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Los Angeles Gluten Free Restaurants

Anyone out there gluten intolerant?
Looking for restaurants in Los Angeles area (especially Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey).
Just discovered I have been sick because my body can't digest the protein gluten.
About 1 in every 100-200 people have it and it takes the average person 11 years to be diagnosed.
It doesn't just cause bloating, it can cause lymphoma, narcolepsy, lupus, hepatitis (!), depression and all sorts of skin disorders. The small intestine gets damaged by the gluten and it is an auto immune disease called Celiac. Itchy rashes, weight loss or gain, anemia, Parkinson's...
This disease is so serious and can be treated so go online and check it out!
If you know a child or adult who is ill and can't figure out why? A gluten allergy is a possiblity.

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  1. From what I was told, everything minus the sandwiches at Gingergrass in Silverlake, is Wheat/Gluten free. You could call just to make sure, but thats what the waitress told my wheat/gluten intolerant friend.

    3 Replies
      1. re: graffitipassion

        ... and the peanut dipping sauce has gluten.

        1. re: graffitipassion

          You have to make sure that they do not have naything that has gluten touching the items that you are about to eat. Found that out first hand,

        2. I'm gluten intolerant, not officially celiac, but I can't digest a lot of things, and I eat just about everywhere. You just have to be careful about what it is you eat, and it depends how strict you need to be. I avoid all the major flour/wheat/oat offenders, but don't worry about soy sauce or mustards. It's actually prepared or prepackaged processed foods that are the biggest problem, and not so much restaurant eating. Sushi is so easy, just avoid tempura and again, soy sauce if it's a problem. Salads, anything rice based, anything simple actually. Vegetarian restaurants are especially kind, just stay away from Seitan, as it's pure wheat gluten. Some tempehs have glutonous grains in them, but other than that, all proteins- from tofu to chicken to salmon- are good. If you are concerned about sauces, either get grilled or just ask what's in the sauce- most places are happy to check ingredients. Obviously you're not going to get a sandwich or pizza, but you can eat corn tortillas, which are a saving grace. there are also good storebought brown rice tortillas, and a lot of gluten free lines coming out. Whole Foods has a bunch- their own, another one I forget the name of with AWESOME chocolate chip cookies (taste just like Chips Ahoy), Glutino and Enjoy Life is a good one just expanding. It takes getting used to, but once you get it, you'll find it's not always fun (like when you crave a bagel) but it's not hard to enjoy eating either- and it's easier to keep weight off!

          8 Replies
          1. re: Quesera

            Whole Foods definitely worth checking out for that. I think there's a gluten-free baker in Culver City, maybe on Washington west of downtown?

            1. re: Cinnamon

              the new place opening culver city will be called the "sensitive baker," and according to the owner's blog, they're opening june 17th.

              10836 1/2 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232

              btw, be careful with all the recommendations for gluten-free items that are available at regular bakeries like mani's & sweet debbie's. if they're not produced using separate appliances in dedicated gluten-free kitchen space, they're most likely contaminated with gluten from the other products made on the shared equipment.

            2. re: Quesera

              Not so quick on the sushi!!

              (if you don't believe me, next time you go out for sushi, ask!)

              Some celiacs get sick from a bread crumb, and must be that thorough.
              Be very careful eating out!

              That said, HUGO'S (W. Hollywood, on Santa Monica Blvd) is a favorite place of mine, as they're very good about answering ingredient questions, and often have GF pancake specials!

              Another great place is CRU, a raw foods restaurant in Silverlake - everything is gluten free! And the food is fantastic.

              Also .. re: MANI'S CAFE, they have wheat-free desserts, but not, as far as I can determine, gluten-free (spelt or barley flour? malt sweeteners? who knows). I sent them an email trying to clarify whether any desserts were GF and got no response. I don't believe they are knowledgeable about gluten. Their chocolate, for example is sweetened with barley malt.

              BABYCAKES (a vegan & GF cupcake emporium in NYC) is opening a store in W. Hollywood sometime later this year.

              1. re: CKate

                I don't think there is ever soy sauce in sushi rice. Some chefs season sushi with various sauces (many of which contain soy sauce). I assume the chef could make stuff without, though it might not taste quite as good.

