Did you know that this month is National Celiac Awareness Month? No? I’ll be honest I didn’t either until the other week. Ooops – And it’s something I really should get behind more – I mean jesus we need all the extra help we can get if we plan on ever eating a meal in a restaurant that isn’t a salad. It’s like being continuously punished for your health issues because apparently missing out on pizza just isn’t quite punishment enough. Thank fully times they are a changing and everyone is slowly cottoning on to allergy issues and providing more options to cover everyone, thank god.
Before I moved here from Melbourne I think I googled top restaurants before I even researched tourist attractions, I mean a girl needs to have her priorities in order right?
So in honour of Celiac month here is a roundup of my favourite GF/vegetarian restaurants I have found in New York so far:
Helen and I went here one night solely because it was the name of the restaurant we would always visit when she first moved to London, the food could have been crap but we had to go for the sentimental factor. Thank fully it was anything but, apparently Fig and Olive is just as good in New York as their London twin. It’s billed as a tasting bar which without question is now my favourite type of bar.
I love a meal that consists of lots of different share plates, if this sounds like your thing then pay this place a visit, they have a huge list of cocktails and will happily mix something up if you can’t see it on the menu. But more importantly the food – you know you’re on to something special when you sit in silence for 5 minutes as you try and decide what to have, it’s rare for a GF vegetarian so when it happens you hold onto that place and you don’t let it go. Fig and Olive have an amazing selection of sharing dishes, I couldn’t even tell you about the mains because we didn’t make it past the first page, definitely order the trio of vegetables and the Burrata. Pick a few plates, share away and order more if you need to. Simple.
This place is the perfect place for a low key Friday night dinner, it’s relaxing enough that you don’t have to dust off the LBD but classy enough you won’t feel like it’s another meal in Chipotle.
Find Fig and Olive: all over NYC
We went to the one on 5th
10 East 52nd Street
Between 5th & Madison Ave.
If I could eat brunch here every single day I would but sadly I would eventually eat myself into obesity and out of funds but I’d die a very happy person. This place is so cute, it has its own garden on the roof where they grow and then use ingredients for the menu (make sure you pop up and check out their veggie patch after you’ve eaten). It is the perfect place for a leisurely visit and it ticks all the important brunch boxes: lovely venue, great food, and fresh seasonal Bellinis. Granted there’s normally a wait for a table, especially at weekends, but I’m used to Melbourne brunch queues – so any wait here is always an improvement, if you are affronted at having to wait then where the hell have you been hiding? Just trust me it’s definitely worth it. The space is stylish and airy but not pretentious – perfect for a relaxing catch up with the girls where you can actually take your time to gossip and gorge without feeling rushed.
The food itself is amazing and the portions are so huge, something you are going to be pretty thankful of after you’ve tried your first bite. Unsurprisingly sadly like most restaurants I have been to in NY so far they don’t do GF bread (baffling) but the server was very happy to customise the menu for me. That’s your one trick you’re missing Rosemarys but it is still my favourite brunch spot, it’s quickly become my go to because it’s a guaranteed success. You need to put this place top of your list and make sure you get the Stringhe di Funghi with poached eggs, amazing breakfast – anything with oyster mushrooms is a winner for me.
Find Rosemarys here:
18 Greenwich Av, NYC
I found this place through the beauty that is Deliciously Ella, it was one of her recommended places to eat in New York and I am more than happy to follow her lead. I have to say I have been quite surprised at the almost lack of health conscious places, I mean yes there’s a deli on every corner but I think I just expected more nutritional/lifestyle centred places, so thankfully this organic shop helps fill that gap. There’s a few of these dotted over the city but my tip, head to the one off 6th Av because you can fill up on goodies and then cross over the road into the beautiful Bryant Park where you can have your own little healthy picnic, such a gorgeous little lunch idea. I have spent many a lunch time taking my salad and relaxing here watching the world go by. But back to the actual food, so you’re going to be spoilt for choice, it took me about 5 minutes to decide on which juice I wanted – it is insane the choices and the ingredients in some of them. Then it’s on to lunch itself, there’s an annoyingly good array of premade salads and sandwiches but my favourite’s the raw wraps, low in fat and something different. I had an amazing collard wrap with their version of a vegan tuna – just trust me. Try it. And you can’t leave without a raw dessert, sometimes I’ll pop in just to grab their pumpkin cheesecake, so creamy and tasty and you don’t feel guilty so it’s a win win. Granted this is a slightly pricier lunch than your average salad bar but you pay for the quality and of course if it’s healthy and good for you then that’s all that matters. I want them to open one of these in Melbourne. Please?
Find Organic Avenue here:
Go to the Bryant Park deli so you can have your own picnic in the park
5 Bryant Park
40th street, 6th Av
Best Salad Bars
After a salad? And I mean a proper salad?
So New York has almost as many delis as it does subway rats. Well okay not really but in my opinion it’s a close contest. You can’t turn around without seeing a deli on every corner, probably next to a Starbucks (got to love a NY cliché) but how do you know what’s a good one? You don’t really, but if you are after a good old salad bowl then you have some good choices, I’d recommend going to one of the main chains: Simply Salad, Fresh & Co or Chop’t. Realistically they are all the same, a big salad bar with lots of different options for you to choose from, guaranteed winner in my eyes. These are the ideal places to pop into to grab a quick lunch and they’ll shut anyone up who starts going on that a salad isn’t a meal – have they seen the options here? You can choose to put together a salad with whatever ingredients you want from the bar, I’m like an excited kid getting carried away pointing at every option she sees. So if you’re self-controls as lacking as mine this might end up being the most expensive salad you’ve ever brought, sorry, but I promise they are good and huge. Another perfect option to grab lunch and head to your nearest park.
When the button pops off my skinny jean and trust me it’s getting there, I am coming for the guys at Lula Bean because I place all the blame on their sandwiches and my lack of will power. I am literally addicted to their Mozzarella, tomato and pesto sandwich with extra avocado and it’s the only place I have found so far that do gluten free bread, it makes my mouth water thinking how good it is. I am all for simple pleasures and this cute little café has it perfected. They do great coffee and have a black board of bagels and sandwiches to tempt you with. I would travel from Manhattan to Brooklyn just to order this, eat it and roll all the way back. Best deli so far.
Find Lula Bean here:
797 Grand Street,
Have you guys been to any of these? Anyone have any other places they’d recommend?