In the past couple of years, new restaurants have been popping up all over our neighborhood. What was once considered a no man’s land between Potrero Hill and the Mission is now an up and coming neighborhood dappled with numerous cool bars and acclaimed restaurants. Last night I stumbled upon the brand new Local’s Corner, a cafe just a couple blocks from my apartment. Not quite overflowing with customers yet, this three week old restaurant doesn’t know what’s coming. The menu at Local’s Corner is all about seafood, and appropriately the restaurant’s interior feels like a romantic little cafe in new england. Their cheese and vegetables are farm fresh and the seafood is sourced locally by fishermen committed to sustainability.

Comprised mostly of sharable small plates, the menu lists dishes that feature dungeness crab, rock cod, cured halibut, king salmon, and bay or pacific northwest oysters. We tried four plates, and each one was exceptionally good. Our meal began with a beautiful cheese plate, then an arugula salad (ordered without croutons) tossed with garlic confit and topped with shaved capricious goat cheese, a dish worth more than every penny of the $8. Next we had the dungeness crab which was paired beautifully with delicate spring peas, cara cara oranges and roasted spring onion. To follow were smoked trout rillettes topped with pickled shallot, and finally we had the king salmon served over fava beans and peas. Every dish we tried at Local’s Corner carefully brought out the best of each ingredient, highlighting delicate flavors in a way that made every bite taste impossibly perfect.

Most of the dishes at Local’s Corner are naturally gluten free, but check with your server before ordering.

2500 Bryant Street  San Francisco, CA 94110

 

Spotting the words “gluten free” while scanning the menu outside of an unfamiliar restaurant is a triumphant moment for any celiac. I had one of these moments last weekend after waiting way too long for a table at Radish. Starved, a couple of friends and I wandered down Valencia Street and discovered that Grub offers gluten free noodles with their mac and cheese. Tucked away in the mission on Valencia in between 18th and 19th this happening little spot is plenty knowledgable about the meaning of gluten, and their friendly wait staff will prove it. Menu highlights include their seared artichoke glazed with balsamic, and served with lemon aioli. The waiter confirmed this dish could easily be made gluten free (omit the bread crumbs).

The gluten free creamy mac n’ cheese was also a winner. As if a big bowl of creamy, cheesy noodles isn’t appetizing enough, Grub offers over a dozen “throw-ins” like shaved fennel, caramelized onions, brocoli, and truffle oil for $1 extra each. You could also go for a real cholesterol booster with lobster on top for an extra $3.  If you’re wondering how seriously they take gluten free diners, I was told by the waiter that yes, indeed everything is kept separate. Just make sure to specify that you want gluten free noodles and no breadcrumbs when you order.

 

758 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110-1735(415) 431-4782

 

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

 

Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant is a gluten free secret tucked away in the heart of the Mission (between 18th and 19th St). You will quickly be welcomed into this homey restaurant by the friendly owner and operator who truly takes pride in what she does. Minako’s menu features a variety of organic, gluten free, and vegan options for sushi and cooked Japanese cuisine.  The seemingly endless menu is almost all easily modified to be gluten free, but be sure to ask for their gf menu as well. Items like gluten free tempura, teriyaki chicken, and many other hard to find Japanese favorites have been included by the talented chef who happens to be the owner’s mother. It’s unusual to walk out of Minako without spending a bit more time and money then you may have anticipated (all of the small plates tend to add up) but it is well worth every penny to be able to indulge in tempura battered shrimp, and some of the Japanese classics us gluten intolerant tend to miss out on. Leave your gf tamari at home, she’s got it covered.

Featured Dishes: Temura Shrimp and Vegetables, Red Tuna with Garlic-Lemon Dressing, Vegan Special Roll

2154 Mission St
(between 18th St & Clarion Aly)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 864-1888

 

Locating a gluten free sandwich anywhere outside of the confines of your kitchen is next to impossible. At Pica Pica on Valencia Street, you can stop in for a “Maizewich” just like the good old days. Everything on their menu is gluten free. If you’ve never tried an Arepa, Maizewich or Cachapa, they are variations on a delicious Venezuelan corn bread which looks something like a cross between a pancake and pita bread. Choose your specific corn pocket and have it stuffed with a variety of fillings, like tofu, plantains, black beans and a zesty spread or juicy pulled pork with shredded cheese- they even have a chicken salad filling. Two specific vegan options are available, and for the dairy sensitive carnivores- just ask them to leave off the cheese. The Pernil (shredded seasoned beef with plantains and black beans) with or without cheese is delicious- among many others. Don’t ignore the tasty sides offered like yucca fries and sweet plantains. Gluten free beer on tap.

Featured Dish: La Vegetariana

401 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 400-5453

 

Gracias Madre offers a gourmet, vegan take on Mexican cuisine with a menu featuring locally grown ingredients combined to create excellent seasonal dishes. A mecca for any vegan or gluten sensitive eater, this restaurant exemplifies healthy eating, yet leaves you feeling indulgent by way of creamy cashew cheeses and rich, spicy butternut squash fillings served with handmade corn tortillas. Don’t expect to walk out hungry.

Please note: The majority of their menu is gluten free by nature, however, there are about 3 or 4 dishes that do contain wheat. Make sure to confirm that your order is GF, their waitstaff is well versed.

Featured Dishes: Quesadillas de Calabaza & Papas al Horno

Featured Dessert: Flan. You won’t know its vegan.

*Also try their other restaurant, Cafe Gratitude -the entire menu is Gluten Free!

2211 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110-1811

(415) 683-1346