Manhattan’s neighboring borough has been a pioneering town for artists and makers since long before mold-breaking natives like Jay Z, Barbra Streisand, and Spike Lee came up amid its narrow, tree-lined streets. Resident legendary food stylist Victoria Granof proves the point with this Brooklyn gluten free travel guide to all that’s delicious in walkable, lovable Brooklyn.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan
It’s about a 1.1-mile stroll from shore to shore, and, once across, you can easily walk or cab to Cobble Hill shopping or other BKLYN destinations.
Short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, this waterfront neighborhood is where you can ride the vintage, restored Jane’s Carousel (janescarousel.com) in a Jean Nouvel– designed glass pavilion at the water’s edge, get a spiced hot chocolate at Jacques Torres (mrchocolate.com), peruse publications at powerHouse Books (powerhousebooks.com), and, on Sundays during their open season, head under the Manhattan Bridge Archway to shop the antiques, collectibles, food, and handmade items of the 75 vendors selling at Brooklyn Flea (brooklynflea.com).
Intersecting the Carrol Gardens and Boerum Hill neighborhoods, Smith Street features a mile-long stretch of restaurants, indie boutiques, and gift and housewares shops. Look for shoes at Soula (soulashoes.com), leather goods and Sven clogs at Refinery (248 Smith Street), cheese at Stinky BKLYN (stinkybklyn.com), and quirky books and gifts at Exit 9 Gift Emporium (shopexit9. com). Parallel to Smith Street, on Court Street in Cobble Hill, are higher-end chain stores (Rag & Bone, Benefit, Jacadi Paris, Splendid); Yesterday’s News (yesterdaysnews.biz), a vintage and antique store loaded with Brooklyn memorabilia and furniture; and Cabin Modern’s (cabinmodernny.com) restored and thoughtfully reupholstered mid-century modern furniture (smithstreetbk.com).
Food and Drink Classes
You can take a two-hour chocolate-making class at Raaka (raakachocolate. com) or a pig butchering class (or canning or knife skills) at The Brooklyn Kitchen (thebrooklynkitchen.com). Or learn how to create latte art like a barista at the Cupping Lab at Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters (tobysestate.com), where they take coffee very seriously.
At Prospect Park on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., spring through fall, 100 vendors—all of them selling food!— showcase their local, artisanal, small-batch foods, many of which are gluten-free, dairy-free, or both. smorgasburg.com
Brooklyn Greenmarket Farmers Markets
Going to any of these outdoor market locations is like shopping in a village where you’ll literally rub elbows with Old Country grandmothers, hipsters, families, and local chefs buying from local growers and artisans. grownyc.org/greenmarket
Artists & Fleas
At the Williamsburg waterfront across from Smorgasburg (see above), this indoor weekend flea market is where collectors head for vintage art, design, and fashion finds from more than 100 sellers. artistsandfleas.com
Brooklyn Bridge Park
The 85-acre waterfront park is an idyllic picnic and people-watching spot. During warm weather, there’s a $2 ferry to 172-acre Governor’s Island (govisland.com), a world unto itself with biking, play areas, and local artisanal foods less than 800 yards from Brooklyn.brooklynbridgepark.org
DRINK IT IN
Locally roasted Stumptown coffee and restored Old Brooklyn storefront environs make this Cobble Hill coffee shop a favorite among local photographers, stylists, artists, and editors. cafepedlar.com
Located in a former turn-of-the-century Sicilian social club, this Carroll Gardens throwback neighborhood bar features craft cocktails and bartenders who dress the part. brooklynsocialbar.com
Drink where the locals drink at this Red Hook neighborhood spot that still looks like the sailor bar it once was. On Saturdays there’s a bluegrass jam and on Sundays kids run around in the back while parents imbibe. sunnysredhook.com
Lena Dunham trivia nights, Mario Kart showdowns, Cambodian pop-up dinners, and backyard barbecues are some of the fun to be had at this Greenpoint neighborhood bar owned by Dave Pollack and Bon Appetit magazine photo director Alex Pollack. thediamondbrooklyn.com
In this Williamsburg prohibition-era room, serious cocktails are served with small plates such as deviled eggs with beet horseradish, charcuterie and cheese, a raw bar, and amazing butterscotch pudding made with Islay single malt scotch. hoteldelmano.com
At least four of the dozens of draft and bottled brews at this airy, open, 6,000-square-foot beer hall in Greenpoint are gluten free—as are the suds-friendly sausages (provided you skip the bun). spritzenhaus33.com
Hotel Indigo Brooklyn
Affordable and arty-chic with revolving collections from the Brooklyn Arts Council and proximity to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Bridge, and Barclay Sports and Entertainment Center, this InterContinental hotel is a solid choice. ihg.com/hotelindigo
McCarren Hotel and Pool
This preferred Williamsburg address loads its contemporary rooms with luxury amenities, while its rooftop pool (open seasonally) and bar scene with Manhattan views even lure locals. (You can get a day pass for the rooftop pool even if you’re not a hotel guest.) mccarrenhotel.com
This Brooklyn centerpiece feels distinctly local thanks to trendy, loft-inspired rooms, local art, and whimsical decor touches. nuhotelbrooklyn.com
There’s a welcome hominess to the industrial-modern lofts and suites at this Greenpoint favorite. franklinguesthouse.com
Stay here for custom digs (including reclaimed-wood beds and way-cool locally designed wallpaper), a bar serving salted caramel popcorn and oysters, and a movie theater showing avant-garde and vintage cinema and documentaries. wythehotel.com
Brooklyn Bridge Marriott
Near Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO (see page 86), and the Brooklyn Bridge and featuring large, modern rooms, this newly remodeled hotel comes with lots of perks, including a gym and an indoor pool. marriott.com
The following restaurants are not one hundred percent gluten-free, but they are all accustomed to accommodating GF diners. Always be sure to alert your server, or better yet the manager, of your gluten-free status.
