One of the best things about Brooklyn is that whenever you get hungry, some of the best food on earth is just steps from your door. Look at any craigslist add for an apartment here and it will say something like, "STEPS from great restaurants," and it's totally true.
However, if you're a Celiac, like me, or if you just avoid gluten because it's not your body's jam, picking from the panoply of Brooklyn eateries can be a daunting and downright terrifying task. To make it a bit simpler for you, I thought I'd share a list of my favorite, go-to gluten free-friendly restaurants in Brooklyn.
I'm sure you know this, but if you have Celiac Disease, you should still inform your server of your condition so they can alert the kitchen to take extra precautions. Also, it's always a good idea to double check about fried items being fried in separate oil, I've been burned more than once by cross contamination from a restaurant who changed their frying protocol.
Now, drumroll please. In random order, here is BKMG's GFBK List!
Bogota Latin Bistro (5th Ave Park Slope): Full disclosure I did used to work here, but it is honestly one of my favorite restaurants in the world to eat at as well. They serve traditional Columbian food and are the most gluten free-friendly establishment I've been to in New York City, with the exception of their sister restaurant (which is also on this list and follows the same GF practices). Gluten free items are clearly labeled, they have two dedicated gluten free friers, and the staff are always friendly and helpful if you have questions about the food. They also have the best margaritas in all the world. The food is so good it's hard to pick a favorite dish, but gun to my head I'd say the Ropa Vieja is my fave.
Miti Miti Taperia (5th Ave Park Slope): This is Bogota's sister restaurant which is just across the street and up one block. It's a tapas bar and lounge with fantastic cocktails and mix of Latin, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern tapas dishes that are all GF labeled and separately fried. There aren't quite as many gluten free entrees at Miti Miti as there are at Bogota, but they honestly cannot be compared and you will be more than pleased with what's safe for you to eat here.
Bareburger (7th Ave Park Slope): So yes, Bareburger is a chain, but it's also really really good and very friendly to the gluten free folk. If I want a burger, I'm going to Bareburger. They are eco-friendly, organic, antibiotic-free, no GMO, responsibly sourced, pasture raised...you know all that good stuff. And, if beef isn't your thing, just go ahead and get some elk, or bison, or boar, or any other random meat you forgot humans could eat because America is weird and only eats like two things. The food is fast, fresh, delicious, and most importantly they have gluten free options for most of their dishes (including GF buns). There are many locations all around the world and you'll have to check about their fries by location is you are a Celiac. But my main squeeze here is the Habanero Express with bison on a gluten free bun.
Sun in Bloom (Bergen St Park Slope): Sun in Bloom is actually a vegan restaurant, but they are also incredibly gluten free-friendly as well! Almost all of their dishes have a GF option that is clearly labeled on the menu ANNNNNDDD they have amazing gluten free desserts. My dream Sun in Bloom meal is the Rockin' Veggie in a collard green wrap followed by a chocolate and peanut butter GF cupcake. A load of veggies followed by dessert and it's all gluten free? I call that a win, win, win situation
Cochinita (Clinton Hill): Oh Cochinita, how do I speak of your glory? I can't, it must be tasted. But essentially this is what I refer to kindly as hipster Mexican food; all the traditional components are there, but it's not quite the same thing as straight up Mexican food. However, this doesn't make it any less delicious. In fact this is probably my most ordered from take out place. All entrees are gluten free except their burritos, but that matters not because here is what you will order: Cochinita Plate with pinto beans (and no cheese if you are also dairy free). Then what you will do is you will take that moist, saucy pork and you will put it in one of the corn tortillas you have been given and you will eat it over your rice and beans to soak up the extra sauce. Then you will take a picture, Instagram it, and thank me. You're welcome in advance btw.
Pequeña (Fort Greene): Now Pequeña is so called because it is teeny tiny, but boy does it pack some big flavor! Pequeña is where I go when I want some more traditional Mexican food. There menu is not labeled for the GF crowd and they only have one glutenized frier (due to space restrictions). However, just chat with one of the servers and they will be happy to help you find something that fits your dietary needs. I go for the tacos, all of which are gluten free except the pork which has beer involved.
Madiba (Fort Greene): Madiba is, get this, a South African restaurant. Yes, you read that right, South African. It's absolutely deliciously flavored, impeccably prepared, and has an ambiance that can't be beat. The menu used to be labeled for the G Free crowed, but for some reason they stopped doing that. However, you can still chat with your server or the manager and they'll get you all set up! The owner once said to The B Man as we walked in, "have the lamb chops [Pap & Vleis], they'll change your life." I kid you not when I say that was not an understatement. Life changed.
Caracas Arepa Bar (Williamsburg): In the heart of Williamsburg there is a door that says Caracas and behind that door is a place of Venezuelan culinary genius. In many latin countries an arepa is a corn meal cake that you maybe put butter, cheese, or chorizo on. Not in Venezula. A Venezuelan arepa is essentially a latin pita pocket sandwich. The arepas are baked, not fried, so they are gluten free and are packed with various meats, fish, veggies, beans, and sauces. However you will have to avoid any arepas with maduros (fried sweet plantains) as they are cross-contaminated during the frying. It might seem like a bummer to leave something like that out, I assure you, you will not feel cheated in the slightest.
This is a far from comprehensive list, because Brooklyn is huge and has a lot to offer in the culinary realm, and i'm only one woman with a limited amount of time and money to spend on fooding around Brooklyn. But each of these restaurants is a sparkling gem for those of us who suffer with either Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance and the best part is, I promise your non gluten free friends and family will find them just as delightful as you do.
So go check them out, order delivery if they are in your hood, and most importantly, leave a comment here with your favorite gluten free friendly restaurants in Brooklyn and elsewhere. I'd love to try them out as well, since as you can see my list is dominated by Latin cuisine.
*Note: I'm a big dumdum and originally wrote Conchinita instead of Cochinita.