Gluten Free Restaurants

Pie Five Pizza has been on a tear...opening new locations at a fast clip all over the country. In fact, this "fast casual" concept now has about 300 locations across 20 states...and is expanding into at least 4 other states. This is a big deal because now they have not one, but two, choices for gluten free pizza crust! So perhaps you'll want to see if there's a location near where you live...or where you might be traveling. Their "original" gluten free crust, launched years ago, is particularly unique. First, it's homemade, which you don't find at many places. Secondly, it's made from ancient grains, so it has a nutritionally superior profile versus most gluten free pizza crusts. Pie Five combines teff, amaranth, and sorghum flours which deliver vitamins, minerals, fiber, and great taste! And finally, Pie Five's pizzas are ready in just five minutes (thus the name "Pie Five"...). Quality has always been a huge focus with Pie Five. They use homemade, all natural, preservative-free tomato sauce, sausage without antibiotics or hormones, and other high-quality toppings, almost all of which are gluten free. Back in April, after introducing a "limited time" pizza crust made from a blend of cauliflower... Read more →


Our son has been gluten free for over 12 years now, after a diagnosis with Celiac Disease in April 2005. We have dined out considerably since then...and traveled extensively in the U.S. and to many major European cities. There have been ups and downs along the way -- both pleasant surprises and occasional disappointments. I've written in the past about the Top 10 Mistakes Restaurants Make When Trying to Provide Gluten Free Meals. Don't get me wrong...even as the founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Dine Gluten Free mobile app -- along with this Blog -- I'm actually not particularly hard on restaurants that at least make an effort to serve our gluten free community. And frankly, our 14-year-old son is pretty easy to please as well. As long as there are a few options on a menu -- and they are prepared safely and with optimal taste in mind -- we are happy. At this age, he is content with a juicy steak, a burger on a decent gluten free bun, simply prepared gluten free pasta, most gluten free pizzas, and any chocolate dessert that can claim it's gluten free! My Top 10 listing from months ago hits on how... Read more →


Let me start by saying that dining at Il Canale Italian restaurant in Georgetown made me feel like I was back in Italy, where our family had the opportunity to travel last summer. Part of the reason for this is that they are known for their authentic Neapolitan-style thin crust pizza, cooked in a wood-fired oven imported from Italy. It's also got that lively vibe and friendly service you find at Italian trattorias. Add to that other tradtional Italian specialties on their menu -- fresh and just like you'd find in Italy -- and you've got all the makings of a great night out! To be clear, Il Canale does not offer gluten free Neapolitan-style pizza (at least not cooked in the wood-fired oven, due to cross contamination concerns). But they use an Udi's non-GMO gluten free pizza crust as a base for all their wonderful toppings like fresh Buffalo mozzarella, basil, prosciutto, olives, and more. Then they cook it in a separate conventional oven, so there's no worry about cross contamination if you have Celiac. Il Canale also offers gluten free pasta, an organic variety imported from Italy and made from a blend of rice and corn flour. All... Read more →


For over 12 years, Picazzo's Healthy Italian Kitchen, with 5 locations in Arizona has been continuously raising the bar for high quality dining, especially for those that are gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan. Year after year, they have added new menu items that combine healthy ingredients, new flavor combinations, and interesting takes on traditional favorites. Most of all, they continue to deliver on quality and TASTE. My secret wish is that Picazzo's would expand nationwide. We need one of these restaurants in every neighborhood! In the meantime, it's worth a visit to Arizona just to dine at Picazzo's (for every meal of your stay -- after all, with all their tempting menu items, you'd never get bored!). Here are 10 Things to LOVE About Picazzo's: 1.) They're the New Times "Best of Phoenix" Readers's Choice Winner for Best Gluten Free Restaurant in 2015 and 2016. Take it from your fellow gluten free diners...this place is awesome! 2.) Their ENTIRE MENU, full of starters (like the Caprese salad with homemade GF focaccia and pesto above), soups, salads, entrees, pizza, and pastas is GLUTEN FREE, with the exception of 2 of their pizza crust options (Organic Original and Organic Whole Grain). But... Read more →


