CHI

14 Great Restaurants Where You Can Eat Gluten Free

PHOTO: Christina Slaton

Gluten-free is all the rage these days. It’s the latest in a long line of fads, from the days where somehow eating four steaks a day was heart-healthy, or the idea that having a micro-meal every 20 minutes would keep you beach-ready year round. Those were stupid, huh? Well, whether you’re grabbing hold of the latest trend, or you actually have to eat gluten-free for medical reasons and not just because a distant Kardashian cousin has espoused its virtues, this is the guide for you.

Note that these aren’t “gluten-free places.” These are places that you can eat gluten-free. As in normal restaurants that just so happen to have food that is gluten-free. So we should note that if cross-contamination is a problem, some of these places may not be for you. We’re sorry about that, but we also don’t want you to get hurt because we’re friends and that’s what friends are for. Now that the sappy emotional bonding is over, onto the guide.

Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier, presented in partnership with Bai (a drink that helps us be a little healthier).

The Spots

Au Cheval

West Loop
800 W Randolph St
9.2
MAP

For those who thought gluten-free had to be healthy, we’ll dispel those notions quickly. Au Cheval has the best burger in the world, and they’ll put it on an open-faced hash brown bun if you ask. It might be better than a normal bun because not sure if you heard us but we just said hash brown bun. Those may be the best words in the English language. Hash brown bun. Adding an egg and bacon is mandatory. Hash brown bun.

Athenian Room

Lincoln Park
807 W Webster Ave
8.4
MAP

To continue on the “meat on top of potatoes” trend, hit Athenian room for the city’s best roast chicken on top of Greek fries, just soaking up all that chicken goodness.

Beatrix

River North
519 N Clark St
7.7
MAP

We don’t think anyone has ever been disappointed after going to Beatrix. There’s something for everyone. If you want to go healthy, go with one of their salads. If not, go with their grits for brunch. Just be prepared to take care of your food baby for the rest of the day if you go the grits route. And know that it requires changing every two hours or so. Children are a commitment.

Avec

West Loop
615 W Randolph St
8.6
MAP

You know what’s gluten-free? Bacon wrapped dates. So get them. Also a lot of other stuff on the menu is gluten free, but ordering 17 plates of the dates seems like a good idea to us.

Aloha Poke Co.

Loop
Chicago French Market Suite #19, 131 N Clinton St
7.6
MAP

Stay away from a few sauces here, and your poke bowl will be safely gluten-free. Which is good, because we wouldn’t want you to miss out on a trend, now would we? Do be wary that if you ask if your poke bowl is gluten-free, there could be a crossing of trend streams situation and there is a possibility you will enter some sort of fourth dimension. That sentence acts as a legal waiver releasing us of any obligation if (and most likely, when) that happens to you.

This is mostly a bar, but it's a cider bar where you can order flights of gluten free ciders. Finally, a place where you can act like your annoying, beer-drinking friends and pretend you know what the hell you’re talking about when you mention the gravity of the hot new IPA. Go here, drink a few ciders, and grab some food to balance things out.

This is a great spot in River North to grab something healthy after working out at one of the many boutique studios nearby. Seriously, we have to hand it to their real estate agent, since about 71% of people who frequent the gyms within a few block radius of this place are jonesing for some gluten-free healthy food after that amahhhhhzing spin class with their favorite instructor. And you know what, get the gluten-free blueberry muffin because you did extra tap-backs today, damnit.

8.4
MAP

Mexican food is typically a safe gluten-free go-to. Make sure you get corn tortillas instead of flour and go to town. FLAVOR TOWN. (We offer our deepest apologies for that “joke.” The writer has been reprimanded).

The Little Beet Table

Gold Coast
845 N. State St.,Suite 101

Little Beet is new in town after being imported from New York. With everything on the menu gluten-free, the handicapped diner will be safe and others at the table won’t miss a “beet” (again, very sorry, the writer has been punished). You can go very healthy (roasted vegetables, salad), or very not healthy (double bacon cheeseburger) and you’ll be happy either way.

Smoque BBQ

Irving Park
3800 N Pulaski Rd
8.3
MAP

Brisket, pulled pork, ribs… all gluten-free. Just go with a platter without any white bread and you’re all set.

8.5
MAP

This is one of our favorite breakfast/brunch spots, with all your typical egg dishes, and also your very not typical gluten-free cupcake pancakes. Make sure you schedule a nap for afterwards. Where you will probably dream about eating these pancakes again. Eat, nap, dream, repeat.

le pho

Uptown
4925 North Broadway

Pho is one of the rare noodle-based dishes that is always gluten-free because it’s made with rice noodles. There are plenty of good pho options in Uptown off Broadway, and we encourage you to explore all of the restaurants around here at some point in time. But if you want a hot bowl of pho and don’t want to take any chances, you can bet on a place called Le Pho having great pho. So that’s that. Go to Le Pho. Eat pho.

RPM Italian

River North
52 W Illinois St
8.0
MAP

Italian is usually restauranta non-grata for those avoiding gluten, but this is the exception that proves the rule (sidenote: does anybody actually know what that phrase means?). RPM has some pretty great gluten-free pastas, so go ahead and indulge.

8.4
MAP

If you’re living the gluten free life and a steakhouse isn’t at the top of your list, then you’re sh*tty at living gluten free. Get a big piece of meat up in your face with a vegetable on the side and you are good to go. There are obviously tons of options around, but Gibson’s is a classic. It’s also doesn’t have to be as big of a trendy scene as some of the other steakhouses, which makes it always reliable.

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