Hate to say it, gluten-freeaters, but you are a major pain for restaurants.
Accommodating your restrictive diet not only compromises a chef’s culinary artistry, it limits his or her ability to deliver the most basic product he or she is in business to peddle: flavor.
Of course no one knows this better than you.
For years, you have borne the brunt of dining room contempt: sneering waiters, chefs who promise gluten-free but whose food still leaves you sick, restaurants that make you feel like a pariah. Anyone with a shred of compassion knows that the road of a gluten-free foodie is a tough one indeed.
All this is changing, as gluten-free becomes part of more and more diner’s diets, and as conventions like the Gluten-Free Health and Wellness Experience coming to the Doubletree near the airport this weekend raise consciousness about it. The Seattle area is a hub of gluten-free consciousness, the Gluten-Intolerance Group of North America having been founded in Auburn in 1974—back before celiac disease and wheat allergies were the household terms they are today.
That group has compiled a list of restaurants that not only don’t consider the gluten-intolerant a major pain—they accommodate them with special menu items. We too have been collecting such a list. You’ll find the best of them below. It’s not exhaustive, so please add to the conversation with your discoveries. And for goodness’ sake, don’t take our word for it; always call ahead to confirm. Menus, chefs, and priorities change.
Anthony’s Bell Street Diner, Anthony’s Pier 66, Ten Mercer, Café Campagne, Café Flora, Chaco Canyon Organic Café, Cuoco, Dahlia Lounge, Daniel’s Broiler, El Gaucho, Etta’s, Icon Grill, Il Fornaio, La Rustica, Miro Tea, Mondello Ristorante, Palace Kitchen, Piatti, Portage Bay Café, Sazerac, Skelly and the Bean, Melting Pot, Old Spaghetti Factory, Tulio, Wasabi Bistro, Wild Ginger, Americana, Lucky Diner, Anita’s Crepes, Fresh Bistro, Olympia Pizza, Joey, Pie, Homegrown, Silence Heart Nest, Thrive, Flying Apron Bakery, Satay, 50 North, St. Dames, Ray’s Café, Pizza Pi, Zaw, and Blue Moon Burgers.
Don’t forget to check out vegetarian and vegan joints (which often offer a gluten-free option) and Ethiopian restaurants, whose enjera bread is typically made with gluten-free teff flour.