The Nile ain't just a river in Egypt, as the saying goes (sort of). In Orlando, it's one of a handful of independent restaurants amid I-Drive's sea of chain offerings, one serving up authentic Ethiopian fare in traditional style. What does this mean? For starters, no utensils. Getting the food to your face requires the use of injera, a spongy, tasty, vaguely crepe-like bread. Tear a piece off and simply scoop up the lentils, stewed chicken, seasoned beef or whatever other selections intrigued you and enjoy. Bonus? Most Ethopian dishes are naturally gluten-free! Call ahead at least an hour (more to be on the safe side) and let them know you're coming. They'll bake up a load of gluten-free injera that uses only teff flour â" actually more traditional than the wheat/teff hybrid Nile generally makes! The result, a thoroughly authentic Ethiopian experience that's enjoyable for everyone in your party.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Ethiopian cuisine is largely gluten-free, making it a natural fit. Nile's delicious fare and welcoming staff seal the deal.
A.D.'s expert tip: Don't forget to call ahead to order your gluten-free injera. Staffers will have it ready when you arrive.
Serving up tasty fast-casual eats from its comfortable Dr. Phillips digs, this cheery "paninery" does up a multitude of classic pressed sandwiches with fresh, locally made bread and house-roasted meats, which makes a big difference when it comes to taste. What's more is that those with a gluten-free diet can have their panini and eat it, too. The soups are GF, as well, and prepared in an outside gluten-free kitchen â" and so unlike sandwiches, are certified (ie, celiac-safe). Fries are baked to order, so while you should avoid the spicy curlies, you can go for the sweet potato and regular waffle-cut varieties with abandon.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Hot Krust is delish - and the gluten-free options make it a safe bet for groups with gluten-free foodies in tow.
A.D.'s expert tip: Gluten-free soups at Hot Krust are prepared in a certified kitchen that's off site.
Pub food is a staple come the midnight hour and beyond. South American "pub food," particularly in the form of piled-high salchipapas or juicy-flavorful Colombian-style burgers, is a level up. Super Rico Colombian Bistro caters to the nighttime crowds with hours 'til 3 a.m. on weekends, but keeps reasonable hours for the working folks, as well. Its delicious hamburgers, those aforementioned salchipapas (a street-food amalgam of sliced hot dogs and fries topped with cheese and flavorful sauces), empanadas, arepicas and more are delish for lunch and dinner, but downright decadent at midnight.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Almost everything on the menu is GF. Just replace the burger bun with a delicious masa-made arepa and there's no need to miss out!
A.D.'s expert tip: Bonus: one of Orlando's best craft beer bars, Tap 'N' Grind, is right next door!
Cold pints and warm, convivial vibe are always on tap at Raglan Road, which isn't lying when it calls itself a genuine Irish pub. In fact, the whole place was built in Ireland and then shipped to Orlando where it was lovingly reassembled to the delight of locals and visitors alike. Think of it as Disney magic with a little help from the leprechauns. Granted, just about everyone loves the place, but gluten-free diners (especially locals) make many return visits. Why? How about onion rings just for starters? Like many Disney establishments, Raglan Road does its best to accommodate all special dietary needs â" check with knowledgeable servers and managers for input and suggestions. They offer gluten-free scallops, fish and chips, calamari, pasta dishes and more.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: The shepherd's pie is gluten-free sans modification â" and delish! There are safe beer, cider and dessert options, as well. Slainte!
A.D.'s expert tip: Come for the gluten-free food, stay for the entertainment! There's live music and Irish dancing nightly. Also notable: Disney on the whole is fantastic for GF diners. Be sure to ask your server, no matter the venue.
Super Veggie, Holy Guacamole and the Big Tahuna are just some of the fun salads (make it a wrap, regular or gluten-free, it's your choice!) available at the Green Day Café, a newish healthy fast-food franchise with an outpost in North Orlando. Vegans and carnivores and everyone in between will find selections to suit their idiosyncratic palates and gluten-free diners will delight in a menu stocked with loaded potatoes, rice bowls and even GF quesadillas. What's more â" you don't even need to get out of your car. The Green Day Cafe boasts a drive-through window for health-conscious eaters on the go.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Healthy eaters tend to be active, but Green Day Cafe's drive-through lets them off the hook while offering convenience! Winning!
A.D.'s expert tip: Check in on Facebook, Foursquare or Yelp and get a free fountain drink with your order.
