Places to Eat: Navigating NYC with a Food Allergy

As anyone with severe food allergies knows, meandering along the streets of a city and dropping into a restaurant that looks or smells delicious isn’t the safest way to travel. Choose a place where staff isn’t allergy-aware (or, worse, are allergy-intolerant) could mean eating hospital food the rest of your trip. And that worry may lead to dull dining at a chain known from home. Check out the following allergy-friendly options for taking a safer—but equally scintillating—bite of the Big Apple:

The Meatball Shop

There are six locations of The Meatball Shop in New York City—including a short Uber ride away from popular arts destinations like the American Museum of Natural History and Guggenheim Museum—and their menu includes an “Allergy Matrix” that identifies gluten-free and dairy-free options among their 17 varieties of meatballs. The spicy pork is dairy-free but not gluten-free, and chicken and spicy meat are free of both.


Featuring Italian fare in a casual atmosphere, Bistango (one location near the Empire State Building and another near Grand Central Terminal) is known for being conscious of allergies. They have antipasto, salads, pizzas, and pasta—any of which may be prepared regular or gluten-free.

Lilli and Loo

A short ride from Rockefeller Center, Lilli and Loo features an extensive gluten-free menu—provided in cooperation with the Gluten Intolerance Group—including sushi, pad Thai noodles, and other Asian cuisine. There’s also delicious blueberry pound cake, and coconut or mango sorbet for dessert.

Senza Gluten

Featuring a 100% gluten-free menu of sandwiches, salads, pasta, and entrees, Senza Gluten in Greenwich Village has earned an AllerTrain Certificate and completed other allergy training. All other major allergens are used in the kitchen, but the rolls are from a completely nut-free facility. Customers with multiple allergies encouraged to call ahead and discuss needs directly with chef.

The Donut Pub

The Donut Pub has donuts, muffins, croissants, pastries, bagels, soups, and sandwiches with no nuts or products containing nuts from their on-site bakery. Their suppliers deliver nut-free ingredients to their location, just a short ride from Chelsea Market or Union Square.

A La Mode Ice Cream Shoppe

The A La Mode Ice Cream Shoppe, which iw a quick Uber ride from Grand Central Terminal or the Museum of Modern Art, is a nut-free facility offering homemade, small-batch ice cream in flavors such as Pink Vanilla Sprinkle and Blue Cotton Candy Marshmallow. Gluten-free and dairy-free options are available.

If you’re looking for more dining ideas, check out BR Guest Hospitality, which runs 17 New York City restaurants and is also known for being allergy-aware.

While many New York City restaurants—even those serving more adventurous cuisine—can accommodate food allergies, your best option is planning in advance where to eat. But there’s no need to spend all afternoon on the subway or blow your budget on cabs, when Uber can take you to your dining destination quickly.

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