Chances are you may have a food allergy or know a friend who does, so you can relate to the hassle of trying to eat out in a restaurant: allergies and restaurants go together almost as well as your diet and chocolate. You don’t want to make a fuss because you’re sure you’ll be able to find something on the menu you can eat, “no really it’s fine I really wanted another side salad” (again). Eating with allergies or intolerances is a big struggle, it’s frustrating and to be honest it’s just down right annoying.
I’m gluten free and vegetarian, a combination which is a never-ending delight every time I head out to dinner. It’s like Russian roulette: will I actually be able to eat or go home hungry? Will they know what gluten free even is? Will they know what’s suitable on their own menu? Or will the charming server ask me if I really have to be gluten free and can’t I just eat it? I was once told on a flight that I had to choose either the vegetarian option or the gluten free one because apparently I can’t be both?
So trust me when I say finding a restaurant that provides equal options for gluten free customers is rare. But this is exactly the case at Davio’s “an upmarket Italian steak house in Manhattan”. They have recently introduced a completely Gluten Free Menu and the result is amazing. I would definitely say it’s one of the best meals I have had in New York so far. So if you need me anytime in the next few weeks you know exactly where to find me.
First off you’ll need to start with a cocktail. Their menu changes seasonally so it’d be rude not to try one, or two… My favorite was definitely La Nina – fresh and fruity. Then I insist that you start with the Burrata, incredibly creamy and tasty and it was so nice actually having GF crackers to enjoy the cheese with – it’s the simple pleasures – but it’s such a good one.
But for me the best way to instantly judge a restaurant’s GF attempts: try their bread or pasta. Trust me I’ve tried enough but unsurprisingly Davio’s has definitely created a keeper. I went for the GF pasta with Mushroom, Garlic and Truffle Oil and it was amazing. When you panic because your lunch tastes too good to be true you know it’s a good sign. The quality and the passion that goes into each dish is pretty clear.
I think it’s safe to say the team at Davio’s are onto a winner with their GF menu and it’s about time. When you come across a great place like this where there are equal options and no compromise on flavor, it makes a real difference, you’re treated as a customer…not an inconvenience. So if you are like me or you have a friend who always ends up with the raw deal whenever you guys go out to eat, why not make their day and take them here? There is something for everyone and I promise you the food is amazing, no-one will leave hungry.
Find Davio’s here:
447 Lexington Avenue, New York
Here are a few of my other favorite GF friendly restaurants I have come across since I arrived in New York a few weeks ago:
You may have already been to their flagship restaurant in Brooklyn but did you know they have just opened another venue in Williamsburg? And have another in the works for Harlem? Did you also know that these guys not only make incredible authentic Neapolitan pizzas using ingredients flown over from Italy which are then cooked in their 2 ton wood fired pizza oven (also flown in from Naples) but that these guys have managed to achieve the impossible, they actually offer a Gluten free pizza base and it’s good, like seriously good? Take note, NYC.
Ask any GF and we will all say the same, by now most food imitations have been perfected for us, stuff like GF breads and pastas sometimes taste so good I get scared but GF pizza is the tough one. I haven’t enjoyed a GF pizza base that didn’t taste and look like a cremated Frisbee until now. Hallelujah. And it’s about time – I know it’s still not going to look as authentic as its real counterpart but for the first time ever it’s given it a good go and you can finally enjoy a great slice of pizza.
The guys at Sottocasa are lovely and the space is gorgeous – think very industrial and stripped back with a big nod towards recycling produce – check out the little herb garden out back in the old sink and I’m sure you’ll notice the homage to the head Chef’s love of skateboards – you’ll find them throughout the restaurant even making up the benches and as artwork. Make sure you also keep an eye out for upcoming Art Exhibits that Sottocasa Williamsburg are holding where artwork will be displayed throughout the venue.
Find Sottocasa here:
232 N 12th St, Brooklyn
Before I arrived in New York I lived in Melbourne, and trust me those Australians know how to do a good brunch, so when I came across Bluestone Lane and their promise to provide ’that real Australian experience’ I had to go check it out. It means that they should have really good coffee and a Smashed Avocado on the menu or there’d be uproar.
Thankfully I am pleased to say they delivered on both – best Soy Latte I have had since I have been here, finally some where that knows what a good coffee is and not the usual scalding hot burnt Starbucks. And the menu was ridiculously good – it was a tough choice between so many dishes that I need to go back to try more plus they actually did gluten free bread which is surprisingly rare I’ve found when I’ve been out for lunch.
Not only do they do GF bread but they also have a lot of GF safe options on the menu both savory and sweet which is pretty rare, let me tell you. After a very difficult decision, only helped by drooling over the guy’s food on the table next to me and asking him what it was, I had the Green Baked Eggs and it was delicious. Could have eaten it all again. And I will, when I go back tomorrow, and probably the next day.
The atmosphere in the café itself is pretty charming, make the most of the last days of this weather and snag a table outside, the staff are friendly, the coffee is the best so far and safe to say the food definitely passed the test. Make sure to head here if you are after a nice and relaxed Brunch date or keep an eye out for their simpler coffee shops dotted around the city if you’re in need of a takeaway coffee that actually tastes good.
Find Bluestone Lane Collective here:
55 Greenwich Av
There are a few of the Fig & Olive restaurants dotted around Manhattan but don’t let the fact its a chain put you off, I promise you it’s more than a few steps up from a trip to Olive Garden and their menu is a gluten free vegetarian dream. My advice, pay all your attention to the first page and order a selection of starters and smaller dishes to share. Its my favorite style of meal, this way you get a little bit of everything and you can always order more dishes if you were a bit cautious the first time. Just promise me one thing? You’ll order the Burrata?
This restaurant is classy but not pretentious, ideal for a casual Friday night dinner with a hot date or catch up with the girls. Great food and a killer cocktail list makes for a perfect combination, I think you’ve just found your fail safe dinner place.
Since brunch is undoubtedly my favorite meal of the day I have happily spent many a morning relaxing with a soy latte in hand watching the world go by. You might even say I’m a bit of a Brunch snob, so when someone recommended Rosemary’s it sounded well worth a visit. First off a key selling point for me: they have their own garden on the rooftop of the restaurant where herbs and produce grown features across the menu. The venue itself is a gorgeous airy space and you are pretty much guaranteed a wait. But it’s brunch and I’m used to Melbourne queues so this is nothing, suck it up, order a coffee and you can even wait by the bar, trust me the food is well worth it.
Whilst they don’t yet serve Gluten Free bread (come on Rosemary’s) they are more than happy to adapt the menu so it’s GF friendly and I promise you that you won’t leave hungry, the portions are huge – which you soon realize is a dangerously great thing once you had your first bite. This is perfect for a relaxed but classy brunch. Another one for the list.
Find Rosemary’s here:
18 Greenwich Av, New York.
Would love to know…what’s your favorite Gluten Free place to eat? Share below!
By: Charlotte Revill of The Eight Hours