New York, New York! What a wonderful town – and for us coeliacs, this adage rings true.
Although they call us ‘celiacs’, and think that oats are good for us – there’s little else we can hold against the New Yorkers. There are hundreds of restaurants, which cater specifically for coeliacs – simply download the Yelp app and search for gluten-free-friendly eateries near you!
Now, let’s cut to the chase. Here are my top ten recommendations for eating out gluten-free in the big NYC:
This little gem hidden in the lanes of SoHo, is certainly a treat. There are two separate kitchens within this family-run Italian restaurant, so you can kiss you cross-contamination worries goodbye. Do yourself a favour, order lots and takehome leftovers. Trust me, you’re gonna want to relive this meal at breakfast. With limited time and budget, I only managed to try one item on the enticing menu: the bla bla pizza. It was delicious, the crust was enjoyable, and I ate 6 slices of AMERICAN sized pizza in what sitting, which speaks for itself.
Firstly, BREADSTICKS, BREADSTICKS, BREADSTICKS! Italian foods are not only delicious, but filled to the brim with gluten. Luckily, at Risotteria, they have converted all our gluten filled favourites into gluten free versions, including the glorious breadsticks which you are given before each meal. They are crisp, fluffy and honestly are the best things I have ever tasted. I flew back to New York almost purely for another taste of these heavenly sticks. The only thing that could possibly make these better is the fact that they are complentary as soon as you sit down, and if you wolf them down before your meal like I did (twice) they will top you up again – for free!!!!
Now onto the actual meals- I have tried pizza, pasta and their famous risotto – and can give all of them a solid tick of approval. My personal favourite would have been the pizza, but all were super delicious. If you are lucky, and some red velvet cupcakes are fresh out of the oven, do yourself a favour, and try one.
LILLI AND LOO
I have searched high and low for gluten free options in every cuisine; however, Chinese food has never produced the goods. So when I arrived in New York, and was blown away by the multitude of GF options, I hedged my bets and hunted for a GF Chinese restaurant. This story has a happy ending, and its called Lilli and Loo. Not only did they have an entire GF menu, once I ordered they re-assured me of the ingredients and cooking method of each course and that it was gluten free. The relief this reassurance provides is a feeling I’m sure many of you are familiar with. It took me an eternity to decide what to have in this one golden opportunity, and from such an extensive list of options. I opted for dumplings and sweet and sour chicken with rice. The food was incredible and I was stuffed to the absolute brim when I left.
This restaurant opened its doors, the day I left New York… Talk about frustrating! However, a brief chat through the door with a staff member, and some serious stalking on instagram was enough to earn this eatery a spot in the top ten.
Senza glutine claims to be the first 100% gluten free eatery in New York and the menu looks like the food is free of gluten, and full of flavor. Options range from:
PIPS PLACE: GLUTEN FREE CAKERY
7. CANDLE 79
8. 5 NAPKIN BURGER
9. KESTE PIZZA AND VINO
10. PIE BY THE POUND
When you see the universal gluten free symbol in a window (wheat grains with a cross through them), the sigh of relief is often instantaneous. And Pie by the Pound has that, as well as a notice stating it’s a member of the North American Celiac Society – double ticks! Gluten pizza is on offer by the slice, but us coeliacs can order a whole pizza, made fresh in front of us. This eatery was around the corner from our Air B N B hold up, so it became a frequent feeding spot, but its locale wasn’t its only calling card. If you’re after a pizza and you’re anywhere nearby, make the journey – it’ll be worth it. More of a diner-style restaurant so don’t expect anything fancy. If you even consider make-up for dinner, opt for Risotteria or Rubirosa instead.
As I mentioned before, the oats issue really is an issue. Even US Celiac Societies condones the consumption of uncontaminated oats, which are strictly banned for us Aussies, which you guessed it, means even foods labeled GF, may contain oats.
I chose to take the approach of saying I was ‘celiac’ and couldn’t eat oats, which worked much better than attempting to explain the differences in coeliac guidelines between countries (my stomach can vouch for that!).
As always, restaurants/cafes/waitors/waitresses/chefs can change, and the restaurants listed here may not give you the wonderful experience I had on my visit. Always explain your allergies before ordering, and exercise caution.
But most importantly, have a great trip, and don’t panic! If eating out starts to pose too many issues, stick to Wholefoods – a health food store in the form of a supermarket with endless GF options (that you can read the oat-free labels of yourself).
Senza gluten. I was sod bummed when I walked past this sign in the window and found out (from the owner who was indoors) that it was opening LITERALLY the day we were leaving New York. Fortunately for social media, I feel as though i've even here from all the pictures and great reviews I've read. As the sign indicates, it's an entirely gluten free Italian restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Put it on your to visit list!
Tompkins square bagels had plenty of GF bagels are were pretty aware of cross contamination. Luckily, they were located close by our apartment so I could stop off for a quick lunch or breakfast. And after tonnes of smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels I was ready for something sweet and this cinammon and raisin bagel stuffed with nutella and banana certainly hit the spot!
Udi's is a large provider of GF products across America. This was one of my favourite finds during my trip and made for a perfect breakfast. After all, there is nothing worse than waking up hungry and having to hunt for something gluten free to eat! Even better, there's no real need for a kitchen to prep these babies - a mini fridge with avocado, smoked salmon and cream cheese will allow you to have a delicious start to the day.
Look out for this sign to know you're in safe hands when dining out!
Lilli and Loo Chinese Restaurant
Note to Aussie Coeliacs -
Travelling to the US can prove to be difficult ... oats ... 20ppm ...