The 10 Best Gluten-Free Restaurants and Bakeries in SanDiego
We can all agree that living with an autoimmune disease such as Celiac, or with any food intolerances or allergies is not very fun, or convenient, for that matter. Especially when trying to find something tasty! The amount of San Diego restaurants who cater to these communities, makes it feel almost effortless to find allergen-friendly food! As someone diagnosed with Celiac and other food intolerances, who is San Diego based, I have tried and tested most of what America’s Finest City has to offer time and time again, and the results have been delicious! I have compiled a list of my ten favorite spots that I regularly visit, and I recommend them to anyone visiting or living in San Diego.
1. Starry Lane Bakery (3925 Fourth Ave, Hillcrest, San Diego, CA 92103, 619-328-0500)
Nestled in the Hillcrest area, Starry Lane bakery is 100% gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, shellfish-free, fish-free, sesame-free, mustard-free, free from natural food dyes and flavorings. Pretty much everything is free-from, except the incredible food itself. Created and owned by two sisters, I felt like a child walking into a candy shop the first time I visited, and still feel this way every time I visit. Their bread is some of the best GF bread I have ever tasted. And don’t get me started on the Oatmeal Triple Chocolate Chunk cookies! Let’s just say they will have you saying SistaSistaaaa! Note, they do use sunflower and corn in all of their products in case you have an allergy to those specific ingredients.
2. Plumeria (4661 Park Boulevard, University Heights, San Diego, CA, 619-269-9989)
Gluten-free Vegan Tangerine Chicken. Need I say more? Living in close distance, this is where I usually bring friends and visitors, or when I have a hankering for orange chicken. With plenty of gluten-free and dairy-free options on the menu, they are considerate when it comes to any food sensitivities. However, avoiding the risk of cross-contamination cannot be guaranteed. They are also MSG-free, and attempt to use all organic products. Worth a Thai, right?
3. 2Good2B Bakery and Cafe (204 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024, 760-942-4663)
Another 100% gluten-free, soy-free and corn-free spot. Free from everything, except taste! I first tried their deliciousness when they were at local farmer’s markets, but then they (THANKFULLY) built two brick and mortars in San Diego County. They also have many vegan options. I highly recommend the pancakes, as well as the pot pie. It’s not too good to be… it’s REAL!
4. Donna Jean (2949 Fifth Ave, Banker’s Hill, San Diego, CA 92103, 619-299-5500)
Named after and dedicated to his mom, we know Chef Roy has made her proud. This place is pure vegan with gluten-free options and just plain food magic! Although not 100% gluten-free, they are considerate of any food sensitivities and are great about it. I love their nut-based cheeses, which in my humble opinion tastes better than regular cheese, and are better for you.
My favs: Caesar Salad, Cast Iron Mac & Cheese, and the Four Horseman Pizza (GF dough, of course), with a side of their garlic-butter dish… you have no idea.
5. True Food Kitchen (7007 Friars Road, Suite D394, Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego, CA 92108, 619-810-2929)
I truly love this place, and it’s no wonder they now have so many locations! They are known to have a health conscious, organic, and seasonal menu. Although not 100% gluten-free, they use separate equipment if you are Celiac, or have other food allergies. I feel safe and satisfied each time I eat there. My favorite? A side of their gluten-free pita to dip in their ponzu sauce, and their almond ricotta pizza. Now, wait until you try one of their seasonal desserts, with a side of their homemade coconut ice cream. Sign up for their birthday list, and get it for free. You’re welcome.
6. Solare Ristorante (2820 Roosevelt Rd., Liberty Station - Point Loma, San Diego, CA 92106, 619-270-9670)
Ever visit a restaurant, and feel bummed you can’t eat the house-made bread that's brought out to the table? Well, that won’t happen here. Gluten-free bread is made daily, ready to melt in your mouth. It doesn’t stop there! They also make their gluten-free pasta and pizza dough.
Solare’s house-made gluten-free bread is infused with a hint of thyme and served fresh from the oven, with Corto Extra Virgin Olive oil and dried Sicilian oregano. The photo on the left is their gluten-free pizza using homemade ingredients and locally grown produce from their very own Urban Farm. The photo on the right shows Solare’s gluten-free Pasta Alla Trapanese made with artisanal gluten-free pasta, saffron, cherry tomatoes, mint/basil pesto, and almonds. This is fine Italian dining at its best. Buon Appetito!
7. GOODONYA (1051 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas CA 92024, 858.264.8550)
An all-organic, non-GMO cafe with vegan, gluten free, dairy free and paleo options. The only two items that are not gluten-free on the menu are two tortillas, two breads and two cans of beer. Everything else is fair game! This includes all of their desserts, sauces, and anything on tap. They even have five different gluten-free breads (sourdough, multigrain, coconut wraps, coconut cassava tortillas, and pizza crust) to choose from.
Located in beautiful Encinitas near the beach, you can start or end your perfect day here (or both?!). If you leave without trying their cinnamon roll, then we probably shouldn’t talk again. This place will be good on ya taste buds!
8. Olive Oil Cafe (5500 Campanile Dr, SDSU Campus West Commons, San Diego, CA 92115, 619-244-4721)
While their brick and mortar is on the San Diego State University campus, Olive Oil Cafe booths can be found at most San Diego Farmer's markets. I continue to visit them at the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market on Sundays. So what’s their deal? 100% gluten-free, vegan, dairy free, nut free, sugar-free, and sometimes paleo pastries. The best part? You would never know they were free of anything. They are fantastic. Allergen friendly pies and cakes for special occasions are a must!
9. Cafe Gratitude (1980 Kettner Blvd, Little Italy, San Diego, CA 92101, 619-736-507)
Cafe Gratitude’s Whole Bowl
I fell in love with this place when I lived in Los Angeles and felt pure gratitude when they opened a location in San Diego. Cafe Gratitude is organic, vegan, and predominantly gluten-free. They are sensitive to other food allergies, and their waiting staff is always kind and understanding. Don’t leave without getting their nachos, or cinnamon roll (I may have a thing for cinnamon rolls).
10. Red House Pizza (4615 Park Blvd, University Heights, San Diego 92116, 619 546 7430)
This place is perfect for when you are craving gluten-free, and or, vegan pizza, baked pasta options, or even meatballs! This a great neighborhood hole-in-the-wall pizza spot, that I can’t get enough of. Be sure to check out their weekly specials, like 30% off pizzas on Monday! Note, they can’t guarantee the avoidance of cross-contamination, as they do use the same ovens.