Gluten-free in NYC? No problem! New York City is one of the most gluten-free friendly cities in the world! Whether you have Celiac Disease or just prefer a gluten-free lifestyle, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. From pasta to Chinese food, the Big Apple has it all!
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Welcome to The Ultimate Gluten-Free Dining Guide to New York City! This is Part 1 of a three part series that will include all the best recommendations for Gluten-Free in NYC!
I’ve always loved to travel and try new foods! After I was diagnosed with a severe gluten allergy, I was worried that my days of sampling new cuisines around the world was over. I couldn’t have been more wrong! It turns out that we live in a huge, gluten-free friendly world with lots of incredible options. NYC is no exception! The Big Apple boasts some of the best gf cuisine I’ve ever tasted! I promise, if you follow these guides, you will never ever feel deprived!
How do the guides work?
Each part of this three part guide (this is part 1) will include four of my favorite gluten-free options in NYC. I specifically chose four, so that I could give each restaurant a solid review with plenty of photos! There will be many different categories of dining establishments (sit-down restaurants, counter service, museums, hotels, bakeries, etc), so you’ll be covered everywhere you go! If you love this guide, please feel free to subscribe to my email list using the blue “subscribe” box in the top right corner above so you will receive an email when the other parts are released (you will never receive spam and you can unsubscribe at any time!)
Each dining option on the list will contain three different ratings. The “Gluten-Free” rating shows you at a glance how good the dining establishment is at following gf preparation procedures in terms of minimizing cross-contamination. The “Variety” rating refers to how much variety there is in terms of gf options (i.e. is it just 1 or 2 dishes or is there a whole menu?) The “Taste” rating refers to how the food tastes overall, especially compared to other similar gf options. I will also list the price range for an entree at dinner (very cheap, cheap, moderate, expensive, very expensive) and explain in more detail within the review what certain dishes cost and if there is a surcharge for gf. Everything you need to know for delicious and safe gluten-free in NYC!
Although the ratings for each dining establishment vary, EVERY option in this guide is one that I trust and had a good experience with. I will never put anything in this guide that isn’t at least a 3 or above in every category. The reason the ratings vary is that for certain types of places like museum cafes or hotel restaurants, the way that gf is understood and handled may be a bit more limited but I wanted to give you plenty of different types of options. I consider every option listed in this guide to be completely safe based on my experience.
Whether you’re a New York native looking for more gf options or a first-time tourist, this list was created just for you! All the best gluten-free restaurants in NYC! Enjoy and remember to share your experiences with us by leaving a comment below!
Tip: There are just a few simple secrets you need to know in order to stay 100% gluten free at restaurants. Grab my exclusive PDF guide of 5 Secrets to Staying 100% Gluten Free at Restaurants by signing up for my newsletter below (I’ll never spam you plus I’ll send you lots of awesome gluten free freebies, gifts, and tips!)
Note: Prices and menu items are subject to change. These recommendations are based on my personal experience. Please remember to always check with the restaurant for your individual needs. I make no guarantees about cross-contamination or presence of gluten.
Planning a trip to NYC? Check out these resources here!
Price: Moderate to Expensive (depending on if you order pasta or meat)
Senza Gluten is a gluten-free dream! Senza Gluten literally means “Without Gluten” in Italian, so as you can probably guess the restaurant is a dedicated gluten-free facility. Translation: there’s no gluten in the kitchen at all and therefore zero risk for cross contamination! This is especially a plus for pasta dishes because while many other Italian restaurants offer gf pasta, it is often cooked in the same water as regular pasta and therefore not suitable for those with a severe allergy. Not the case at Senza Gluten– order anything on the menu! It’s one of my top picks for gluten-free in NYC!
The food at Senza Gluten is excellent even compared to a lot of regular Italian restaurants. Be sure to start with the bread basket– it costs extra but it’s worth it! This bread is soft, fluffy, and served with high quality olive oil for dipping. They have a “regular” option and a “vegan” option for the bread, so be sure to ask for the “vegan” option if you have a dairy allergy. In addition to being 100 % gluten free, Senza Gluten is also very flexible and careful with other allergies as well.
For appetizers, I recommend the Gamberi (shrimp) salad or the Pasta E Fagioli (soup with pasta and beans). For entrees, if you love seafood and pasta definitely try the Spaghetti Alle Vongole (spaghetti with white clam sauce). It’s one of my personal favorites! The lasagna is also very good (although I find the sauce to be a bit too sweet). If you’re not in the mood for pasta, the fish and meat dishes are also delicious. Try the snapper filet in white wine sauce– fresh fish in a bright, slightly acidic sauce with capers and tomatoes. For dessert, if they have the Nutella Crepes (it’s a special) don’t hesitate to try them! The crepes are slightly chewier than traditional crepes but still delicious. Both the chocolate-hazlenut filling and the accompanying vanilla ice cream are rich, creamy, and the perfect end to a great gluten-free in NYC meal!
The prices at Senza Gluten range from moderate to expensive depending on the dish. Pastas are about $20, while meat and fish are in the $30 range.
