Gluten-Free Restaurants: Chicago

Chicago is a fantastic foodie city. And now that I’m an official resident, I’m constantly on the hunt for great gluten-free restaurants in Chicago. But to get off the beaten path of chain restaurants, you’ve gotta know your way around.

While certainly not comprehensive, below is a list of restaurants that I’ve personally found good success with in accommodating gluten-free dining in Chicago. Restaurants marked with ** indicate a link to a Gluten-Free Pearls blog post. As I dine at more, I will keep adding to the list.

Please note, this list is not meant to be a list of restaurants that are certified gluten-free or exercise cross-contamination best practices. Restaurant practices may also change (e.g., dedicated fryers). These pearls are only meant to guide you in the right direction depending on your level of gluten intolerance/sensitivity. So, please be cautious and call ahead or address your dietary needs and concerns with the manager and server.

Enjoy these gluten-free restaurants in Chicago, and happy eating! (Updated 12/23/16)

Chicago restaurants with dedicated gluten-free menus:

  • RPM Italian (River North) – Upscale Italian serving gluten-free fettuccine. Went here for my birthday and got the provolone-stuffed peppers, the shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad and the RPM Caesar Wedge, the Carbonara and the Spicy King Crab pasta. Can’t go wrong with the salads. Carbonara was a little rich but the Spicy King Crab was a win.
  • LYFE Kitchen (River North) – The concept of this place is really neat. They’re awesome about allergies and dietary needs, even having separate menus for gluten free and vegan/vegetarian. The flatbreads and the brussels sprouts are phenom. They have a killer veggie burger, too.
  • Wildfire**(River North) – Seriously large GF menu. We’re talking gluten-free apps, pizza, salads, pasta, steaks, seafood, AND desserts. Like a chocolate chip cookie. Oh, and get ready…they bring gluten-free bread to your table!
  • Senza and Wheat’s End Cafe  (Lakeview) – CLOSED – SENZA AS OF JAN. 2015 – Both are dedicated wheat-free facilities. Senza is the upscale dinner establishment, Wheat’s End is the cute and casual cafe where you can grab a cup of coffee and a scone. Or cookie. Or muffin. Or other baked good. Or all of the above.
  • Roti Mediterranean Grill (Multiple locations)- Man, I love this place. Mediterranean fast casual restaurant where you can get gluten-free PITA. I’m a fan of the chicken roti. Great about cross-contamination and most of the sides are GF as well.
  • Little Goat (West Loop)- This diner-style restaurant has a pretty solid offering of gluten-free goodies, including homemade gluten-free bread (for burgers and sandwiches), plus GF fries. And sourdough pancakes for breakfast!
  • Marcello’s Father & Son Restaurant (Lincoln Park; Northbrook) – Gluten-free pizza and pasta. The first GF place I visited in Chicago before I lived here!
  • Sunda  (River North) -Upscale “New Asian” restaurant in River North, offering GF sushis and entrees.
  • Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (Lincoln Park) – Wonderful Spanish tapas and pinxtos restaurant in Lincoln Park offering a gluten-free menu. The paella is to die for, and I’m always a fan of the tortilla española as well. They are able to prepare some other items GF as well that aren’t on the GF menu, such as the bacon-wrapped shrimp or the Brussels sprout salad.
  • Bountiful Eatery ** (Lakeview) – This Lakeview eatery is 100% gluten-free. They have it all – wraps, burgers, quinoa bowls, salads, soups, etc. Super fresh and healthy options.
  • Summer House Santa Monica (Lincoln Park) – Fantastic atmosphere – light, open, airy and very Cali. Food’s good, but not exceptional. Baked pastries and cookies are really good. Try the massive gluten-free chocolate chip cookie – you’ll swoon.
  • Mia Francesca (Lakeview) – Housemade gluten-free pasta and pizza, plus a sampling of appetizers and salads.
  • Cassava (Lakeview) – GLUTEN-FREE EMPANADAS ALL DAY ERR DAY. And they are delicious. It’s a low key atmosphere, counter service with a few tables and it’s great to just pop in and snag some empanadas. and OH the Brazilian cheese bread. It’s phenom. Go here.

