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Chicago Restaurants with Great Gluten Free Food



Even though celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune condition, affects  just 1% of the US population, scads of others believe they have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Even more people think eliminating gluten from their diet will help them lose weight or just feel better overall. Whatever the condition of your gastro-intestinal tract, Chicago offers plenty of gluten-free menu items or entire menus devoted to GF dishes.

Gluten avoiders surely miss baked goods, breads and desserts, however, they're no longer off-limits to visitors to Wheat's End Cafe and Smack Dab Chicago and when you're craving pizza, Spacca Napoli  and True Food Kitchen are your go-tos. Chicago born Protein Bar & Kitchen flavorfully feeds your healthy lifestyle whether it's vegan, carnivore, Keto, Paleo, Whole30 or gluten free.  

Enjoy an elegant, upscale dining experience at the family owned Tortoise Supper Club  adjacent to the Marina Towers and when only French will do, head to Lincoln Park's Mon Ami Gabi. 

It may have once been a pain to dine gluten free but so many Chicago restaurants not only welcome those with sensitivities or allergies to gluten, but it's easier than ever to dine out with entire menus and meals specifically for those who can't tolerate gluten. 


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True Food Kitchen offers a varied menu that satisfies but does not stray from excellent nutrition and deep flavor. There's something tasty for all diets with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options developed by chefs and each of the signature dishes can be customized to meet any dietary need or preference. Tempting GF plates include Inside Out Quinoa Burge with hummus, tzatziki, tomato, butter lettuce, cucumber, red onion, avocado and feta; Spaghetti Squash Casserole; Grilled Fish or Grass-fed Steak Tacos; Moroccan Chicken; Lasagna Bolognese; and Cashew Pad Thai. Desserts? They're all gluten free:Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp; Flourless Chocolate Cake; Chia Seed Pudding; and Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream. Beverages range from organic coffee and loose leaf teas to herby, fruity cocktails, beer and wine.




An Irish bar and restaurant doesn't immediately come to mind as a go-to place for brunch or gluten free food but this hidden gem in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood might have you make plans to visit. A full gluten-free regular menu includes small plates, salads, flatbreads. burgers and sandwiches and big plates ranging from Scottish salmon to rosemary roasted garlic chicken. The fabulous gluten free brunch menu makes decision difficult: brioche custard French toast; breakfast tacos; a half dozen egg dishes; salads, sandwiches and small plates; and the signature Wilde macaroni and cheese entrée with gluten-free penne pasta, Irish cheddar cheese and Irish Bacon. Sip gluten-free cider and beer while taking in the convivial Irish atmosphere with lots of wood detail and framed pictures lining the exposed brick walls.




This Lincoln Park bistro and steakhouse is a delightful find for expertly prepared French cuisine. Expect traditional dishes with GF tweaks such as steak Classsique with maitre d'hotel butter and shallow-fry frites; roasted chicken grand-mere; onion soup au gratin (baked with gruyere cheese and topped with gluten-free croutons); and chicken liver mousse with GF toast plus plenty of fresh seafood. The French know their way around a dessert menu and Mon Ami Gabi does not disappoint with GF options like creme brulee and chocolate mousse. Select wine from a historic rolling wine cart - especially boutique French wines, handpicked by chef/owner Gabino Sotelino. Sunday brunch is equally serene and delicious. If you can't swing a trip to Paris for a special occasion, Mon Ami Gabi is a fine romantic substitute with warm interiors of mosaic tile floor and white tablecloths topped with butcher paper ala restaurants in France.


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Andersonville


Owner Christine Forster has been gluten free for about seven years, so having options for all kinds of diners was one of the founding principles of Smack Dab. The breakfast and brunch eatery's mission is to be able to have the eat-everything-in-sight palate dine alongside a gluten free vegan person and both have an impressive dining experience. Smack Dab is known for its egg biscuit sandwiches served on cheesy herb cornbread as a gluten free option, or flax bread which is also dairy free/vegan. Partner Axel Erkenswick is a French trained baker who tweaks recipes so that they're gluten free and still taste outta this world. Noteworthy savory dishes include seasonal vegetable hash and rice bowls that are not only gluten free, but can be dairy free and/or vegan. All sides, meats, jams and spreads are also gluten free.




