On a recent trip to New York I scoured the city to find the best family restaurants serving gluten-free food for coeliacs. I am the coeliac in our family but we needed a place where my four-year-old daughter was welcome too.
I found about ten restaurants and diners, many of which had separate gluten-free menus. I will only mention the five I visited and can vouch for (was not violently ill afterwards). They were all child-friendly and demonstrated an excellent knowledge of what is involved in preparing safe food for coeliacs, including the issue of cross contamination.
Bloom’s Delicatessen Café:
An informal, diner-style restaurant. Separate gluten-free menu. GF specialties are omlettes, hamburgers, fish, steak, and probably the best place in NY to eat guaranteed GF French fries (you can buy them to take-away too). Open all day until late. Take-away and delivery service. Budget - cheap.
Outback Steak House:
An Australian themed restaurant with a separate gluten-free menu. Typically satisfying steak house fare with a couple of indulgent GF desserts and a children’s menu. Open all day until late. Budget - medium.
Peter’s Gourmet Diner/Restaurant:
A firm favourite. Peter’s is the best place for GF informal all-day food on the Upper East Side, especially good for breakfast and brunch. It’s not huge, though there are terraces at the back and front of the restaurant for outside dining in warmer weather. American diner-style eating with an extensive menu and probably the most varied GF menu for casual eating I’ve ever seen: pancakes, waffles, omelettes, all kinds of eggs, loads of sandwiches, burgers, plus a full dinner menu, and desserts. If there is something you want that is not on the menu they will have a go at making it for you too. Friendly service. Open all day until late. Delivery available. Budget - cheap.
A small, popular, informal dinner venue with some fantastic authentic risotto recipes. This place is busy most nights, though tables clear quite quickly so booking isn’t usually necessary. Risotteria serves all manner of fantastically cooked GF risottos, pizza, salads, desserts, and even GF beer. GF breadsticks on the table are home baked and delicious. A restaurant truly dedicated to coeliacs. Seating is squeezed in a bit but worth it. Budget - cheap/medium.
A large, popular, family-orientated restaurant on the Upper West Side. Sambuca is a great place to enjoy an unhurried family dinner (not open for lunch). It serves southern Italian food, with a separate GF menu that includes a really good range of GF pastas and sauces, as well as chicken, veal, steak, seafood , vegetable dishes, plus homemade GF bread and chocolate brownies. Good for parties and celebrations too. Lively ambience. We had one of our best evenings here.
Bloom’s Delicatessen Café
350 Lexington Avenue (corner of 4oth). www.bloomsnewyorkdeli.com
Outback Steak House
There are two of these: See www.outback.com for both addresses.
Peter’s Gourmet Diner/Restaurant
1606 1st Avenue (between 83rd & 84th). Tel: 001 212 989 3122
270 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village. www.risotteria.com
20 West 72nd Street. www.sambucanyc.com
More info on GF restaurants in New York at: www.glutenfreerestaurants.org
Coeliac UK: www.coeliac.co.uk
Celiac US: www.csaceliacs.org
My four-year-old daughter and I found ourselves living it up in New York recently when we joined my husband on a business trip. We had a great time eating out, exploring the city on open-top bus tours, and doing museums and Broadway shows, but some of the best things we did really were free (or at least nearly free). Here are my top ten things to do with kids for next to nothing in NYC…
1. Lay out a blanket in Central Park (picnic optional) and soak up the atmosphere. The huge expanse of grass at the Great Lawn is a favourite spot and great for games too.
2. Visit Belvedere Castle in the middle of Central Park at 79th Street. It is the highest point of the park with great views, a visitor centre, walking tours and free educational programs.
3. Attend Saturday morning story time for children of all ages in Central Park at the Hans Christian Anderson Memorial (mid-park from East 73rd entrance. Check for times at www.centralparknyc.org).
4. Visit one of the spectacular toy shops: Toys-R-Us in Times Square or FAO Schwartz (the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South) which has a giant electronic keyboard built into the floor upstairs that children can play with their feet. You can easily spend an hour or more exploring and trying out the display toys without buying a thing.
5. Take the Staten Island ferry. Day or night this is one of the best free (or paid for) boat rides in the world. It takes about half an hour each way. You can get straight off and back on again or spend time on the dockside at Staten Island looking at the distant Manhattan skyline. The ride gives spectacular views of the downtown skyline and the Statue of Liberty, all lit-up to magical effect at night.
6. If it’s a quiet stroll you’re after and you find yourself in Brooklyn, take a walk along the Brooklyn Seafront for a great view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. (And if you do want to spend a few dollars there is a great ice-cream parlour there too.)
7. Stand in the middle of Times Square for ten minutes and don’t forget to look up.
8. Stand just about anywhere and play how many yellow cabs can you count in a minute?
And if it’s summer…
9. Summerstage (held at Rumsey Playfield near 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue) and Shakespeare in the Park (at the open-air Delacorte Theater near the W81st Street entrance to the park) are two of the most popular summertime programs and both are free. Top-shelf acts and great performances.
10. Fancy a dip? There are 14 miles of public beaches in four of NY’s boroughs: Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Contact General Parks and Recreation Department Information at www.nycparks.completeinet.net for more info.
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