Chicago restaurants with normal menus, marked with gluten-free options:

  • Jam n’ Honey (Lincoln Park) – It looks so unassuming. But then you order. Then you insert love-eyes emoji here in tribute of their ah-mazing gluten-free buttermilk pancakes topped with melty honey butter. I should be banned from here because I will eat ALL OF THE PANCAKES and ballon to 800 pounds. They also have a gluten-free waffle, though I have not tried it.
  • Dusek’s (Pilsen) – Cool vibe, eclectic decor, awesome food, solid cocktails. Kind of Southern style. Maybe one of my favorite meals so far in Chicago? Not even kidding. The menu changes often, but if you ever have the opportunity to get the pumpkin risotto, do it (hold the soy caramel glaze, which is not gluten-free). Then swing downstairs for a drink at Punch House (but beware, many of their signature “punches” also have beer in them).
  • Takito Kitchen (Wicker Park) – Tacos, ceviches, soups, sides and shared plates. And margs. Essentially, everything on this menu is gluten-free except for the masa crackers and one of the desserts. The roasted squash appetizer was phenom – black beans, pork belly, kimchi, queso fresco, cilantro and pepitas. Tacos were really interesting combos but the flavors didn’t quite execute.
  • Hubbard Inn (River North) – Small plates and strong cocktails. Menu is marked with what contains gluten, but you’ll have plenty of options. Bacon-wrapped dates are a must.
  • IDOF (I Dream of Falafel) – (Multiple locations in Chicago and Oakbrook) – Menu is marked with vegan and gluten-free options. Falafel and steak/chicken shawarma plus many of the sides and toppings are GF. I’m a fan of the CYO (create your own) plate.
  • Blue Star Bistro and Wine Bar (Noble Square/Wicker Park)  – SO. MANY. GLUTEN-FREE. OPTIONS! They don’t have a printed gluten-free menu in the restaurant, but you can see one online. They have it all…flatbreads, salads, small plates, entrees. You must get the burrata with grilled nectarines, balsamic reduction, basil and pistachios. You must. And the scallops.
  • MAK (Modern Asian Kitchen) (Wicker Park) – Quick serve Asian food with gluten-free and vegetarian options. Kind of like a fresher Pei Wei. The GF options are starred on the menu. And they have chicken wings! Note, the sauces up at the front for you to help yourself are NOT gluten-free, so make sure to order the spice on your food.
  • Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique (Loop) – Gluten-free macarons and a couple gluten-free free cupcake flavors.
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes (Gold Coast) – Amazing gluten-free red velvet cupcakes.
  • Firecakes Donuts (River North) – Gluten-free chocolate donuts, made from polenta.
  • Shedd Aquarium (Downtown Museum Campus) – All of the cafes/restaurants at Shedd offer some gluten-free options. The Bubble Net offers the greatest number of options, including salads and a gluten-free pizza (veggie, pepperoni, or cheese).
  • Old Town Social (Old Town)- Neat vibe, but pricy menu and small portions. Gluten-free options are marked on the menu but be sure to confirm with your server, as many of the items need to be modified to be GF. Fries are sometimes GF – on slow nights, they only use one fryer but on busier evenings they use a dedicated one.
  • Native Foods Cafe  (Multiple locations)- Vegan restaurant serving up fresh and homemade options, many of which are gluten-free. I was a fan of the Bangkok Curry Bowl. Portions are huge!
  • Chicago’s Pizza  (Lakeview, Ravenswood, Old Irving) – Five words. Gluten-free deep dish pizza. Oh, and gluten-free calzones, gluten-free stuffed pizza, gluten-free focaccia, gluten-free thin crust, gluten-free sandwiches…THE LIST GOES ON. Oh, and they’re open late-night.
  • Burger Bar Chicago  (Lincoln Park)- Gluten-free buns and gluten-free fries (sweet potato or normal). Get the regular fries with the truffle oil.
  • Southport Grocery and Cafe (Lakeview)- We’re talking gluten-free cupcake pancakes, baby. The chorizo and eggs dish is GF, and awesome.
  • Feast Restaurant & Bar (Wicker Park/Bucktown) – Upscale restaurant with ample gluten-free options.
  • Lou Malnati’s (Multiple locations)- Gluten-free thin crust pizza, plus salads.
  • Orange (Lincoln Park and Roscoe Village) – Brunch/lunch place with extensive GF options, plus…pancakes! And GF breakfast potatoes.
  • U.S. Cellular Field– Hot dogs, baby. Hot dogs. and Nachos. And cider. U.S. Cellular has all the gluten-frees.
  • Grange Hall Burger Bar (West Loop) – Pretty awesome burgers, hence the name. They also have fantastic gluten-free brunch options, including GF toast, breakfast potatoes and berry griddlecakes. Plus, this place is adorable inside.
  • Longman & Eagle (Logan Square) – This upscale/slightly hipster restaurant in Logan Square is very farm to table, with a frequently changing menu. Pricey, but very unique dishes.
  • Pret A Manger (Multiple locations) – Basically, lunch to go. You pick out fresh salads and sandwiches out of huge coolers. Allergen info is listed pretty clearly on the packaging, but if there are any questions (like on dressings), the counter staff can help you. Salads are your friend here.
  • Prasino (Wicker Park) – Upscale, very “green” and very gluten-friendly restaurant in Wicker Park. They even had sushi with gluten-free tempura…how awesome is that? Interestingly they also have one outside of St. Louis, in Saint Charles.
  • Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe (Loop) – Um, heck yes, gluten-free pancakes.
  • Do-Rite Donuts (Loop)- Ohemgee gluten-free donuts!! These bad boys are cake donuts. Eat them while they’re fresh. FTW.
  • The Protein Bar (Multiple locations) – Great gluten-free quinoa bowl options. Quinoa is such a happy little gluten-free grain. I’m a huge fan of the Chicken Pesto quinoa.
  • Covo Gryo (CLOSED as of Oct. 2013)
  • Haymarket (West Loop) – Gluten-free salads, appetizers, plus an extensive GF beer and cider list.

