Going on trips and having a dietary restriction normally sucks. Because I have Celiac Disease, it makes it even worse – not only do I have to avoid gluten, but even the slightest cross contamination can ruin anywhere from a day to an entire trip. Apps like Find Me GF and Zomato are so helpful when traveling, but they are really hit or miss. I have found some of my favorites with the help of these tools but also ran into problems like:
- Looking at a gluten free “menu” and only having one option (usually salad).
- Walking over a mile for pizza that tastes more like cardboard.
- Hearing “we have gluten free options, but we cook everything together so you might get sick.”
As we travel, I’m going to do my best to help out the other gluten free foodies in finding hidden gems all around the world.
So this journey began in NYC – where the dining options are endless with restaurants around every corner. I’m gonna be honest, even with all the options that NYC had to offer, we still had trouble deciding where to eat. After spending nine days in New York City eating anything and everything gluten free, I’m hoping to make the decision easier for you.
DISCLAIMER: I’m writing for the gluten free community, but this food isn’t just “good for gluten free.” This food is the type of food that keeps you coming back for more.
Favorite Breakfast Spot:
Big Daddy’s Diner
THEY HAVE GLUTEN FREE PANCAKES AND WAFFLES.
Big Daddy’s is known for their superb treatment to gluten free eaters so I had to try it out, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. I ordered a stack of three pancakes which came with 100% maple syrup. My stack of pancakes was so fluffy that I questioned our waitress to make sure they were gluten free. I never leave food on my plate, and I could barely finish half of these thick flapjacks. This place is a must for breakfast lovers, but if you aren’t a fan of breakfast food, they have lots of other options including their popular shakes or burgers.
Favorite Lunch Spot – Friedman’s
Before I say anything about this place, I should mention that I liked it so much that in my nine days in the city, I ate at it three times. It was actually the last meal I had in the states before I took off for Europe.
Friedman’s is the perfect lunch spot, and they have some of the best food (gluten free or not) that I have ever had. Their entire menu is or can be made gluten free! When you let them know you have an allergy, they serve your food on a square plate with a sign indicating that it is gluten free. It’s so awesome eating somewhere that I don’t have to worry about getting sick.
In regards to what to order, you can’t really go wrong. If you like fried chicken (and who doesn’t) then I suggest the fried chicken sandwich, which comes on a gluten free bun and is served with herbed french fries. One of my favorite things on their menu is the side of mac and cheese. I am constantly craving mac and cheese and this is the best I’ve ever had. If you are wanting a good dessert they have amazing ice cream cookie sandwiches, which I haven’t had since before I was diagnosed with Celiac. If I were to make one suggestion for gluten free dining in the city, this would probably be my top choice.
Favorite Dinner Spot – Rubirosa
This family owned Italian restaurant can be found in Little Italy, which was one of my favorite stops in New York. Though the wait was long, the food was worth it. Rubirosa is known for their thin crust pizza, which looked amazing and could be made gluten free. I decided to try something else on their menu though, which I wouldn’t go back and change. I saw that they had breaded parmesan chicken on their gluten free menu. I was excited when I ordered, but Rubirosa went above and beyond with this meal. When the food came out, I had chicken the size of a large plate as well as a bowl of gluten free spaghetti. I can’t forget that they also have the best gluten free mozzarella sticks! If you decide to go here, make sure you come with an empty stomach because not only is the food good, but you get so much of it.
Can’t Forget About Dessert!
Choosing a winner for this category was too hard for me, so I am leaving you with two different options for dessert: ice cream or crepes.
If you are hungry for ice cream, take a trip over to Brooklyn to have some of the best organic ice cream in the world at Blue Marble. The best part is that they have gluten free brownies as a topping for their sundaes.
If you are like me and have an obsession with crepes, there is the cutest gluten free Crepe Stand in Little Italy. Stop by after eating at Rubirosa for the perfect Italian dinner. My favorite is the Nutella crepe.
It’s hard being a foodie with a severe allergy, but NYC made it pretty easy.