36 Gluten Free New York Restaurants for Celiacs to Enjoy

I lived and worked in New York for over five years, though my job as a lawyer meant I didn’t have much free time to explore. As cities go, it will always feel like home regardless of where my life takes me. Every year, I return for meetings and meetups, and get to eat my way through the gluten free offerings in New York.

When I first started living here as a summer associate, I was not yet diagnosed as a celiac. I returned following law school with a diagnosis and a newfound care for what I ate. In the decades since, I’ve watched sparse celiac-friendly options turn into huge offerings for those of us who can’t eat gluten. And with those newfound dedicated gluten free spots also came a much greater awareness of the disease in the general population.

I’m grateful that newly diagnosed celiacs don’t have as much of an upward climb in terms of awareness and ingredients, and I wanted to share my spots for gluten free eating in one of my favourite cities on earth.

– Jodi

Updated Gluten Free New York List

(Last update: July 2019). Red highlights = 100% gluten free.

gluten free new york

In a city of this size, it’s always helpful to have a list of someone else’s preferences to stuff your face ;)

I rarely wrote about having celiac disease when I started this site, as the focus was not food. Now that food figures prominently,  I get more and more questions about travel with food restrictions. It’s part of why I dedicated a full chapter to food allergies in my book, and started my own celiac guides and translation cards for travelers.

I visit every summer, so this post is a living tree and I update with additional restaurants and bakeries at the bottom of this post, as well as resources for those wanting to visit New York as a celiac.

Gluten Free NYC – My Fave 10 Celiac-Friendly Meals

1.  Name: La Esquina

What to order: Carnitas tacos (below), chicken tinga tacos, elote.

Where: 114 Kenmare, near Centre Street.

Notes: Go on a nice day. Order from the takeout window (prices are very different for their seated cafe) and sit across the street in the park. Warning: you might need to fight off pigeons whilst eating.

 

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Rainy days call for elote.

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2. Name: Kesté Pizza & Vino

What to order: For a change, try the Mast’Nicola, a white pizza with olive oil and basil, or the decadent Burrata Roberto, with their own home-made burrata, grape tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. All of the pizzas on the menu can be made celiac-safe and gluten free, and they’ve also got gluten free pasta dishes if you prefer. But why would you, when pizza like this is at your fingertips?!

Where: Two locations: Bleeker street and Fulton Street. And you can order online too.

Notes: My favourite pizza in town is still this spot, despite the many other options I’ve tried. With a dedicated gluten free kitchen, separate pizza cutters, fluffy crusts that will make you smile, and a delicious menu for everyone – this is truly a can’t miss pizza spot in the city.

3. Name: Kotobuki

What to order:  Lunch special sushi platter — it comes with the usual sushi plus their delicious riceless UFO roll (below).

Where: 105 E. 9th Street (near 4th Avenue).

Notes: Tell your waiter or waitress that you are celiac and they will bring you gluten-free soy sauce. FYI, their spicy mayo also has a bit of soy so for those who have the disease, it should also be avoided.

 

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Jodi dreams of chirashi.

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4. Name: Pho Bang

What to order:  Great banh cuon (steamed rice crepe with wood ear mushrooms and pork), cha gio (fried springrolls wrapped in rice paper) and bo luc lac (“shaking beef”, beef cubes with lemon and garlic, served with lettuce for wrapping). Photo below.

Where: 175 Mott Street, near Grand.

5. Name:  Mermaid Inn 

What to order: Oysters, obviously. Happy hour menu (daily from 5pm-7pm, including weekends) has $1 oysters and a variety of bar snacks. Sadly the bar snacks are all breaded, but that just means more oysters for you.

Where: One of their 3 locations in the city.

Notes: Not a new establishment but their happy hour oysterfest is always fun. If this doesn’t do it for you, here is a list of the best Oyster Happy Hours in New York.

 

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Yesterday’s oyster-filled happy hour with @blacktreenyc.

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6. Name: Hu Kitchen

What to order: I couldn’t decide between the Hu bowl and the Thai chicken, so I asked for half and half. While it took some convincing (“wait, you want BOTH?”)…success! And a great combination with a quinoa base and topped with almonds and cilantro.