Chicago restaurants able to accommodate for gluten-free:

  • Velvet Taco (Gold Coast) – Taco joint with a pretty diverse offering of tacos. Flavors range from Indian to American to Cuban to Asian to Mexican. The place moves fast, but staff is knowledgeable about GF. I suggest going in with your eye on a few items to ask about their G-freeness, as this place moves fast.
  • Havana Grill (River North) – Cuban-American cuisine, GF friendly. Fried items are off limits, but many of the plates are GF – as is the paella. And get the mojito, obviously.
  • Nori Sushi (Lakeview, Wicker Park and Edgewater locations) – BYOB sushi place with a good vibe and GF soy sauce. Able to make accommodations to sushi to make it GF. This place is decent and good for groups. Lakeview location has a corkage fee.
  • Hannah’s Bretzel (Multiple locations) – Raise your hands in the air if you dig gluten-free goodness. As in GF bread that’s not dry and bland. This quick serve restaurant serves sandwiches, soups and salads. I’m a fan of the Thanksgiving 365 – turkey, brie, romaine and cranberry chutney. On the pricey side, but but a good GF option. And if you’re so inclined, they sell Tate’s Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies in the giant bags.
  • Bar Takito (West Loop/Fulton Market) – Dig this place – I’ve been here a few times. This Latin-inspired taco place is super gluten-free friendly and knowledgeable. Their menu even says, “Majority of our menu is gluten-free.” Go with friends so you can try all their tacos (they come in 4s) and other shared plates. Be sure to get the tacos on the verde tortillas — not the beer tortillas. And ask for the fried GF plantains.
  • Hatsu Hana (East Lakeview) – Gluten-free soy sauce and decently accommodating for sushi. Not my fave place, but it’s very affordable and you can’t beat that. Beware: the “spicy” rolls are spicy. Beware. Or maybe I’m just weak sauce.
  • Runa Japanese Restaurant (Wicker Park) – One of my new favorite sushi places and very GF friendly. They offer GF soy sauce and are very responsive to GF questions. Henry is the man to ask for when you go. Oh, and get the buttery garlic edamame – it’s amaaazing.
  • Sushi Mon (Lincoln Park) – BYOB sushi restaurant. Gluten-free friendly and also very vegetarian friendly, if you’re into that. Pretty decent sushi, too. And GF soy sauce. Thumbs up, I’ll be back.
  • BenjYehuda (Multiple locations) – OMG you can get so much gluten-free food here and it’s awesome. No pita like Roti…but you can get the “box” with either romaine or rice. Then add falafel, chicken schwarma, steak schwarma, toppings,, sides, etc). It’s cheap and it’s pretty damn good. Go here.
  • Bohemian House (River North) – Yep, you guessed it… Bohemian-inspired fare. Central European. Pricey, but totally worth it. Despite being in River North, it’s adorable and homey inside; farm-to-table-esque with mismatched plates and fantastic service. Our server Annie went above and beyond to get answers to my questions and ensure I had a great gluten-free meal. The skirt steak with sweet potatoes and carmelized onions was phenom. As was the gluten-free dark chocolate custard with salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts, butterscotch and cocoa tuile. So good.
  • M Burger (Multiple locations) – Burger and fries place. They have lettuce wraps for the burgers, and awesome crispy skinny fries that are gluten-free and fried in their own fryers. Noms all around. Ice cream is gluten-free, but if you’re looking for a milkshake, just be aware that they also make malts (with barley) in the same containers. So you’d need to make sure you got clean equipment.
  • Dove’s Luncheonette (Wicker Park) – Cute hipster old-school diner serving “southern-inspired Mexican cuisine.” It took me a while to get here because I thought it would be overrated, but no…I’m kind of obsessed with this place. They have a limited menu, but a few solid menu items that can be prepared gluten-free with modifcations, including the red chile enchiladas, smoked brisket tacos, and the sweet corn tamale with shrimp. If you go for brunch on the weekend you also have a few more breakfast options…like the brisket hash. OMG GET THAT.
  • Runa Japanese Restaurant (Wicker Park) – Relatively new Japanese and sushi BYOB place in Wicker Park. I called ahead to scope out the g-freeness and they told me to ask for “Henry” when I arrived. He was great. The waitress wasn’t very knowledgeable, so Henry was my saving grace. They have GF soy sauce and can prepare much of their simple sushi gluten-free. And it was pretty solid sushi. Oh, and you MUST get the garlic and butter edamame. It’s as rich as it sounds, trust me.
