There are several places to get gluten free pizza in Manhattan but Kesté is by far the BEST. The pizza Kesté serves is the closest thing I have had to real pizza since I gave up gluten 10 years ago with one exception: a pizza I ate in Italy outside of Otranto. Kesté is run by a chef with simliar training. I am grateful he set up shop in NYC!
Here is a picture of my gluten free pizza (close-up) with my husband’s gluten pizza (background). As you can see they look very simliar to each other. According to my favorite taste tester (husband!!) they also taste very simliar to each other.
Kesté has a few important rules about their gluten free pizza.
1. It is only served on Monday and Tuesday.
2. It is ONLY served three ways. No substitution is allowed. NONE. I have asked many, many times to have something added to mine and the answer is no. If you want something like Arugula on your pizza you can order a side salad and then put it on the pizza when it comes out. This is the only work around I have discovered so far!
“We want it to be safe for you” in Italian accented English is the response to any additions. I am ok with the rules because they are designed to keep me and YOU from getting sick. I can’t argue with that.
If you are lucky enough to make it to Kesté here are your three choices:
Margherita (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil)
Marinara (tomatoes, oregano, garlic, extra virgin olive oil) or
Mast Nicola (lardo, Pecorrino romano, basil)
The pizza is made in Neapolitan style so it has a thin, crispy crust that is a bit chewy. The chewy part is what is so hard to find in gluten free pizza. Its also light. Many times after eating a gluten free pizza I feel like I have a brick in my stomach. No so with Kesté.
Kesté offers wine and Italian beer. After tasting many different reds on the menu I suggest the house red. This is not a place you go for wine and the house red is fine. The pizza is the main attraction.
When you arrive at this restaurant it may seem like a nightmare long line out front but I have never waited more than 30 minutes. The guys that run the door are really good at shuffling people in and out of there. Just remember to return the favor when you are done eating.
The tables are NYC close in this restaurant so get ready to sit right next to your neighbor. Part of this is fun – its highly likely your neighbor is also in gluten free heaven!!
Neighborhood: West Village
Address: 271 Bleeker Street