Food allergies are on the rise and restaurants are responding accordingly. So, as a growing number of diners are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance, area eateries have adjusted their menus to accommodate those who want to avoid that pesky little protein. Here’s where to go g-free and still feel full in Philly. – Chelsea Karnash
It sounds impossible, but Sweet Freedom really is a gluten-free, vegan, allergy-friendly bakery. Oh, and it’s also kosher. While the menu changes daily, expect an assortment of donuts, cupcakes, cookies, cakes and loaves that would make even the most discerning eater’s mouth water. Fans of this South Street bakery (and its adorable signage!) rave about the chocolate chip cookies and cake balls, as well as a semi-secret savory item, the tangy-sweet tomato pie. Prices are a little steep, but that’s just the price of sweet, sweet freedom.
With more than 30 g-free options on the menu at each of its nine locations, Iron Hill is pretty much a Mecca for the gluten-intolerant. Baked chicken wings, red quinoa salad, pecan salmon and a flourless chocolate torte are just some of the delicious options available. And with a gluten-free kids menu and even a g-free beer, Red Bridge, Iron Hill truly has all the bases covered.
The wheat-averse can get a rare taste of Italia at this cute little BYO at Juniper and Pine. Every single pasta dish can be made with gluten-free noodles, and the rest of the menu is g-free as well. Head over before a night out, and you’ll find friendly service, a cozy ambiance and, most importantly, scrumptious gluten-free pizza!
Asian food, with its noodles and gluten-heavy sauces and glazes, can be a nightmare for those steering clear of wheat. Thankfully, there’s Stephen Starr’s Buddakan, one of the original Philly eateries to offer g-free dishes. Simply let your waiter know about your restrictions, and you’ll be presented with a separate list of highly edible options including Singapore noodles, pad thai and sesame-crusted tuna. Don’t forget to order one of the delectable sorbets for dessert!
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse has been a standby on 17th for years. Repeat guests constantly rave about the seared branzino, which – luckily – is also available on the restaurant’s extensive menu of gluten-free lunch and dinner dishes. And if you can’t tolerate wheat but still love your pasta, never fear – Davio’s has six items on its g-free dinner menu available with brown rice pasta. Salute!
Stephen Starr’s Rittenhouse Square Mexican joint offers diners with restricted diets mucho options, from tacos and nachos to guacamole and soup. With two pages of wheat-free offerings (and that luxurious golden wallpaper!), what more could the g-free eater want? Aside from a pitcher of margaritas STAT, por supuesto!
Southern-style comfort food and a gluten-free diet might seem about as compatible as Taylor Swift and The Situation, but Rex 1516 makes it work. In fact, this relative newbie actually has an entirely g-free menu that’s not listed on the website. Fancy a burger? You can actually enjoy one on a bun here – the kitchen bakes special gluten-free breads. Craving dessert? Dig in to a decadent flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse, banana ice cream and peanut brittle. And whether you want breakfast, lunch or dinner, Rex 1516 offers a gluten-free menu for every meal, so you don’t have to feel left out during that Sunday Funday brunch get-together.