Hey Dude…Where Should I Eat Gluten-Free in New York City?

what are the best gluten-free restaurants in new york city?

Traveling as a celiac can be stressful. Especially when going to a big city like New York when you are not familiar with it. So many choices to eat, but are they really safe? And if they’re safe, are they any good??

I got the following three messages in the past week.

Hi Gluten Dude. I love the fact you’re in our tribe. Thank you for all your commentary and keeping this disease alive and out there. My family and I are heading to New York this week. Can you recommend a few good restaurants? We’re going to be close to Time Square, but of course we’d travel far and wide for something good.
Hey Gluten Dude. I’m visiting America for the first time ever on Saturday and will be in New York. Got any suggestions on stuff I must try?
Hi Gluten Dude. We are coming to New York in August and will be staying in Times Square. Where can we go to get a safe, gluten-free meal? Thanks!

Funny you should ask. The lovely Mrs. Dude and I just spent the weekend in New York City. Follow our meal plan and I promise you’ll be in gluten-free heaven.

Oh…and one word of advice. Steer clear of Times Square. It’s beyond crowded. It’s over-commercialized. It’s way expensive. The best way to see the city is to walk the streets. Spend a day downtown and spend a day uptown. You’ll be glad you did.

Anyway…back to the food. Here are the three “don’t even think about not eating here” establishments. What they all have in common is the not only is the food amazing, but the owners and workers are beyond passionate. They truly, truly care about offering great food and keeping you safe.

Senza Gluten

senza gluten nycWe started off Friday night in paradise….also known as Senza Gluten. I wrote about my previous visit a few weeks ago. This was our second visit here. There are simply no words to describe how much I love the restaurant. Nor how much I love Jemiko (the owner/chef) and Teona (the manager). Passion just oozes out of them. This is not simply a business to them. They created it to be a safe haven for celiacs. And they nailed it. The food, the ambience, the location…it’s all just perfect.

That picture to the right? That WAS my grill swordfish entree. I was too excited when I got my meal that I forgot to take a picture.

Jennifer’s Way Bakery

jennifer's way in new york cityNo trip to the city is complete without a visit to Jennifer’s Way Bakery. This was our first stop Saturday, a nice 1.5 mile walk from where we were staying. And this was after a 5 mile walk along the Hudson River early in the morning. Mrs. Dude and I actually logged over 20 miles over the course of the weekend. We may have eaten a lot, but walked off every dang calorie.

You all know how I feel about Jennifer and her bakery. She’s one of my favorite people and her food is absolute tops on the list when it comes to healthy, gluten-free food. For this visit, I went with the sesame seed bagel (to the right) and a pumpkin muffin. Mrs. Dude went with the quinoa bread. We were happy. Very, very happy!! And don’t forget. Jennifer’s Way now ships anywhere in the U.S. You can order here.


colors gluten free restaurant in nycFor Saturday’s dinner, we headed over to Colors, a completely gluten-free restaurant on the east side. Two words for you: Crispy Calamari! And here are five more words: Holy crap…soft shelled crab! Seriously, when is the last time you had these two dishes?

And once again, the management and staff could not have been more gracious and anxious to please. They truly cared, not only about the food, but about the experience and about keeping me safe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

A 2-mile walk back home and we called it an evening.

So there you have it. Heading into New York City? Stay away from the hustle and bustle. Visit these three amazing gluten-free eateries and you’ll be in gluten-free paradise. And just like Mrs. Dude and I, you’ll feel like your ship has come in. Imagine that??


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19 thoughts on “Hey Dude…Where Should I Eat Gluten-Free in New York City?”

  1. Being a 9 year NYC resident and super sensitive celiac, I want to add my suggestions to this list. I trust very few places and even fewer if they aren’t entirely GF.

    Bistango on 29th and 3rd and a second location at the Kimberly Hotel on like 53rd and Lex: Delicious food and they do an excellent job of avoiding cross contamination. The manager/owen, Anthony is super personable and a terrific guy.

    Pala Pizza somewhere in E. Vill: Best GF pizza, though I haven’t been in years because of dairy. Very trusted by Celiacs.

    Tulu’s on 11th between 1st and 2nd: Direct competition of Jennifer’s Way so stop by J Way FIRST. This bakery is GF and quite delish. It is much less healthy than the products at Jennifer’s Way but I highly recommend the Snickerdoodle.

    Risoterria (there are 2 locations: one on Bleecker St and Morton and the other on 76th and Amsterdam): GF food is served on special plates and they are aware of Celiac concerns.

    Friedman’s Lunch (several locations: Chelsea Market is the original; 35th and 10th; 31st between 6th and 7th): 3 words – Chicken and waffles.

    By the Way Bakery (91st and Broadway): completely GF/DF bakery

    Tatz (101 and Amsterdam): completely GF bakery

    G Free NYC (85th and Amsterdam): completely GF grocery store. Lynn, the owner, tries to keep the assortment unique and different from what you could find in grocery stores. Fresh baked goods on weekends.

    Cafe 82 (82nd and Broadway): A fellow celiac trained them years ago how to safely serve GF meals. It looks a bit like a typical Jersey diner, slightly run down looking but great food for a moderate price.

    I know I will think of more but here’s a little taste!

      1. Lilli’s on 57th has been a staple of mine for years. They have a celiac in the family, so they are very prepared to keep you safe. And the pad thai is my favorite.

        Go to any of the BR Guest restaurants (Blue Fin, Ruby Foos, etc) lots of options and extremely well trained staff when it comes to food allergies.

        Pie by the pound on 11th has fantastic pizza options and a gluten free membership for discounts and GF happy hours.

