My Favorite Gluten Free Restaurants
Gluten free restaurants are everywhere now, which is a good thing! There are a lot of restaurants which serve gluten free menu items, but not all of them are great. If you’re gluten free, I’m sure you’ve had the experience where a restaurant says they serve gluten free food, but then you find out that your menu options are limited to plain meats and salads, with no side dishes. I mean, it’s great that they have some gluten free options so that you’re not left starving. But there are some restaurants that really cater to celiacs and those on a gluten free diet. They deserve a shout out. So, here’s a list of my favorite gluten free restaurants.
Legal Sea Foods
This place has had a gluten free menu for a long time, so I have been a patron for a long time. Some, if not all, locations have a separate gluten free fryer, so celiacs can eat fried foods without worry! I love their gluten free calamari, and their fish and chips. Anything fried, really! Above is a photo of a fish and chips platter I had recently, with some onion rings on top. I don’t know if I’ve ever had gluten free onion rings – that made me happy. Legal Sea Foods has locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
This chain is very gluten-free-friendly. You can get a steak, seafood, salad, chicken or ribs, all offered gluten free. I usually get the salmon, but I ALWAYS get dessert. You need to try the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (see photo – from Outback Steakhouse’s website). This is a warm gluten free flourless pecan brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce, whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I like that they offer Curbside Take Away, where you can order online or over the phone, and they will bring the order to your car so you don’t have to go inside. This is great if you have kids strapped in car seats whom you want to keep contained. 🙂 And if you order the Chocolate Thunder for take away, they will package each component of the dessert separately. That way, you can heat up the brownie in your microwave at home, and assemble the melty, yummy goodness to perfection. Outback has locations all over the U.S.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
We are regulars at Chipotle. They serve burritos and tacos, with a very simple menu. Most of their menu items are gluten free, and it’s easy to get a quick meal there. I get a burrito bowl (which means no tortilla) with brown rice, black beans, chicken, corn salsa, cheese, and sour cream. So filling and satisfying! I love that they serve local and organic ingredients when possible, meat from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones, and dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones. Everything is incredibly fresh and delicious. Chipotle has more than 1700 locations in the U.S., plus some in Canada and the U.K. Check out . And for your viewing pleasure, here’s a hilarious clip from comedian Sebastian Maniscalco about Chipotle. This made me laugh so hard I cried. (Warning: There’s some language that you may not want the kiddies to hear.)
One of the things I have missed the most since going gluten free is Chinese food. P.F. Chang’s has fulfilled that need. They don’t call it Chinese food, and it’s not traditional Chinese food – it’s better, in my opinion. They serve high quality dishes which are super tasty. All of their staff are well-trained in general, and knowledgeable about gluten free menu items. All gluten free dishes come out on plates which look different from the other plates. That provides additional assurance that your meal is safe. Every time I’ve gone to P.F. Chang’s, I’ve enjoyed the meal. My favorite dish is Chang’s Spicy Chicken, with the Lettuce Wraps coming in second place. And leave room for their Flourless Chocolate Cake with raspberries – yum!
If you have a peanut allergy, definitely avoid this place, as they have bins of peanuts sitting out and use peanut oil to fry everything. For the rest of us, this is a great place to get a gluten free burger (without bun) and fries! They accommodate milk allergies as well – you can get a bunless hamburger and french fries, which my son loves. Here’s a link to the Five Guys allergen and ingredient guide for their U.S. locations. It lists which menu items contain milk, eggs, wheat/gluten, soy and peanuts, and lists the ingredients for everything. We eat at Five Guys a little more often than we should!
Much of Burton’s Grill’s menu is gluten free because their CEO has celiac disease, and their VP of Operations has a shrimp allergy. That’s a pretty good indication that they will take care of someone with food allergies! I never doubt that I will have a safe meal there. The food is fresh and tasty, and I always have an enjoyable experience. Here’s a link to their Allergy Commitment Statement. Burton’s Grill has locations in Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
This place does gluten free pizza right! The gluten free pizza crust is tasty with a great texture. I love that they serve organic and all natural food. The kids love that they can sit in front of the huge clay ovens where the pizza is wood-fired. They can accommodate dairy, egg and tree nut allergies as well. My son gets a pizza with no cheese, just sauce and spices, and has never had a problem. We usually go on a Friday or Saturday when, at the location we go to, they use a separate oven for the food allergy orders. The last time we went there, the manager told me that because the restaurant is not dairy free, they can’t guarantee that there’s no cross-contamination. It was also on a Sunday, when they don’t have the separate oven fired up. However, the manager made my son’s pizza personally, and we didn’t have a problem. We’ve eaten there several times and my milk allergic son has never had a reaction. I create my own favorite pizza: gluten free crust, cheese and herb (which does not contain tomato sauce) with kalamata olives and mushrooms. Here’s a photo of my creation, along with a tasty Crispin Pear cider. I’m salivating just thinking about it! Flatbread has locations in New England and Hawaii.
On the Border
This Mexican food chain is allergy friendly. They have separate menus for each of the top 8 allergens, which is a huge help for those of us managing multiple food allergies. The wait staff is generally very helpful and knowledgeable. I usually get the Green Chile Carnitas Tacos or Grilled Fish Tacos. Their “Guacamole Live!”, which they make at the table, is very tasty and much better than the regular guacamole. And it’s always a good place to get a margarita. 🙂 On the Border has locations all over the country.
If you’re looking for a fancier steakhouse for a special night out, head to Capital Grille. They offer world-class steaks and other delicious menu items. Although they don’t specifically have a gluten free menu, many of their menu items are gluten free or can be made gluten free. The wait staff at Capital Grille is always top-notch and they will take care of your food allergy needs. Capital Grille has location across the U.S.
Woodman’s of Essex
There’s only one location of this restaurant, but it’s worth mentioning because it serves some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat. If you ever find yourself on the north shore of Massachusetts, you need to make a visit to Woodman’s. They have been around since 1914 – it’s an institution. Everything on the menu can be made gluten free, except for the onion rings, clamcakes and sandwiches. Their fried clams are amazing and the portions are huge. This place is casual and kid-friendly, and always packed during warm weather months. However, the line goes fast and the wait is worth it! Check out my review of Woodman’s of Essex here.
Oh, how I wish bartaco had locations in Massachusetts! I go there when I travel to New York to visit relatives. This is a casual restaurant which serves tacos and a few other menu items. You don’t need to get a separate gluten free menu because almost everything on the menu is gluten free! Do yourself a favor and order a tray of tacos and a carafe of margaritas – if you’re going with a few friends, that is! Mmm, I’m going to have to plan a trip so I can go to bartaco again! They have locations in Connecticut, New York and Georgia.
So, those are my favorite gluten free restaurants. I’m sure I’ve forgotten one or two. Are there others you would add? Please share. And happy gluten free dining!