From a series of guest posts, Adelle shares the top Gluten Free Restaurants in San Fran!
After I discovered my gluten-intolerance in the summer of 2008, I quickly realized that it would change my life. Eating would no longer be convenient. I couldn’t run down to the deli for a breakfast bagel, or order pizza on a lazy night. There’s a social aspect to eating too, that anyone with a gluten-intolerance becomes well aware of. Going out for tapas can be a fraught experience, and any restaurant outing requires a q&a with your server. I can’t tell you how many times a menu has seemed so full of possibilities, only to be reduced to 1 or 2 options due to the ubiquity of breadsauce (a term a friend and I coined for any food which ruins an otherwise gluten-free dish). Any celiac or gluten-intolerant person should know which cuisines are always safe: sushi, tacos and most french food (sauces are done without thickeners), but since variety is the spice of life, here are my go-to spots in San Francisco for a great gluten-free meal.
Pretty much anything at Radish can be done gluten-free (except, I think, the bread pudding). I recently ordered a pancake for the first time in nearly four years. From time-to-time their menu has a sinfully delicious nutella sandwich (with strawberries!) that I ate every week for almost a month. At the bar, they serve both hard cider AND gluten-free beer. Going into Radish I never have to feel anxiety about the menu, and which is why you can find me there almost every week.
For a long time my favorite thing about the Grub menu was that it changed on a regular basis. Even if only a few dishes were gluten-free, I could still try something new every time I went. My friends’ favorite find, however, is the mac & cheese bar. Every time we went in I asked if they had gluten-free pasta and the answer was always no. A few months ago I asked the same question, and the answer was finally yes! And since good things often come in threes, go to grub for the changing menu, the mac & cheese, and because instead of a bread basket, they bring popcorn to the table.
Ike’s sandwiches are out of this world – and they’re all offered on gluten-free bread. On one occasion I pre-ordered a sandwich with a special sauce on gluten-free bread and when I arrived to pick it up the sandwich wasn’t ready because the sauce wasn’t gluten free – the staff wanted to give me a chance to order something else. Now, on their website, you can filter sandwiches by gluten-free (another reason to love Ike’s), but I really appreciated that their staff was attentive enough to flag an order that I would have regretted.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Gluten-free pizza AND pasta! They also feature Estrella Dam beer from Spain, which is the tastiest gluten-free beer (read: tastes the most like “real” beer) I’ve ever had. When I first came to Tony’s they had one gluten-free pizza with pre-set toppings. But now you can choose whatever toppings you want on the gluten-free crust. The last time I was there they were out of the gluten-free crust, which is when I discovered that they offer gluten-free pasta as well. Since Tony’s is famous for their regular pizza there is always going to be a wait, so come when you have an hour more to hang out and grab a drink while you wait. If it’s a nice day you can order a pizza to-go and eat it in Washington Square park.
Pica Pica Maize Kitchen
Everything on the menu is gluten-free, so the super-sensitive among us don’t need to worry about cross-contamination. Pica Pica offers Venezuelan-style sandwiches, known as arepas, with an array of different breads and fillings. They too offer gluten-free beer, as well as sangria, which for me means that dining at Pica Pica is always a good idea.
American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
Sometimes all you want is a grilled cheese sandwich. They’re simple, tasty, and always comforting.
You can’t have a full meal here, of course, but they have a few different gluten-free cupcakes to choose from.
Mariposa Bakery Kiosk
Located in the ferry building, you can buy pre-packaged gluten-free baked goods or frozen dough.
Only recommended for those with a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, not anyone with all-out celiac disease. They offer both a wheat free muffin and scone, both of which are tasty and filling.