                Typically, sushi rice has a mixture of rice vinegar and sugar, and maybe some salt, and the rice is sometimes cooked with kombu. According to the book "The Zen of Fish", a lot of places now use a powder to replace the kombu (to impart a bit of an umami flavor via some glutamate), but either way, I don't think there would be any soy sauce in the rice ever.

                1. re: will47

                  Will, that is a very dramatic response. I was told that by someone making sushi (with soy sauce in the rice) from a recipe and subsequently asked next time I went out for sushi and was told yes, there was soy sauce in the rice. It may certainly be an uncommon occurrence, despite my shock horror in previous post, but when we're talking about celiac disease burying your head in the sand helps no one who is so sensitive they can have none at all in their diet. I once got sick from eating GF pizza because it was not isolated from the other pizzas in cooking. If someone had told me no one ever gets sick from one crumb of gluten touching their food and then I got sick from one crumb, I would be no less sick because their opinion was that it was impossible.

                  update: Mani's has closed. Cru and other raw restaurants (such as Planet Raw in Santa Monica) continue to be easy for me to eat at. Other places that are happy to break down their ingredient lists (or even keep lists of what is gluten free): Sage Vegan Cafe in Echo Park, M Cafe de Chaya (Melrose / LaBrea), Hugo's, Doomie's Home Cookin in Hollywood. Babycakes is open downtown and will be opening another branch in Larchmont Village!

                  1. re: CKate

                    If you know a sushi restaurant using Soy sauce in the rice you should post their name here so Sushi eaters here know to avoid the place.

                    Of course take every precaution you have to with your own health. But soy sauce added to sushi rice is a big no no and places should be outed

                    1. re: AAQjr

                      you're right.

                      it was a few years ago though .. i don't remember for sure. It may have been Chaya in Venice that confirmed it.

                      I've just avoided sushi since. I like it with soy sauce and that involves bringing my own wheat free tamari which I don't generally carry around with me.

                      My point was really just that it's something to add to the list of things one with celiac disease must ask at a restaurant. Knowing what to ask is far more valuable than anything else. For example, does the restaurant you're ordering french fries at also fry breaded items in the same deep fryer? If so (and it's usually so) the fries may make you sick. The more of these things one discovers, the easier it is to know how to break down a menu and figure out what you can have when eating out.

                      Also I forgot to mention: there is a new GF bakery in Los Angeles, called the Breakaway Bakery. Everything there is also casein and nut / peanut free. It's on Pico near Fairfax.

              2. re: Quesera

                Soy Sauce has Wheat it it so that means gluten! There is actually a type of Soy Sauce that does not use wheat. It is called Tamari (sp?) That is what we use.

              3. Try Real Food Daily in SM on SM Blvd between 5th & 6th. It's vegetarian and has lots of gluten free foods.

                1 Reply
                1. I have a gluten intolerance as well, so I feel your pain, although I sometimes intentionally torture myself for the few moments of gustatory pleasure.

                  That said, sashimi is a good option, so long as you either bring your own gluten-free soy sauce or Bragg's (the real stuff w/ gluten KILLS me).

                  M Cafe de Chaya has some good options, as does Eat Well on Santa Monica, not necessarily a gluten free menu section but plenty of options. Hugo's has the same.

                  Jack Spratt's Grille offers many gluten free options.

                  Of course, steakhouses where you can order meat or grilled fish (lobster at The Palm or Ruth's Chris for me) w/ sides of steamed or grilled veggies are tasty and safe.

                  Mani's Bakery offers some gluten free bakery items; Debbie's Sweet Organics also offers some gluten free cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and brownies that are pretty darn good, as well as lower cal and fat to boot.

                  I enjoy Mongolian Barbecue as well since I can control my ingredients, but I always have them clean the grill before stir-frying mine- they have to do it anyway at some point, so why not before me.

                  I might be mis-recalling, but I think just maybe Madeleine Bistro does some gluten free options, but I might be mistaken.