  • Riccardo Trattoria (Lincoln Park) – Italian restaurant that offers gluten-free pasta (a penne) and a longer pasta. Service was good and servers were knowledgeable about GF, but pasta was VERY undercooked.
  • Goddess and Grocer (Multiple location) – Upscale deli offering soups, sides, salads and sandwiches (with gluten-free bread) and other deli items. Eat in or take it to go. I’ve only personally been to the Bucktown location.
  • Pizza Art Cafe (Lincoln Square) – Local pizza cafe with BYOB. No GF pizza or pasta, but they have GF risotto and meat entrees, and salads. Seafood risotto was pretty good.
  • Mercadito (River North) – Servers are super knowledgeable about gluten-free options and can prepare many menu items. Even if you’re doing the sharing menu for 7+, they can modify for the GF diners in a breeze. Chips are not fried in a dedicated fryer and therefore not GF. You can get jicama slices to dip. Overall, though, really awesome GF experience.
  • Birchwood Kitchen (Wicker Park) – Cute neighborhood cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and tries to source locally. Brunch is hugely popular on weekends. Small breakfast menu, but they usually have at least one egg-only menu item and you can order a la carte. Best pork sausage I’ve ever had, not even kidding.
  • Schoolyard Tavern & Grill (Lakeview) – Sports bar. I go here for trivia on Tuesday. Which also happens to be $5 Salad Specials. Not super knowledgeable about gluten-free, but through my many visits here I’ve deducted the Chopped Chicken Salad can be prepared GF. Couldn’t tell ya much else. But it’s a good salad.
  • Taco Joint (River North and Lincoln Park) – Many of the tacos are GF as are the rice and beans. Ask for tortilla chips fried separately to ensure they are GF. Fun atmosphere, but better tacos can be found elsewhere.
  • La Scarola – Hands down my fave Italian restaurant in Chicago. Grilled calamari appetizer is GF, as is the house salad. And they gave GF penne. Get the Penne alla Vodka.  You will not be disappointed.
  • Black Dog Gelato (Ukrainian Village and Roscoe Village) – As the name implies, they serve gelato. Delicious gelato. Many of their flavors are GF – just ask the staff.
  • Sam & George’s Restaurant (Lakeview) – I stumbled across this diner after aborting mission at Batter & Berries for brunch. This is a family-run diner and the service shows it – everyone was super sweet. One of the servers offered my friend her shawl because it was a bit chilly out on the patio and my friend didn’t have a scarf. Good luck with getting the nitty gritty on gluten here – I landed on a skillet because it seemed OK after questioning, but can’t guarantee it was 100% safe. So proceed at your own risk.
  • Derby (DePaul/Lincoln Park) – One of Chicago’s Mizzou bars. Ask for their GF menu – it’s really just for the servers, but they’ll let you see it. The good news: you can have baked chicken wings! <3 And if you bring your own bun, go ahead and chow down on a burger or sandwich. Fries are not GF.
  • Seadog Sushi Bar (Noble Square/Wicker Park) – Great, fresh sushi. They are able to prepare many of their simple rolls gluten-free. They don’t have booze or gluten-free soy sauce, so BYO of either if you’re so inclined. The spicy mayo (featured on many of the spicy rolls) is not gluten-free but can be replaced with their hot sauce instead (which is gluten free).
  • Japonais by Morimoto (River North) – CLOSED -Super knowledgeable about gluten-free. Sushi rolls and multiple entrees/appetizers can be prepared gluten-free, and they have gluten-free soy sauce (tamari). Try the sea bass. It’s amaaazing.
  • Quartino (River North) – I’ve only been here for a catered happy hour event, but they were fantastic about accommodating me for gluten-free. Because all of the catered selections were gluten-filled, they happily brought me a caprese salad and some salami from their gluten-free menu at no cost. I’ll definitely be returning to sample some of their GF risotto dishes or pasta.
  • Blue Door Farm Stand (Lincoln Park) – This adorable brunch/lunch/juice/coffee spot is primarily a sandwich and salad place but if you go for brunch you can ask for their sandwiches without bread. Try the Sunrise BLT without the bread. Ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.
  • Wishbone North– (Lakeview) Known for their brunch. I’ve been here a couple times now. The first time, I got the buckwheat pancakes with honey butter, which were just OK. Though I didn’t get glutened, it wasn’t the easiest dining experience. Our server wasn’t very knowledgeable about gluten and I wasn’t offered a gluten-free menu. But then I came back a second time to give it another try to come back and was offered their GF menu. I ordered the gluten-free eggs benedict with english muffins – and again, it was just OK. But hey, they give a 15% discount for bicyclists Monday-Friday!
