HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’ve just finished a 12-day road trip traveling down California’s Highway 1, eating out for almost every meal and tasting delicious things BUT after so.much.food all I want is green and healthy things. I got glutened a couple of times, too, so as I type this on the airplane I’m already thinking about dinner and what will make my body happy.
If you’re also coming off a holiday bender and want to see some healthy-ish gluten-free things in your life, check out these 15 healthy restaurants in Chicago that can accommodate for gluten-free diets.
- Aloha Poke Co (Old Town, Lakeview, Loop)
Chicago’s original Poké spot. GF-friendly as long as you read the menu closely to identify what ingredients have gluten. Make sure to let them know it’s a gluten allergy, too. You can get your bowl with mixed greens, cauliflower rice or brown rice to amp up the nutrient factor
- Sweetgreen (Multiple locations)
They do amazing healthy-ish salads and grains bowls here, all with very seasonal ingredients and local where possible. In my experience they are pretty good about gluten allergies. They post all their nutritional info online as well as in the restaurant so you can see the calorie count and allergens. Anddd it’s also really delicious.
- Glaze Teriyaki (Lakeview)
This is my new favorite discovery. “Seattle-inspired” teriyaki chain (who even knows what that means?!) with a brand new location in Lakeview. It’s really good. Think salads and plates with salmon, chicken or steak that can be prepared with the GF teriyaki. If you’re ordering delivery make sure that you and your ordering mates have identifiably different dishes; otherwise, it will be hard to tell them apart. And if you’re ordering the veggies, be sure to request without sauce.
- Brightwok Kitchen (Loop)
100% gluten-free and dairy-free Asian spot offering rice and noodle bowls. It’s mighty good. It’s in the Loop, so unless it’s a weekday, I love to order this for delivery.
- Lyfe Kitchen (River North, Gold Coast, Streeterville)
Despite doing away with the separate GF/V/VG menus, they are still very gluten-free friendly. I emphasize the “healthy-ish” since you could always get the flatbread and fries and go ham with the carbs. But still a healthy option when compared to say, Malnati’s or Portillo’s or your local hotdog stand…
- True Food Kitchen (River North)
Their whole mantra is that food should make you feel better, not worse. They’re eco-friendly, use organic where possible and cook with produce that is in-season. It won’t be a cheap meal, but they have gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options and the food is pretty delish.
- Left Coast (Lakeview and River North)
I feel like I get healthier (and cooler) the second I walk in this joint. This West-Coast inspired restaurant works with organic foods, have a variety of healthy breakfast/lunch/dinner options (bowls, wraps, salads) and cold-pressed juices and smoothies. I might get this for dinner.
- Little Beet Table (Streeterville)
100% gluten-free American restaurant with healthy-ish options. Great for brunch, lunch or dinner. Good cocktails and their fried rice is BOMB.
- Protein Bar (Multiple Locations) For a protein-packed lunch punch, this is a go-to. Protein Bar offers quinoa based dishes that are delicious – highly recommend the pesto chicken bowl. They also now offer cauliflower rice if you’d like to go a bit easy on dem carbs.
- Roti Modern Mediterranean (Multiple locations)
This place is great about allergies. Be sure to tell them you have a gluten allergy when you order and they’ll make your order separately with fresh gloves and separate tubs of sides (there is a decent amount of CC that happens with the main salad/side line). You can get your plate/sandwich with the MyBread Bakery gluten-free pita but if you’re feeling on the lighter side, you can always get your plate made with a salad.
- Real Good Juice Co / Real Good Stuff. (River North, Old Town, Bucktown, Lakeview)
Juices, smoothies, bowls, toasts. Check out the River North location for a hot bar, with cold options offered at the others.
- Plum Market (Old Town) Ok, so it’s not a restaurant but they have a great salad bar, tons of house-made juices, organic, locally-grown produce, so many gluten-free products and SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF BEVERAGES! It’s hard not to walk out of there 50 bucks lighter.
- Beatrix (Streeterville, River North, Fulton Market)
One of my favorite spots for brunch, but great anytime of the day (I’ve been known to order it for dinner). As a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, they are on their game with the gluten-free. Plenty of lighter options but if you feel compelled to get the brown sugar bacon, I will applaud you.
- Ema (River North)
A little Mediterranean, a little California-inspired, it has a great, airy vibe and even better food. The grub (mainly small plates) is amazing and veggie-forward. They make some mean spreads/dips and offer GF crackers to dip in as well. Since it’s small plates, it’s pretty easy not to go ham on the portion sizes here. It’s another Lettuce Entertain You restaurant so they are great about gluten-free. See my review HERE.
- Nando’s (Multiple Locations)
It’s easy to eat healthy-ish at Nando’s…pair their Portuguese flame-grilled peri-peri chicken with a side salad. There’s a Nando’s right next to my work so I often pick it up after a late night. Pro-tip – get the half chicken and have leftovers for the next meal.