The vegetable-forward menu and cheery dining room experience at Little Beet Table allows you to indulge in your well being. Vegetarians and those with food allergies are serviced but so are carnivores and all can enjoy healthful, whole foods. Launch with assorted olives, roasted almonds or cauliflower hummus redolent of dill and lemon waiting to be torpedoed by soft, grilled gluten free pitas. Salads range from a titular beet citrus to a roasted shrimp with lettuce, quinoa, avocado, spiced almonds. Winning main dishes include a grass fed double cheeseburger; chipotle pork carnitas tacos; grilled cauliflower green curry; pea carrot cavatelli; and seared sea scallops. If the chicken mole tostadas are on the menu - order them! Seasonal sorbet and gelato make a nice finish and brunch is fabulous.




Wheat's End Cafe takes gluten free baking and cooking seriously. The proof? Three words: cheddar chive biscuits. That everyone seems to love. Serving breakfast and lunch as well as brunch on the weekends, Wheat's End Cafe is a 100% dedicated gluten-free bakery/cafe and a retail, wholesale and online market. Chef Lina Elakhaoui turns out incredible gluten free bakery like popovers with honey butter, scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins and cookies. Breakfast items feature organic eggs and savories, like panini, burgers, pizza and soup tickle tastebuds whether you have a gluten issue or not. The brunch menu doesn't skimp on classics like French toast, waffles, pancakes, donuts, English muffins and bagels - with nary a smidge of gluten. The commercial part of the bakery supplies many Chicago restaurants, hotels, cafes, and colleges and customers can also purchase the GF line online and in many small grocery stores in the Chicago area.


Demera Ethiopian Restaurant


Call ahead and ask the chef to prepare gluten free injera (the traditional spongy bread) so you can also enjoy communal dining and dip into fragrantly sauced meats, pulses and vegetables at Demera Ethiopian Restaurant. A smart way to go is with a vegetarian and/or meat messob (combination platter) for one or two which ladles items like red lentils in spicy berebere sauce; cinnamony beets and carrots; variously sauced Amish chicken; lean beef sautéed with onions, garlic and jalapeños; cubed lamb in spicy sauce; slow cooked collard greens; tilapia, pollack or shrimp; and so much more. The injera acts as utensil to scoop up the wonderfully spiced veg and meats. Moisten the pipes with traditional Ethiopian honey wine (brewed on site), a South African red or white wine or an Ethiopian lager.




If there's one dish that will set a gluten free eater's heart aflutter - it's pizza. Spacca Napoli Pizzeria offesr a gluten free option for all of its pizzas. Customers can also request gluten free focaccia to accompany their antipasti of grilled eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow peppers; mozzarella di bufala with fresh tomatoes; marinated & grilled baby octopus; or prosciutto crudo with arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano and olive oil. Choose among nearly 20 pies, each sounding more tantalizing than the next. How about a pistacchio pizza with fior di latte, sausage, crema di pistacchio and basil or a perky Puttanesca featuring San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, anchovies, black olives, capers, grape tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano? The kitchen will make any pizza gluten free for a $2 upcharge (flour product used is Caputo Fior di Glut). There's also Cuor di Cereali, a multi-grain dough option, for fiber seeking guts.


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Downtown


Founded in Chicago in 2009, Protein Bar & Kitchen was a leader in the high protein/low carb trend by offering filling, protein-rich and flavorful food in a fast-casual setting long before others. Today, there are 13 in Chicago, four in and around Denver and two in Washington D.C. Most of the items on the menu are gluten free or can be made gluten free. All of the salads and nearly all of the bowls (with exception of Spicy Korean) are gluten free, as is the new Bowl30 - all-natural chicken, tomatoes roasted with thyme and coriander, citrus marinated mushrooms, kale, almonds, spinach and EVOO. Riced cauliflower base is also a newer option. The Spinach Pesto Bowl with riced cauliflower is a flavor powerhouse. Stop by for breakfast to enjoy eggs scrambled with grass-fed ghee and ingredients like turkey bacon, cheddar, steak, black beans, salsa, kale, avocado and chipotle yogurt.




While Tortoise Supper Club doesn't have a dedicated gluten free menu, there are so many GF options, it's worth a visit to the Marina Towers' restaurant for a shot of casually elegant supper club ambience and upscale fare. Like what? Gluten free highlights include: chilled house-smoked salmon dip with slices of cuke; Ahi tuna poke with avocado salad, cucumber, tamari, sweet potato chips; Berkshire pork chop in a Pommery mustard reduction served with grilled asparagus and smoked cheddar grits; double cut lamb chops served with house-made mint jelly and goat cheese stuffed eggplant cannelloni; Chilean Sea Bass atop sautéed watercress and ginger coconut rice and shrimp ragout; roasted Amish chicken in a cilantro chili glaze and mashed potatoes. This is a supper club so DO have cocktail especially since all juices and syrups are made in house daily.


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Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky

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