                  I'm sorry for you; it's tough for a bit, but then you get used to it, and on some levels, your palate becomes more attune to raw tastes of foods, unhindered by all that gluten... And of course, you'll decide when future pain is worth the present taste. Good luck.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Emme

                    Funny how different things affect different people. As I said above, soy sauce doesn't bother me at all- or maybe i'm just thinking it's normal discomfort, because it's not like I'm drinking it straight and on an empty stomach. I do also torture myself - like the bread at Jones, or BLD- and some tastes here and there. but that I can feel immediately. (or at least the next day.)

                    Where can you get Debbies besides ordering online? The brownies sound awesome, but then again, maybe I shouldn't find out!

                    1. re: Quesera

                      Only know of online... There's no delivery charge if you're in LA, and it's same-day delivery, so IMO why go there when the goods can come to you? :-)

                    2. re: Emme

                      i'm not sure i trust the fat & calorie claims sweet debbie's makes about their products. i checked out the web site after reading your posts, and based on the nutritional information provided for their products, the numbers don't even come close to adding up correctly.

                    3. There is a new Glutten Free Bakery that is opening in Culver City along Washington and Overland. Across the street from the big Shopping Center. I believe they are planning on opening in May...


                      1. Mexican restaurants are a good option if you stick with corn tortillas and rice. Even good old Pollo Loco.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mlgb

                          For a good Mexican restaurant - mid price and excellent food - that does not add flour to its sauces is Tlapazola Grill at 11676 Gateway Blvd. It is West of I-405 and just south of Pico. It gets lots of stars in restaurant reviews.

                          1. re: vdolcourt

                            tlapaloza also has a branch in marina del rey on lincoln blvd.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              update on my 2007 post:
                              tlapazola has vacated the marina location.
                              they have moved it to venice blvd near abbot kinney: 636 Venice Blvd.

                        2. This is out of the area you requested but here in Irvine there's a vegetarian place called Veggie Grill. I'm pretty sure that I it listed there that they only use gluten free products. Their food is delicious, especially thier "sweetheart fries" (made out of sweet potato).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: crystaw

                            Apparently Brazilian barbecue restaurants are favorite of people on gluten free diets. The little cheese puffs you get with the dinner are usually made with tapioca instead of flour, although I guess you'd have to ask at each individual restaurant. I found this out when I was doing a review of Gaucho's Village in Glendale, and I guess the Celiac Society had a dinner there. It's lots of different meats with a large buffet of salads, vegetables and rice dishes. There's also Fogo de Chao on La Cienega, which is more expensive, but has a bigger buffet.

                          2. Korean BBQ is a great way to go. Soot Bull Jeep, in particular. (Tho' that doesn't necessarily fit the bill for you location-wise.) Sushi also tends to be a good call for those avoiding wheat gluten.


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: hungrygirl106

                              actually, korean bbq, yakiniku & shabu shabu places can be very dangerous for celiacs & gluten-intolerants. nearly all of the marinades and sauces are made with soy sauce, which many of us (i'm celiac) absolutely cannot have.

                              1. re: 1_healthnut

                                At Korean bbq, it is possible to get items that are not marinated.

                                1. re: hungrygirl106

                                  Unfortunately most of ot has touched Soy Sauce. Same with the grills.

                            2. I was on a gluten free diet a while back. I used to carry around little baggies of gluten free bread with me whenever I would go out to eat. All the restaurants were pretty amenable to using my bread on sandwiches and such.

                              1. Really, any higher-end restaurant worth its mettle should be able to accomodate dietary restrictions, including gluten-free ones. Just make sure to discuss your options with the staff and know when you're making reservations (at a place like Hatfields or Grace, for example) and/or placing orders (at a place like AOC, for example)!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: PseudoNerd

                                  i don't know for sure, but you could easily check out the situation at these two good thai restaurants:
                                  ayara thai cuisine (near LAX)
                                  thai boom (venice blvd near midvale)

                                2. I am new to the gluten free diet and have found a bunch of good places to eat out. Aside from the basics (PF Changs and Outback Steakhouse, which have GF menus and desserts), don't forget Fritto Misto (in Santa Monica and Hermosa Beach). They have rice pasta and will make it any way you like with the mixings of your choice. Also have a flourless cake for dessert. Hugo's is now offering a delicious gluten free lavender pancake breakfast. Bangkok West Thai food was very accomodating (recently had a delicious gluten free meal (bangkok spring rolls made with rice paper - just skip the orange sauce which they can exclude, yellow curry, pad thai or pad see ew (both made with rice noodles) (just remember to order sans soy sauce)

                                  And, don't forget the Sensitive Baker in Culver City. Breads are delicious. Wouldn't know the cookies, brownies or mac n "cheese" was GF. They make challah on Thursdays (and can be ordered with chocolate chips or raisins).

