When my brother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2014, one of the biggest challenges my family faced was finding restaurants in our hometown of Nassau County, Long Island that offered quality gluten-free meals for him to enjoy. Reading over every menu, calling restaurants with questions, and doing extensive research on what is considered a "safe" gluten-free meal, we would find what we thought to be the perfect place to eat only to discover that the gluten-free menu was sparse or non-existent.

Jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, my mom and I eliminated gluten from our diet as well and completely understood just how impossible it was to simply sit down at a restaurant and find something to eat on the menu; going out to dinner required preparation which proved to be difficult since there was no "Nassau County gluten-free restaurant guide" for our community.

Flash-forward three years, and I can proudly say that I have discovered some of the best gluten-free menus offered by restaurants in Nassau County, Long Island. Perfect for family dinners where even non-gluten-free eaters will lick their plates clean, these restaurants menus are overflowing with GF options and top my "gluten-free restaurant guide."

1. La Bottega

Zoe Malin

With 15 locations scattered across Nassau County, La Bottega's menu is centered around "gourmet Italian food," and is especially famous for being  "home of the perfect panini" and their voted "Best Salad on Long Island" in the 2015 Bethpage Federal Credit Union Best of Long Island.

The best thing about La Bottega is that almost every single thing on their menu can be made gluten-free! In fact, there is even a special gluten-free menu. Gluten-free items are noted on the menu with a gold circle and each location offers a different selection of specials, most of which are "gold circle certified." Finally, gluten-free eaters will suffer from too many meals to chose from.

2. Rustic Root

sauce, grilled salmon, ginger, rice, soy, salmon
Zoe Malin

Centrally located in one of Woodbury's many fine strip malls, Rustic Root is the place-to-be after only opening this past summer. The farm-to-table approach is becoming a common theme in Nassau County, and Thomas Gloster, Rustic Root's executive chef and 2014 Chopped champion, uses ingredients from LI's own farms to "think up a new menu for upcoming change[s] in the weather."

Every time you dine at Rustic Root, there is something new to try... even for my fellow gluten-free friends! Rustic Root's staple menu denotes its many gluten-free options with a "GF" symbol and the staff is fully prepared to answer any allergy-related questions about their seasonal and daily specials.

Doing so much more than simply "educat[ing] the community about where their food is produced," Rustic Root gives gluten-free eaters the opportunity to experience what their restaurant is know for without sacrificing taste or authenticity. 

3. Shout Bay Tavern

mango, salsa, pea, salmon
Zoe Malin

Also new to the Nassau County's food scene, Shout Bay Tavern in Manhasset is a modern pub whose menu allows its diners to enjoy a "simply prepared" main dish along with a variety of incredible sides. Ordering Shout Bay's sides, almost all of which are gluten-free, is a must and they make it easy to determine what their gluten-sensitve diners should gravitate towards by noting all GF items directly on the menu.

My signature meal at Shout Bay is almost entirely composed of their infamous sides — the kung pao broccoli with spicy peanuts and heirloom carrots topped with harissa, sesame, and yogurt sauce devoured by my entire family, gluten-free eaters and all. With special dishes often gluten-free as well, Shout Bay Tavern is conscious of creating an easy-going atmosphere with up-scale food for those with and without dietary restrictions. 

4. MP Taverna

meat, salmon, shrimp, vegetable, shellfish, fish, seafood
Zoe Malin

Nassau County is lucky enough to have been selected as a location for one of Chef Michael Psilakis' award-winning restaurants, MP Taverna, and gluten-free eaters alike are just as lucky to delight in many of his dishes! Many modernized Greek dishes on the menu are naturally gluten-free, especially those of the "simply prepared" section of the menu, and others can easily be made gluten-free if you consult your waiter.

Craving Souvlaki but can't have the pita wrap? Dying for a mezze plate featuring baba ganoush, hummus, and tzatziki but need cucumbers instead of pita bread as dippers? No problem! The restaurant will make any accommodation necessary capture their modern greek flair in an allergy conscious way. 

5. Cedar Creek

salad, vegetable, fish, shellfish, prawn, seafood, shrimp
Zoe Malin

Whether in need of a classy yet relaxed restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, or wanting to soak in those summer rays while out to lunch with friends, Cedar Creek in Glen Cove fits the bill. Their Nassau County located dining room and outside patio open for lunch weekdays and dinner everyday, Cedar Creek has a special gluten-free menu available at both meals where guests can chosen from salads, fish, gluten-free pasta, and anything in between!

Additionally, the restaurant makes it clear that many dishes on the regular menu can be adjusted to adhere a gluten sensitive diet. No shortage of gluten-free options here — Cedar Creek has something for everyone, no matter their allergy or varying for tastes.