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Gluten-Free New York City: Finding the best Celiac Safe Gluten-free Restaurants in NYC

Updated: 2 hours ago

View from the top of the Empire State Building.  In the distance you see the tall buildings of lower Manhattan and in the far distance you can see the Statue of Liberty
View from Empire State Building towards Lower Manhattan

New York City is a gluten-free foodie destination. It has the most dedicated gluten-free restaurants than any other city in the United States. When I was asked to lead a workshop there for work, I jumped at the chance to try all the gluten-free food. Although my workshop started on Tuesday, I caught an early flight to JFK Airport so I could enjoy at least 1 full weekend day. I arrived by late afternoon, and after checking into my hotel in Chelsea.

Exploring Senza Gluten: A Taste of Italy

For my first dinner, I hopped on the subway to Senza Gluten. This is a 100% gluten free Italian restaurant on a quiet street. I opted to dine outside and began my meal with an Aperol Spritz and a refreshing Caesar salad.

Plate of gluten free spaghetti withe clams on top
Spaghetti Alle Vongole from Senza Gluten

They brought out tiny rounds of gluten-free bread to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The Caesar salad was very refreshing, and after not having Caesar salad for years. I also chatted with some other diners who were eating bruschetta. The bread was ok, but my neighbors said their bruschetta was not crispy enough and the bread fell apart. For my main entrée, I ordered Spaghetti Alle Vongole which is sautéed clams, garlic, parsley in a white wine sauce. On the website, this is the pictured dish and it looks lovely and saucy, but in reality it was a bit dry and the pasta was a bit more al dente than I prefer. My neighbors mentioned that their eggplant parmigiana was wonderful and my server recommended lasagna as the most popular. If you are visiting Senza, I would probably choose one of those options. I was just trying to limit the cheese I was eating as normally I am dairy free. Overall the service was good, but the meal was average.

Sweet Delights at Posh Pop Bakeshop

Display case filled with beautiful cakes and cheescakes.
Gluten-free Cakes at Posh Pop Bake Shop

Instead of getting dessert at Senza Gluten, I decided to walk around the corner to the 100% gluten-free Posh Pop Bakeshop. This place was incredible. They have a huge variety of treats and are open late, a rarity in gluten-free bakeries. They had everything from poptarts and cookies to full sized cakes and cheesecakes. I was very full after my dinner, but I got some treats to sample. I bought a strawberry pop tart, caramel chocolate chip cookie, and a berry cheesecake bar. The cheesecake bar was incredible. The perfect blend of creamy and fruity. I am just sad I didn’t sample a cheesecake. They ship nationwide, so I may have to order a special occasion cake from them. The cookie and the pop tart I ate in the coming days and both were excellent. This is one of the best gluten-free bakeries I have tried. I highly recommend this as a must stop. You can also order food for delivery to your hotel if you can’t make it to the shop. This is a must-stop on your NYC food tour.

A Day of Sightseeing: From Central Park to 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Sunday was my only full day for sightseeing so I packed the day full. Since the Empire State Building was near my hotel, I decided to take a tour. I arrived by opening at 9am and there were no crowds. I spent time on top taking pictures and enjoying the view. I then walked down 34th Street past the original Macy’s and was overcome with fond memories of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I then took the subway up to the Upper West Side for brunch.

Thyme & Tonic has a lovely Sunday brunch menu. It is 100% gluten free as well as kosher.

Open faced sandwich topped with salmon and thinly sliced radishes.
Tartine from Thyme & Tonic

It was a super hot day so I opted for a Tartine. The one I picked was called Lower East Side which is bread with pastrami crusted salmon & chive cream cheese or homemade vegan lox and tofu cream cheese - tomato - radish. It refreshing and delicious.

Right next door is Modern Bread & Bagel which is my favorite gluten-free bagel place. These bagels compare to their full gluten counterparts. You must eat at one of their locations when you are in New York. They also have a location in Los Angeles. I have visited all 3 locations and I have ordered online. I highly recommend trying these bagels. When you visit NYC, make sure you take some back with you. They reheat beautifully. I will be ordering more to ship to my home in the very near future. All their foods are so yummy and they are 100% gluten free and kosher. The Upper West Side location is also open at night and you can order from them anywhere in the city.

Right next to these restaurants is Central Park. If you have more time, wander around the park. There are so many activities there are special events. Check out the Central Park Conservancy Website for all the happenings or to plan a visit.

square fountain reflection pool that is the memorial for 9/11 and the World Trade Center.  This pool is where the North Tower once stood.  Tall buildings including the freedom tower are in the background.
Reflection pools at 9/11 Memorial

My plans took me to the other side of Manhattan to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This museum is a must visit. The outside is an open plaza with peaceful garden of reflection and inside the museum is divided into a few separate areas. The larger outer ring is open and filled with art to honor those who were lost or as remembrance of the day. They also have some exhibits related to the structure of the World Trade Center Buildings.

They then have 2 areas that are closed off and require walking through a door or an opening to visit. These are the Memorial Exhibit that honors those 2,977 people who were killed on that day in the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and from flight 93. It also honors those killed in the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist bombing. This has pictures of every person as well as an interactive kiosk to learn more about them. I was able to find a former colleague who had perished in the attacks.

