interesting... that might be something I have to try one day! Homemade tapioca cheese!