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Apr 7, 2012 06:25 AM

gluten-free or vegan dining in Cleveland

Hey everyone,

After a detailed Google of searching for gluten-free and vegan dining in Cleveland, I've come across a bunch of restaurants, some of which sound all right.

I have celiac disease so I'm really careful with gluten-free dining. I happen to be a vegan, but I know that a good chef can accommodate that really well.

After searching, I've found these restaurants. There were a few more but I deleted them from the list because they were either too far from the hotel or had food that I wouldn't eat.

- Sushi 86
- Empress (and Ethiopian place)
- Tree Hugger Café
- Tommy’s
- Johnny Mango’s
- Sweet Melissas
- Rose Angel
- Cilantro Thai and Sushi
- Deagans
- Paladara Latin Kitchen

I have two questions:

Does anyone recommend or NOT recommend any of the specific choices above (regardless of you dine gluten-free and/or vegan)?

Are there any other suggestions?

Thank you!

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  1. I am not a vegan , nor do I need a gluten-free diet, so I can not help you on those counts, but I do love to eat and am familiar with several of your choices and would be glad to give you my two cents about them. Tommy's has a good deal of vegetarian and has been around since the 1960s. The oner is a great character and beloved in the area. Prices are very reasonable and the place is pretty nice, mostly wood. Food is very good and healthful and Tommy's can get very crowded, especially on weekends.
    Rose Angel has closed a while ago, I'm pretty sure.
    Deagan's is a cool place with an outstanding chef and a very creative menu. Lots of small plates and everything is good. Great beer selection as well and there are great specials on some nights (call them to find out). Place is nice inside and can get very crowded. I highly recommend it.
    Paladar is also cool, with a sort of modern industrial look. Lots of great apps and main dishes, mostly Latin American. Great drinks too, especially the ginger pomegranite mojita, their specialty. They also have a good happy hour menu, only available in the bar area, which has tables as well, where drinks and some apps are cheaper. I highly recommend Paladar as well. Understand that Paladar and Deagans will cost more than Tommy's, but are a bit more upscale and still moderately priced.
    I can recommend many otherrestaurants, but I have no idea as to whether they have gluten fre food. Sorry about that. But, Cleveland really has many fine places to eat and many Ethnic restaurants that are outstanding and super reasonable.

    7 Replies
    1. re: andym

      Hi andym, thanks for your thoughtful reply.

      I just received an email from Tommy's and they can't do anything for me because it all has eggs or dairy, so that is out.

      Good to know about Deagan's... that is top on the list. Same with Paladar.

      I'm not concerned with cost.

      What ethnic restaurants and fine dining do you recommend? Usually those places are the most accommodating, and what I prefer, anyway.

      1. re: ls150

        Are you sure you contacted Tommy's in Cleveland Heights? (There's a Tommy's in Rocky River that is completely unrelated)
        Here are the gluten free items

        And the vegan There is some overlap.

        Perhaps Istanbul Grill in Tremont would work for you?

        Or Ty Fun Bistro, also in Tremont?

        And if you're in Lakewood for Deagan's, pop over to Sweet Spot for dessert

        Hope you find something you like!

        1. re: gourmanda

          Thank you! I am calling some of these. :) Sorry I missed this message!

        2. re: ls150

          Phnom Penh, which has Cambodian food, is great and very reasonable. It is on W 25th, near the West Side Market ( a fun experience in itself, but only open certain days, M, W, Fri & Sat., I believe). If you go to the market, you must try the gyro stand, which has the best gyros I have ever eaten. Get the regular sized one, rather than the large, as the size is enormous. If you like Vietnamese, there are several in the Asiatown area and all are good and very reasonably priced, but my favorite is Superior Pho.
          If you have a car and will be driving to Paladar, there is a place near Paladar called Hunan East. It is a plain storefront across from the Richmond Mall and looks like any other Chinese restaurant. However, the owner, who is from Shanghai, has a second menu, written only in Mandaran, which is fantastic and features food from that area of China. Because most Americans do not read Mandaran, he has a "picture book" which you must request. Pick out your choices and order everything "Chinese style". The portions are enormous (18 good sized shrimp in a main dish), the taste is exceptional and unique, and the prices are so small that you will think it is a mistake ($13.99 is the highest cost of any of the dishes). Many of the Americans who dine there have no idea about this and order standard dishes like lo mein or fried rice, but Asians and those in the know get amazing authentic Shanghai dishes for the same price!

