Best Restaurants for Gluten-Free Meals in Honolulu
By Jade Eckardt
Gluten free (GF) meals aren't hard to find in the Hawaiian Islands, and with the high concentration of restaurants and residents with health awareness Honolulu has an abundance of restaurants with gluten free dishes. Although there aren't any restaurants offering entirely gluten free menus, it's easy to find a good selection of GF dishs at meany restaurants. One reason it's so easy in the islands is the abundance of fresh local fish, locally grown vegetables, and local, grass fed beef that come together to form healthy and delicious GF dishes.
For those choosing something GF from a not entirely GF menu, always inquire about soy sauce. The popular Asian sauce is found commonly throughout the islands, and sometimes a little gluten can sneak in, so be aware. For the most part, gourmet restaurants like Town and Alan Wong's do a great job of delivering gluten free dishes where locally sourced ingredients are fused together.
For the best selection of gluten free products, drop by one of the three Down to Earth locations in Pearl City, Kapolei, or in Downtown Honolulu. This health food store chain offers everything from ready to eat meals to snacks and groceries, much in a gluten free form.
10 Hy's Steak House
Intimate, subtly lit, and genteel, this well-respected steak house is a special-occasion favorite, thanks to its refined ambience and pricey entrees. Waiters in tuxedos add class to an evening out, as do tableside preparations of caesar salad and bananas Foster. Beef, however, is the attraction, whether you select kiawe-broiled NY strip, prime rib, or a T-bone. Rack of lamb, lobster tails, and veal chops also make ideal main courses. Wines, liqueurs, and live music round out the experience. Hy's is a special place, so keep it romantic on date night or bring the family out for some quality family time. (808-922-5555)
9 Kobe Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar
Many gluten free diners choose to keep meals pure with protein and vegetables. Come to Kobe's, where it's dinner and entertainment rolled into one at this Japanese hot spot. Vivacious chefs chop, slice, and saut� steak, chicken, shellfish, and vegetables right before your eyes in an exuberant display of teppanyaki cooking. It's just the place to visit if you're in the mood for an evening of sociability and fun. If you need a sushi fix along the way, don't despair � they'll set you up with an assortment of your favorite rolls. The superb bar begins serving drinks at 5pm, including sake and Japanese beer. (808-941-4444)
8 Lanikai Juice Co
This juice bar is famous with locals. You'll find a combo of treats, smoothies and juices. Lanikai Juice is located in the Kailua shopping center and is named after beautiful Lanikai Beach, a long, white sand stretch of heaven on the east side. The smoothies from Lanikai Juice are a wonderful treat on a hot Hawaiian day. They try to incorporate healthy ingredients such as the power food acai berry and many other healthy fruits and vegetables. There's several locations around the island, one in Haleiwa and one in Kahala. Hawaii has been hit hard when it comes to finding smoothies and acai bowls popular, and locals love this place. ((808) 262-2383)
7 Heeia Pier General Store and Deli
The Heeia Pier General Store and Deli is a classic Kaneohe eatery enjoyed by dedicated locals for three decades as it served up local classic like plate lunches and loco mocos (beef patty, egg and gravy over rice). But recently top chef Mark Noguchi took over the classic eatery and put a modern sustainable and healthier take on the local comfort food. All of the beef is from the Big Island and grass fed, the fish is caught nearby, and other vegetables are all grown locally - a locovore's dream. Located ocean front on the pier, diners can enjoy casual - but really good breakfast and lunch right on the water. (1 808.235.2192)
6 Alan Wong's
What a gourmet way to go gluten free! A beautiful, pale room, accented with gleaming wood and sprinkled with flowers and artwork, welcomes guests to this exceptional place. The exhibition kitchen makes the most of fresh, regional ingredients, crafting such delicacies as kiawe wood-grilled mahimahi, ginger-crusted onaga, and roast duck prepared three ways. You'll also find grilled beef and lamb chops, along with "da bag," a foil packet of seafood, kalua pork, and vegetables that's dramatically deflated table side. If you make it to dessert, don't miss the sorbets or cr�me br�l�es, infused with tropical fruits. Free free to ask for modifications. (808-949-2526)
Under the masterful tutelage of chef Roy Yamaguchi, who skillfully fuses European and Asian cuisines, this establishment has earned a reputation for lively ambiance, attentive service, and incredible food. A devotion to impeccably fresh ingredients and a penchant for artistic presentation characterizes the menu, whose temptations include steamed Hawaiian onaga, tri-peppercorn-crusted ahi, and ginger-steamed Chinese chicken. There's also steak, lamb, pasta, pork, and duck. Nightly specials make an appearance too, and the signature chocolate souffle -- is absolutely sinful. Roy's can be found throughout the islands, so if you're island hopping you can enjoy it again and again. Dress up or go casual but nice. (808-396-7697)
4 Banzai Sushi Bar
Sushi, sushi, and more sushi - all made from locally caught fresh fish and seafood can be found at the North Shore's Banzai Sushi Bar. And yes, there's definitely a full bar boasting a varies amount of beers, wine and specialty cocktails. Live music happens throughout the week and it's best to check beforehand what's going on that night. In addition to the delicious menu and casual Hawaiian ambiance, Banzai Sushi is also a hot spot for nightlife. From a mellow bar scene to wild dance parties boasting unique and fun themes, Banzai Sushi is an all around fun place. ((808) 637-4404)
If you can drag yourself away from the pounding surf of the North Shore, reserve a table at this upscale restaurant, which prepares local cuisine with fresh ingredients. Aim for a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows for a magnificent view while you dine. Based on the theme of going "locovore," the menu changes often according to what's in season, guaranteeing new pleasures with each visit. They also use as much locally raised and grown food as possible. Innovative entrees include Thai chili-braised fish with cucumber gazpacho, and seared scallops in "faux" polenta (sweet creamed corn). A five-course tasting menu is also available. (808-293-6000)
Spare, contemporary design not only makes an unassuming backdrop for this appealing bistro; it also serves as a thoughtful counterpoint to a menu of simply prepared but complex offerings. Stellar ingredients step in to be given loving attention from the chefs, who turn out dishes like a grilled half-chicken with pancetta, slow-braised pork cheeks, black mussels with fennel-tinged homemade pasta, and crisp, creative salads. Even burgers are sublime. Good wines heighten the flavors, and outdoor dining lets you take in good weather with your great food. You'll need a reservation here any night of the week, so don't forget to call in. (808-735-5900)
1 Down to Earth All Vegetarian Organic & Natural
Hawaii's only all vegetarian natural food store has three locations around the island of Oahu. In addition to a thorough array of grocery shopping, each Down to Earth has a well thought out salad bar as well as a hot food bar open from early morning to late at night. While the salad bar selections remain the same throughout the day, the hot food bar changes from breakfast foods to dishes fit for lunch and dinner. The food here is always healthy, much of it is organic, and it's a really satisfying meal that you can enjoy inside or outdoors at tables, or take it to go. ((808) 675-2300)
About Jade Eckardt
Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and exploring the island. A regular visitor to Kauai, Jade recently authored a full-length Kauai guide book. She is a writer and photographer, whose work has been published in numerous regional and national magazines. When she's not writing, Jade enjoys a good beer, a good surf, and time in her garden with her son.
Read more about Jade Eckardt here.
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