  • Dinkel’s Bakery (Lakeview) – offer gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. Call ahead to make sure they’re in stock.
  • City Winery – (West Loop) Urban winery in West Loop offering small plates and house-made wines. Some of the plates can be modified to be gluten-free — scallops, veggies, duck tacos, etc.
  • Tre Soldi (River North) – Pretty delicious gluten-free pizzas, salads, and some appetizers.
  • Scooter’s Custard** – This place has amazing frozen custard. Try a concrete (ask for a clean mixer), or take down a sundae. You can’t go wrong.
  • Blaze Pizza (Lakeview, River North)  – Fast-fired pizza chain offering gluten-free pizza crust. All of the toppings are gluten-free except the meatballs and white cream sauce; however, cross-contamination is a possibility. Ask for fresh gloves, utensils and sauce. Or, just stick with the pesto or olive oil drizzle, which is added after the pizza cooks, vs. being spread on the crust at the get-go.
  • Xoco (River North) – A Rick Bayless quick service Mexican restaurant, you’ll have to stick with the Xoco Salad without tortilla strips or a limited number of the caldos (soup bowls) here. Margaritas are pretty delicious. Chips are not GF (they are fried with other gluten-containing products). OK in a pinch, but you’ll feel a little left out as everyone chows down on tasty-looking tortas (sandwiches). UPDATE: Xoco Wicker Park reconcepted as Fonda Frontera as of Nov. 2016.
  • Topo Gigio (Old Town) – Topo Gigio offers gluten-free fusilli pasta – and it’s really good pasta. The sauces are fantastic, too. I had one of the best gluten-free pasta dishes thus far in Chicago – GF pasta, cream sauce, pancetta, peas and shrimp. I seriously ate almost the whole thing and that dish was LARGE. Topo Gigio also can modify several of their entrees to be gluten-free, such as the chicken and white fish.
  • Kyoto Sushi (Lincoln Park) – Update: Used to be one of my fave sushi spots in Chicago; however, the last time I went I was glutened. However, if you just have an intolerance or preference, the servers are very knowledgeable about gluten-free options. The first time I went and had no issues, I tried the Fiesta Maki and Spicy Scallop maki prepared gluten-free, then tried the fresh Salmon Maki and Spicy Tuna Maki, which were also GF. They don’t have gluten-free soy sauce, so bring your own. And it’s BYOB, but they do have a corkage fee.
  • Yolk (Locations in South Loop, River North, West Loop and Streeterville)- MMM brunch. Decent GF egg options. Breakfast potatoes are gluten-free, too. Try the 5-egg omelets!
  • Wrigley Field** – My dreams have come true. STL’s Busch Stadium doesn’t have gluten-free hotdogs yet, but you betcha, Wrigley Field does. At the Decades Diner (formerly Sheffield Grill), they serve gluten-free hotdogs, burgers (without the sauce) and chicken sandwiches. Fries are not GF, but they give you chips. GF beer and cider is also available. And it’s air conditioned/heated in there!
  • Ra Sushi (Gold Coast) – Gluten-free soy sauce available, and their sushi rice is GF. The servers were very knowledgeable. The salmon and mackerel are marinated in non-GF vinegar, so stay away from those. Only the real crab is GF, and stay away from the sauces. I had the Pacific Roll and Rainbow Roll with several modifications. Spicy tuna is WAY spicy – drowned in sriracha sauce but not much other flavor.
  • Sopraffina Marketcaffe (Loop) – Located in the Aon Center and a couple other locations around town, this is a good spot in a pinch. I’ve personally had the gluten-free pizza stuffed pepper, but they also have salads, chicken breast and salmon that are gluten-free. Staff is pretty knowledgeable about GF.
  • Eataly Chicago (River North) – This Italian “marketplace” has it all – meat, fish, pasta, sauces, you name it. Stop in for a quick bite of mozzarella and prosciutto and a glass of wine, or stay for dinner and have a plate of the gluten-free pasta at La Pizza and La Pasta. They also carry several gluten-free pastas from Garofalo that you can take home and cook yourse f.
  • Silver Cloud (Wicker Park/Bucktown) – CLOSED – They say they specialize in “comfort food.” I’ve only been for a mimosa brunch, so I can’t speak for the rest of the menu, but they have several gluten-free options for brunch. The Chilaquiles were BOMB. Tater tots are baked, so no issues with oil there. Looking at the rest of the menu, looks like you can do sandwiches and burgers wrapped in lettuce. I’d definitely recommend.
