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Tasty Eats Without the Wheat: Gluten Free Restaurants in Santa Barbara



Experts estimate that 1 in every 100 people have celiac disease - a digestive disorder related to the consumption of gluten - and a much higher percentage of the population has gluten sensitivity. 

In a related but unofficial study, our travel experts estimate that a full 100% of those with gluten sensitive stomaches enjoy taking a trip from time to time. But where to eat? 10Best will show you the way!

Whether you're allergic to wheat or just enjoy the benefits of gluten-limited diet (we hear some people report feeling less fatigued after making the switch), you should add Santa Barbara to your list of a delicious dream destinations. This small city by the beach has multiple restaurants with gluten-free options to delight your taste buds throughout the day. Enjoy gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners that meet your dietary needs with ease. 

For breakfast, we recommend that you head to Backyard Bowls for a refreshing acai bowl or hot quinoa bowl topped with fresh, local berries. At lunch time, check out The Natural Cafe in the heart of downtown and do a little sightseeing. For dinner, enjoy a steaming hot pie from Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria. Ready for dessert? Lilac Patisserie has cakes, cookies and more to satisfy every sweet tooth. 


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With a menu that's naturally gluten-light, Brasil Arts Cafe serves a variety of meats and fish paired with yucca roots, chimichurri and more. Their menu has a strong focus on serving high-quality local meats and produce. In addition to delectable lunch and dinner entrees, they also serve refreshing acai bowls - bowls featuring the antioxidant-rich Brazilian fruit topped with a variety of other treats. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Don't miss the pao de queijo, a must-have gluten-free cheese bread. Brasil Arts Cafe also offers capoeira classes and hosts local art shows. Many Brazilian expats hang out here - a great place to hear (and speak?) a little musical Portuguese.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Brasil Arts Cafe serves up tasty gluten-free Brazilian cheese buns and acai bowls.

Geneva's expert tip: Visit on Saturday for Feijoada - a classic Brazilian stew they only serve up once a week.

Read more about Brasil Arts Cafe →


The Natural Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


With 10 locations in the surrounding areas, The Natural Cafe is a Santa Barbara small business success story. A local favorite for vegetarian and vegan options, this popular lunch and dinner restaurant also serves up delicious chicken and fish entrees. In all of their semi-casual establishments, you place your order at the counter and then wait for your food to be delivered to your table. Popular dishes include their fresh fish tacos, savory meatless burgers and signature caesar salad generously topped with avocado. Plenty of gluten-free menu options available. To drink The Natural Cafe offers regional wine, natural sodas and delicious custom-blended smoothies and shakes.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Great food, great prices and great locations across town. A can't miss family dinner option.

Geneva's expert tip: The Natural Cafe is a great destination for a crowd of picky eaters. Their healthy options range from vegan dishes to familiar comfort foods, and their kitchens are often willing to accommodate special requests.

Read more about The Natural Cafe →




When you're looking for a healthy bite in downtown Santa Barbara, consider a visit to Silvergreens. Everything on the menu - from the soups to the breads to the salad dressing - is made from scratch in their kitchen daily. There are also gluten-free dishes available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try a crisp salad, house-made soup or savory gluten-free quinoa bowl. Also, Silvergreens is the first certified green restaurant in Santa Barbara. On an educational note: check the back of your receipt to see that calorie count and nutritional value of your order. Catering and school lunch programs upon inquiry. Some street parking available. More parking is available in the lot under Paseo Nuevo mall across the street.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Silvergreens breakfast, lunch and dinner menus all offer gluten-free dishes, so there's no gray area.

Geneva's expert tip: Silvergreens Restaurant is the first restaurant in Santa Barbara to complete the certification process of the Green Restaurant Association.

Read more about Silvergreens →


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A fine local restaurant with one of the best salad bars in town, Savoy Cafe & Deli is a great choice for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mornings highlight fresh eggs, piping hot coffee, gluten-free pastries and loose-leaf teas. At lunch they serve up made-to-order sandwiches and house-made soups. Savoy Cafe & Deli was featured on an episode of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. Everything there is very fresh, and the staff is very friendly. Street parking out front or park in a nearby city lot. Savoy Cafe & Deli is centrally located in downtown Santa Barbara. Many shops and attractions, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, are within close walking distance.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Savoy Cafe & Deli has the best salad bar in town. And, if salads aren't your thing, they have delicious homemade soups, too.

Geneva's expert tip: Get a matcha green tea latte and a slice of gluten-free apple bread for a quick and delicious breakfast.