We're a decade into the growth of the gluten free "marketplace," thanks to increased awareness of Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity -- and improving rates of diagnosis. Not only has "gluten free" become a household term, in many cases it's become a dietary "trend." For those of us personally affected by Celiac or gluten sensitivity, this is a mixed blessing -- as many have discussed in recent years. While demand for gluten free meals in restaurants eventually gives us more choice, the situation does come with pitfalls. First and foremost is the need to ensure that any restaurant with a gluten free menu knows not just what ingredients are used in their recipes...but how to safely prepare the meal without putting you at risk from gluten cross contamination. Another less serious -- but still frustrating -- challenge is being able to separate those restaurants that make the most basic (and often less-than-appetizing) substitutions or omissions to claim that a menu item is gluten free from restaurants that work hard to surprise and delight their gluten free diners with well-thought-out, flavorful offerings. (Check out the creative layered Beet Salad, with goat cheese, candied walnuts, and caramelized onions from Burtons Grill, below.)... Read more →


Last week we had the good fortune to dine at Rasika, a popular restaurant in the "Penn Quarter" area of Washington, DC...just blocks from the Verizon Center, where we were going to see an NHL hockey game with our hockey-playing sons. We'd heard a lot about the restaurant -- and the buzz was that it was very gluten-free friendly. Not surprising, since most Indian restaurants don't use many gluten-containing ingredients in their preparations. It's hard to get a table here...most people have to make reservations well in advance. However, when I called (rather last minute) to inquire about getting a table, I was told that they keep the tables across from the bar open for walk-ins. How nice...I wish more places would do this. Otherwise, it can take weeks to get reservations at popular spots like Rasika. Although they don't have any information about gluten free options on their website, they assured me when I called that almost every item on the menu is gluten free, with a few exceptions. When we arrived (early) and secured a table, our server was most helpful and friendly. He pointed out the few items that would be off-limits due to gluten. This really... Read more →


You probably remember my Blog post detailing my family's trip to Italy this past summer. It was so fantastic, from a gluten free dining perspective, that I wrote a book about it (Gluten-Free in ITALY : Your Worry-Free and Gluten-Free Travel Guide to Italy), available on Amazon. But I'm often asked...of all the places we dined in Rome, Florence, and Venice, which was our favorite spot? Who had the best (and safest) gluten free offerings? In Rome, at least, I'd have to say it was a small chain of restaurants known as Mama Eat and Mama Frites. It was pure serendipity that we ended up eating at these two restaurants while in Rome. I'd heard about both restaurants and had included them on our list of places to potentially try while in Rome. However, I wasn't sure if it would work out, based on where we planned to be sightseeing each day. As luck would have it, after touring the Vatican for several hours one morning, a nearby gluten-free friendly restaurant where we'd planned to have lunch closed for renovation. We were starving, but we decided to continue with our day's plans and head south to Trastevere, an ancient and... Read more →


Have you dreamed of being able to enjoy authentic Neapolitan style pizza? Homemade gluten-free pasta with almost any sauce you can imagine? Gluten-free Nutella crepes? Freshly made gelato in a variety of gluten-free flavors? No, I'm not trying to torture you...but rather give you hope. These things do exist, and if you've ever longed to go to Italy, you can now entertain that thought...without worrying about how you'll stay gluten-free. I'm thrilled to announce the publication of my second e-book, Gluten-Free in ITALY: Your Worry-Free & Gluten-Free Guide to Italy. Like my first e-book, Gluten-Free in LONDON, this guide to ITALY provides you with everything you need for a successful (and safely gluten-free) trip: restaurant recommendations, advice on accommodations, tips for getting around each city (and between cities), the scoop on the best tours and excursions, and suggestions for saving money. You can literally use the book as a day-by-day guide to the cities our family just visited in late June/early July: Rome, Florence, and Venice. Our 12-day journey was a dream come true. We had enough time in each city so that we didn't feel rushed (although you never really have enough time to see all the amazing sites... Read more →


