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Best Gluten Free Downtown Restaurants in NYC

September 22, 2017 - by Merrill Lee Girardeau
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Anyone with gluten sensitivity knows that after avoiding wheat products for long enough, you barely miss them. Fortunately, if you find yourself in New York, you won’t have to go without bread, pasta, or pastries. Below are seven of downtown Manhattan’s top spots for those avoiding wheat products.

**A note that only Senza Gluten ( below) is certified as an entirely gluten-free establishment. Other restaurants serve wheat products, upping the risk of cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Downtown NYC: Senza Gluten

Senza Gluten  

It’s all in the name: senza gluten means “gluten-free” in Italian. This Greenwich Village gem is 100% gluten-free, with no wheat flour or other gluten products on the premises for those with more serious sensitivities. Start with breaded cauliflower with buffalo parmesan and tomato sauce. The selection of salads and entrees are winners, but you get arugula salad and lamb chops at every nice restaurant. If you’re Celiac or gluten-intolerant, we know you want pasta. The Bolognese sauce is to-die-for on both the spaghetti dish and the lasagna. At lunch they serve sandwiches and gluten-free flatbread pizzas (go for the Vegetariana). 206 Sullivan St, 212-475-7775,

Gluten-Free Downtown NYC: Peacefood


Like its sister restaurant on the Upper West Side, Peacefood’s downtown location represents everything good about plant-based eating. Peacefood has cultivated a homey atmosphere in its surprisingly sizable dining room and a can’t-miss selection of vegan foods. Its menu also indicates which dishes are true-blue gluten-free and which are “almost gluten-free.” The market veggie plate is a filling, flavorful meal, as is the wheatless raw vegan lasagna made with cashew cheese. If you can catch the nachos on the special menu, however, order them and don’t look back. The pièce de resistance is the raw chocolate mousse pie with pecan-coconut crust. 41 E 11th St, 212-979-2288,

Gluten-Free Downtown NYC: Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC 

If you’re traveling in the Lower East Side, find the tiny Erin McKenna’s Bakery, purveyor of totally gluten-free, vegan, and kosher baked goods. Come early for a donut: the Samoa (inspired by the Girl Scout cookie flavor), Salted Caramel, or Mocha Cookie. If you’re not looking for a sugar rush, go for the mild, melt-in-your-mouth Cran-Apple Bread. You can also find gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies, either alone or as a cookie sandwich. They have plenty of cupcakes, but we recommend the carrot flavor. 248 Broome St, 855-462-2292,

Gluten-Free-Friendly below 14th Street: Esperanto


Take a little trip over to Alphabet City for killer Brazilian cuisine at Esperanto. Though several dishes are made with bread and bread crumbs, you’ll have plenty to choose from if you’re avoiding gluten. Get the party started with caipirinhas, the traditional Brazilian cocktail. Your apps could be light and fresh—Ahi Tuna Ceviche—or a bit heavier—perfect mussels roasted with garlic, paprika, butter, and parmesan. A signature Brazilian dish at Esperanto just happens to be gluten-free as well: the Moqueca. It’s a seafood stew with coconut milk, ginger, and cashew, served with a side of rice. Or you might go for the salmon with mango salsa. Trust us, you’ll be booking a ticket to São Paolo before night’s end. 145 Ave. C, 212-505-6559,

Gluten-Free Downtown NYC: Bareburger

With 12 locations in Manhattan, Bareburger’s menu resembles that of a typical burger joint. But unlike most greasy spoons, the company prides itself in using quality ingredients and accommodating a variety of diets. Each gluten-free item on the menu comes with a “GF” tag for those avoiding bread. Order your burgers or sandwich sans bun or in a raw collard green wrap. Rest assured that several of your favorite indulgent sides will be gluten-free as well: Sweet Fries, Falafel Cups, and Sriracha Blue Cheese Crispy Brussels Sprouts. Locations at 535 LaGuardia Pl, 212-477-8125, and 155 William St, 646- 657-0388,

Gluten-Free Downtown NYC: Rubirosa


New Yorkers rave about Rubirosa, and for good reason. This pizzeria’s pies are some of the best in the city. They’re on our list because, unlike other Little Italy eateries, every one of their pizzas is available on a gluten-free crust. Popular flavors are the Tie-Dye with pesto swirl on top, the Classic, and the Vodka. Other delicious, wheat-free dishes include the Calamari and Spaghetti and Meatballs with GF pasta. 235 Mulberry St, 212-965-0500,

Gluten-Free Downtown NYC: Dimes

With a mid-century flair and bubble-shaped ceiling that looks straight out of “The Jetsons,” Dimes makes a striking first impression. Once you see the menu, you’ll be delighted that many dishes exclude wheat ingredients and don’t skimp on flavor. Try one of their specialty cocktails (we’re a fan of the mezcal-based Desert Flower). Start with one of their spectacular seasonal salads. Two notable main courses, both gluten-free, are Spiced Quinoa with sweet potato and nori shiso pesto and fall-apart Pulled Pork on pineapple rice. 49 Canal St, 212-925-1300,

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