Visting NYC with Food Allergies

Where to take your allergic kids when visiting NYC? It's a tough one.

This below comes from an Allergic Girl reader who brought her little one to NYC for the first time in April.

As a lot of you ask me about where to take your allergic kids when you visit NYC, I hope this helps.

(The below is reprinted with her permission and is based solely upon her experiences.)

Greetings from Atlanta. I’m the person who was bringing my 7 year old on a special trip to NYC. Our trip was last week and it was FABULOUS!! (thanks to a fantastic bout of sunshine and mid-70’s weather). We went to some spots that might be considered touristy, but some of your traveling readers might like the info.

P.S. Another note helpful to allergy sufferers, I found that using Open Table for reservations has been very helpful. I’m able to put all of the allergy information in the “notes” section and ask them to call me if they cannot accommodate the allergy. I was pleasantly surprised at how often the restaurant noted the allergy when we walked in to honor the reservations.

So here is my rundown:

Spotlight Live – Times Square

This is a kitschy place with cool décor, lots of disco balls and it’s a karaoke bar/restaurant that has back-up singers/dancers. Neither my daughter nor I had any intension of singing, but I thought it would be a fun place to bring a 7 year old. I was right. She loved it and for the record, there were lots of other girls who looked to be about her age singing & dancing.

I called ahead and although it took a few phone calls to get to the right person, I ended up talking to the chef. He said to ask for him when we got there. I had made the reservations on Open Table (which I HIGHLY recommend), so they knew it was us and I took the opportunity to tell them yet again about my daughter's allergy. When we got the restaurant, we were seated and to my surprise, the chef came right out to greet us. He said they have lots of kids who come in and are very familiar with allergies. He suggested some items on the menu that we might like. Everything was hot and yummy (albeit QUITE overpriced, by hey, that’s NYC). There was this wonderful “make your own Sundae” item on the menu, but seeing that some of the items would not work for my daughter, he offered to make us a smaller version and charge us less for it. Nice!! So overall, it was a very good experience.

Orso – Theatre District

I had read about this in one of my travel books and it said “make reservations early, it’s hard to get in”, so I thought it had to be a good bet. I called for reservations and noted the allergies. They said it would not be a problem. When we got to the restaurant, the waiter was very nice and noted the allergy. Although it was easy for my daughter to order (plain pasta with butter & Parmesan cheese), it was a little more difficult for me because I try not to order items with nuts in them myself when I’m dining with her. Many of the sauces were pre-made and it made it difficult to order what I wanted. I didn’t love what I ended up having to get, but oh well. It would have been nice if they could have made the dish on its own, sans nuts. Overall however, it was a nice experience for us. Oh, and FYI, this is a nice place, not a kiddie joint. She was the only child in there, which was perfect with me.

The Boathouse – Central Park

This was wonderful on a beautiful day. They were fine about the allergy, but a lot depends on your waiter. Ours was OK. She took our “allergy alert” card to the chef, but seemed a bit nonchalant about it. Again, it’s pretty easy to order for a 7 year old. I had the Halibut. A bit dry, but again, we were really there for the wonderful ambiance and weather. I used Open Table again and that seemed to work well for us.

Rock Center Café – Rockefeller Center

Perfect time of year for this restaurant. We were able to sit outside and our table was RIGHT on the fountain. Once again, I used Open Table and noted the allergy, telling them to contact me if there was a problem. I originally had reservations at Brasserie, but then opted to change them. I chose this restaurant, not only for it’s exciting location, but also because it’s owned by the same people who own Brasserie and you seemed to have a good experience there. That said a lot. Again, they were aware of the allergy and I was able to order good food for both my daughter and I.

So that’s it in a nutshell (no pun intended). Hope this might help your more “touristy” readers. Again, we had a fantastic time in your fair city and I can’t wait to return with my youngest daughter in a few years when she is 7.

Thanks Allergic Girl!!



Catherine said…
I've had great success using the OpenTable reservation system to let restaurants know about my gluten-free needs.


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