Read more about Savoy Cafe & Deli →




Do you like cakes? How about pies? We thought so! For the best, freshest, most homemade pies in Santa Barbara, head to Crushcakes Cafe & Simply Pies. They make scrumptious cupcakes and mouthwatering pies using the freshest local ingredients. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options as well. Almost any flavor or variety can be made in any quantity by special request. You can call ahead to place an order, pop in to see what they've got or even stop by for breakfast or lunch. Free parking right out front. Located in Goleta, just a short drive from downtown Santa Barbara. Wholesale and event orders available.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: GLUTEN-FREE PIES! And cupcakes... what else do you need to know?

Geneva's expert tip: Almost any pie or cake here can be made gluten-free. If you're looking for a specific flavor, be sure to call ahead.

Read more about Crushcakes Cafe & Simply Pies →




What's that? You want a wood-fired pizza, made to order, cooked in just 90 seconds? Coming right up! Oh, you're a vegetarian? A meatetarian? Gluten-free? No problem! Stop by Persona Pizzeria on State Street in Santa Barbara to get a personal pizza prepared just the way you like it - and made in a flash, too. As affordable as it is tasty, this is a great dining option for families, students and solo diners. It's located right in the center of downtown, so it's close to movies, museums, parking and shopping. You won't find a more convenient meal than this.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Gluten-free pizza is hard to find, and if you want good gluten-free pizza... well, this is your best option!

Geneva's expert tip: Don't forget they have salad too. Like, you probably don't want salad because you have good sense, but someone else in your party might!

Read more about Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria →




Their slogan says it all: better life through better food. Don't let your meals slow you down - you can grab complete nutrition on the go at Backyard Bowls. Serving acai bowls, whole grain bowls and nutritious smoothies, Backyard Bowls offers you a healthy alternative for breakfast or lunch. Most ingredients are organic and gluten-free and none contain any chemicals or high fructose corn syrup. Better still, Backyard Bowls engages in sustainable practices that are good for the planet, too. Food scraps are composted and to-go containers are biodegradable. Visit Backyard Bowls anytime you want to eat real food and feel really good about it.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Backyard Bowls is open for breakfast and lunch and serves fresh gluten-free acai and cereal bowls.

Geneva's expert tip: The Island Bowl is a tropical delight. The acai, pineapple and coconut flavors will make you feel like you're in Hawaii.

Read more about Backyard Bowls →




Our Daily Bread has been a Santa Barbara favorite since it first opened its doors in 1981. Beloved for their fresh-baked breads and crazy good pastries, Our Daily Bread is a great stop whether you're in the mood for a whole meal or just a little nibble. You can take warm loafs to go, or stay and enjoy breakfast or lunch on their sunny patio. Breakfast is served Monday through Friday mornings and all day on the weekends. Pair your meal with a piping hot espresso or chai latte made from scratch. Lunch sandwiches are served with a side salad and on your choice of bread. They also have gluten-free breads and pastries, all of which are also vegan.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Go to Our Daily Bread for fresh-baked gluten-free breads, cookies and pastries.

Geneva's expert tip: Pop in for breakfast and pick up a loaf to enjoy with dinner later the same day.

Read more about Our Daily Bread →




Looking for a place to grab a gluten-free beer and a brat in Santa Barbara? Look no further than the Hoffman Brat Haus located right downtown in the Paseo Nuevo mall. They serve up over 20 kinds of sausages - ranging from classic bratwursts to spicy rattlesnake concoctions - and just as many beers, including gluten-free and cider options! The Hoffman Brat Haus also has delicious Belgian waffles and thick fries with a variety of dipping sauces. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a second-story bar. Open seven days a week. Park in the mall lot.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Gluten-free buns! Gluten-free beers! Gluten-free cider! (Well, all cider is gluten free, but you get where we're going with this.)

Geneva's expert tip: Add caramelized onions to any sausage to up the flavor experience!

Read more about Hoffman Brat Haus →




Lilac Patisserie is a dedicated gluten-free bakery and cafe right in the center of downtown Santa Barbara. Located near some of the best shopping on State Street, this charming stop is the perfect place to grab a latte and a cookie - or a slice of cake - for people who are gluten intolerant or enjoy eating gluten free! In addition to desserts and coffees, Lilac Patisserie creates gorgeous fluffy cakes that are just right for any occasion. They can even make custom cakes for special occasions. Breakfast and lunch are also served. Think tasty sandwiches and savory quiches. There is plenty of parking in nearby city lots.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: The perfect, fluffy gluten-free baked good can be hard to find, but Lilac Patisserie has cases and cases of them!

Geneva's expert tip: Order one of their specialty cakes for an upcoming celebration. We like their chocolate sea salt caramel cake.

Read more about Lilac Patisserie →


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Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva

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