Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Sep 19, 2006 01:24 AM

Gluten-Free (wheat-free) fine dining?

Any Celiac Chowhounds out there in San Francisco who can relate good experiences at some of the great restaurants in your lovely city?

I will be at a conference next week and am looking for places that I can request a gluten free (no wheat, barely, rye, spelt) meal with a minimum of hassle. Most upscale places will be able to do this, of course, but it's nice to get a few specific recommendations.

I was looking at Ame, Gary Danko, Slanted Door, etc... Will be staying at the W, so how about XYZ?

And how about a place I can trust for lunch. A big salad, maybe, with no fear of crouton-crumb-contamination. Or sushi?

Can't wait to get to San Fran,

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I live down the peninsula so don't get to the city too often, but do have Celiac disease. Actually fine dining is SF is easy to do GF. I called ahead to the chefs and didn't get sick at all. I ate at every restaurant I wanted to. Aziza worked well. Slanted Door was fine, but everything there has soy sauce, so it required them to modify. Bottom line, just call ahead and check that they can accomodate, and enforce with the waiter. We ate at Destino and Limon for lunches, both were fine. The SF Soup Company just catered our Celiac conference here, and it was pretty good. On a recent day trip I ate at Taylor's Refresher. They were very good about the cross-contamination and they have an ingredient list. Also check out Cafe Gratitude, which is vegan, but I think may be very aware of the gluten-free issue and gets generally good reviews from non-vegan's.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jsaimd

      Cafe Gratitude is 100% soy and gluten free. Good for them.

      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        Cafe Gratitude is NOT 100% soy an gluten free. They use gluten-containing soy sauce, that is the only gluten ingredient they have. They also include soy lecithin in their desserts. I have confirmed this with the owner and with servers.

    2. I live in the East Bay, but have had fine experiences at Grand Cafe and Bix in the city. I didn't call ahead with either, but they rolled with it and checked my choices with the chef.

      One warning about Cafe Gratitude. When I emailed them, they told me that their entire menu is gluten-free, but they do use soy sauce and I doubt it's the wheat-free kind. So, if you go there, just be very clear about what's in things to determine if they "get it."

      I realize you'll probably stay in the city, but I thought I should include the East Bay places for future searches of this topic:

      JoJo -- very accomodating, put stars beside the safe items on my menu before I arrived
      A Cote -- servers good about communicating with chef and giving honest feedback when something's pre-prepped and can't be done.
      Gregoire (on Piedmont) -- Sebastien was great and didn't even have to be told that my salad couldn't be tossed in the same bowl that croutoned salads were. I was impressed by that.
      Pizza Rustica -- has a rice-based crust available if you call a day ahead
      Socca Oven -- makes chickpea-flour based pizza-like entities. No wheat in the place, so no CC issues.

      Have fun and please report back on your experiences!

      1 Reply
      1. re: wgibs

        Thanks for the clarification, I know I've tasted soy sauce in Cafe Gratitude's cooking.

      2. Hi. I am reporting back.

        Thanks for all the recs. I, unfortunately did not get to Socca Oven or Cafe Gratitude, which sound not only wonderfully gluten-free, but interesting and yummy!

        I did not get 'glutened' at all the whole week! I had my hotel concierge fax my one page of info to the restaurants I went to in the evening:
        Kyo-Ya sushi
        Foriegn Cinema
        and in all cases had a fabulous meal. The sushi was easy... In the other cases, the managers all came to concult with me and they usually had a specific rec from the chef that I took, of course.
        For lunhes I went to the whole foods salad bar and went to the Ferry Building once to the oyster bar and had a dozen oysters and a salad. My server told me that their oyster stew was gluten free, btw. I did not indulge, as it seems very cream and butter laden!

        at XYZ- proscuito with some baby greens, duck breast with braised chard and figs
        at Foriegn Cinema- salad with baby beets and creamy tarragon/lemon dressing, duck again- this time with morrocan spices on lentils
        at CoCo500- an amazing brusel sprout warm salad with diced ham, diced apple, pine nuts with apple dressing and a big round of warmed goat cheese, then a nice sauted trout on escorole with bacon dressing

        back in IL sigh....

        1 Reply
        1. re: PamelaD

          Pam, thanks so much for the feedback. I'm delighted that you were able to partakek of some of our finest without worries. That's a good tip about enlisting the help of your concierge to communicate with restaurants ahead of time.

        2. So glad to find this post!

          As I just posted in another thread, two good resources are:

          Celiac Bay Area

          Gluten Free By The Bay

          (Only a few restaurant reviews so far, but more coming


          I am glad I found this post because I've been wondering where I could go to eat besides Socca Oven and the usual sushi and Indian joints I frequent. Thanks for all the ideas.