  • Taverna 750  (East Lakeview) – OMG I love this place. They have an amazing brunch ($27 for two menu items, 2 breakfast martinis and bottomless mimosas until your food arrives). The waitstaff is wonderful and whipped me up a homemade version of their Breakfast Mac & Cheese – GF pasta, sauce and all. Highly recommend.
  • DMK Burger Bar (Central Lakeview)- Awesome burgers, but no buns. I totally BYOB’d here…aka bring your own bun. Good cider list and I believe they have a GF Beer as well. Fries are GF and fried in their own fryer. The parmesan truffle frites are seriously a-mazing.
  • Kirkwood Bar & Grill (Central Lakeview) – Decent salad options, but in general you won’t be able to most of the bar food. But hey, if you go on Tuesdays they have $5 salads and $5 wine for their special. And, they have a TON of cider options.
  • Waterhouse Tavern & Grill  (West Lakeview/Roscoe Village) – Local bar and grill. Sandwiches or burgers can be ordered without buns and a couple of the salads are gluten-free. Update as of 3/27: Their fries are NOT fried in a dedicated fryer.
  • Au Cheval (West Loop) – Seriously amazing burgers. No GF buns, but even better…they give you a hashbrown bun. HASHBROWN BUN. Next level. The fries are gluten-free and fried in their own fryer. Be prepared for long waits.
  • Big Star  (Wicker Park)- I heart this place, though the wait is crazy-town on nice days. The chips and many of the tacos are gluten-free. Get a margarita.
  • Antique Taco (Wicker Park) – I’m seriously obsessed with this place. Their tacos are so. freakin. good. Many of the tacos are GF, but the chips are not. Sometimes they marinate some of their meats with beer (the menu rotates seasonally), so check before ordering.
  • The Publican  (Fulton Market) – This is a pretty cool place, but there will be few things you can eat. However, they’re still very accommodating. Stay away from the meats, as their meat is processed where they also process their flour. Many of the seafood dishes can be prepared gluten-free – I had some type of fish stew that was really good.
  • The Bongo Room (Wicker Park, South Loop, Andersonville)- Popular brunch spot. They were slightly pretentious and not super accommodating about gluten-free, but I was able to eat here without any issue. Breakfast potatoes are not gluten-free.
  • Red Hot Ranch (Bucktown, West Lakeview)- My late night go-to. While the smells of hot dogs and fried shrimp will tantalize you, you will need to stick with the fries. Which are AWESOME, so it’s not a loss. They are fried in a dedicated fryer, so eat your heart out at 3 AM. Cash only.
  • Garrett Popcorn Shops (Multiple locations)
  • The Boundary (Wicker Park)
  • Portillo’s Hot Dogs  (River North; other IL locations) – Kind of hard to eat gluten-free here, but you can do a salad and meat. However…you get way up too close and personal with shaved beef  if you don’t eat it with bread, so I’d recommend BYOB…bring your own bun. You’ll need it to sop up the grease.
  • Red Door (Bucktown) – Tried this place in Bucktown for brunch – they were very accommodating for GF.
  • Birchwood Kitchen (Wicker Park) – Cute little brunch place in Wicker Park. Long wait.
  • Market Bar Chicago (West Loop)-  Gluten-free options available. I’ve only been here for happy hour, but the gluten-free chicken lettuce wraps were pretty delish.
  • Lokal (Wicker Park) – This little restaurant in Wicker Park has some salads and entrees you can eat, but overall, it’s not the most exciting GF experience you’ll have. Scallops were great as an appetizer. For dinner, I got the steak salad, but wasn’t a huge fan. Don’t think I’ll be back.
  • Qdoba (Multiple locations)- Naked Bowls or Salads. #QuesoObsession. Chips are not GF.
  • Chipotle (Multiple locations) – Tacos, burrito bowls, salad. Chips and guac are GF, baby.
  • Jimmy John’s (Multiple locations) – The Unwich (aka your sandwich wrapped in lettuce) is pretty solid. The #9 Italian Nightclub, no mayo, is my absolute fave. The roast beef has gluten in it. Ask them to change their gloves and put down a fresh piece of paper.
  • Sweetwater Tavern and Grille (Loop) – While this place pops up on the list of Chicago gluten-free restaurants SO often (and even has a gluten-free menu posted on their website), I was not impressed. They do not have a gluten-free menu available in the restaurant, and many of the GF options listed online were actually no longer gluten-free (e.g., fish tacos). However, our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful about gluten-free, even having gluten intolerance himself. The food, however, was not that great – which was the general consensus among my non-gluten-free friends as well. Probably won’t be back. But in a pinch, this is a safe option in the Loop.

