Even in Los Angeles, it’s tough to eat gluten-free. We’re not talking about ordering salads, glass noodles, or sushi (if you bring your own GF soy sauce) - you already know you can do that - but what happens when you want a decent pastry or pizza?
Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve put together this guide to spots that serve actually-good versions of food that’s not usually gluten-free: Pizza (not the cauliflower-crust kind), pasta (that doesn’t taste like cardboard), and pastries (that won’t crumble the second you pick them up). Not every place on this list is entirely GF, so we’d recommend checking with them before you order if you’ve got a serious allergy, but you can’t go wrong with the dishes we mention here.
You’re not allowed to say you hate Hollywood until you try the griddle cakes from Breakfast By Salt’s Cure, because there’s a good chance they’ll change your mind. They’ve got five different versions of these massive pancakes on the menu, from dark chocolate chip to blueberry and flaxseed crumble, and all of them can be made gluten-free for $2 more. After you get them, all hot, crispy, and topped with a couple huge dollops of melting butter, you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you should start looking at apartments on Highland.
One of our favorite spots in Little Ethiopia, Rahel serves fantastic vegan Ethiopian classics like a shiro wat - red pepper and chickpea stew - that’s deeply flavored with ginger and berbere spices. We’re also big fans of the ful (fava bean stew), but no matter what you get, you’ll appreciate that it can be served on gluten-free injera, which is harder to find in LA than you might think. Rahel is also BYOB, so don’t forget that bottle of pinot you’ve been saving to celebrate the miracle of GF injera.
Eating at Bay Cities is a certified LA rite of passage, on par with driving yourself into debt via improv classes or getting jealous of an 8-year-old’s smooth, poreless skin. And while there are plenty of starchy, wheat-filled products at this Italian deli, you can get all of their sandwiches - from a very good caprese to their pièce de résistance, the Genoa salami, mortadella, capicola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone-filled Godmother - on gluten-free flatbread for an extra charge.
Everything at Honey Hi is gluten-free. Not just some specialty items, not a rotating option that changes weekly, everything. And while it would be easy to dismiss that as a gimmick, given LA’s love of all things #wellness, Honey Hi is actually doing some interesting things with healthy food. Their Lambwich is excellent and comes with halloumi cheese, turmeric-pickled onions, and a tamarind-date chutney, and their Thai Green Curry Bowl is hearty and coconut-y.
Somehow, South End is still a secret. So naturally, their great gluten-free options are, too. This pizza place in a Venice strip mall has Neapolitan-style pizzas, Italian wines, and a gregarious owner who will pour you those wines while you wait for your table. Nearly all of their pies can be made gluten-free, but our favorites are the mushroom, speck, arugula, and egg-topped Boardwalk, or the meat-filled District 11. They also have gluten-free crackers and bread for their cheese and charcuterie plates.
If you ask us, Pizzana has the best gluten-free crust in LA. It’s thick and crunchy, doesn’t crumble, and is almost indistinguishable from their regular crust. This spot in Brentwood (there’s also a Weho location) has traditional Neapolitan pies like margherita or funghi, and much-less-traditional ones like the Pignatiello, with short rib and parmesan crema. Just know that you should expect a bit of a wait, so go have a martini at Baltaire across the street while you wait.
Osteria La Buca is a neighborhood restaurant that’s more versatile than beloved character actress Margo Martindale. Date night? Perfect choice. Solo dinner destination? Got you covered. Gluten-intolerant but hanging out with a friend who is firmly tolerant of said gluten and needs an incredible bowl of bucatini carbonara like right now? Look no further that Osteria La Buca. This modern Italian spot has some of the best pasta in the city, like the aforementioned carbonara and an excellent short rib ravioli, all of which can be made with gluten-free alternatives.
You cannot overstate the esteem and prominence of Langer’s #19. It’s not only the best pastrami sandwich in LA, it may very well be the best in the entire world. And just because you can’t metabolize gluten, doesn’t mean you should have to miss out on this pastramenon. Head to Westlake and order this legendary stack of pastrami, Swiss cheese, and homemade coleslaw on their gluten-free rye bread, and prepare to be amazed.
Walk into any Trader Joe’s in LA and you’ll find six different kinds of gluten-free pasta. The same can’t be said about most neighborhood pasta spots - unless you’re talking about Maccheroni Republic. This DTLA spot has killer pastas, like a gnocchi with beef ragout and forest mushrooms, and another with roasted ham, braised red onions, and a spicy tomato sauce that’s miles better than anything on the shelves at TJs. Most of their pastas can be made gluten-free, using the very fancy-sounding maccheroncelli alle lenticchie (made with red lentils and brown rice). Bonus points for being BYOB.
