No menu better embodies California cuisine then Alice Water’s Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Born out of her desire for a community to have access to locally grown foods, Water’s Chez Panisse has since set the standard for farm to table fare. It was restaurants like Chez Panisse that inspired the slow food movement 40 years ago and they continue to set the standard today. Having an opportunity to experience the 5 course prixe fix menu at Chez Panisse, I phoned to verify that the meal could be made 100% gluten free. Without hesitation, I was told these needs were to be easily accommodated as the menu consists almost entirely of organic, seasonal ingredients which are naturally free of gluten. Alas, I could not have been more impressed by the caliber of food.  Each course was distinct and well thought out, yet tasted effortless. Two minor substitutions were needed for the five courses, I was served wild jasmine rice in place of handmade pasta, hardly a compromise once topped with the delicate morel mushroom cream sauce. Their homemade espresso ice cream drizzled in caramel sauce had to be served without a tiny sliver of cake. Although their prixe fix menu changes nightly, gluten free and vegetarian diets are always accommodated.

1517 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709-1598
(510) 548-5525


If you are tired of eye-ing that basket of naan when you’re out eating indian food with your gluten-friendly friends, look no further then Udupi Palace. At this South Indian vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Valencia Street, you will enjoy a variety of lentil based bread-y items that are naturally gluten free. Although the menu does not include gluten free naan bread or any actual (gf) notations, the manager has assured me on several occasions that their dosa and papadams are gluten free. These two items are made with lentil and/or chickpea flour. Many, if not all of the curries are also gluten free, and can be served with a dosa shell upon request. A dosa is a crispy crepe made of lentil flour and stuffed with spiced potatoes and vegetables, served with several dipping sauces. Oftentimes there is a line out the door for this restaurant. If you don’t feel like waiting, try Dosa, a restaurant half a block up Valencia St. with a swankier atmosphere, slightly higher prices, and a little (gf) note on the menu. (Future post to come.)

Featured Dishes: Masala Dosa and Papadum

1007 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 970-8000

1901 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 843-6600

Cafe Gratitude features an entirely gluten free menu that is completely vegan, mostly raw, yet unbelievably flavorful and filling. With several locations in California, Cafe Gratitude’s menu includes ingredients grown on their biodynamic organic farms. They are focused on promoting a strong sense of community values by providing their patrons with communal dining, and a new age vibe. If you can get past the question of the day (your waiter will ask you something along the lines of “what empowers you?”) you will be in for a unique, unforgettable meal. Creamy vegan desserts, raw pizza covered in cashew cheese, and rich “milk” shakes are all part of their exceptional all-organic menu.

Featured Dish: “I am Honoring” Live Nachos: Carrot flax chips with spicy sunflower seed “refried beans” on a bed of mixed greens with guacamole, salsa, and cashew nacho cheese.

Featured Dessert: Key Lime Pie

*Check out Gracias Madre, their restaurant that serves excellent vegan/gluten free mexican food.


For an authentic Mediterranean meal with a cozy, warm atmosphere, try Cafe La Mediteranee on Fillmore Street. Although they have 3 locations in the Bay Area that will accommodate gf customers, their Fillmore St. location is the only spot that provides a gluten free menu. A multitude of exceptional gluten free options include items like kebabs, soups, and an Armenian potato salad, which is not to be missed. For the main course, “Chicken Pomegranate” is an absolute must. Served atop perfectly spiced rice pilaf with hummus and fresh greens, the 4 chicken drumsticks have been marinated to perfection in a tangy, delicious sauce that will leave you craving it days after the fact. For dessert, try the Crème Brulee.

*Please note: Although their menus are virtually identical, the ingredients vary at each location so please check with your server.

2210 Fillmore Street San Francisco, CA 94115

(415) 921-2956