 

Not My Faves (and Why): 

  • Mercadito Counter (River North) – While the regular Mercadito is great with GF, I didn’t have great success with the counter service version. Perhaps it was an off day, but the day I went the staff did not know much about which menu items were gluten-free, and there wasn’t a chef around to ask. I landed on shrimp, carne asada, pork and mushroom – but really only found the  mushroom and carne asada tacos to be decent. Despite the $2 “Taco Tuesday,” I’ll stick with the regular Mercadito.
  • foodlife (Downtown) – Fancy-ish food court in Watertower Place with 14 different cuisine stations all under one roof. As it’s a Lettuce Entertain You operation, there are quite a few gluten-free options including stir-fry, “comfort food,” Mexican, sushi, salads, juices, grill items and M Burger offerings. Depending on what you get, food is underwhelming.
  • Cozy Noodles & Rice – Thai/Noodle place. Honestly, it was pretty hard to eat here because it was difficult to communicate G-freeness with staff. And that makes me nervous. The atmosphere is super funky and fun, it’s BYOB, and right near Wrigley Field…but if you’re hardcore Celiac, I wouldn’t recommend this place.
  • Stella Barra Pizzeria (Lincoln Park) – The other side of Summer House Santa Monica. Serves appetizers and pizza. They have a dedicated gluten-free menu with gluten-free apps, bread, and pizza; however, the pizza is prepared in an area with flour so cross-contamination is present. Very present. Good pizza, but definitely do not recommend for Celiacs.
  • Owen & Engine (Logan Square) – Not so many gluten-free options here. In true British pub style, much is fried. Chips/fries are not GF as they are fried with other gluten-containing products. Oysters and olives would be your GF appetizer options. A couple of the pricier entrees are GF – I got the chicken with mashers and roasted veggies, and it was really good. And I felt totally fine the next day. But the service was bizarre and made me feel uncomfortable about being GF.
  • Sedgwick’s Bar & Grill (Lincoln Park) – If you’re an STL Cards or Mizzou fan, you’ve probably been to this sports bar for a game. If you’re GF, you won’t have the easiest time here on the bar food-filled menu, but it can be done. Servers were not very knowledgeable about gluten-free menu items, and I was served a Stella Artois draft beer instead of a Stella cider which I nearly took a sip of, not realizing it was beer. Fail. But, we were able to land on a grilled buffalo chicken salad. The manager confirmed the wing sauce, blue cheese, and ranch dressing were all gluten-free. Other items that could be prepared gluten-free are some of their wraps (with lettuce), some of the other salads with modifications, and the Shrimp Festival. I felt OK the next day, so that’s a positive. And the salad was really good.
  • Homeslice (DePaul/Lincoln Park) – Offers gluten-free pizza (and the crust is really good). Several of their salads can be modified to be GF and they also have gluten-free beers. However, would not recommend for Celiacs — they cannot guarantee pizza to be gluten-free due to cross-contamination and I personally got sick here.

