For holiday gatherings with a set menu, avoiding gluten is harder than staying sober at a family reunion. However, that doesn't mean gluten-free eaters are stuck with a side salad and sweet potatoes. Restaurants and bakeries across Chicago are serving gluten-free versions of Thanksgiving favorites and sharing the recipes.
'gluten free' on Serious Eats
Cookie Bar, in a new location, has gone all gluten-free; slimmed down its signature cookie offerings; and added cakes, breads, granola, and pies to the mix.
Although Kabocha is tucked away from the foot traffic of Randolph, it's worthy of a slight detour from restaurant row. That's especially true if you are gluten-free.
Because the majority of Embeya's menu is naturally gluten-free, one meal isn't enough to explore all the options.
Bountiful Eatery in Lakeview offers an entirely gluten-free menu, but its appeal comes from fresh, healthy fare that just happens to be devoid of gluten. Bacon coexists with tofu, proving there's something for just about anyone here.
Sushi restaurants tend to be gluten-free friendly, but SushiSamba Rio reaches overachiever status with a double-sided gluten-free menu spanning cooked and raw items. On the first page alone, there are 29 dishes, from flash-fried Japanese river crabs to a tuna quinoa handroll.
An impressive number of Chicago restaurants offer gluten free fare, but usually there's something that compromises the full dining experience. At Senza in Lakeview, the entire restaurant is gluten free, from the amuse-bouche to the beer.
At Urban Union in Little Italy, Chef Michael Shrader's seafood-focused cuisine naturally favors a gluten free diet, leaning heavily on beautifully composed plates of fresh fish and seasonal produce. The restaurant doesn't offer a separate gluten free menu because they simply don't need one.
You're at an Italian restaurant that prides itself on house-made dough. So what's a gluten free diner to do? Thankfully, La Madia's gluten free menu provides equal opportunity enjoyment, even without the crust.
After struggling for years with a sensitive stomach, I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Initially I assumed I could never enjoy a traditional restaurant visit again. Fortunately, I was wrong. Very wrong. I'm continually amazed and impressed by the number of Chicago restaurants that cater to food allergies. Here's my list of unexpected spots for gluten-free dining.
Like any mortal, I occasionally crave a fat slice of chocolate cake, but most of the time, I like to seek out all the wonderful cuisines that so happen to also be free of gluten. Here's a tour of some of my favorite places.