Living in Manhattan I am constantly reminded that the city is unwaveringly boastful over two food items: pizza and bagels. Many will argue that is the creativity of cuisine and water that distinguishes both gluten-filled doughs from other cities around the world, but it just might be prideful competition that keep both popularly demanded items at their best.
While I can’t deny a good bagel (and often still have trouble finding one), pizza is one food that is hard to refuse. Whether it’s for a quick bite or a sit-down celebration, the right combination of sauce, cheese, and vegetables can satisfy any taste bud craving.
Being a city in love with its pizza, I have also found that there is no shortage of pizzerias hoping to prove their prowess of creating the perfect pizza dough for the gluten-free community. Whether its by disguising the slightly different flavor of the dough with delicious and creative toppings and cheeses, creatively creating dough out of things like cauliflower, or touting their dough as the original gluten-free crust from Italy itself, businesses have (fortunately for celiacs) become obsessed with gluten-free pizza.
If you’re traveling to the Big Apple (or if you live here too!) here are three of the top pizza options I’ve found that even my gluten-eating friends agree have crust that will keep you reaching for that second (or third or fourth) slice!
Pala Pizza, 198 Allen Street, New York, NY 10012
This pizza place is absolutely the number one recommendation I have for all gluten-free and gluten-filled eaters. The menu is clearly marked and the owners know what they’re doing. All the servers are educated on the topic of gluten and know exactly what is and is not gluten-free on the menu. Note: it is not a devoted gluten-free restaurant, but has devoted gluten-free cookware. Not only do they offer gluten-free crusts, but the waiters make sure to be clear about the gluten-free (or filled) chicken sausage, and serve the pizza on cute wooden pizza pans that are labeled “gluten-free” so there’s no cross-contamination! Moreover, at Pala you’re not just funneled into the plain GF pizza crust, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese “option” I so often dread when I need to choose gluten-free out at a restaurant. Pizza options range from zucchini with goat cheese to butternut squash with mozzarella. If pizza’s not your thing, Pala offers pasta choices. Yes, choices! The restaurant offers organic pasta like corn and quinoa spaghetti, brown rice fusilli, and rice, potato, and soy flour penne pasta.
Slice, The Perfect Food, 535 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
I first discovered this gluten-free restaurant back in 2010 when I was finally ready to venture out of my kitchen and back into restaurants for gluten-free fare. Again, this pizza place is very forthcoming with their ingredients, advertising their use of free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and presenting a multitude of vegetarian and vegan options as well. The pizzas are all thin crust and absolutely amazing. My personal favorite is the “Intermediate Goat Cheese Personal Pie,” which has all-natural marinara sauce, caramelized onions, fresh arugula with a lemon mustard dressing and goat cheese. What distinguishes Slice from Pala, however, is how accommodating they are to personalized options. You can create your own pizza, with your choice of cheese, meats and vegetables, creating your dream gluten-free pizza.
Pie by the Pound, 124 4th Avenue (between 12th & 13th Street), New York, NY 10003
Pie is a true pizzeria located just south of Union Square. I first ate at Pie during my gluten-filled eating days. The pizzas are absolutely delicious and the staff is warm and friendly. About three years ago Pie saw how in-demand gluten-free pizza was becoming. Over the course of that time, the restaurant has come up with more than 20 different gluten-free pies, including the very creative “Brunch Pie,” which is complete with mozzarella and American cheese, bacon, egg and scallions. Pie has other creative pizzas, including the “Greek Salad Pie” with feta cheese, red onion, olives, lettuce, tomato, radicchio and tomato sauce or the “Potato Pie” with mozzarella, ricotta, walnuts, rosemary, and potato. While it’s less of a sit-down restaurant, you will get an authentic NYC pizza dining experience at Pie.
Whatever your gluten-free palate craves, New York City can give you some great GF options. The competitive nature of this city’s restaurants keeps to choices rolling in with doughs that are constantly being improved over the neighboring pizzeria. Keep your eyes out for the chalkboards that read “We Serve Gluten-Free Crusts!” – I promise you won’t be disappointed!