 

Reader-submitted GF Pearls (note, I have not personally dined at any of these restaurants or verified GF options with the restaurant.)

  • Ranalli’s (Andersonville) – Erin says, “They use bread from Rose’s Bakery in Evanston. Ranalli’s has a huge gluten-free menu with pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, and even garlic bread.”
  • Rose’s Bakery (Evanston) – Erin comments, Rose’s “is all gluten-free and they have all kinds of breads and desserts – it’s almost too good to be true! Their pie tastes as good or better than the real thing.”
  • Bivio (Westchester, IL) – Patrick says, “Bivio is a dedicated gluten free bakery just west of Chicago in Westchester, IL. but they’re not limited to your typical assortment of cupcakes and cookies. While they make a killer lemon cookie and amazing vanilla frosted chocolate donuts they prepare full sized and miniature French Silk pies, chocolate, blueberry, and cherry cheesecakes, Biscotti, Feccocia bread, carrot cake, pasta, pizza by the slice and a 9″ – 4 lb Calzzone pie filled with italian sausage, salami, prosciutto, and ricotta cheese in a buttery, flaky, savory pie crust. Calzzone is made to order but best to order ahead on anything you’d really like available because once out of the oven the shelves empty quickly.”

 

This Chicago gluten-free restaurant guide was last updated on 12/23/16. 

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