Last week I was visiting my parents in Philly and decided to take a day trip to NYC with my mom as an early Mother’s Day celebration. When doing day trips, which involve A LOT of public transit, I tend to gravitate towards 100% dedicated gluten free restaurants to be extra safe—Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery fit this criteria being entirely dedicated gluten free! I was so excited to try Senza Gluten Café & Bakery, which is located in the West Village area of NYC at 171 Sullivan Street. As a note, I did receive a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review for Senza Gluten Café & Bakery. And in my honest opinion, I loved my experience and plan to return in a month!!
A little bit about Senza Gluten Café & Bakery…you may have heard of the wonderful full service sit down restaurant, Senza Gluten. The Senza Gluten Café & Bakery and Senza Gluten share the same owners but are two separate locations located just down the road from each other. Both are dedicated gluten free and I highly recommend checking out both of them. Like the restaurant, the café & bakery is cash or American express only so plan ahead.
The café itself is cozy and has a friendly warm vibe. We were immediately greeted upon walking in and grabbed the window table. I was also able to meet one of the owners, Teona, who was the sweetest person ever. She recognized so many customers by name and treated them like family. I loved seeing her interactions. The whole crew was so helpful and friendly.
I will admit that I am a bit spoiled in LA with dedicated restaurants, but I was absolutely in shock with all of the variety of options at Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery. The counter was completely lined with baked goods and desserts, even toting vegan, egg free, dairy free, and soy free options so everyone can enjoy. Each label listed allergens, helping everyone assess which items are safe for them. My mom has a shellfish allergy so I asked about their use of shellfish—although they serve fish, the cafe & bakery do not currently use any shellfish ingredients.
We were lucky enough to meet my awesome celiac friend, Jessica (who you may know as Tasty Meditation), for brunch! Not only was it great to see her in person again, but I had one more person to split meals with so we could order multiple different menu items and try them all. This was super lucky, because there were so many different menu items. Want pizza? They have it. Sandwiches? Yes. Pasta? Yes. Salads? Yes! Classic Breakfast Egg Dishes? Of course. I often associate cafes with a limited menu, but I could not have been more wrong. This is one of the most expansive menus I have seen.
I ordered an iced almond latte to start—I usually have to smother my coffee in mocha sauce to “kill” the taste of the bitter coffee. However, the espresso at Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery was smooth and not bitter at all so for once, I didn’t need a ton of (or any) sugary syrup to help with the taste.
We ordered the Prosciutto e mozzarella Panini, Uova e Pancetta, and Truffled Egg Yolks in a Hole. The panini came with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, pine nut pesto, homemade basil, and baby arugula. It was served with a house salad and roasted red potatoes. I was most excited about and most nervous for the panini–gluten free bread can be hit or miss. However, I was overjoyed by the softness and perfect texture of the panini bread. I could have easily eaten just the bread. By the end of the meal, I was begging the chef to ship the bread back to Los Angeles (currently, they do not offer shipping, but who knows about the future). The sandwich was on a larger side and there were plenty of sides.
The Uova e Pancetta Pizza was also incredible. This pizza has mozzarella & parmesan, whole egg, white truffle oil, turkey or pork bacon, and tomato sauce. I’m used to gluten free pizzas being thin crust and crunchy usually, but this pizza was not. The crust was fluffy and soft and the unique flavor combinations (breakfast pizza?!) blended perfectly.
My mom ordered the Truffled Egg Yolks in a Hole after seeing it on instagram and craving it all morning. She does not have celiac and does not normally eat gluten free, but she is one of my biggest supporters through the whole diagnosis process so she’s tried many many gluten free restaurants. She’s a tough critic, but loved her meal. She kept raving about the bread being the right texture and the generous portion sizes—she didn’t even finish her potatoes or salad. Don’t worry, I stole the potatoes from her in addition to eating all of mine.
And now for dessert…I ordered a gluten free chocolate eclair (YES THOSE EXIST!). I loved it so much that I ordered a second one to go. The flakiness of the pastry. The large amount of delicious filling. The giant size. I could go on forever.
I also tried my mom’s red velvet cake, which was phenomenal! As someone who loves red velvet so much that she had it as her wedding cake, I can tell you that the red velvet cake was the right amount of sweetness and frosting.
Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery carries a TON of gluten free desserts so I am bummed I didn’t get to try them all. Next time, I plan to try the cream puff and the cheesecake! And take some muffins and cookies to go….or maybe just come and eat dessert for lunch. Who knows.
I was pleasantly surprised by the affordability of Senza Gluten. There wasn’t a typical “gluten free markup” and the prices were comparable to average NYC dining costs at nice restaurants. The bigger portion sizes were unique to this gluten free restaurant and as a big eater, I was so thankful for that. The cafe & bakery currently offers to-go orders as well as delivery to select areas by seamlesss. Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery is closed on Mondays and seating is on the smaller side so plan accordingly.
THEY DO NOT USE OATS! This is great as many oats are NOT gluten free–unless they are purity protocol oats, they aren’t safe for celiac. And a small percentage of people with celiac cannot tolerate any oats so it is awesome that Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery does not incorporate oats into any of their dishes. Kudos to them!
Would I return to Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery? Definitely! I am trying to squeeze in a return trip with my husband next month. It has easily become my favorite gluten free restaurant in NYC and the quality of the food is so high and delicious. Thank you, Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery for providing such amazing gluten free food for those of us with celiac disease! ❤
**Kitchen protocols and menus can change at any time. Make sure to directly speak to the staff at any restaurant before eating to make sure that they can accommodate your dietary restriction.**