Sensitive to gluten? Enjoying dessert, a sandwich, or slice of pizza is not impossible and can actually be delicious thanks to some wonderful neighborhood restaurants and businesses that don’t mind “holding the gluten.”
For people who suffer from a gluten allergy or celiac disease, gluten intake can lead to severe weight loss, iron deficiency, malnutrition and osteoporosis. Gluten sensitivity—as in my case—causes less serious (but really uncomfortable) side effects including headaches, fatigue, skin rashes and stomachaches. For some of us, skipping the gluten just feels better.
So here you go, the best of the best spots to enjoy a gluten free meal:
1. Sun In Bloom, 460 Bergen Street, (718) 622-4303
As a chef and restaurant owner living with celiac disease, Aimee Follette has created a haven for those living a gluten-free lifestyle. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, her 100% vegan menu offers dishes ranging from a raw Bloom Burger ($9.25) with caramelized onions on a collard green wrap, to a guilt-free slice of luscious and creamy Raw Blueberry Cheesecake ($7.50). My personal favorite is the Gluten-Free Pancake Stack ($10.50) with caramelized bananas (pictured above). Trust me, you won’t miss the gluten.
(Photo via Sun in Bloom)
2. Scottadito, 788A Union Street, (718) 636-4800
With an organic menu that offers a delicious gluten-free pasta substitute for any dish at no extra charge, this is the spot to dive into a plate of rich pasta carbonara. Enjoy simple classics like pesto, pomodoro, or pasta with meatballs, or, my personal favorite: Gluten-Free Penne alle Verdure—with zucchini, eggplant, plum tomato sauce and ricotta salata ($17). Mamma Mia!
(Photo via Yelp)
3. Pizza Plus, 359 7th Avenue at 10th Street, (718) 768-5327
Okay, recreating the luscious, cheesy, crispy goodness of traditional pizza is no easy task, and kudos to Pizza Plus for trying. Although I can’t say it’s as good as the real thing, this crispy thin-crust option is flavorful with a satisfying crunch. Regular gluten-free pizza pies are available in small ($11) or large ($15), or enjoy a gluten-free specialty pie for a $5 surcharge. Although a bit pricey, Pizza Plus is the place to go if you’re craving a slice. If you’re less excited about traveling south of 9th Street, the good news is they deliver!
(Photo via Jen F.)
4. Zito’s Sandwich Shoppe, 195 5th Avenue, (718) 499-2800; or 300 7th Avenue, (718) 499-2800
You won’t miss the gluten on one of Zito’s mouth-watering sandwiches. From Italian classics like the Trunzo ($10)–with prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted peppers—to the lighter Sicilian Tuna ($8.50) with olive tapenade and balsamic, Zito’s soft and fluffy gluten-free focaccia is to die for!
(Photo via Foodspotting)
5. Bareburger, 170 7th Avenue (at 1st Street), (718) 768-2273
Burger lovers, yearn no longer; heaven has arrived on a bun. Bareburger offers juicy grass-fed patties ($8.45-$12.15) on a gluten-free rice tapioca roll, and fresh cut French fries ($4.95) with a variety of tasty gluten-free dipping sauces. Wash the yumminess down with a thick gluten-free milkshake ($4-6.95) or root beer float. And for dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake with amarena cherry compote ($7.95). Amen, Bareburger.
(Photo via Bareburger)
6. Back to the Land, 142 7th Avenue, (718) 768-5654
A treasure trove for organic and healthy produce, food, and lifestyle products, Back to the Land has a nice selection of gluten-free items ranging from breads and cereals to granola bars, macaroons, cookies, and brownies. Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread ($6.59) is great for toast or a sandwich, and you won’t taste the difference with Jovial Gluten-Free pastas ($4.99). Although a bit pricey, your body will thank you for it!
(Photo via Patricia B.)
(1/23 2:17 p.m.) UPDATED TO INCLUDE:
• Fornino, 256 Fifth Avenue, (718) 399-8600 (via Francis in the comments)
The restaurant and pizzeria offers gluten-free pasta and pizza options, which Francis says “may be better than their regular.”
Bogota identifies which dishes are gluten-free (and its a majority of their 100+ item menu), and they have two designated GF fryers.
All savory crepes are gluten-free, and they sell gluten-free pastries from Las Delicias Patisserie.