Independent Restaurants

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 →


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 →


We're always adding helpful content, updating resources, and improving the functionality of GlutenFreeTravelSite and our free companion mobile app, Dine Gluten Free. But for those of you who haven't visited for a while -- or may not be aware of all the ways these valuable resources can help you DINE & TRAVEL gluten free more easily, we thought it might be time for a reminder... First Stop (if you need it): An Overview Under the RESOURCES tab within the navigation bar on our website, there's a section of the site called About Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity that contains 12 "chapters" of information that are helpful to both new and veteran gluten free folks. And if you have friends or family members that need to understand your diet better, send them a link to this page for answers to the questions they may have (sometimes it's easier when it comes from an impartial source!). Also, if you have a friend that suspects gluten may be adversely affecting their health, by all means, pass along this information to them. It could provide the spark that leads them to get tested. We've tried to make the explanations about Celiac, gluten sensitivity, and a... Read more →


Our family recently returned from a week in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. We have family out there and therefore are fortunate to visit every so often. As with any trip, we look forward to the chance to discover new "gluten-free friendly" restaurants we haven't tried -- including chain restaurants with Gluten Free Menus that don't have locations on the East Coast where we live. It's a funny thing about Los Angeles...one would think (and I also hear from many people living there) that it's rare to find a restaurant that can't prepare a gluten free meal. However, as you and I both know, catering to the "trend" of gluten free dining choices is very different from being properly trained in providing safe gluten free meals for those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity. So it's almost more of a challenge dining in this land of celebrities and health-conscious folks, since so many are opting to eat gluten free...by choice, not out of necessity. So the onus is on us to find the truly safe restaurants. Before every trip, I do a fair amount of research on restaurants. Before this trip, as with past trips to Southern California, I found... Read more →


New York City is one of the easiest places to find "gluten free friendly" restaurants. Our family just returned from a trip to New York to visit family, and this time we made it a point to go into New York City for a few days -- for some good gluten free dining, as well as some business meetings and sightseeing. I've always loved NYC and actually lived there many years ago, so any opportunity to return to the Big Apple is a welcome one. This time, my husband and I had a couple days to ourselves while my mother-in-law watched our kids, and then they later joined us in the city. We wanted to try several gluten-free friendly restaurants that had been recommended to us, but on the first night our desire was to find someplace in Little Italy that understood gluten free. Fortunately, that was not a difficult task, as most of the restaurants on Mulberry Street in the heart of Little Italy have their menus on display along the street. Many of them had mentions of gluten free options (typically gluten free pizza and/or pasta) on their menus. After asking some questions at various restaurants, we chose... Read more →


Our family spent last weekend in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Presidents Cup ice hockey tournament with our younger son's Select hockey team. Despite the frigid weather, snow, and grey skies, we were reminded what a cool city this is -- and how many great "gluten-free friendly" places there are to eat. We visited some old favorites discovered on another trip to Pittsburgh a few years back...and also tried a few new places we'd found while researching places online prior to our trip. Our first stop -- literally upon arriving in town -- was Gluuteny bakery on Murray Avenue in the "Squirrel Hill" neighborhood. This gluten free, dairy free bakery is almost reason enough to visit Pittsburgh. We'd been there three years before, and we couldn't wait to go again. It just happened to be Valentine's Day, and I figured it could go one of two ways...either they'd have tons of stuff prepared for "last minute" shoppers, or they'd have sold out of most items by the time of our late afternoon arrival. Fortunately for us, there was a nice selection of items left, and let me tell you, we had a hard time choosing! So we pretty much bought one... Read more →


Julie Bourne, our regular college blogger who also publishes her own Blog called The Campus Celiac, spent the summer in Seattle and shared with us some of her top restaurant picks for gluten free dining. You will find links within the article to her more detailed reviews of these restaurants on our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, where you can also do a search to read dozens of other reviews of GF-friendly restaurants in Seattle. Simply visit our Search/Mapping page and enter "Seattle" or a specific zip code into the Search box. You'll get a list of places that have been reviewed. Click on any business to see it plotted on the adjacent map where you can click through to read the user-submitted review. While people probably don’t ordinarily associate Seattle with summertime, this is where I spent my summer, working -- and more importantly – eating! I always thought that I had it made, living in Denver, where there is usually an abundance of gluten free options at my fingertips. That was before I spent an extended amount of time in the city of Seattle, specifically the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is the Pacific Northwest’s hipster mecca. I was working full-time right... Read more →


As many of your know, this Gluten Free Travel Blog is an offshoot of our popular website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, which was launched over five years ago. I created the website so people would have an easy way to search for "gluten free friendly" places to dine wherever they were planning to travel -- in the U.S. and in other countries. But rather than just providing a name and address of a restaurant (or market, hotel/inn/resort, or bakery), I felt it was essential to include REVIEWS from gluten free folks who'd been there. After all, you want to know as much as you can about a place before dining there, right? For example, do they have a gluten free menu, items marked as GF on the regular menu, or a chef who is able to tailor many items on the menu to make them gluten free? Do they have a dedicated fryer for french fries, chicken wings, or other fried items? (If they make claims that their fried items are gluten free without having a dedicated fryer, you know to be extremely cautious about dining there in the first place!) Are they careful about avoiding cross contamination in other ways? Do they... Read more →


Photo courtesy of Pelican Hill Our family recently visited Southern California to visit my father for Father’s Day. When planning which “gluten free friendly” restaurants to dine at, we wanted to visit some “old favorites” as well try some new restaurants that had come highly recommended. One of those was the Pelican Grill at the incomparable Pelican Hill Resort, which was rated by Conde Naste Traveler as the World's Top-Rated Golf Resort in 2012. And it's no surprise...The Resort at Pelican Hill is hard to beat when it comes to beauty. In fact, when living in San Francisco years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. If given the choice of where to play, I’d choose Pelican Hill. It’s that spectacular (although perhaps some avid golfers may have their own preferences!). Since we were dining with a group including children as well as adults, we opted for the Pelican Grill, as opposed to Andrea, the resort’s more formal signature restaurant, which offers a seasonal selection of hand-made, gluten-free pastas. Don’t get me wrong…Pelican Grill is still quite formal (for California, that is – there’s no jacket required) and the surroundings and... Read more →