The second exhibition is the historical exhibit: September 11, 2001. This walks through the timeline of the day with audio visual exhibits and artifacts. It has recordings from people who were there as well as TV recordings from that day. This was very powerful. Both the Memoriam exhibit and the historical exhibit are not out in the open, allowing people to visit the museum without seeing some of the more difficult and emotional parts of the site. I downloaded an audio guide to my phone, but you can also rent audio tours there, take a guided tour, or just walk through on your own. I think this is a must-visit if you are in New York.

Nami Nori: A Sushi Delight

Colorful open sushi rolls in a display tray.
Sushi from Nami Nori

After the museum, I took the train up to Nami Nori in the West Village. They also have locations in Williamsburg and Montclair. This is another gluten free restaurant that specializes in open-style sushi handrolls. They also have vegan options if you are not into fish. This was probably my favorite meal in New York. I ordered The Signature Set which is one of my must-try dishes in New York City. It included tuna poke with crispy shallots, x.o scallop, coconut shrimp, salmon serrano, and cucumber black sesame rolls. I also added on a spicy crab dynamite at the recommendation of my server. Every bite was perfection.

Churros laid out in a hashtag symbol.  On the side is a small bowl of lemon curd dip.

I finished my meal with the mochurros which are churros with a lemon curd dipping sauce. I didn’t realize until the server brough the bill, but the manager had given me the churros for free. The churros were excellent. The perfect blend of crispy and soft. They were super fresh and hot. The lemon curd added just the right touch or tartness to the churros. I loved them so much. They have both indoor and outdoor seating.

Convenient Gluten-Free Dining at Your Fingertips

Monday was primarily spent working and preparing for my workshop, so I stayed at my hotel for mos

Orange Bag that says Tap NYC 100% gluten free Brazilian Superfoods.  In the foreground is a box with a steak sandwich

t of the day. The great part about New York is that you can order gluten-free food delivery from all over. It was such a treat. I started out with an order using Uber Eats from Tap NYC. Which is a 100% Gluten-free Brazilian Cafe. I ordered the lean steak club and a matcha latte. The sandwiches were so delicious. They also have a full assortment of coffee and tea drinks, and they have Açaí bowls. It was a great start to my day.

box with an open faced bagel sandwich. Bagel is topped with trout, shredded peppers, and some jalapeño on top.
Bagel Sandwich from Modern Bread & Bagel

I met up with one of my favorite gluten-free creators, Erin who is also known as the Gluten-Free Globetrotter for a late lunch Modern Bread & Bagel’s 14th Street location. This was my third Modern Bread and Bagel location and it was just as good as my first. I had the Trouty Face Sandwich on a super seed bagel and some latke tots. The bagel and the tots were the perfect lunch. I bought some bagels and cream cheese to take back to my hotel and to take home to San Diego. I then headed back to my hotel to meet with my colleagues.

After a long day of work and watching my colleagues eat gluten-filled food, I ordered another delivery meal. This time from TLK by Tigerlily Kitchen. The peanut noodles were the perfect end to the day. I got them with shrimp, but you can choose any protein or none. I added a pomelo salad which was refreshing after the heat. It was tons of food and I had leftovers. TLK is 100% gluten-free too. I really enjoyed the meal, and I would definitely eat their food again.

A Workshop Day and Safe Food Options

Tuesday was the day of my workshop. I had no control over the food, so I planned for my own meals. The workshop was from 9am-5pm, so I needed to make sure I had safe food for the day. Breakfast was a bagel with cream cheese I had bought from Modern Bread & Bagel.

The workshop was held at a meeting space that made some great choices for preventing cross contact. They had platters of fruit that they placed on a separate table from the breakfast sandwiches. They also had plenty of gluten free snacks. The lunch option was salad and sandwiches, but I chose to order my own lunch.

Rainbow empanadas in a box from Nadas NYC

For lunch I ordered from Nadas they are a Columbian Rainbow Empanada restaurant. The empanadas are 100% gluten-free. I ordered the half dozen thinking an attendee who also had Celiac Disease may have some too. 3 would have been more than enough for just me. It was fun to have more so I could see what the variety looked like. The ones I chose were: Beef (Carne), Chicken (Pollo), Mango Pork (Cerdo con Mango, Guava & Cheese (Guava con Queso),

Spinach and Cheese (Espinaca con Queso), and Chorizo & Cheese (Chorizo con Queso).

I split them all apart to see and I tasted them all. They were all delicious. I especially liked the dessert like one with guava in it. It was so nice to just order a safe meal for delivery.

Bowl of gluten free gnocchi topped with a meat sauce and parmesan cheese.

Finally, we went to dinner at Etcetera Etcetera. This is a restaurant near the Theater district so it would be the perfect choice if you are heading to a show. It is not 100% gluten-free, but they had many options. The staff was excellent and so kind in explaining what would be safe for me. I had the salad and gnocchi with meat sauce. You can get a variety of sauces. They also had a decadent chocolate pudding with hazelnuts and whipped cream. It was divine, but I didn’t have room for more than a bite. They only had indoor seating. My colleagues who are not gluten-free had steak and risotto, and they enjoyed their meal as well. It was the perfect end to my trip to NYC.

Plan Your Gluten-Free Food Adventure in NYC

If you go to New York, add these restaurants and sights to your list. I also recommend a trip to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. There are so many more locations on my NYC must visit list. To help you in your planning, I also recommend checking out my friend Erin’s blog for regular updates to New York’s dedicated gluten free restaurants. New York is a city where it is very easy to find safe gluten free food. It is not cheap, but it is delicious. I highly recommend anyone who has Celiac Disease make a trip to visit this wonderful city.

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