Gluten-Free Dining in DC: Ordering is Easy at These City Restaurants

You don't want to be a pain when it comes to choosing a good restaurant to try. But you also don't want to be in pain if the eatery you end up at offers zero gluten-free options. One way to avoid the problem altogether is by seeking out establishments that either have gluten-free menus or enough GF options that you won't feel like the odd man out when it comes time to order. And in Washington, D.C., plenty of excellent restaurants fit the bill. If you're craving seafood – which, when broiled, baked or grilled, is often naturally gluten free – head to Legal Sea Foods. Adhering to its motto that "if it's not fresh, it's not Legal," the popular place doesn't just provide a few gluten-free dishes; it boasts an entire gluten-free menu. The same goes for Carmine's, a family-style Italian eatery in Penn Quarter that serves up an expansive gluten- and allergen-free menu to guests with food sensitivities. (Bonus, it even offers gluten-free pasta!) Since many Asian cuisines are naturally light on the gluten, places like Rasika and Izakaya Seki are also great – and delectable – options, as are Jaleo and Oyamel, whose Spanish and Mexican menus, respectively, feature dozens of small plates, many of which are flourless. So don't let gut issues keep you from enjoying a fantastic meal in the nation's capital. There are plenty of local restaurants eager to accommodate you!

Carmine's Restaurant - DC
Photo courtesy of Carmine's


Part of a small New York City chain, Carmine's in Penn Quarter is a vivid reminder of just why family-style Italian cuisine is so popular. The usual suspects – including Caesar salad, manicotti, lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, cold or hot...  Read More



Minimalist in menu and decor, this 40-seat, two-story relative newcomer to DC (since 2012) serves up exciting Japanese dishes prepared by Chef Hiroshi Seki, who co-owns Izakaya with his daughter, Cizuka. Chef Seki has been carving fish since he...  Read More

Legal Sea Foods – Downtown


Legal Sea Foods operates on the motto, "If it's not fresh, it's not Legal." And they make good on their word. The variety of tasty seafood dishes and their clam chowder are near legendary in the Washington, D.C., area. Appetizers are also...  Read More



It's an indoor picnic at this neighborhood restaurant with an edge. From its cabin-facade kitchen to its lantern-hung tree in the dining room, Firefly understands that a night on the town should be fun, not fraught. So dress up or dress down...  Read More

Mon Ami Gabi


A classic French bistro in the heart of downtown Bethesda, Mon Ami Gabi specializes in fresh seafood and steaks. It's become a popular spot, thanks to terrific ambiance and fabulous cuisine. At lunch, try the refreshing lemon shrimp with...  Read More

Clyde's of Gallery Place


With four bars and five dining rooms, the two-story Clyde's of Gallery Place offers guests plenty of room to spread out while tucking into traditional American pub fare – lots of it with a chichi twist. Start your meal with a pepperoni pizza...  Read More



Trendy, popular and frequently packed, Oyamel is one of those places that lives up to the hype. One of several restaurants launched by famed chef Jose Andres, Oyamel features dishes inspired by Mexico's many different regions. The menu is made...  Read More

National Mall


This Spanish restaurant's sleek, stylish decor is accented with hand-painted ceramics and colorful murals depicting flamenco performances. A long list of tapas (small plates) – including such fabulous dishes as Iberian ham, Canary Island-style...  Read More



With its stark white walls, high ceilings and dramatic glass facade, Zaytinya has emerged as a popular after-work gathering place. Hot and cold mezze ("middle-of-the-day" meals) enrich the dining scene with contemporary Eastern Mediterranean...  Read More



Authentically gourmet takes on sigri (open barbecue), tandoori (oven) and tawa (griddle) dishes have enabled this elegant Penn Quarter establishment to garner a huge amount of popular and critical praise over the years. All the attention is...  Read More


Meet Holly Smith

Holly is an award-winning writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working with newspapers and magazines primarily in the Washington, DC, metro area. She also has a Master of Arts in...  More About Holly