GF Seattle FAQ
Note: This list is very personal. It contains places I like to go to. Most of these restaurants aren’t exclusively gluten-free, so I can’t guarantee what your experience will be. I don’t go out to eat that much, so it’s small. Your experiences may vary.
Folks are always asking me what restaurants, bakeries, and stores I recommend for gluten-free dining and supplies in Seattle. My usual answer is: normal places that happen to have gluten-free options. There aren’t that many “gluten-free only” places in Seattle (there is one that I know of–Capitol Cider. For info see below list). So, I shop, dine, and get supplies from all sorts of places. But here are my answers for specific things. Please note that this list is very personal. I haven’t included every restaurant in Seattle that has gluten-free options. I’ve only included places that I’ve been to and that I’ve liked and have done well with. Your experiences may be different. I would recommend calling before you go to see if they have a gluten-free menu and to gauge how gluten-free aware they are.
Where can I get gluten-free groceries and supplies?
I usually shop at PCC (locations throughout Seattle, but I mainly shop at the Fremont and Greenlake stores) and Whole Foods (mainly at the Roosevelt Square location). These places have most of the things I need to make gluten-free baked goods and meals. They also have some pre-made gluten-free items. Whole Foods has a fabulous line of their own gluten-free baked goods. They are usually on a separate table in the baked goods area. If I need a quick loaf of bread for some reason, I usually get one from here. Local grocery stores are beginning to have more gluten-free items. I also shop at QFC and Fred Meyer (which are part of the Kroger chain). They have many gluten-free items available.
If you’re hanging out at the Pike Place Market, Delaurenti, a specialty Italian market often has gluten-free crackers and cookies (you kind of have to hunt around for them). And they have a huge selection of meats and cheeses that you can buy at their deli. This is good place to go to gather snacks or picnic supplies.
What gluten-free bakeries do you recommend?
My honest answer is that I don’t really go to bakeries. I am a baker and I make my own baked goods. And I like my own stuff the best :), so I don’t usually make an effort to go to a bakery to purchase these things. I bake them myself. That said, here is what I have experienced:
Cupcake Royale (Various neighborhoods including Ballard and Capitol Hill)
-offers gluten-free cupcakes as an option and has a fairly aware staff. It’s nice to be able to go here with pals and enjoy a cupcake along with everyone else!
Trophy Cupcakes (Various neighborhoods including Wallingford and University Village)
-gluten-free cupcakes as an option. I’m not clear on how well-trained the staff is around gluten-free issues, but I have not had reaction there.
Flying Apron (Fremont)
-Vegan. I used to recommend against this bakery because the food was awful. I just found out that it got sold a couple of years ago and the new owner is revamping all of the recipes and making them good. It’s still vegan. I haven’t been there since they’ve changed ownership, but it’s worth checking out.
Blackbird Bakery (Bainbridge Island)
-this is a ferry ride away from Seattle. Bainbridge is charming and worth a trip if you have some extra time. You can walk on the ferry and then walk up to the main shopping area (Winslow). They have a fabulous bookstore (Eagle Harbor Books) and a yarn/tea shop (Churchmouse Yarn and Tea)–so I love it. And my in-laws have a place there. We lived on Bainbridge briefly and I frequented the Blackbird Bakery. They are also a wheat bakery, so I have heard there may be issues with cross-contamination. But, I haven’t had a reaction there.
Mora Ice Cream (Bainbridge Island)
-close to the Blackbird Bakery. These folks are very allergy-aware and they have gluten-free cones on request. It’s such a treat to go there with folks and be able to eat an ice cream cone like everyone else! Also, my daughter has a peanut allergy and they are very good about using different scoops every time to avoid cross contamination.
Any coffee shops that have gluten-free things?
Some do, most don’t. Again, I don’t really seek out coffee shops that have gf items because I make my own. Also, I usually drink tea. I do go to my local Starbucks every so often (they have friendly service people who know me)–but they don’t have anything that is gluten-free other than some energy bars (which I don’t like).
What gluten-free restaurants do you recommend?
There really aren’t any restaurants that are completely gluten-free. But, we don’t really eat out that much–again, I like to cook, so I usually make our food. When we do eat out, I tend towards eating at restaurants that are very nice, and therefore have the ability to make things to order; or at places that are naturally gluten-free; or at places that have a gluten-free menu. My recommendation would be to find a restaurant that you think you would like and call to see if they have a gluten-free menu or if they have the ability to make things gluten-free. Below is a list of places where I often eat and where I haven’t had a problem. Your experience may be different. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Just some places I like. Also, I am allergic to many things in addition to gluten and my daughter has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts, so we have to be super careful about where we eat.