          The Tremont area has many exceptional restaurants including Iron Chef Michael Symon's Lolita, which is not only very good, but quite reasonable. Expect regional and modern American comfort food there. Rocco Whalen's Fahrenheit is also there, which is also outstanding, from gourmet pizzas to modern American food with global accents. If you want to spend more but get really upscale, imaginative food, Dante's is one of Cleveland's best.

          The East 4rth area of downtown is Cleveland's hotspot. Michael Symon's Lola, his expensive but wonderful flagship, is located there, along with The Greenhouse, run by one of Symon's ex-chefs, Jonathon Sawyer, Chinato and the brand new Hodges, run by the Food Network's food truck star, Chris Hodgson are also there..

          If you want the bset seafood in Cleveland, try The Blue Point grill, pretty near where you will be staying. It isn't cheap, but well worth the cost. My last favorite is Johnny's (either downtown or on Fulton), which serves up really great Northern Italian.

          I think that you will find that Cleveland is a wonderful restaurant town and the prices, for the most part, are very reasonable for what you get. Good eating!

          1. re: andym

            Andy, it's nice to see you're so passionate about the wonderful dining options in Cleveland, but the OP needs gluten-free and vegan food. I don't think gyros, pizza or Michael Symon anything fits the bill ;)

            You do cite some great choices for people on a less-limited diet though!

            1. re: gourmanda

              I saw that, and agree. Love your enthusiasm though, Andy!

              1. re: kathrynanne

                Yes, thank you for your input and very long reply! I do appreciate it, and hopefully it can help others who might be dining with folks not with these restrictions.

      2. the Flaming Ice Cube is a very good vegan restaurant downtown. It's very small but friendly and they have excellent food. Treehugger's is also a good choice but where is your hotel? These places are pretty far away from each other - Paladar is way on the E side. Treehugger's is closer to the airport, for example. Johnny Mango is near downtown, Deagan's is in Lakewood, Tommy's in is Cleveland Heights - pretty spread out area.

        Roseangel is closed. I have not heard great things about the food at Empress Taytu. Have never heard of the Cilantro place.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rockandroller1

          Thanks! I am staying downtown at the Hilton Garden Inn. I will have a car, though, but walking is lovely, too.

          1. re: ls150

            Im curious on where you ended up going! I have several friends that are celiac. Wld be great to know where we could go that they wouldnt have an issue. Thx!

            1. re: tbud

              Haven't gone yet (May), but I will update when I do!

        2. I agree, really spread out area. A quick Google search shows Cilantro Thai and Sushi to be near Akron, after all. Deagan's in Lakewood always seems to have a good crowd though I've never thought much of the food. A vegan friend likes it a lot, however. Definitely look at Cowell and Hubbard which has a few specifically vegan dishes. Roseangel has closed and Spice Kitchen & Bar has taken its place.

          1. The Greenhouse Tavern has daily vegan specials and I believe they accommodate gluten free also. Call them and see.

            1 Reply
            1. Tommy's is the one place I try to get back to every time I visit Cleveland. It's classic hippy comfort food -- greasy-in-a-good way food and fries and milkshakes with myriad veggie and vegan options (Though all of my favorites involve bread, so I can't recall how much it cuts the menu down to add gluten-free to the mix.) And I haven't been to Johnny Mango's in years, but I have fond memories.

              Edit: whoops, just saw your comment above about Tommy's -- too bad.