Note: Restaurants change their menus and recipes all the time, so be
sure to confirm with your server that all the dishes you order are in fact, gluten-free.
About half of Top Chef Dale Talde’s Asian-American menu can be made GF, but that’s more than enough in this casual-chic Park Slope dining room, especially since you can have the fried chicken! Must-try: GF Korean fried chicken. taldebrooklyn.com
Avlee Greek Kitchen
Light, airy, modern surroundings and the usual Greek meze spreads make this family-run Carroll Gardens cafe a worthy stop for a varied nosh. Must-tries: horta (lemony kale and chickpeas); grilled octopus; baby lamb chops; grilled haloumi (sans pita). avleegreekkitchen.com
The pedigreed chefs at this cozy Cobble Hill spot draw crowds with New American cuisine served in a quintessential Brooklyn dining room (think exposed brick and old wooden floors). Must-tries: Carolina gold rice with octopus, chorizo, squid ink, pickled chili, and aioli; kale salad with bird’s eye chiles, palm sugar, and fish sauce. battersbybrooklyn.com
Sleek white-and-black interiors accompany a menu that dances between the cuisines of Asia and the American South at this Carroll Gardens destination. Must-tries: slow-cooked pork shoulder with shrimp paste, chile, and pickled green papaya; carrot salad with cashew puree, poached garlic, and pink peppercorn za’atar. nightingalenine.com
You can have your burger GF and made from pasture-raised beef, bison, elk, duck, boar, or turkey at this supercasual burger chain’s Cobble Hill outpost. They’ve got a hearty helping of sides, salads, and shakes too. Must-try: a burger just how you like it. bareburger.com
This perfect small neighborhood restaurant in Cobble Hill features regional Spanish cuisine with Moorish and Jewish influences. Must-tries: garbanzos fritos; remojón (house-cured salt cod salad with citrus, pistachios, olives, egg, and pomegranate); roast suckling pig with quince–rose petal sauce and chimichurri. lavarany.com
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
A carpenter brother and chef sister run this Cobble Hill creamery featuring luscious house-made ice creams and toppings. Must-try: “Mr. Potato Head” sundae featuring North Fork potato chips, in-house vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, warm caramel sauce, and whipped cream. brooklynfarmacyandsodafountain.com
The Good Fork
The carpenter-chef team behind this Red Hook standby creates a relaxed yet polished dining experience with cozy surroundings (try the back garden) and globally influenced cuisine. Must tries: Early Girl Farm salad of beets, crushed raspberries, ewe’s bleu cheese, and poppy seed vinaigrette. goodfork.com
Huge, new, and three stories, this Red Hook open-air seafood joint has a beach shack vibe and a seasonal mini-golf course. Must-tries: $1 happy-hour oysters; raw bar; Hollander mussels. brooklyncrab.com
Williamsburg pioneer Andrew Tarlow’s whimsical dining experience starts with a capricious, daily-changing menu written on the table by your server. Sometimes it’s meat-centric, other times it’s Grand Aioli Night or Paella Night. Must-try: specify you’re GF and go with the GF flow. dinernyc.com
You can eat most of the pastries at this all-day-breakfast cafe, which also features GF French toast, waffles, and sandwiches. Must-try: avocado toast on their delicious GF bread. fabianescafeandpastry.com
GLUTEN-FREE SAFE HAVENS
Sun in Bloom
A chic, happy, vegan, GF place near the Barclays Center, this is where to come for excellent sweet-potato fries, macro bowls, vegan tacos, and amazing miso-roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and roasted poblano tacos with cashew lime crema. Note: their kitchen is 100-percent gluten-free, but they offer bakery-bought Ezekiel sprouted bread as a sandwich option, so there is a very slight possibility of cross-contamination during sandwich assembly. suninbloom.com
Everybody Eats Bakery
Open to the public on Saturdays, this GF and nut-free bread and cake bakery is where GF Brooklyn gets good allergen-free party cakes, pizza crusts, challah, and hot dog and hamburger buns. everybodyeats-inc.com