Kabul Afghan (Wallingford)
-this is what we consider to be our everyday, neighborhood restaurant. They aren’t officially gluten-free, but I’ve not had a reaction there. Child friendly.
Tilth Restaurant (Wallingford)
-upscale. One of my favorite restaurants for dinner. The chef/owner, Maria Hines, is consistently hailed as one of the best chefs in the country. And the restaurant is consistently hailed as one of the best restaurants in the country. The cuisine is Pacific Northwest–meaning everything is local and delicious. Not officially gluten-free, but the staff is knowledgeable and they will tailor dishes to fit your needs. It is in a spruced up old bungalow in my neighborhood and is quite charming. We go here for most of our special occasions. It is also one of the only certified organic restaurants in the country.
Blue-Star Cafe and Pub (Wallingford)
-my knitting groups meets here each week. The servers are kind of aware of gluten-free needs–they have gluten-free buns for their burgers. Don’t go here on Mondays–it’s Trivia night and it’s very loud.
Bengal Tiger Indian (Roosevelt)
-this is where we get Indian. Again, not officially gluten-free, but I’ve never had a reaction there. Child friendly.
Blue Moon Burgers (Fremont)
-not officially gluten-free, but they have gf buns and they have a dedicated gf fryer for their French fries. They are quite aware of gluten-free issues and make a really good effort to be super-gluten-free friendly. Very child friendly.
Portage Bay Cafe (several locations, I’ve been to the University District one)
-this restaurant has a very nice gluten-free menu–especially for breakfast. It is rare to find a good breakfast place if you’re gluten-free–but this fits the bill! Very child friendly.
Ba Bar (Central District)
-bills itself as “Vietnamese Street Food.” Not officially gluten-free, but they have many items that are gluten-free. I have been here for lunch and I really enjoyed it. The food is fresh and the flavors are yummy.
-casual. Another restaurant from Maria Hines (see “Tilth”) and another family favorite. Coastal Italian (Sicilian) cuisine. They have a gluten-free pasta option and the staff seems somewhat aware of gluten-free needs. If dairy is an issue, be sure to ask them not to pre-shred cheese on top of your pasta.
-upscale, very good, nice restaurant. Has a fab gf menu. Someone on their staff is gluten-free, so they really take gluten-free seriously
Art Restaurant at the Four Seasons (Downtown)
-upscale, very good, tremendous view. Call ahead and let them know you’re gluten-free. They will have bread waiting for you.
Il Fornaio Risottoria, downstairs (Downtown)
-this is a good place to catch a casual meal downtown. It’s not officially gluten-free, but the risottos are yummy and I’ve not had a problem there. Child friendly.
-I had an amazing experience here for happy hour. The server knew all about what gluten-free meant and so did the chefs. They even have a dedicated fryer so their upscale French fries and other things are gluten-free. I have a dairy-free friend who also had a fabulous experience here.
-has small dishes. One of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. Lovely ambiance (French Country). Not official gluten-free, but explain your gluten-free needs and they will cook around them.
Mamnoom (Capitol Hill)
-Middle Eastern food. They have gf crackers on request that are quite tasty–they go well with the amazing hummus. They also have gf wraps for their sandwiches.
Osteria La Spiga (Capitol Hill)
-Italian restaurant. They have gluten-free pasta that you can order with any of their sauces. This is a loud and boisterous place.
Capitol Cider (Capitol Hill)
-I haven’t been there, but they have a completely gluten-free kitchen, so everything is gluten-free. I need to go check it out!
Cactus (West Seattle)
-a bar-cantina type of place that has a terrific gluten-free menu and an out-of-this-world view of the ocean across the street
Boom Noodle (University Village)
-Asian noodle restaurant. They have a separate gluten-free menu. Warning–not peanut-allergy friendly. Child friendly.
Piatti (University Village)
-Italian. They have a separate gluten-free menu. They use fresh gf pasta made by a local company, Maninis–delish! Child friendly.
Sport Restaurant and Bar (foot of Space Needle)
-Has a separate gluten-free menu. I went with a friend who was dying to watch football and I was pleasantly surprised at their gf offerings.