In addition to making some of our favorite gluten-full pizzas in the city, Triple Beam also offers not one, but two (!!) GF versions of their Roman-style pies. You can choose between either a vegan pizza (topped with sweet piquillo peppers and arugula) or classic pepperoni, and instead of their signature pay-by-the-ounce system, you’ll get a smaller, personal pan serving, which is ideal for anyone with a gluten allergy (or an allergy to sharing with other people).
Highland Park’s Joy has some great gluten-free options for your meal - jidori chicken, hot and sour soup, mapo tofu - but the real reason you’re here is for their desserts. The peanut and black sesame mochi, forbidden rice pudding with sweet potato and taro balls, and fruit shaved ice are all highly worth the visit alone. So when you want some dessert after eating an entire gluten-free pizza at Triple Beam, head straight to Joy.
Does Sqirl even need an introduction? One of the most quintessential brunch spots in the city, you know this Virgil Village cafe from every Instagram account in Los Angeles. But what you might not have been able to glean from those food pics is that almost everything here is gluten-free. From the sorrel pesto rice bowl that’s been photographed more times than Taylor Swift to lesser-known faves like flat tots and chicken and rice porridge, this is a GF haven, as long as you have the patience to wait in line for it.
Millie’s has been around since Prohibition, but it’s only gotten better with age. Located on Sunset Blvd. this Silver Lake institution has been serving some of the best breakfast food in LA since 1926, including giant , gluten-free portions of pancakes, waffles, and something called the “Devil’s Mess,” which is basically a huge plate of eggs, sausage, and other hangover-curing ingredients.
Ordering a burger with a lettuce wrap gets old extremely quickly, so it’s always a relief when a place has decent gluten-free buns. Especially when that place is Belcampo, where they’ve also got great burgers to go on those buns. This San Francisco-based spot has a few locations throughout the city (Santa Monica, West 3rd, and DTLA), and at all of them, our favorite is the lamb burger. It’s a half-pound patty covered in black garlic aioli and onion sprouts, and it will have you wondering why you ever order anything protein-style when this burger is an option.
One of our favorite burger spots in LA just opened a second location in La Brea, so you no longer have to brave the Third Street Promenade to get one of their simple, old-school burgers. Also it’s affordable - you can get an entire meal (burger, dessert, plus a drink) for less than $20. And their vegetarian burger is gluten-free and comes with a house-made vegan patty, which, biologically speaking, is close enough to a salad to make it healthy.
My Two Cents
My Two Cents is a Pico neighborhood institution that you should go to for the (gluten-free) shrimp and grits alone. And once you’ve had those, order the fried chicken, which is GF and stands up to almost any gluten-y version in town (especially when it’s doused with their house BBQ sauce). Through some miracle of science, the mac and cheese is also gluten-free, and is truly excellent, since it involves six kinds of cheese and is topped with parmesan
A lot of Thai food is generally gluten-free - most Thai noodle dishes generally use palm sugar and fish sauce, and not soy sauce - but Luv2Eat makes the cut because nearly everything on their menu is GF. We especially love the moo ping, pad see ew, and crab curry - but it’s hard to go wrong with anything from this absolutely behemoth menu. Bonus points for marking the menu with what dishes can be made without gluten.
Donuts - the great, fried unifier that has brought together the likes of Homer Simpson, stoned college students, and law enforcement officers has long been a food group inaccessible to the gluten-intolerant, until now. Every week, this Santa Monica shop makes a GF version of one of their incredible donuts, like the Butter & Salt, Saigon Cinnamon Crumb, and the Violet Beauregarde-inspired Huckleberry, which comes stuffed with blueberries. Plus, if you’re the type of person that likes to plan out their donut strategy (we don’t know why you wouldn’t be), Sidecar posts their weekly gluten-free lineup on their website.
With multiple locations throughout LA, you’re never too far away from Tatsu’s warm, garlicky, tonkotsu-filled embrace. Yes, the lines here tend to get pretty long, and yes, it does feel vaguely Black Mirror-y to order off of an iPad, but you’re not going to find a better gluten-free ramen in the city. And while you can technically get GF noodles in any bowl, the correct thing to do is order is the Bold Ramen - rich, smokey, and filled with black garlic oil and a sweet umami sauce, it’s like their signature Soul bowl, but mega-upgraded.