Dishes to Die For?
Food allergies can put a real damper on dining out. It’s embarrassing having to explain your allergies again and again to servers, and it’s downright scary if they don’t take you seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to kick off brunch or dinner by explaining that shellfish could really kill me. It’s a conversation that can put a damper on a fun meal out.
But there are plenty of spots in Queens where the team will go the extra mile to ensure that you can enjoy a great meal without breaking out in a rash, or worse. Here are a few to get you started. Remember: Even if you think it’s super unlikely, it’s always worth mentioning your allergy to wait staff so that it’s at the top of their minds.
Astoria’s take on Australian cuisine is served up in a restaurant that’s hypersensitive to folks who need to stay away from gluten. Thanks to the gluten-free flour mix they make in-house, long-lost favorites like tacos, fish and chips and corn fritters are back on the menu for the gluten-averse. The few things on the menu that aren’t gluten-free are also well-marked, so you won’t order in error. Cheers, mates!
35-12 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; 718.626.5430
The next time your lactose-loving friends invite you out for a cooldown dessert, insist on Snowdays in Flushing or Forest Hills. Here, you can order shaved vegan coconut ice cream and top it with dairy-free treats like strawberry and blueberry purées, nuts, mochi and fresh fruit.
37-20 Prince St., Ste. 1C, Flushing; 718.321.0500
72-24 Austin St., Forest Hills; 347.960.8517
If you’re allergic to seafood like I am, kosher cuisine is a great goto. Kosher rules ban shellfish consumption, so you can be certain there’s no chance of crustacean contamination in the kitchen. There are dozens of great kosher spots in Queens, but Uma’s Uzbek offerings feel extra special. Expect familiar Russian and Asian flavors mashed up in spicy dumplings, borscht, fragrant meat stews and (my favorite) chewy, hand-pulled noodles.
92-07 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Far Rockaway; 718.318.9100
Samudra Vegetarian Restaurant & Chaat House
Queens’ wonderland of East Asian food is likely a no-go if you’re worried about a peanut allergy. But don’t get sad: Go to Jackson Heights. This veggie joint serves dishes from both the north and south of India, and has zero peanut dishes on the menu, so you can relax while you dig in to curries and dosas.
75-18 37th Ave., Jackson Heights; 718.255.1757