Since I just got back from the golden state, I wanted to share a list of the best gluten free restaurants I’ve found so far. I’ve only been there a total of about 3 1/2 weeks, so this is just a start to the list I hope to keep expanding. These restaurants are all around the same area except for the restaurants in San Diego, which were pretty far away from the others.
In order to save a few words, I’m going to rate each restaurant by tastiness and safety (cross-contamination and all that stuff) on a scale of 1 to 10. Most of these I found using the “Find Me Gluten Free” app, which is a great free tool to use anywhere. The other restaurant I just walked in and asked about their menu and procedures! All of these restaurants are pretty budget-friendly, averaging about 10 dollars a plate.
I’ve spent the most time in the Oxnard/Ventura area, so those restaurants are up first!
Red Brick Pizza
This was by far my favorite restaurant in the area. I was able to order almost any pizza off of their menu, or I could pick my own toppings with a gluten free crust. Before I went into the store, I was nervous about cross-contamination. I usually am with pizza places especially, but the staff was very knowledgeable. The crust is made in the restaurant, and the gluten free is made on separate trays. The pizzas are also cooked on parchment, even with the separate trays. I was happy that I could order vegan cheese since I have a dairy allergy as well. I ate 2 whole pizzas myself, and I didn’t get sick at all! Success!
Ignore the awkward eating face. I was too busy enjoying the food to photograph it. Ha!
Sharky’s Mexican Grill
This restaurant was a nice upgrade from Chipotle, but the staff didn’t seem to know much about the gluten free menu. I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, which seemed to be made with naturally gluten free ingredients, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a crumb fell in or a spoon was shared. If you take the risk, be sure not to order anything with chips. They are cooked in a shared fryer that is definitely not safe! I didn’t notice any reaction to the food I ordered, but it was definitely risky. It was very delicious, though!
I haven’t found any safe barbecue restaurants near me in Colorado, so this was a find! All of their sauces are gluten free, and their gluten free menu is huge. Almost every sandwich can be made with a lettuce wrap, and many sides are naturally gluten free. I went twice, and each time, the waiter was well informed and specified my allergies to the cook. The mashed potatoes are perfect comfort food, and it was nice to go to a fancier restaurant for a change.
I was very close to Los Angeles too, but I mostly ate around Thousand Oaks. These two restaurants were my top favorites of all trips. I wish they would relocate to Colorado!
I actually found this bakery by accident on Facebook. It is 100% vegan and gluten free, which means that there is absolutely no risk associated with anything on their menu. I have had cupcakes and cookies, and I hope to try much more next time I go! I couldn’t believe how good everything was. Many gluten free/vegan treats that I’ve tried are very dry and fall apart easily, but these were perfect.
Check out their website!
Tastiness: 10/10 (How can you not love a cupcake?)
This restaurant actually sells some of the Karma Bakery’s treats in their dessert cabinet. It is 100% gluten free and vegan as well. This restaurant was the best I’ve found, and being able to order anything I wanted off of the menu was something I never thought I’d be able to do again. I didn’t have to bug the waitress about a gluten free menu or ask to speak to the chef. I could just order. LIKE I WAS NORMAL AGAIN. I ordered both the chili bowl and pancakes separate times, and both were delicious.
Check out their website too!
Safety: 1000000/10 🙂
In San Diego, I actually risked cross contamination too many times and ended up very sick by the end of my trip and the flight home, but two restaurants definitely worked out.
I love thai food. It used to be my most favorite type of food to eat out at restaurants before I was diagnosed. But since my diagnosis, I have not found many places that even have a basic knowledge of gluten. This place, though, had an entire menu for me, and I could watch the chef make my food. I got the spring rolls, and I have been craving them since I left. It was a nice break from the riskier restaurants. I did find a little fried something on my plate, which made me a little nervous. Since they don’t have a dedicated gluten free prep area, there is a little bit of risk involved, but I didn’t react. I would trust them again.
This was one of the restaurants that I ended up just walking in and asking about their menu. Steven and I were hungry and wanted to walk, so we walked to Ocean Beach trying to find a place to eat. This was the first place after about an hour of searching that seemed to be safe. The server was super friendly and took my allergies very seriously. I watched him talk to the chef! It was delicious, even though I didn’t have as many options. They have both a dinner gluten free menu and a brunch gluten free menu on their website.
Tastiness: 9/10 (I should’ve tried something other than a salad!)
There seemed to be way more options for restaurants in California than here in Colorado, but hopefully that will change! I hope to visit more of them the more I’m there. I have a few on my list already.
If you are ever thinking about traveling to CA, do it! The sights are beautiful, and the food won’t hold you back, I promise. 🙂