                                  Good luck and let's keep this updated!

                                  Happy Eating!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: EatieBritt

                                    Also, Trader Joe's has a really great PDF on their website of all their gluten-free foods. It's very handy and saves you from having to stop in the grocery aisle to use your blackberry to look up strange ingredients like dextrose and xanthun gum to see if they contain glucose.

                                  2. I've eaten enough PF Changs to last me a lifetime!

                                    But good news...further research has led me to discover that La Grande Orange on Main Street offers a gluten free menu : http://www.lagrandeorangesm.com/menus...

                                    And you can build your own custom burger bowl at the counter on ocean park without gluten, dairy etc using this handy dandy chart: http://www.thecounterburger.com/aller...

                                    Hope this helps someone out there who is in the mood to go out!

                                    Main Street Cafe
                                    12939 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

                                    La Grande Orange Cafe
                                    260 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: annecarmack

                                      Just had 2 guests. One is gluten intolerant and the other has celiac. We proposed Planet Raw in Santa Monica (based on recomendations from CH helpers). Planet Raw does not let gluten and other dangerous things on prem. Our guests rejeted this in favor of Catch at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. Catch does not have a gluten free environment (just a GF menu) but they are very careful and have a good reputation amongst Celiacs. The food was good and the ambience and ocean view were spectacular. And most importantly, no ill side effests from the meal.

                                      In doing my research I learned that True Foods Kitchen in SM does not have a gluten free environment. But TFK in Newport Beach does - seperate oven, seperate pans and even tableware.

                                      BTW - I think La Grande Orange has closed and is now Stella and Rossi Pizza and M Street Kitchen.

                                      1. re: dgusanz

                                        The La Grande Orange Cafe that's mentioned is in Pasadena, next to the Del Mar Metro station. It was very much still open.

                                        It's pizza outfit, next door, is called The Luggage Room, and while not a GF environment (it is a pizzeria after all) does have a *decent* GF pizza crust that my wife and I order since she's gluten sensitive.

                                        I'm guessing it's a rice flour-based crust based on texture and while it's definitely not as good as their conventional wheat flour crust, I thought the GF crust there was pretty solid and I didn't feel cheated by having to order it.

                                        Oh, and the kale salad at Luggage Room is really good, FYI.

                                    2. Hey!

                                      So my BF has Celiac and we have had some issues some places and others are great.

                                      In & Out is pretty solid. The fries have their own fryer so are definitely gluten free and you can get them with Cheese to make them more exciting. Also, the Protein style burger is a great call. Tell them about you're allergy and they are really helpful.

                                      I'd also recommend Lucifer's Pizza. They have a couple of locations and their Gluten Free Pizza is amazing. You can't even tell and my BF has never gotten sick there! So a great place.

                                      The Counter is also great. They are very careful and no reactions.

                                      Bea Bea's in Burbank is wonderful. It's a breakfast/lunch place but if you are in the area it is worth a stop.

                                      Also Pam's Gluten Free Market in Burbank has a huge variety of GF foods. Not a restaurant, but they carry everything for the food allergy (even frozen soft pretzels that are GF).

                                      Shop House in Hollywood is pretty new and has a kind of variety of Asian foods and EVERYTHING is GF, which is awesome.

                                      It can be rough, but stick with it. A recommendation, be SURE the restaurant understands the dangers of cross contamination before eating there. A lot of places in L.A. have gluten free things for people on that as a diet and don't understand that just not putting bread with the meal is enough.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: SavetheTortugas

                                        98% percent of the REGULAR menu items at Cafe Gratitude are gluten free.

                                        most of the items that do contain gluten can be found among their breakfast offerings, so go for lunch or dinner.

                                        also, 800 degrees makes a gluten free pizza. you can watch them make it for you so you can supervise the cross contamination issue with your own eyes.