San Francisco, the city of pretty houses, hilly streets and food as diverse as the people who have settled into the Californian sunshine.
A city not really known for one cuisine (other than an overpriced bowl of seafood chowder), it is a city that offers you a different food journey on every street corner.
I always felt California would be a perfect place for me to stretch my gluten free taste buds, after all, it does have the reputation as one of America’s healthiest states. Food and exercise trends seem to hit California long before anywhere else in America and no more is that true than in San Francisco.
It’s a city where you do have to be prepared to visit different neighbourhoods. Quirky and awesome restaurants seem to be popping up all the time all over the city, so jumping in a cab or two in anticipation of some great tasting food will become the ‘norm’!
Downtown San Francisco seems to be hounded by popular chains; Starbucks, Pete’s Coffee, Potbelly to name a few have secured the real estate where all the tourists hang out. They all offer perfectly acceptable gluten free options, but not the atmosphere you would expect from such a culturally rich city.
Once a year San Francisco is home to The Fancy Food Show. At the end of January food companies from all over the world descend on the huge convention centre and cover nearly four floors of this immense building.
This is the place to visit to see the next big trends in food, and with nearly 4000 food companies vying for your attention, the gluten free and dietary foods on offer are incredible.
At $30 to enter, it’s worth a couple of hours perusing the centre, obtaining delicious samples and just generally enjoy being around some incredible and forward thinking food companies.
I must add, San Francisco is host to some awesome farmers markets, so if you get the urge for fresh, organic food then stroll to Pier 1 every Monday, Thursday & Saturday morning 10 am – 2 pm and check out the vibrant, locally sourced food on offer. A feast to behold and lots of gluten free freshly made baked treats available too.
With my gluten free taste buds to the ready, I have pounded the streets of San Francisco to prepare a delectable range of places for you to chow down on some lovely gluten free nosh. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Californian dreaming about Gluten Free Breakfast
Why do I feel more excited about breakfast when the sun is shining? San Francisco is host to so many GREAT gluten free breakfast places, choosing a couple was no easy task.
Glutless – It’s all in the name! Run by a Celiac, this charming cafe has gained a fabulous reputation amongst gluten free locals. Giant, fresh muffins, zucchini bread and moist banana bread gives you a perfectly scrumptious choice of breakfast options. Knowledgeable staff and 100% gluten free kitchen made my taste buds and body feel safe in their hands. The only downside is they are closed on the weekends and you will need to arrive early!
Address: Glutless, 325 Mason St, San Francisco (Downtown near Union Sq)
Monday – Friday 9 am – 3 pm
Seed & Salt – With a menu of nearly 10 different super bowls, chickpea frittata, and coconut yogurt you will leave feeling suitably full of healthy goodness. Organically and ethically sourced food arrives from the kitchen looking bright, modern and delicious. Bright interior and friendly service make this a superb start to your day. Lunch and early dinner menu looked impressive too. 100% gluten free kitchen.
Address: Seed & Salt, 2240 Chestnut St, San Francisco (Midtown)
Monday – Friday 8 am – 7 pm
Saturday – 8 am – 7 pm
Sunday – 10 am – 7 pm
It would be impolite not to mention the following gluten free breakfast places. For a takeaway breakfast option head to Flour & Co, 1030 Hyde St for awesome gluten free English muffins. Breakfast in style at Bio, 75 O’Farrell St – full of vegan and gluten free glorious food. Pica, Pica Arepa Kitchen, 401 Valencia St offers the most amazing gluten free Yucca beignets! Honest!
Lazy Leisurely Gluten Free Lunches
It really is true – Californians are generally more laid back. When it comes to lunchtime, you can sit in most restaurants and not feel ushered out. Time slows down and you can sit back, eat good food and take in the view of lunchtime office workers bustling around.
Urban Fish – Well you are near the sea! Decor reminiscent of the inside of an old ship (in a good way) this lovely little restaurant churns out some delicious food. A great vegan and gluten free menu make this a popular place for lunchtime feasting. Managed by brothers with an eye for fresh food and affordable eating, you will want definitely want to go back for dinner!
Address: Urban Fish, 2193 Mission St, San Francisco (Mission district b/t sycamore & 18th St)
Monday – Saturday 11.30 am – 10 pm
Sunday – 10 am – 9 pm
Asian Box – With Asian influence at the heart of the building blocks of the city, I cannot fail to include this 100% gluten free Asian restaurant. Nestled in the basement of Macy’s this popular little eatery offers a ‘build your own’ signature box menu at incredibly affordable prices. Fresh food, choice and affordable what more could you want?!
Address: Asian Box, 170 O’Farrell St, San Francisco (Downtown – Macy’s cellar)
Monday – Saturday 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday – 11 am – 6 pm
When two options are just not enough, check out these other awesome places to enjoy a leisurely gluten free lunch. Little Heaven Deli, 2348 Mission St for gluten free savory crepes and bubble tea or dine in simple style at Loving Hut, 524 Irving St and enjoy noodles, burgers and huge salads!
Splurge out on Superb Gluten Free Dinners
I feel like I have shared some great affordable places for your leisurely lunchtime feast, so now it’s time to splurge on dinner. Dinner in a new city should be an occasion, a time to dress up and look forward to a perfect setting, with perfect ambiance and superb gluten free food.
E&O Kitchen & Bar – Quirky lights and large wooden tables with heavy dark décor give this place an ideal ambiance for a romantic dinner. Food is presented in a modern and delicate way on bright white plates by smartly dressed staff. The impressive gluten free menu, with a focus on making you feel just as important as everyone else dining from the general menu. A special place with superb Asian inspired food.
Address: E&O Kitchen & Bar, 314 Sutter St, San Francisco (Downtown near Union Sq)
Monday – Thursday 11.30 am – 10 pm (Happy Hour – 3 pm – 6 pm)
Friday & Saturday 11.30 am – 11 pm (Happy Hour – 3 pm – 6 pm)
Sunday – 5 pm – 9.30 pm
Isa Restaurant – Bonjour Isa! A french inspired restaurant with ambiance in plentiful supply. A lovely little restaurant with a large covered, beautifully lite dining area out the back. The menu is authentic and the gluten free options were impressive. The staff are knowledgeable although not as friendly as you would expect. Good, no great food awaits you. Booking advised.
Address: Isa Restaurant, 3324 Steiner Street, San Francisco (Marina District)
Tuesday – Thursday 5.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Saturday – 5 pm – 10 pm
Sunday – 5 pm – 9 pm
There are so many great places to eat in San Francisco and with so little time! Finding gluten free food in such a vast city will be easy and sometimes you just have to be prepared to kiss a few frogs to find your gluten free restaurant prince.
The above recommendations will hopefully give you the option to fall back on places you know you will not be disappointed. Get your taste buds ready to be dazzled by gluten free San Francisco!