Putting together a list of Westchester gluten free restaurants has been a blast. But it hasn’t always been a picnic being gluten-free. When I first gave up gluten in 2009, I had a hard time going out to dinner, and this was when I was living in New York City, one of the world’s greatest culinary meccas. I can’t tell you how often I would find myself in a situation where I would ask the waiter to check with the chef on a menu item and he would return shaking his head, saying something like “sorry, it’s not gluten free, it has cream in it.” And while trying not to bang my head on the table, I would calmly explain that cream = dairy, not gluten, and to PLEASE not hold back on anything cheese, cream or dairy-related. (Cheese is my life).
Fast forward five years. While of course there is still the occasional challenge (like abstaining from freshly baked croissants while in France on our honeymoon), the gluten-free food world has exploded and I can virtually eat anywhere without a problem. I’m not sure I would have believed it then if you told me what a sea change there would be in just a few short years. Now more often then not I find myself surrounded by family and friends at the dinner table, more than half of whom have eliminated gluten from their diets.
It’s been fun rediscovering some of my favorite places to eat in Westchester, and here is a compilation of some of my tried and tested gluten-free (gf) spots along with a few on the list to try.
Bar Taco, Port Chester – Love the tacos and they actually list right on the menu which items are gluten-free. And THANK YOU for having the traditional corn tortillas instead of the ever-popular wheat tortillas that so many other Mexican restaurants seem to favor these days!
Q, Port Chester – Unlike many BBQ sauces, Q’s is made sans soy sauce, making it a great gf option.
Andy’s, Rye – Andy’s offers many gluten-free and vegan options. Good for lunch, smoothies and juices.
Lusardi’s, Larchmont – I’ve been going here for years and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they now offer gf pasta that you can substitute for any of their standard pasta offerings.
North, Armonk – One of my favorite restaurants anywhere, local and seasonal menu and homemade gluten-free bread! They also offer gf pasta.
Golden Wok Cafe, Ardsley – So far I’ve found Asian cuisine to be one of the most challenging for us gluten-free-ers, namely because there is soy sauce in so many of the dishes, but Golden Wok offers an extensive gf menu.
Red Barn Bakery, Irvington – Written up in the New York Times and Martha Stewart, this local gem offers a little something for everyone – from traditional baked goods to gluten-free and vegan confections.
Jean Jacques Culinary Creations, Pleasantville – If you’re looking for a gf caterer, this might be the spot. Jean Jacques offers gf versions of classic recipes and can accommodate other food allergies as well.
Patisserie Didier Dumas, Nyack. It’s closed right now while rebuilding after a fire, but once it reopens, try the “mini-royal chocolate,” their ever popular gf chocolate hazelnut dessert. Sold.
Healing Home Foods, Pound Ridge – All products are gf and most are vegan. I’m addicted to the almond butter chunk granola and fresh herb raw crackers. The products are sold at various locations (see website) and at several farmers markets in Westchester.
Red Hat on the River, Irvington – Amazing food and incredible views of the Hudson River. Lots of gf options but the secret is out so be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Table, Bedford Hills – I love their food philosophy with its mission to “connect our community with the farmers that harvest our locally grown foods and to provide a realistic alternative to the industrial food market.” Seasonal, organic, local, and gf options? I’m there.
We’ve only been living back in the ‘burbs a little over a year so this is just a starter guide but I’m looking forward to eating my way around the county and adding to this list. Please feel free to share your favorite gf spots!
UPDATE from Liz: Another good one to try is Thyme Restaurant in Yorktown, where chef-owner Tom Costello recently went GF.
Here are a few more options to consider, from a previous story on lohud.com.
Maud’s Tavern, Hastings-on-Hudson: A cozy, traditional restaurant-pub set on a side street in the village that leads down to the Hudson River. The décor features brick walls lined with holiday lights and black-and-white photographs. There’s often a bustling crowd, tended to by black-clad servers who flit in all directions refilling drinks and taking orders. “People who are on gluten-free diets are limited unnecessarily,” says owner and chef Maud Tucker, who is very accommodating to GF cuisine. She makes all the tavern’s sauces, soups and salad dressings on-site – to allow for strict regulation of ingredients – and can make nearly all of the dishes on the regular menu GF upon request.
GF sampling: Grilled marinated loin lamb chop with vegetables and red potatoes; sautéed shrimp in lemon white wine sauce with assorted vegetables; fusilli with mushrooms, tomatoes, peas, garlic and parmesan.
Go: 149 Southside Ave.; 914-478-2326; maudstavern.com.