You probably recall me mentioning Burtons Grill many times. It's a regional chain with 11 restaurants in the following five states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia, and South Carolina. They have another Virginia location slated to open this summer, along with locations coming soon to North Carolina and Florida. It's one of our favorite restaurants, so were were thrilled when their Alexandria, VA restaurant opened not too far from us. (Prior to that, we made it a priority to visit a Burtons Grill whenever we happened to be traveling or visiting family in one of their areas!). They have an amazing selection of gluten free menu items, including the best fried calamari ever (and yes, it's gluten free!). They also are extremely knowledgeable about how to safely prepare gluten free meals, as Kevin Harron, the co-founder and president of Burton's Grill, has Celiac disease himself. It's not surprising, then, that they would carry on this mission to serve the gluten free community with their second restaurant concept, launched in 2014. It's called Red Heat Tavern, and the casual dining restaurants, inspired by the food and ambiance of backyard barbecues, are located in both Bedford, MA and Wilmington, MA. The food... Read more →


In this post, we welcome Katherine Tolley, a Celiac currently living in Barcelona, Spain... In the fall of 2013, after a year of reoccurring mononucleosis, an aggressive case of pneumonia, and a constant, unexplained fever and feeling of vertigo, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I was somewhere between my junior and senior year of college, living at home, and doing everything possible to help heal my body – especially my digestive system. A semester abroad studying the arts was a requirement for my design degree, and I was terrified after my diagnosis to even leave the house for fear of cross-contaminated food and more illnesses. I had been planning on studying in Barcelona, Spain, but as the time drew nearer and I read more about their cuisine (Tapas! Fried calamari! Churros! Toasted bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes and olive oil!), I become increasingly nervous. After months of research and printing gluten-free dining cards in various foreign languages, I packed my suitcase full of gluten-free oatmeal packets and set off for the unknown. And to my never-ending delight, what I found across the Atlantic was a country that understood my needs far better than almost every place I had been... Read more →


Have you been on wonderful vacation recently? Perhaps you relaxed at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean...took a fun cruise...enjoyed a European adventure...or something else even more exotic. We'd love to feature YOUR gluten-free travel experience with the followers of this Blog. If it was a positive experience, it's great inspiration for fellow gluten-free travelers! Too many gluten-free folks still believe they can't travel while safely following their gluten-free diet. I've made it my mission for the past 8 years to prove them wrong! Let's show them how many amazing (and safe) options there are available now! Of course, we always welcome you to submit your travel reviews to our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite.com...whether it's a restaurant you dined at on vacation, market or bakery where you found exciting gluten-free offerings, a hotel or resort that offered delicious gluten-free fare, or a cruise line that treated you like royalty. However, we'd love to give you, our followers, an opportunity to have a "guest post" on this blog, in which you can lay out your entire vacation experience. We welcome as many details as you'd like to share: where you stayed, where you dined, what you might do differently, and how this vacation... Read more →


Pittsburgh sometimes gets a bad rap. Our family, however, loves visiting this city (which says a lot, given that our trips there are always for hockey tournaments in the dead of winter!). We like visiting because there are a lot of fun things to do between hockey games (the Carnegie Science Center and adjacent Highmark SportsWorks complex are always a hit with kids and adults!), and there are some really great places for gluten free meals (and gluten free baked goods!). Each time we're in Pittsburgh, Gluuteny is HIGH on our priority list (just don't make the mistake of planning your visit for a Monday...we did that last year, only to find out that's the one day they're closed!). Gluuteny is a completely gluten free, dairy free bakery. While our Celiac son does not need to be dairy free (and sometimes we're not crazy about the taste of dairy free baked goods), this place nails it in terms of flavor and texture. All their baked goods -- and there are many -- are fantastic. Even the "buttercream" on their cupcakes (made with dairy free margarine) is wonderfully creamy and tasty. I had an almond cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing, while... Read more →