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Gluten Free Options at Balkanika // Hell’s Kitchen NYC

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Specializing in Balkan & Mediterranean Foods, Wines, and Beers, Balkanika offers a little bit of the old and the new; creative tapas spreads and healthy vegetarian & vegan dishes, hearty old-world recipes, kebabs, home-made yogurt and some unique creations.

Balkan Cuisine is delicious and tempting. Balkan cuisine encompasses recipes from all of the Balkan Countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania,  Albania and Slovenia, which all blend together to form a lovely cuisine of fresh flavors.

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Balkan cuisine is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cooking but additionally “spiced up” with cultural and geographical diversity between four seas, mountain ranges, valleys and big rivers of Southeastern Europe.

At Balkanika you will find plenty of gluten free options on the menu including:


  • Ajvar         
  • Urnebes
  • Olive Tapenade
  • Hummus
  • Spicy Red Pepper Hummus
  • Babaganush
  • Paprika Walnut
  • Artichoke
  • Tzatziki
  • Carrot Tarator
  • Fava
  • Mushroom
  • Avocado Feta
  • Creamy or Sauteed Spinach
  • Hazelnut Beet
  • Haydari
  • Acili Ezme
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Vegetarian Stuffed Grapes Leaves
  • Steamed Asparagus
  • Giant Beans
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Roasted Zucchini
  • Eggplant Caponata
  • Furnisto Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Basmati Rice


  • Shopska Salad
  • Greek Salad
  • Balkanika Signature Salad
  • Chicken Tumerica Salad
  • Halumi Caprese Salad


  • Roasted Trout
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Chicken Shishkebab
  • Chicken Uvijac
  • Lamb Chop Shish
  • Spicy Lamb Sausage

I was very impressed with the waiters knowledge of which menu items were/were not gluten free. They keep a sheet with all gluten free options in the kitchen, which he did check once just to confirm. He was right.

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Since we were at a Balkan restaurant, we opted for a bottle of Muscat from Macedonia. It was on the dryer side, with a musky, and “earthy” aftertaste according to Jeremy, with fresh-grape, peach and acidic flavors.

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Hummus, Olive Tapenade, Tzatziki, Fava, Babahganush, & Acili Ezme


We started off with 6 mezzes. One mezze costs $7, and the choice of 6 is $18. So, of course we got 6. All 6 spreads were absolutely delicious. The babaganush was very basily. Different from any babaganush I’ve ever had. There was very little eggplant and no smokey flavor, but delicious nonetheless. The olive tampenade was also unique in that it was not purred, but rather ground into very fine pieces. I am definitely trying this at home!

You can request cucumbers and carrots instead of pita, to enjoy the spreads.

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I ordered the Chicken Shishkebab. The chicken was tender and juicy, not something I am used to when I order shish kebabs (it’s usually dry). It was by far the best middle eastern chicken I’ve ever had, and I would order it again. The basmati rice was also delicious. How they get rice to taste that good is beyond me.

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Jeremy ordered the Spicy Lamb Sausage served with furnisto potatoes and sliced peppers. When the dish arrived, I think we were both a little taken aback with the sausages. They looked like breakfast sausages you would get at a diner, or  McDonald’s. But once we tried them we were blown away with the flavor. It wasn’t too spicy, which I enjoyed, and we devoured them.

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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.

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