Golden Wok Too, Ardsley: Locals call it one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area, and its distinguished by soothing dark walls and a quiet reserve. Colorful hanging lamps and a large American flag add accents, and brush paintings and red-and-gold good-luck charms provide a traditional note. Visitors can expect a welcoming and comfortable dining experience at the family-owned restaurant offers patrons.
GF sampling: Chow Fun rice noodles with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or vegetables; Chicken with broccoli; chicken with crispy walnut; moo shu pork.
Go: 875 Saw Mill River Road; 914-693-2110.
Bellizzi, Mount Kisco: A vibrant Italian restaurant full of kid-friendly flare. Though the colorful, and, at times, overloaded interior is not for the faint of heart, anyone looking for a whimsical encounter will rejoice in everything from the rainbow archway to the checkerboard flooring and bright Looney Tunes mural. Those looking to relax can sit at the outdoor, street-side tables for a calmer experience, while children can take advantage of the adjoining arcade and playroom. Be sure to try the GF gelato!
A GF sampling: Potato points (GF crust topped with potatoes, cheddar, Monterey Jack and crispy bacon; chicken parmigiana grilled and topped with marinara and mozzarella (also in eggplant); risotto with baby clams, shrimp, calamari, arugula, sweet peas and shaved parmigiano and basil; Margherita pizza with sautéed tomatoes, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.
Go: 153 E. Main St.; 914-241-1200; bellizzifood.com.
Epstein’s Kosher Delicatessen, Hartsdale: A little bit deli, a little bit diner, filled with comfortable booths and customary kosher food. A long room with sponge-painted walls and red and white seating, the deli provides families with a relaxed ambience and sweet, chatty cashiers. “Kids will come in and ask for the (gluten-free menu). It’s good for everybody, they like it, we like it,” says owner Robert De Groat.
A GF sampling: Corned beef and eggs; shepherd’s pie; Hungarian goulash over rice; chopped liver; baked apple, marshmallow twists.
Go: 387 North Central Ave.; 914-428-5320; epsteinsdeli.com.
Olé Olé Restaurant and Grille, Suffern: A Spanish-Mexican-Latin diamond in the gluten-free rough. Bright orange, green, red and blue walls liven the space and sturdy wooden tables add earth tones and balance to the décor. A neighboring room with flowing curtains and hanging wall sculptures would be a great setting for surprise parties or dinner events. Diners are greeted by cheery staff, who are knowledgeable about both the GF cuisine and preparation style.
A GF sampling: Guacamole, Aztec Chicken marinated in olive oil, lime juice and ground pepper topped with homemade mango sauce; Maya New York strip steak; paella; and pico de gallo.
Go: 98 & 100 Orange Ave.; 845-368-3058; oleolerest.com
Posa Posa, Nanuet: bustling pizzeria offering only one fully gluten-free item – pizza. Hungry customers crowd the counter, pushing forward to order from the smiling, quick-spoken servers. A large tile mural of Italy, hanging potted plants and red-shingled roofs above the tables make the interior resemble an outdoor café. The restaurant partners with “Still Riding Pizza,” a company that produces authentic, New-York-style GF pizza crust and trains pizza parlors to prepare it properly.
A GF sampling: Come hungry, as you need to order a full pizza.
Go: 121 Rockland Center (Route 59); 845-623-7050.
Spice of India, Nyack: Indian cuisine served in a setting that features golden statues, flowing saris and quiet luxury. Rich aromas of spicy chicken, lamb and vegetable dishes fill the main room, catering to a variety of cravings. Bright cushions contrast the dark chairs and deep wooden floors. Servers glide from table to kitchen, maintaining the calm air of the meal.
A GF sampling: Dal makhni (traditional Punjabi preparation of black lentils); Chicken Dopiaza with twice-cooked onions; lamb chops masala; full menu of tandoori.
Go: 125 Main St., Nyack. 845-353-3663. spiceofindianyack.com.
Chili’s Grill & Bar, West Nyack: Chili’s Grill & Bar, along with some of the other franchises with GF menus, provides patrons with a reasonably priced option for a hassle-free dinner. A family-style restaurant chain, Chili’s is often loud and bustling with practiced servers carrying classic comfort food. Typical weekend nights often require a short wait if you arrive during peak hours but weekdays allow for rapid seating and service. Servers are friendly and knowledgeable and are always willing to look into menu items and details.
A GF sampling: Guiltless carne asada steak; honey BBQ grilled baby-back ribs; mushroom Swiss burger (no bun); chicken Caesar salad.
Go: 4434 Palisades Center Drive; 845-353-9774; chilis.com.