Gluten-Free Restaurants in New York: S’mac, Babycakes, Tu-Lu's, Risotteria, and Pala Pizza
5 Tasty Gluten-Free Joints
My friend and I were recently scoping out the East Village for gluten-free-friendly spots — and we were surprised to come across not only a bakery committed to gluten-free goodies (Tu-Lu's) but also a macaroni and cheese joint (S'mac!) that offers an alternative to standard elbow-shaped noodles. I assumed that adhering to a gluten-free diet would be tricky in NYC (this city loves its pizza!) and also a bit lackluster. Not so! Here are five yummy locales that put my preconceived notions of gluten-free gloom to shame.
- Tu-Lu's Gluten-Free Bakery (338 E. 11th St., 212-777-2227), above, hits the (sweet) spot with its daily offerings of gluten-free cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. Like many diagnosed with celiac disease, owner Tully was determined to create a comparable substitute that would fill the wheat product void. The pint-sized shop is adorably kitschy with owl wall decals, old-fashioned cake holders, and peach-colored bar stools. You must try Tully's delicious array of muffins: raspberry almond crumble, coffee cake, and blueberry are my favorites. Bonus: you can grab a gluten-free panini, too!
- Risotteria (270 Bleecker St., 212-924-6664) does the impossible by creating a gluten-free Italian cuisine heaven. Although its specialty is risotto, you can opt for traditional pasta dishes, too. Owner Joseph Pace wanted to design a menu of four-star gluten-free comfort foods; thus, expect nothing short of well-prepared, savory entrees. You have to try the asparagus saffron risotto, with a chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
- Sarita's Macaroni and Cheese (345 E. 12th St., 212-358-7912), above, is affectionately called S'mac by those who have converted to Sarita's mac and cheese way of life. All dish combos (all American, la mancha, alpine, cheeseburger, etc.) are available in a gluten-free version. How? Sarita's staff uses brown rice elbow macaroni for the noodle replacement and crushed corn flakes as the bread crumb-baked top. The final result is just as cheesy and delicious.
- Babycakes NYC (248 Broome St., 212-677-5047) caters to the gluten-free diet as well as the vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free, kosher, egg-free diet. It's incredible, then, that Babycakes produces some of the most delectable sweets I've had in the city. The cookie sandwiches are to die for, and it's kind of nice knowing that you don't have to feel as guilty as you do when indulging in, say, a Magnolia cupcake. I'm getting hungry just thinking about the double chocolate chip cookie with mint filling. With the help of agave sweetener and wheat substitutes, Babycakes makes diet restriction magic. You have to taste it to believe it.
- Pala Pizza (198 Allen St., 212-614-7252), above, makes a killer gluten-free pizza. The Lower East Side parlor specializes in wheat-free cuisine without ever reminding its hungry customers that what they're eating is, in fact, not made with your traditional pizza ingredients. And because Pala stays open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (and midnight every other night of the week), you can make a real party out of it.