Lilli and Loo
One of the cuisines that I miss the most since going gluten-free is definitely Chinese food! I’m sure many of you can relate. Chinese food is one of the most difficult to find gf because of the presence of soy sauce and generally contaminated cookware. I was so excited when I discovered Lilli and Loo! Not only does it have a HUGE gluten-free menu (the gf menu is separate from the regular one, so be sure to ask the host for it), but it also has a dedicated kitchen space, which is essential for a safe gf experience. It was the first time I had steamed pork dumpling AND shrimp tempura since going gluten-free and I was very happy (I didn’t get pictures of these because I gobbled them up so quickly!)
Although I usually try to choose healthier options (I am a health blogger after all 😉), when I went to Lilli and Loo I opted for allll the deep-fried, covered in sticky-sweet sauce options I could eat! It had been years since I had sesame chicken, so I chose that for my entree. It was worth the calories. Generous pieces of chicken breast covered in crispy gf batter and then slathered in sweet and sour sauce with flavorful sesame seeds on top. Perfection! The singapore rice noodles with shrimp were good too, but I much prefered the sesame chicken. You can skip the egg drop soup though– too much yellow dye and not enough flavor. Save more room for that deep-fried stuff. 😀
If you’re looking for healthier options. Lilli and Loo also offers steamed entrees (meat or tofu with veggies) and sauce on the side. I tried this with white sauce and it was yummy. I also found the quality of the meat and veggies at Lilli and Loo to be superior to most other Chinese places, which is a bonus.
Even though Lilli and Loo is not a completley gluten-free restaurant, I felt very safe here knowing they used a dedicated kitchen space. The waiter was impatient when explaining their gf procedures to me (I docked half a star for this), but the food was definitely safe. Lilli and Loo is one of my favorite gluten-free restaurants in NYC– I can’t wait to go back!
The entrees are about $15 to $20. There is a slight difference in price between the regular and the gf menu, but it’s pretty negligible (about a $1 difference or less).
Friedmans (Theater District)
Friedmans is a small chain with restaurants around the city. One of the owners has celiac disease, so every location is very committed to offering a safe gf experience. Although the restaurant is not dedicated gluten-free, almost every item on the menu can be made gf. This includes potstickers, fried chicken, pancakes, and YES pastrami sandwiches. As someone who loves NYC, it’s a shame to go home without having pastrami sandwich and Friedmans makes the safest one in town!
The waitstaff is very knowledgeable about gluten-free and happy to help. All the gf food comes with allergy flags on them, which I always find very reassuring. The food itself is standard American fare and doesn’t really stand out, but their commitment to gf is commendable. It wasn’t the best pastrami sandwich I ever had, but it was definitely the one I felt most comfortable eating with my gf restrictions. If you’re not in the mood for pastrami, I recommend chicken sandwich with bacon jam. YUM! The vegetarian potstickers are good (I love the spicy sauce that comes with them!) but if you can eat meat and are specifically craving dumplings definitely check out Lilli and Loo’s pork dumplings (reviewed above!)
The prices at Friedmans are very reasonable. At dinner, the salads are about $15, burgers are $15-$20, and entrees are in the $20 range. Lunch is slightly cheaper and has more sandwich options. GF buns and bread are $2 extra. Great prices for gluten-free in NYC!
The Cafeteria at The Met
Everyone who is familiar with NYC will tell you that a visit to the Met is a must-do! It’s one of the largest and most highly regarded museums in New York. You can easily spend all day here! But if you want to spend all day here, you have to be able to eat safely right? Luckily, The Cafeteria at The Met has safe gf options that are healthy and quite delicious!
The Cafeteria has your standard museum fare: hot bar, sandwiches, salad bar, etc. I asked to speak with a chef since there weren’t any allergens posted. The chef was friendly and knowledgeable. He told me specifically what was gf at the hot bar and the salad bar. I made myself a plate with chicken, sugar snap peas, asparagus, carrots, and rice. As someone who tends toward healthier options, I was happy to see so many fresh veggies. Everything was delicious, particularly the carrots with tapenade. They also had a table filled with all certified gf snacks and desserts. I chose a dark chocolate dipped rice cake. I love these because they feel like dessert, but are low in sugar and calories.
Since all the food is pre-made, it may not be the best in terms of cross-contamination, but I had a safe meal there. Make sure you talk to the chef and find out what would be safest for you. They are absolutely willing to work with you and help you find feasible options.
And that’s it for Part 1! I hope you found some great gluten-free restaurants in NYC for your next trip! Check back soon for Part 2 of The Ultimate Gluten-Free Dining Guide to New York City! The next part will include a hotel restaurant and breakfast buffet, a bakery, and many others! Stay tuned for more gluten-free in NYC (Gluten-free in NYC! Gluten-free in NYC! Gluten-free in NYC! I love writing that because it rhymes! It’s like a fun little song. 😀)
Hungry for more? Check out 8 Mouthwatering, Authentic Foods You Must Try in Waikiki (includes gf options) or my Recent Recipes (all recipes on this site are gf!)
BONUS: 5 SECRETS TO STAYING 100% GLUTEN FREE AT RESTAURANTS
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That’s why I’m offering a FREE bonus PDF with the 5 Secrets to Staying 100% Gluten Free at Restaurants. It will teach you 5 little-known techniques for ensuring your meal in 100% gluten free every single time. Grab your free PDF download of the 5 Secrets to Staying 100% Gluten Free at Restaurants by signing up for my email newsletter below. As a bonus, you’ll also receive instant access to my free wellness library filled with tons of helpful gluten free resources!