Infusion Tea is haven for both tea lovers and healthy eaters and boasts a wonderful array of menu items that pay heed to vegans, gluten-forgoers and a host of other quirky foodies. Add eggs or tempeh crumbles to salads for a protein boost. Make just about any offering gluten-free for a $1-2 upsell. Come for the breakfast and lunch and stay long enough to steep some loose-leaf tea and get comfortable.Looking for something a little more posh and fun? Pop in for afternoon tea and enjoy a pot with a delightful array of nibbles (pastries, scones, tea sandwiches, etc.). They've got a GF option for this, as well!
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Infusion Tea acknowledges the fact that diets differ without compromising quality or creativity.
A.D.'s expert tip: Sunday is Farmers Market day in College Park. Visit Infusion for oolong, peruse the stalls and walk the neighborhood.
Sensual. Spiritual. Savory: three words that express the emotional enlightenment Dragonfly Robata Grill tries to evoke with its service and cuisine. Dragonfly's interpretation of Japanese pub culture is taken quite seriously, making for quite the delectable experience. In a soothing (but arguably trendy) lounge environment, Dragonfly serves sushi, sashimi and robatayaki (open-fire grill) tapas-style. Sharing is encouraged, allowing diners to sample a number of different dishes. Avid sushi lovers with good timing can take advantage of the daily happy hour specials from 5 to 7 p.m. Tight service and a chic atmosphere make it a good choice whether you're dining for romance, business or another occasion.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Sushi is a natural fit for the gluten-free diner. Dragonfly not only offers raw delights but an entire menu of options tailored for GF guests.
A.D.'s expert tip: It's tempting to stick with the sushi in a place like Dragonfly, but be adventurous and stray! The soups and robata offerings are stellar, as well.
This is the third Fresh Kitchen to open in the Orlando area. The Lake Mary location opened in February 2020 and offers the same build-your-own bowls this restaurant's cult following loves. You can also visit the two other Orlando Fresh Kitchen restaurants, located in the Waterford Lakes area and SoDo. Although all dishes are gluten-free and many are also vegan, foodies of all types appreciate the fresh, scratch-made options. Bowls, starting at $8.49 are made with ingredients like fresh greens, quinoa, sweet potato noodles, roasted veggies, hormone and antibiotic-free grilled meats, and a ton of other options. But don't fill up on the big bowl! Save room for a chocolate chip cookie or zucchini brownie, both are also paleo-friendly.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Yes the menu is all gluten-free, but there's something for everyone including vegan and paleo options.
Michelle's expert tip: Get the Family Meal (which feeds four) for $36 or the Feast Meal (which feeds eight) for $69.
The dandelion, an edible flower that we're quick to call a weed, is a mascot of sorts for this quirky organic teahouse. You'll first be reminded of the café's namesake when you view the exterior (bright green with yellow shutters) and then again when reading the menu: vegetarian, sustainable and healthful. Diners with gluten restrictions? Seriously? This is your place. So many tiny GFs next to the menu items, your head may well spin like a wheat-free Linda Blair (sans digestive issues). Every salad. Every side. Most appetizers. All gluten-free. And served in pleasantly crunchy confines that may have you inquiring about the next full moon drum circle.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Dandelion Communitea Cafe is a vegan/gluten-free dream wrapped in a Thornton Park bungalow and steeped in organic tea.
A.D.'s expert tip: Two personal faves: the Abundant Harvest salad and the Summer of Love rolls. Groovy.
When the brains behind a longtime favorite panini joint here in town (he's since sold that business) brought his fast-casual prowess to trendy Mills 50, with Too Much Sauce, a clean-lined rice-quinoa-salad bowl joint that's tailor made for quick service, and healthy food with lots of color, celiac sufferers and other GF fans rejoiced. Why? Because virtually everything in the joint is up for consumption! Get creative choosing a base, veggies and a protein - along with one or more of their signature sauces - or let them do the hard stuff and choose from a few pre-designed choices that range from uber healthy (the veggie) to debatable (Sauce of the Border features lots of cheese and sour cream). What's nice is you can customize and keep your calorie counts down if that's something you're interested in - plus the food here is fresh and fun!
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Gluten-free folks: Everything on their menu, save desserts, is completely GF.
A.D.'s expert tip: Sauces! Try 'em all! They even have a flight-style plank to accommodate an array of them. And yes, they're all GF, too!