10 dairy-free delicious things to eat in NYC

New York City is heaven or hell for the dairy-free eater, depending on how you look at it…

Sadly some Gotham classics are off the menu: bagels with cream cheese, pizza, giant Reubens. On the plus side, New Yorkers are a health-conscious bunch and the city is streets ahead of the UK when it comes to dairy-free options at restaurants, cafes and grocery stores.

Here’s 10 delicious dairy-free things I ate recently in NYC and where you can find them…


1. Tuscan lobster roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound
Red Hook Lobster Pound sells one of the best lobster rolls in the city, and it now does a dairy-free version. The Tuscan Style is a top-split grilled bun stuffed to bursting with sweet Maine lobster meat tossed in a sharp (but not overwhelming) basil vinaigrette.

Where to find it: Red Hook Lobster Pound, 16 Extra Place, New York, NY 10003. You can also find Red Hook Lobster Pound at Smorgasburg or its food truck at various locations (follow @lobstertruckny)

2. Almond milk latte from Stumptown at The Ace
Stumptown Coffee is one of the best brews in NYC (you’ll also find it in LA, Portland and Seattle). Best of all, the friendly and knowledgeable baristas don’t blink when you ask for almond milk… because in NYC the customer is King.
Where to find it: Stumptown at The Ace, 18 W 29th St, New York, NY. Also at 30 W 8th St.

Alchemy Creamery NYC3. Green tea and coconut ice cream from Alchemy Creamery
Alchemy Creamery was set up by a group of friends who are all lactose intolerant. It sells a selection of dairy-free ice-creams and push-pops in gourmet flavours such as Green tea and coconut (curiously moreish and not too sweet) and Almond Marzipan (seriously creamy) from various NYC locations.
Where to find it: Smorgasburg, the Brooklyn Flea and Governor’s Island in season. Alchemycreamery.com

4. Khao Soi Kai from Pok Pok NY
Pok Pok is a cult Thai restaurant hidden near the waterfront in leafy Cobble Hill. But despite its off-the-radar location, it attracts devotees from far and wide. We sat next to a Texan businessman at the bar who’d ordered his taxi to head straight to Pok Pok from JFK, suitcases and all. It offers a version of the menu with allergens flagged up – but being authentic Thai, there’s no dairy in any of the savoury dishes. Hurrah! Everything we ate was incredible, but my favourite dish was the creamy, deeply savoury and comforting khao soi kai – a coconut and chicken broth, made with a secret-recipe curry paste and served with shallots, mustard greens and crispy noodles.*
Where to find it: Pok Pok NY, 117 Columbia St, Brooklyn NY 11231. Pokpokny.com

*Look out for a khao soi recipe in my book.

Butcher's Daughter NYC5. Tartine from The Butcher’s Daughter
Everything on the menu at The Butcher’s Daughter Juice Bar and Café is dairy-free. That’s right: everything! The house-made chocolate-hazelnut spread on a crisp tartine, and served with fig jam set me up for a morning of heavy-duty shoping in Soho and Nolita.
Where to find it: The Butcher’s Daughter, 19 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012. Thebutchersdaughter.com
Read a full review of The Butchers Daughter

6. Shrimp and kimchi fried rice, two eggs, grilled pork belly at The Dutch
This brunch dish at The Dutch was as indulgent, savoury and satisfying as it sounds – plump shrimp, fried eggs, mouth-puckering kimchi and salty pork. The Dutch is a stylish ‘new American’ restaurant in Soho. ‘Slebs love it – Emily Blunt and (sigh) John Krasinski were sat behind us on our visit.

Where to find it: The Dutch, 131 Sullivan Street, New York, NY 10012. Thedutchnyc.com

7. Chicken salad sandwich from Mile End Deli
There are chicken salad sandwiches…and then there’s the chicken salad sandwich from Mile End Deli, a contemporary take on a Jewish deli. An indecent amount of chicken is slathered in mayo, stuffed between two slices of rye and served with tangy red peppers, pickles and salty gribenes (chicken crackling).
Where to find it: Mile End Deli, 97A Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Mileenddeli.com

8. Cacao Suave smoothie from The Butcher’s Daughter
Yes, this place was so good it warrants two mentions! Cacao Suave sounds like a Latin pop group, but in fact it’s a thick, rich smoothie made with almond milk, raw cacao, frozen banana and young Thai coconut.

Where to find it: The Butcher’s Daughter, 19 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012. Thebutchersdaughter.com

9. Pastrami sandwich at Second Avenue Deli
This should’ve been a pastrami on rye, but for some reason the waiter brought us white bread – perhaps he thought that’s what Brits would want. Anyway, Second Avenue is a classic kosher deli, which means there’s no dairy on the premises (kosher delis sell meat, while appetising stores sell fish and dairy). Pastrami on rye is a classic NYC combo and I think the slivers of pastrami at Second Avenue are even juicier and more delicate than those at the better-known Katz.
Where to find it: Second Avenue Deli, 162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016. 2ndavedeli.com

10. Sausage, eggplant and garlic pizza at Adrienne’s Pizza Bar
For a classic NY slice that isn’t smothered in cheese, try Adrienne’s Pizza Bar in downtown Manhattan. The menu is structured so you choose one of three bases and then customise with toppings. One of these is a marinara (just crushed tomatoes and garlic – so much garlic!), to which we added peppery sausage and slivers of eggplant.

I’m also a fan of the vegan pizza at Two Boots which has a number of locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Where to find it: Adrienne’s Pizza Bar, 54 Stone Street, New York, NY 10004. Adriennespizzabarnyc.com

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