In recent years, restaurants have become increasingly accommodating of food allergies, particularly with regard to gluten. Nevertheless, some places still insist on offering one gluten-free dish and calling it a day. Not so at the five restaurants listed below, our 2013 picks for the city’s best gluten-free options. They offer a range of choices sure to satisfy the hungriest and pickiest. By Jessica Allen.
As you’d expect, organic, vegan Candle 79 caters to those with a gluten-free diet. In fact, this elegant, intimate Upper West Side restaurant has an entire gluten-free menu, including appetizers, entrees, desserts, and brunch. You can start with a live heirloom tomato tartare, with red onion, avocado, cucumber, and mushroom ceviche, or go straight to a main course, such as the zucchini pappardelle (pictured), with spring veggies, nuts, and basil in a cashew cream sauce.
While Brick Lane Curry House does not have a separate gluten-free menu, this Indian restaurant with five locations provides several gluten-free choices, from its kebabs to its curries to most of its appetizers. Unsure? Worried? Curious? Talk to the waitstaff, who are super-accommodating and informed about allergies. Then order the pakoras, vegetable fritters in chickpea batter, and the balti, an onion-tomato curry, or the meat sizzler (lamb chop, chicken, and shammi [minced meat] kebabs).
Once upon a time, pasta was verboten to those who suffered from celiac disease or other wheat-related ailments. No longer. Several restaurants now have one or two gluten-free options. Not Del Posto, the temple to fine Italian dining in Chelsea owned by Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich. Instead, Del Posto offers gluten-free versions of its entire pasta menu. So go ahead and get the whole wheat tonarelli with spicy cicerchie, rosemary, and shaved bonito (pictured), and savor every single bite.
Inspired by contemporary Mexico City and ancient Aztec culture, Pulqueria smacks of authenticity. Like Indian food, Mexican food presents a lot of choices for anyone looking to avoid gluten. At this trendy Soho restaurant run by a brother and sister, you can go for tacos, ensaladas, frijoles, guacamole, quesadillas, tostadas, and esquites, with freshly made (corn) tortillas. Make sure to try a glass of pulque, a traditional drink made of fermented agave, then customized with such fruits and flavors as watermelon, tamarind, or coconut.
Risoterria, in the West Village, is a gluten-hater’s dream. Every single thing at this Italian bakery and restaurant is gluten-free. This means you can gorge on breadsticks, slurp up saffron risotto, nosh on pizza and ciabatta, sample the panini, refresh with salad, and conclude with several cookies, such as the “orio cakester” (pictured). We’ll run out of synonyms for the word “eat” before you run out of options for lunch, dinner, or snack. And, no matter what you order, you can eat safely and securely.