Where: 78 Fifth Avenue (near 13th Street)

7. Name: ‘Smac

What to order:  Gluten free 4-cheese macaroni

Where: 345 East 12th Street, between 1st and 2nd avenues

Notes: Not the healthiest but I know that I can’t be the only one missing super creamy macaroni and cheese. Or, as we call it in the Canada, Kraft Dinner or just the shortened KD. (When I first moved to the US in 2003, any reference to KD was met with blank stares, upon which I would say “it’s KRAFT. You guys must know this!”.)

8. Name: Friedman’s Lunch

What to order: BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich on gluten-free bread)

Where: Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave New York, NY 10011

Notes: They can remove the bacon for the vegetarians among you. Also not to be missed: roasted brussels sprouts. Best ordered as take-out and then moving onto the High Line for a picnic.

9. Name: Ngam Thai

What to order: Their green curry fried rice and their pad Thai were both fabulous. See newcomer Thai Direct Bowl in the list below for a 100% gluten free New York Thai option.

Where: 99 Third Avenue, New York (near 14th street)

10. Name: Cha An Teahouse

What to Order: Pu’er tea  (below – the brick, not the leaves), and black sesame creme brulee.

Where: 230 East 9th Street

Notes: Just tell them you’re gluten-free and they’ll remove the wafer that comes with the dessert. Let me reiterate that while not a dessert person, the black sesame creme brulee is perhaps the single best dessert I’ve ever had in NYC. I’m not a chocolate person, so if you are you might not agree. But it’s creamy and sesame-infused and topped with black sesame ice cream and perfectly bruléed on top. It’s fabulously good.

 

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Pu’er tea, in all it’s fermented brick-y goodness. Another staple in NYC, this time from Cha An.

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Are you a celiac who likes to travel? Please see my Gluten Free Travel page detailed city guides, restaurant cards in over a dozen languages, and more!

Gluten Free New York: MORE Celiac-Friendly Meals

11. In 2019, a newer addition in the form of a fully gluten free Thai food spot called Thai Direct Bowls, with rice bowls of Penang curry, green curry, spicy basil pork, and more. The owners are Thai, and the food is non-GMO and low in sugar. The restaurant confirmed by email that the entire spot is 100% gluten free, using no MSG, GF soy sauce and oyster sauce (Kikkoman, Tamari and Lee Kum Kee), and dairy free ingredients.​ Dine-In, takeout or delivery.

12. French bakery NoGlu, has expanded from its gluten free Paris outposts to New York. As the name suggests, is a 100% gluten free bakery. It sells pastries, custards, breads, and much more.  You won’t miss gluten one bit.

13. Italian gelateria Grom has opened two New York outposts, and your tastebuds deserve a try. ALL of the their ingredients are gluten free, and certified by the Italian celiac association. (More here about that).

14. Craving a rich, rice-based Italian meal? Risotteria Melotti is 100% gluten free, delicious, and worth a stop if you have the time. Try their shrimp and lemon risotto, or if you wanted a classic option, their mixed mushroom dish.

15. On the Upper West Side, newcomer (open May 2019) Le Gourmand NYC has organic, gluten free baked goods in a 100% gluten free facility. Croissants look fabulous, as do their innovative matcha pastry with mango and avocado.

16. Celebrity Israeli chef Nir Tzuk opened Arba (meaning 4 in Hebrew) in New York in 2019, also on the Upper West Side. It offers tasting menus and a-la-carte eating that is entirely gluten free. The restaurant isn’t narrowed to Israeli cuisine either, Tzuk notes. “This will not be an Israeli restaurant but a Mediterranean restaurant,” Tzuk says. “I have a feeling that people here are looking for food that has lots of vegetables, fish, olive oil. It will have the tastes that are cool in Israel without the cliché of hummus, fries and salad”. Hummus lovers can breathe easy, though – there’s still some hummus on their menu.

