The number of restaurants now offering gluten-free menu options or entire gluten-free menus is staggering. Chewy, flavorless breads and baked goods be gone. The options can be so good that you'd never know they're gluten-free.
One of La Jolla's most popular restaurants, Roppongi, offers a huge gluten-free lunch and dinner menu as they can adjust popular favorites to be entirely gluten-free. The famous crab stack (without the dipping bread) is gluten-free and a highly-recommended order.
Gluten-free eaters can dine with very little adjustments made at the Melting Pot. The entree selections are already gluten-free while the cheese and chocolate fondues can be altered slightly by using gluten-free beer and omitting minor ingredients such as graham crackers. Fondue is social and here, other guests definitely won't feel deprived just because one needs to go gluten-free.
And, gluten-free Chinese used to be unheard of. Local favorite Del Mar Rendezvous can use a healthy noodle substitute in their modern Asian dishes to satisfy gluten-free diners.
Chefs across the county are training kitchen and waitstaff regarding the risks of cross-contamination. However, keep in mind that it's always a good idea to emphasize gluten sensitivity to your server to be sure that everyone on the team is aware.
Melting Pot, The
Restaurant critics, neighborhood regulars, and first time visitors always agree about The Melting Pot: the atmosphere is great, the food is superb,and the service is outstanding. The restaurant offers a casual atmosphere that is perfect for dining with friends, co-workers, and family members. The creative menu features a wide array of great selections, always made from the highest quality ingredients. Be sure to ask your server about daily specials and other notable menu selections. Fondue cheeses that aren't already gluten-free can be modified through use of gluten-free beer. They'll skip the graham crackers and cookies in the chocolate fondues, too, by request. (8586381700)
Island Prime / C Level Lounge
A fashionable destination for dinner or drinks, Island Prime boasts enchanting skyline views, a wealth of trendy cocktails, and flawless service. The restaurant is sitting on stilts, resting over the San Diego Bay. Local celebrity chef Debra Scott's deft touch is in evidence with creations like hazelnut-crusted diver scallops with goat cheese and elephant garlic risotto cakes. Lobster lovers should indulge in the "Study in Lobster" which includes sherry bisque, lobster lollipop, and lobster roll on house made brioche. Perfectly grilled steaks are always a fine choice as well. C Level Lounge is more casual, but has a similar menu. Both restaurants have an excellent gluten-free menu. (619-298-6802)
Claire's on Cedros
Claire's on Cedros, located in Solana Beach, is an award-winning breakfast and lunch spot. The in-house bakery produces breakfast delights such as scones, cookies, muffins and more. The rest of the breakfast and lunch menu is made up of bistro classics using the finest, locally-sourced ingredients available. The goal of Claire's is to make each diner feel like they're at home. Claire's is the first LEED Platinum certified restaurant in San Diego for use of eco-friendly building materials and continues to implement sustainable practices. Gluten-free baked goods are on offer to-go such as breads, chewy chocolate chip cookies and huge brownies. The gluten-free dine-in menu features plenty of choice for lunch and breakfast (the GF fritattas are popular). (858-259-8597)
Owned and operated by Chef Matt Gordon and his wife, Urban Solace in North Park offers extensive gluten-free options. "Blunch" includes breakfast-type items such as a variety of gluten-free Benedicts like Steak Benny and Sockeye Salmon Benny, cheesy grits or Cocoa Crusted Pork Belly. The dinner gluten-free menu is just as extensive. You can order a Niman Ranch burger on a gluten-free bun, Jidori chicken, salads and more favorites. Specialty cocktails including mojitos, bellinis and more will certainly put you in a cheery mood. Urban Solace is a neighborhood eatery that prides itself on good, creative food and excellent service. (6192956464)
True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen, located in Fashion Valley mall near Bloomingdales, is based on Dr. Andrew Weil's anti-inflammatory diet. He believes that we aren't meant to deprive the body of flavor but rather we need to pair food trends with healthy living. The dishes are locally-sourced and organic when possible and the restaurant itself is incredibly eco-friendly from the reclaimed wood floors to making their own still and carbonated waters in-house. The ambiance is light, airy and contemporary. There's a bar, open kitchen, and plenty of tables, though you'll need to make a reservation at peak times. Gluten-free menu items are marked. (619-810-2929)
Trilogy Sanctuary's is a place where people come to nurture their mind, body and spirit on a pretty 2000-square-foot rooftop terrace in La Jolla. You can take an indoor yoga class or an outdoor yoga class (including aerial yoga), seek nutritional or sprit counseling and enjoy a nourishing meal in the cafe where the entire menu is organic, vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free. Every bite is designed to heal and all sauces, dips, wraps, tortillas and desserts are made in house. Be sure to try the fresh juice and save the bottle to return for a $1 discount on your next juice. They do offer a juice cleanse and catering as well. (858-633-3893)
Fig Tree Cafe
Fig Tree Cafe is an unassuming house-turned-popular-breakfast-spot in the beach community of Pacific Beach. Ingredients used are locally sourced or even home-grown and transformed into authentic California cuisine at a reasonable price. Try the french toast stuffed with marscarpone cheese, mangos and strawberries; house-made granola and yogurt; or a shrimp frittata. Guests rave about the gluten-free bread which means that the famous french toast is an option for people avoiding gluten. Try the gluten-free bananas foster or strawberries and cream french toast or any of the gluten-free sandwiches at lunch. Everything is cooked to order. The patio is also pet-friendly. ((858) 274-2233)
Del Mar Rendezvous
When gluten-free diners need a modern Asian food fix, Del Mar Rendezvous is the place to go. By using special Konnyaku noodles that are made from a root vegetable related to the taro root, favorites such as pad thai and chow fun become realistic options for gluten-free eaters. In addition to GF rice and noodle dishes, a long list of soups (hot and sour as well as egg drop) and stir fries (Mongolian beef and curries) satisfy cravings. Not to mention the restaurant boasts an award-winning Wine Spectator wine list and a variety of craft beers. The atmosphere is casual-chic and kids are welcome. (858-755-2669)
Though a number of restaurants are dedicated to serving gluten-free food, 2Good2B is dedicated to serving an entirely gluten, corn and soy-free menu full of comfort food without compromise. Not only can they cater special events like weddings, stop in for favorite to-go items or all-day dining. Try the cinnamon swirly buns with vanilla frosting, french challah toast, or open-faced turkey sliders. Fans can even shop online for deliveries shipped straight to their doorstep. This award-winning bakery definitely lives up to its name as fans believe menu items are so delicious that they're too good to be true, except they are. ((760) 942-4663)
About Katie Dillon
Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as expats in London and Hong Kong. After traveling the world, they returned to the La Jolla sunshine, with a young daughter in tow.
Katie now writes a lifestyle site called La Jolla Mom and is the author of a book called, “Flying With Kids.” Her work can be seen on NBC San Diego, Red Tricycle, Yahoo! Shine and Have Family Will Travel, a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts blog.
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