Everyone loves dessert, the sweet ending to an excellent meal. A course often heavy in floury cakes can be a challenge for gluten-free diners. Whether eating gluten free by necessity or choice, here are some of the best places in New York City to satisfy a gluten-free sweet tooth.
In the heart of the Upper West Side between Amsterdam and Broadway, Café Lalo is perhaps the most famous dessert café in Manhattan. It’s even featured in a scene in the 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail. Café Lalo has an extensive dessert and coffee menu with every pastry, cake, and tart imaginable and features a special gluten-free section for those of who aren’t keen on flour.
Every delicious item at this bakery in Lower Manhattan is dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. It’s an excellent spot to pick up those items that are typically forgotten by those who make gluten-free products. Usually, there’s a gluten-free brownie or two, but Erin McKenna’s Bakery also specializes in seasonal items including gingerbread and jelly donuts that those with allergies usually have to miss out on.
It may be the dead of winter as of this writing, but of course there would be a soft serve spot on this list. The late 90s-early 2000s saw a low-calorie soft-serve craze in New York City. Chloe’sSoft Serve has risen to prominence as an alternative in this allergy-conscious era. Chloe’s is kosher parve and is free of dairy, gluten, fat, and nuts.
It should come as no surprise that an all-dessert bar would have gluten-free options. Spot Dessert Bar serves desserts as if they are tapas. It is perfect for dessert lovers who can never settle on just one pastry. Spot has several items that are gluten-free, such as the Green Tiramisu and Matcha Cremeux, and other items that can be served gluten-free. The Kabocha Brûlée Cake without the cookie crumbs is a great spin on a gluten-free classic.
Located on the Lower East Side, Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery is both a bakery and café. In addition to an extensive bakery menu of cupcakes, muffins, cookies, donuts, and cakes, customers also have the option of ordering paninis served on sunflower bread. Tu-Lu’s also offers same-day deliveries anywhere in Manhattan. However, 48-hour notice is required for custom cakes. Of note, Tu-Lu’s offers a variety of combinations of gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan items.
Located in Williamsburg, Fabiane’s is a full-service French bistro and café with gluten-free options for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Enjoy gluten-free waffles, muffins, yuca cake, Black Forest cake, and even éclairs. Crème brûlée is available in three flavors, and chocoholics have their choice of three different types of mousse. Fabiane’s also features a regular menu, so the companions of those with dietary restrictions will not also be required to partake in an allergen-friendly meal.
Clementine Bakery is an all-vegan and organic, and partially gluten-free, bakery in Brooklyn. While their daily menu of gluten-free items varies, they always include cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. They even have gluten-free dog treats. In addition, ‘Clem,’ as they refer to themselves, sells their products in a number of bakeries and cafés in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
ChiKalicious Dessert Bar may be New York’s first and original ‘dessert bar.’ They even refer to themselves as a ‘dessert club.’ While their menu varies daily and seasonally, a variety of gluten-friendly desserts are always available. Try the Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Granny Smith Apple Sorbet or the Pink Grapefruit Tartare. ChiKalicious also serves wine and provides recommended pairings with every item on their menu.
Italian food is often a source of consternation for the gluten-free diner. A cuisine rife with bread and pasta is a bit unfriendly; and sorely missed. Senza Gluten provides the perfect antidote as a 100 percent gluten-free Italian restaurant in the West Village. After enjoying a hearty red-sauce Italian meal, gluten-free dessert items include meringue cookies, biscotti, flourless chocolate cake, and tiramisu.