Best gluten-free restaurants in Austin
With an expansive front patio area, a sitting porch and colorful and funky Mexican decor, Licha’s Cantina is a favorite for folks looking for a great happy hour or dinner on East Sixth. Though it’s not difficult to find great Mexican food in this town, it’s a rare bird that specializes in both Interior-style and is clear about their gluten-free options. Choriqueso, arroz con huatiloche, cochinita pibil, tlacoyos, huaraches, pulpo a la veracruzano—all are clearly marked as gluten-free. Their $5 happy hour will make your wallet happy, too.
Hopdoddy has dominated the burger scene in Austin for the past five years. Their South Congress cool vibe appeals to enough patrons to have a line forming down the street most days—due partially to the hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, partially to their creative offerings but also because of their unrivaled gluten-free buns, which have become the stuff of legend among gluten-free folk. Eat them in-store or, if you’re smart, get a dozen or so to go.
This campus eatery is a mecca for those who have celiac disease. They serve 100% gluten-free breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and are famous for breads, pies, cookies and cakes. Many local restaurants source from Wildwood, so you’ll find their wares on menus around town as well. The bakehouse has done well enough to open a second location on 7th Street with a sweet rooftop patio. Indulge in fried calamari, chicken fried steak and chicken tenders without regret—or at least without the regret that comes with gluten consumption.
Casual Italian is the main focus at the Grove’s multiple locations. Each location has a large outdoor space, and the patio at Westlake is particularly nice with dangling lights and a giant tree shadowing much of the area. They also partner with coffee shop Lola Savannah that shares the kitchen. Menu items are clearly marked as dairy-free, gluten-free, gluten-free available, vegetarian or vegan. Gluten-free options include a small upcharge for items like bruschetta, pasta and pizza but they do such a good job, it’s worth the extra $2.
Mr. Natural was allergy friendly before it was cool. Open since 1988, the restaurant specializes in vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free items. Lunch is counter-service (cafeteria-style), and the mole enchiladas are the stuff of legend. Mr. Natural offers a special every day, so make sure to check online to see what they’re serving; along with hot foods, there are also prepared foods, a small grocery section and a juice bar. The menu is extensive—appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, Tex-Mex and breakfast selections including tacos—and they host a monthly vegan brunch.
Once a food truck with outrageous lines, Odd Duck came into its own (out of necessity) with a beautiful modern brick-and-mortar location on South Lamar. They still operate small plates-style, and items are made from scratch using locally-sourced ingredients. Odd Duck is known for the inventiveness of its dishes and the thoughtfulness behind the plating. Many of their dishes are naturally gluten-free but they make a special effort with a designated celiac menu—plus, there is a half-off happy hour from Sunday through Thursday that’s worth a visit.
Blue Dahlia offers a European bistro-style environment with quiches, hearty sandwiches and fresh salads made from local and organic ingredients. They’ve done well enough that there are now three locations: the original in East Austin with a cool backyard patio, the Westlake edition for ladies who lunch and another spot in San Marcos. The cheese boards, charcuterie and salads are naturally gluten-free, but they also source gluten-free bread from local bakery, Wild Wood Bakehouse, to adjust the tartines and daily specials (like crabcakes) for the GF set.
Tiny but mighty, Koriente comfortably inhabits the junction of fresh Asian food, healthy lunch and original Austin. It’s one of those places where you’re truly eating the rainbow, with plates that are often a riot of color with bright carrots, red cabbage and fresh avocado. Koriente has been using non-GMO, sustainable ingredients since before we all knew what that meant, and all of the items are also MSG-free. Rice and noodle bowls are customizable with a protein of choice, or you can make them vegan or vegetarian. Be sure to ask for the GF menu.
A lack of good gluten-free pizza seems to be one of the top gripes in Austin’s dining scene. Via313 takes aim at that with a gluten-free crust option. The pizzeria is widely recognized as having one of the best pizzas in the city with their signature square medium-crust and hearty toppings. Some crowd pleasers include the Cadillac (fig, gorgonzola, prosciutto, balsamic) and the Rocket (hot soppressata, arugula, shaved parmesan.), and they can all be made with gluten-free crust for an extra $3 charge. There’s also dairy-free cheese available.
This authentic Thai spot in South Austin focuses on local and sustainable ingredients and has recently switched to table service. They have a devoted following and are known for their pad thai, chicken wings, spicy glass noodle salad and kao kaa moo (slow cooked pork in five spices.). Sure, it’s on the expensive side (tip is included) and service can be dicey but the servers are highly knowledgeable about every dish, so you can be confident while ordering. Items are clearly marked as gluten-free.
One of Austin’s favorite late-night spots, Kerbey Lane has grown from a single location to a proverbial diner dynasty. It comes with all the trappings, including a homey atmosphere abuzz in loud conversations and the smell of coffee. It also happens to be an early adopter of the gluten-free menu in a way that makes it easy to accommodate anyone. Gluten-free and non-GF guests can both enjoy the famous Kerbey Queso along with a wide variety of sandwiches, burgers and breakfast items. Yes, that includes tacos, French toast and pancakes.
Impeccable design and allergy-conscious food enhance the experience at this brick-and-mortar spot on Burnet Road. Everything Picnik serves is gluten-free, corn-free, peanut-free and soy-free. It’s an all-day eatery with breakfast, lunch and dinner, with popular items that include the Harvest Hash (roasted sweet potato, spinach, brussels sprouts, sausage and a poached egg) and the salted caramel banana pancakes. Picnik also has a full butter coffee menu and bone broth if that’s your thing. The original food truck still operates on South Lamar serving a similar, though more limited, menu, and a new truck just opened in the St. Elmo district.
Though not marketed as a gluten-free restaurant, this upscale Mexican concept is all gluten-free and is among the only restaurant downtown to offer the dietary option. All bright lights and contemporary decor, ATX Cocina has a menu that is definitely a pricey alternative to the other Mexican spots in town, though decidedly more modern. Oxtail quesadillas, swordfish with crab and barbacoa with escabeche are representative of the traditional-with-a-twist style here.
This Austin original was a pioneer in the urban farming movement, sourcing many items for their menu straight out of the on-site garden. Nearly everything at Eastside Cafe is made from scratch, with an entire menu section of gluten-free items including enchiladas, fresh seafood and locally-sourced proteins. The portions are generous and the pricing is reasonable. Don’t skip dessert!
“Hot dogs and cold beer” is Frank’s tagline, and the restaurant is best known as a downtown spot to grab a quick lunch, late-night bite or a stacked Bloody Mary. The menu isn’t all gluten-free, but they make a concerted effort to have gluten-free items. Frank artisan sausages, sauces and fries are all gluten-free (though their vegan sausages and vegan franks are not), and they also have a daily veggie option that is often free of gluten.