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


Zadin is a restaurant that’s been abuzz in the gluten free community for quite some time and their contemporary take on Vietnamese cuisine shouldn’t be missed. Clear gf indications are placed on the menu and waiters are knowledgeable about substitutions, allowing gluten free and vegetarian customers to order with ease. Along with several gf entrees, there are a number of excellent pho noodle bowls and appetizers to choose from, most notably the fried fish spring rolls. The soft rice paper rolls are filled with crispy fried fish, thin rice noodles, and fresh mint, they’re accompanied by a tangy dipping sauce; this dish (pictured above) is sure to make you a repeat customer.

4039 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 626-2260

California based chain, zpizza has mastered a fantastic recipe for crispy gluten free pizza crust and their topping combinations are pretty special too. Accommodating both vegan and gluten free customers, zpizza offers vegan cheese (that’s also gf), organic tomato sauce and a full ingredient list to ensure the order fits your dietary requirements.  My favorite was the “Tuscan”, a pizza made with roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, truffle oil, and topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms. For a fresh, vegetable lover’s pizza, the “California” is a perfect choice. Gluten free crusts come in both small and large sizes, pictured above are both smalls: plenty for two people with a couple slices leftover to take to-go. Zpizza has locations across the country, but the health savvy chain is fairly new to San Francisco and another one just opened in Petaluma. It’s great to have a reliably good gluten free pizza crust not only at multiple locations in the bay area, but also available all over the states.

*Although zpizza does not claim to be a gluten free environment, precautions are taken to isolate ingredients and avoid cross contamination.

833 Mission Street, Suite C
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 995-5552

Aug 182011

Tu-Lu’s gluten free bakery in the East Village

Red velvet cupcake at Tu-Lu’s

Asparagus pizza at Risotteria

I lived on 14th St. in Manhattan before I made the move to San Francisco. The escape from humid summers, a 4th floor walk up, and crowded subway trains also meant losing out on an abundance of gluten free restaurants and bakeries that made being celiac a breeze. Let’s face it, when it comes to gluten free restaurants, New York City is a step ahead. Awareness of the gluten free diet is seemingly everywhere. I’d challenge you to wander the streets of the East or West Village and not find a gluten free friendly menu featured on the front door of a cafe, local deli, or bakery. It’s been a couple years now since I’ve stepped foot on Manhattan and I had 3 days to catch up with as many of my favorite gluten free dishes as I could. Here’s where I stopped:

Hampton Chutney Co. (68 Prince Street): A new take on the beloved dosa, Hampton Chutney stuffs theirs with a variety of inspired fillings. If you aren’t keen on Indian cuisine, know that only one or two menu options actually feature Indian flavors.  Think crispy crepe made of lentil flour stuffed with warm goat cheese, avocado, ripe tomatoes, and caramelized onions. Vegan friendly.

Tu-Lu’s Bakery (338 East 11th Street): Located in the heart of the east village, this 100% gf bakery really gets it.  With plenty of dairy free and vegan desserts, Tu-Lu’s accommodates other sensitivities while also featuring items like fluffy red velvet cupcakes smothered in rich cream cheese frosting.

Risotteria (270 Bleecker Street): No trip to NYC is complete without a stop in at Risotteria. The restaurant proudly features a mostly gluten free menu which includes endless freshly baked bread sticks at your table, along with pizzas, salads, risotto, desserts, and now on Tuesdays, gf pasta. Risotteria is very conscious about cross contamination, they stick a little “celiac approved” flag on your pizza so that there’s no question in your mind about what’s what.

Keste Pizza and Vino (271 Bleecker St): I actually haven’t had a chance to try Keste’s gluten free menu, I thought I’d include it just because it’s right across the street from Risotteria and they had a big sign in the window explaining that they offer gf pizza on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you get a chance to try it let me know how it is.

Pop Bar (5 Carmine Street): Located in the West Village just steps from Risotteria is Pop Bar, a gluten free friendly popsicle bar that uses all natural ingredients and has a number of delicious toppings (only 2 are not GF). While they’re a bit pricey at around $4.00 a pop, the novelty of this place and the quality of the product is definitely worth it, especially on a hot summer day.

Lilli and Loo (792 Lexington Avenue): Gluten free Chinese! How often do you hear those words in the same sentence? Kung pao chicken, crispy fried spring rolls (taste like egg rolls), Singapore noodles, Thai chicken lettuce wraps…It’s hard to go wrong with someone who’s been deprived of these beloved flavors for so long. Ask for the gluten free menu and take your time ordering.

Otto (1 5th Avenue): Great Italian place right off of Washington Square Park. Otto serves gluten free pasta and some amazing gelato for dessert.

S’mac (345 E 12th Street): This one is at the top of my list. It’s gluten free macaroni and cheese and it’s baked in a cast iron skillet. The to-go style atmosphere isn’t much (expect to be seated at a high-top table), but the mac n’ cheese will knock your socks off.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of gluten free restaurants in Manhattan. There are dozens more and I plan to share them with you in the future!


Described as a multidimensional dining experience, Source pulls out all the stops to make vegetarian food appeal to the masses while still maintaining their focus on healthy, high quality organic ingredients. The best part? A good portion of the menu is gluten free. With dishes ranging from masala dosa to truffle mac n’ cheese (vegan option available too), Source incorporates many different genres of cuisine to best suit any vegetarian’s craving. Gluten free folks, you’ll have a hard time choosing between options like spicy Asian rice noodles and sir fries, crispy pizza or veggie dosas, pasta primavera in addition to fresh salads and raw food items. Their menu is clearly marked with gluten free symbols. Don’t forget your vegan brownie bite on the way out the door!

11 Division St.  @ Deharo

San Francisco, CA

(415) 864-9000


Potrero Hill may not be the first neighborhood that comes to mind as having the city’s most buzzed about restaurants, but the hilltop community houses a number of neighborhoody cafes and upscale eateries that are undeniably worth the cruise across town (or for me, a jaunt up the hill). Over the past couple of years that I’ve called Potrero home, it’s been exciting to discover the gluten free awareness popping up here and there among the handful of restaurants that line 18th street. My most recent find? gluten free crusts at Goat Hill Pizza. As Potrero’s oldest restaurant, the locally owned pizza place has developed a loyal following since its humble beginnings back in the 1970’s. On the nights we’d stroll past this neighborhood favorite to get sushi, I’d hold my breath. I just couldn’t bare inhaling the intoxicating pizza smell whose heavenly aroma spans half the block. After recently getting wind that Goat Hill now serves gluten free crusts supplied by Mariposa Bakery, I headed straight to the once forbidden restaurant and without hesitation waltzed through the door and ordered up one of the best gf pizzas I’ve had.  Above pizza looks small, but was plenty for two. I was told measures are taken to avoid any cross contamination.

300 Connecticut Street
San Francisco, CA 94107-2816

(415) 641-1440

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