        There are so many more but those are my favorites.

    1. Hi Susan
      Has Bistango at the Kimberly been there long? I was staying 2 doors up from there 2 years ago but went downtown to the other location. I also visited Pips Place, GF bakery, and Lilli and Loo (792 Lexington Avenue) which had the best GF menu, I hadn’t had spring rolls and crispy skin chicken for so many years! And I found Wholefoods a GF heaven, so many meals to take back to my hotel room. There was a market a few minutes walk from where the circle line leaves that was full of frozen GF donuts, burritos, waffles, muffins, and more. NYC sure delivers on GF goodness!

      1. Hey Maria,

        It hasn’t been there too long. Probably just around 1.5 years? There was another location on the UES but that one wasn’t there too long. I like Lilli and Loos as well – I should have included that on my list!

        1. Thanks, Susan. Ah, I just missed out! Was good to get downtown anyway to see the sights. There was also a diner near Grand Central, cnr of Lex and 42nd, can’t remember the name, they did everything on their menu GF as well. Huge servings with free bowls of pickles.

    2. Do you know of any places (besides the wonderful Jennifer’s) that also handles dairy-free? I’m so glad to see more dedicated GF restaurants, but with a dairy (lactose/casein) issue on top of it that leaves me susceptible to cross-contamination woes, I wonder how others handle it.

      1. By the Way Bakery is also a dairy free facility. I too cannot have casein but I’m way less concerned with cross contamination with casein than with gluten. Friedman’s Lunch is very vigilant about allergies. You could have a burger (Udi’s buns) but the fries are deep fried with the GF buttermilk fried chicken so that’d be a no go for you. They would be pretty knowledgeable, way more than me! Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  2. I ate at Friedman’s when I visited and absolutely loved it. Next time I visit I gotta check out Jennifer’s Way Bakery.

  3. We also had a great meal at Senza Gluten a couple of weeks ago. Their buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto appetizer is divine! I also loved their gnocchi and tiramisu. For your blog reader staying in Times Square, I highly recommend The Little Beet, a 100% gluten and guiltin’ free fast casual restaurant. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner there during our trip, and was never disappointed. It is a short walk from Times Square. We loved the pasta and pizza at Bistango. The whole menu at their Kimberly Hotel location, which is walkable from Times Square, can be made gluten free. Also near Times Square is Nizza, where I had the best pesto pasta I have probably ever had. It’s a great place for dinner before seeing a Broadway show. We also enjoyed meals at Hu Kitchen (100% GF and super Paleo friendly) and Risotteria Melotti (100% GF).

  4. Thank you for these suggestions, Gluten Dude! My daughter was diagnosed with celiac earlier this year. Since then, we’ve discovered a number of great places in NYC to eat gluten-free, including Jennifer’s (love those bagels) and Friedman’s (I second Susan’s chicken and waffle shout out – they are amazing!). Also want to recommend Little Beet Table in Flatiron. It’s totally gluten-free – even the bar – has a great vibe and delicious food. Looking forward to checking out Senza Gluten and Colors soon.

  5. Our Paleo (gluten free obviously) supper club in NYC is mostly referral only; however, we do accept a limited number of requests from folks who are nice and are serious about their health. Check us out at cavekitchennyc.com.

  6. I can also recommend Wild On Hudson Street in the West Village. Almost 100% gf -They do have a ravioli item, but they make it in a different location and are extremely knowledgeable about cross contamination. Very yummy, with a number of dairy free desserts as well!

  7. My company’s headquarters is right by Times Square. I typically use my trusty “Find Me Gluten Free” app. However, I’ve got some tried and true options that I go to almost every time I go there.

    I usually run straight to Don Antonio as soon as I get there. Their gluten free crust is by far the best thing I’ve ever had and will most likely initially freak you out bc it tastes much better (and more like the gluten version). But it is safe (I’m REALLY sensitive). The owners are always extremely helpful and have even brought me out fried doughnuts (gluten free). Ridiculously amazing.

    Nomad is not only an amazing hotel (seriously clawfoot tubs in the rooms!!!), but has a phenomenal bakery they use for the bread, that will make you cry– in a good way. They have an extensive knowledge and their breakfast is the best in the city. THE BEST– calm, rich atmosphere, Downtown Abbey-like service, and the tastiest potatoes, eggs, toast, and jam ever. Their dinners are also very spectacular, but pretty pricey. If you splurge for that, you have to have the Milk & Honey dessert (can be made GF).

    Craving a burger? Awesome news… The Counter not only has GF bread and a slew of GF toppings, but a dedicated fryer for its fries!!! Plus, location is awesome, it’s right in the heart of Times Square.

    Etc. Etc. has the holy grail of gluten free dining in NY– freshly made pasta. Very good and extremely close to any Broadway show.

    If you’re like me and just like a little of everything, illi has a ton of options in smaller portions. I was at a company dinner with shared plates, but the staff brought out everything for me on my own plate. (And had to run back multiple times for the stuffed grape leaves…)

    If you crave some amazing desserts, Macaron is a haven. And unfortunately for me, RIGHT by my office. Roly poly coming through in the stretchy pants (but it’s worth it).

  8. I can’t believe I didn’t see it mentioned already but Hu Restaurant on 5th Ave around 12th or 13th St isn’t only GF it’s also grain free. The whole restaurant. Maybe dairy free too but I’m not sure on that. They have an amazing grilled pineapple with cashew cream. It’s run like a deli with a cold and hot section and you can get a bit of this and that as everything is sold by the pound. Drinks are pricey but they have water pitchers out on both floors. My favorite place to eat in the city .

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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