17. Senza Gluten has 100% gluten-free menu. I usually dine at places for both celiacs and non-celiacs, since most of my friends eat their gluten. But if you’re particularly worried or you’ve got more than one GF eater in tow, this is a good bet.

18. By the Way Bakery is completely gluten and dairy free, and Kosher, and the story is one close to my heart: former lawyer Helene Godin walked away from a 22-year career in the law to open a bakery in 2011. She didn’t know how to bake when she first quit, and now has a thriving business with four locations.

19. Bareburger will make any of its burgers on a GF bun, with knowledge of celiac disease and care in the kitchen.

20. Gluten free and kosher brunch? Start at Modern Bread and Bagel on Columbus. Shakshuka, bagels, burgers, soups and sandwiches, all 100% gluten free in New York. Kosher or not, the food is fabulous and the owner, Orly, has an interesting story about why she developed her own gluten free flour here.

21. Lilli and Loo has a full gluten-free Chinese food menu, including pork dumplings.

22. Erin McKenna’s Bakery (formerly Babycakes NYC) is an option for those with a sweet tooth — I love their mint cupcakes. All their baked goods are gluten free, vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, and with no refined sugar.

Additional Cheap Eats in NYC with Gluten Free Options

23. Great Vietnamese food, with quality ingredients and delicious combinations, at Bricolage on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. I got the grilled shrimp vermicelli bowl, and a friend tried the banh xeo sizzling rice pancake. Both were delicious.

24. Wild opened an outpost in Park Slope for great gluten-free pizzas. They’ve also got gluten-free pastas on offer.

25. Great Turkish & Mediterranean food at Istanbul Park (their adana skewers = great stuff). Also in Park Slope.

26. Healthy protein bowls, local ingredients, delicious dressings. Sweet Green has locations all over NYC and if one is nearby, it’s worth a stop for a quick lunch.

27. The Ace Hotel’s John Dory oyster bar has a happy hour, with 1/2 off glasses of wine and $2 oysters, 5-7pm Monday through Friday.

28. Brunch at Littleneck is reasonably-priced and they even have poutine! (The poutine isn’t GF, sorry celiacs). I went to the 3rd ave location.

29. Gluten free corn arepas with a variety of stuffings and some fried plantains to boot. Great options at the Arepa Factory in the East Village, and now with an added location in Columbus Circle.

30. Cheap, vegetarian and delicious South Indian food at Temple Canteen in Flushing, and their menu clearly marks which dishes are GF. Dosa to die for. Worth the trip!

31. Midtown Lebanese joint Souk & Sandwich has char-grilled meats, dips, and lots of salads. If you’re celiac make sure you mention no tabouli nor any pita; I brought my own crackers for dipping.

32. Rolln is exactly what it sounds like: a sushi roll spot. The difference is that it’s a rarity in the sushi world: 100% gluten free! Even their teriyaki sauce is house-made and 100% safe for celiacs. Located on E 23rd street, it’s an easily-accessible spot for a short or long New York visit.

33. Manchi, a lunch spot on E. 35th street, offers up quinoa, rice, or kale bowls that you can build a-la-cart. Their entire menu is 100% gluten free, and they’ve got a lot of vegetarian options too. I recommend the tahini balls for a rich, tasty dessert.

34. Spring Bone Kitchen has slow cooked meat, paleo bowls, and heaps of delicious, flavourful options for lunch and dinner. A bit kitschy on the concept but bone broth is superbly healthy and we’re the country that’s late to the game. Delicious.

35. I ate at Little Beet Table for the first time, during my last New York visit. It is not only delicious and healthy, but also 100% gluten free. With restaurants in New York and Chicago, the establishment follows a strictly seasonal menu, crafting beautiful dishes with whatever is grown at the moment. A healthy way to eat.

36. Cheska’s is a 100% gluten free pizzeria with crust from either cauliflower or sweet potato. They’ve got a limited menu, but it’s guaranteed to be safe for celiacs.

Are you a celiac who likes to travel? Please see my Gluten Free Travel page detailed city guides, restaurant cards in over a dozen languages, and more!

Hope everyone is having a great summer,

Jodi