Comfortably Yum

4 Comments 01 May 2005

Candle 79
154 East 79th Street
(Between 3rd and Lexington Ave., closer to Lex.)
(212) 537-7179

Remember the days before the gluten-free diet when the odds for a great restaurant outing were really high? Chances were always good that you’d reach that point of dining bliss when the food and flavors were just icing on top of relaxed conversation with friends … and the waiter didn’t have to know anything about you, except that you prefer your salad dressing on the side. Well, dining bliss is possible again at Candle 79.


This elegantly designed vegan restaurant offers a gluten-free menu, and is on GFRAP’s list. We were immediately impressed with live food options and hydroponic edamame! (fyi, raw food is very "in" and very healthy, so get with it and try it!) Our dinner guest, Lydia, actually let out a long "mmmm" after taking a sip of the surprisingly delicious water … it was a great start. The waiters and staff are very informed about food allergies and intolerances, making it totally cool to ask questions and not feel bothersome. Since we were armed with a gf menu, the only questions we had came from our curiosity about the super yummy healthy stands-ins for butter and cheese … like creme fraiche made from almond cream?! And ground nuts acting as parmesan in their very popular lasagna dish. So delicious that we felt naughty, like you do after downing a rich dairy/meat-loaded dinner. When in fact, we were treating our bodies to perfectly friendly foods. I swear that the Black Bean Pumpkin Seed Burger w/ Maple Roasted Squash has the power to get your serotonin pumping … the healthy way.

Stuffed Collard Rolls w. jicama, cucumber, carrots, & hearts of palm

Hydrogarden Farm Edamame w. celtic sea salt
Soiless Soy

The main event!
(clockwise from top left)
Zucchini Lasagna – served cold, but serial vegetable killers can request it heated
Butternut Squash Risotto – Kelly’s favorite
Bunless Pumpkin Seed Black Bean Burger – meaty-like satisfaction

Leave room for dessert!
Tahitian Vanilla Tart with Coconut Macaroon Crust and Sorbet Sampler
Kelly [to our waiter, Bryan]: Does the sorbet contain corn syrup?
Bryan: No. Instead it contains a substitute from Florida Crystals. If you’d like, I could bring out a samp-
Kelly: Stop! [eyes shining] You had me at Florida Crystals …

Candle79capuccino(left) Soy capuccino made to creamy perfection.

The original Candle Cafe located at 75th and 3rd offers more casual food options like sandwiches and smoothies. There isn’t a gf menu, but there are some gf items available.

Candle 79 is so fresh, their menu changes seasonally. Also, they will soon carry Bard’s gf beer!

We’d like to thank Bart Potenza, Francesca MacAaron, and the cute waiters for their hospitality. Candle 79 is health food, healing food, and comfort food all served in the perfect setting for a most satisfying dinner out.

Candle_79_exterior_1If you’d like to add some fabulous books to your kitchen shelf, we’d like to suggest the book of vegan recipes from Candle 79, The Candle Cafe Cookbook.

Also, Living Cuisine by Renee Loux Underkoffler, who consulted with the owners while they designed the Candle 79 menu. A great education on eating raw along with great recipes.

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Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. 1
    ~Cales says:

    EEEK!! This restaurant sounds faaabulous!!!! I was diagnosed with celiac last year, but I live in Canada (the land of minimal-celiac-friendly-restaurants)- however I am coming to New York soon and (after reading this) now plan on hibernating in all of their gluten free food havens

  2. 2

    We are in Toronto, Canada.
    We are a take-out and Delivery concept.
    You should try us on your next visit.
    Our complete menu is online at
    This is what Toronto Life said about us recently:
    Looking forward to serving you.

  3. 3
    Julia says:

    Candle 79 is just a few blocks from my house, and ever since the (very helpful) timeout article where it was mentioned my family and I have frequently visited this fabulous restaurant. Not only is everybody well informed and incredibly nice, but the food is really, truly good. This place takes all the apprehension out of going out to a nice place. My father (who also is a celiac) has even had business meetings there!

  4. 4
    Liz says:

    I was diagnosed with Celiac two months ago and have been having a hard time adjusting. Dining out, which is something I used to love to do, just isn’t much fun these days. Then I stumbled across your site, and wow.

    After reading your review of Candle 79, I couldn’t wait to try it out! I dragged my parents and brother there last weekend, and we had an _amazing_ meal. It is such a comfort to not have to explain about Celiac disease and be able to order anything off themenu (the GF one that is.) I’m really looking forward to trying some of the other NYC restaurants you reviewed.
    Keep up the good work!

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Kelly Courson


Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.

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