Archived Q&A and Reviews
My sister is coming to visit me in Berkeley and is extremely sensitive to gluten. Does anyone have recommendations for reasonably-priced restaurants familiar with/catering to gluten sensitivity (other than national chains like Outback and PFChang's)? The archives' latest posts are from 2004 and mostly nonspecific. Margery
Try any Ethiopian restaurant. We like Cafe Colucci on Telegraph near Alcatraz. My son loves Chevy's, but any Mexican works. Angela
Hello, I'm not familiar with any gluten-free restaurants in the area but as a gluten-sensitive person, I can make one suggestion. For the most part, Mexican restaurants are usually a safe bet, as long as you stick to corn tortillas and avoid sauces. Unfortunately, most asian foods are out, because they usually have soy sauce which has wheat in it. Good luck! gluten-free
Cafe Gratitude on Shattuck. Their whole menu is gluten free. Its a really neat restaurant. You can find their menu and info. on their website. Lisa
Any mexcian restaurant will do as long as they use corn tortillas. I've been to terrible mexican restaurant chains that are ''Americanized'' and serve everything in flour tortiallas. Avoid those places. Go with more authentic mexican which should be pretty easy around here.
Chinese is almost impossible as everything is cooked in soy sauce. If you like something with an asian flare, go with thai food. Most thai dishes use fish suace instead of soy sauce. And they have a lot of dishes that have rice noodles. Always ask to make sure. Caution: If it's a ''vegetarian'' thai dish, they tend to use soy sauce instead.
Another good option is Ajanta's. it is a very nice Indian restaurant in North Berkeley on Solano Ave. I talked to the guy who wrote the cookbook for the place, he is also the host. He told me that they don't use any wheat in their suaces. They only use chickpea flour for thickening, if at all. Their food is really good. Just avoid the naan (wheat bread) and get papdams (lental flour wafers)instead. I highly recommend the place.
I noticed that someone recommended Ethiopian food. You eat the food with this traditional ethiopian bread called Injera, instead of using utensils. It is suppose to be made from %100 teff flour. However, when I checked into it I found out that Ethipian restaurantes in this area cut their teff with wheat flour to extend it and to also make it more ''palatable'' to the American taste bud. One place was recommended as having the best injera in the area, the most authentic, but the chef from there told me that she mixes the teff with wheat flour. She will make an all teff injera, but you have to call in advance and make the arrangments. There are quite a few ethiopian resaurants in the area. You would have to call them and ask about their injera.
Cafe Gratitude is a wheat-free/gluten-free restaurant that uses only rice, buckwheat, and quinoa for their whole grains. However it is also a vegan and live food restaurant. Everything is free of meat, diary, and eggs. And nothing is cooked, except for the rice, buckwheat and quinoa. You have to really like that kind of thing. The food is very fresh and tasty and delicious! The dessets are also wonderful. I really like the place, but the portions are small and it's very expensive. However the desserts are pretty filling.
Epicurious Garden on Shattuck in the gourmet ghetto area, use to have a wonderful Socca place - provencial chick-pea flour ''pizzas''. Unfortunately they went out of business. However a mexican eatery took over the spot. There is also a soup place that has a lot of gluten-free soup options. And ice cream as well.
Any really nice, fancy restaurant, like Chez Panise, can make a gluten-free dinner for you as long as you contact them ahead of time. Most well trained chefs are very familiar with gluten-free issues. Nicer restaurants in general are very accommodating.
The resaurants that are most difficult are chain restaurants, especially fast food, unless they make a point of having gluten-free options. Chain restaurants tend to use premanufactured mixes, seasonings, sauces, soups and even meats. The people that work there usually don't know what's in all the food.
Dining can be challenging for a celiac, but with careful research, questioning, and special requests, you can have a wonderful gluten-free dining experience at just about any restaurant. Even when I go to a chinese restaurant I can request some dishes to be prepared without soy sauce. If they speak English well, then it's not a problem, however it's really hard when they don't understand why you can't have soy sauce. Even simple diners can accomodate, like mom and pop kind of places. Ask for a sandwich without the bread.
If you have any other questions about dining gluten-free around here, feel free to contact me directly. Laurey
I wanted to make a correction on a previous reply I made on gluten-free restaurants. A fellow celiac sent me an email to tell me that Cafe Gratitude is NOT a gluten-free restaurant. She learned the hard way. Apparently they use Namu Shoyu soy sauce in their sauces, soups and salad dressings. I tried to look this soy suace up on the internet to see if it indeed has wheat in it. But I couldn't find an ingredients list anywhere. I want to apologize for misleading anyone with Celiac disease into thinking that they are completely safe eating there. I thought I inquired before ordering my food. Perhaps the waitress didn't quite understand what I was asking, and I didn't even think to ask about soy sauce. I've only eaten there twice, since it is very expensive, and I never ordered salads or soups. I was probably lucky. Again, my apologies. Laurey
My father, who was recently diagnosed with celiac, is coming to visit in July. Are there any restaurants in Berkeley/Albany or San Francisco that have gluten- free items on their menu? Thanks, Rebecca
My father also has celiac and when he is in town we go out for Thai, Chinese, or Japanese - lots of rice and other good stuff. I believe even the wontons and potstickers are made from rice flour. Daughter
Response to all who read the post by ''Daughter'' re: her belief that even the wontons and potsticker are made from rice flour. Unfortunately, this is incorrect, they are 100% wheat. For those with wheat allergeries or gluten intolerance ingestion of even small amounts of wheat can be dangerous, even life threatening so don't take a chance on this. In many Thai restaurants they make spring rolls from rice flour that is sometimes safe. Sometimes the rice paper pancake is made with a combination of wheat and rice. Elysse
Outback Steakhouse in Pinole, PF Chang's Walnut Creek, King Dong on Shattuck in Berkeley (I ask them for steamed mixed vegetables with prawns, no sauces, no wonton, I bring my own soy sauce), Mario's La Fiesta on Telegraph in Berkeley, Party Sushi on Shattuck in Berkeley has several safe selections but don't drink the tea (has barley). I also have Celiac Disease so I can provide more details. Feel free to email me directly. Elysse