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Kitava
Photograph: Courtesy Kitava

The 10 best gluten-free restaurants in San Francisco

Whatever your reason for avoiding gluten, dining at these gluten-free restaurants in San Francisco will leave you satisfied

By Amy Sherman
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Whether you're dining gluten-free by choice or necessity, finding a gluten-free restaurant in San Francisco has never been easier (and no, we're not talking about your average taco or sushi restaurant). More restaurants than ever are sensitive to the needs of gluten-free customers, offering a variety of cuisines, dishes and even desserts without the offending ingredient. In San Francisco, you’ll find more than a few restaurants that are 100 percent gluten free and others that are mostly gluten-free and aware of cross contamination issues. From upscale Sri Lankan to fast casual Venezuelan, take your pick from our list of the best gluten-free restaurants in San Francisco. 

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Best gluten-free restaurants in San Francisco

1601 Bar & Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy 1601 Bar & Kitchen

1601 Bar & Kitchen

Restaurants SoMa

While some menus indicate which dishes are gluten-free, 1601 does the opposite, calling out the rare items that do include gluten. The contemporary Sri Lankan restaurant uses local and organic produce to create artfully presented dishes like duck leg curry and a traditional egg hopper. While the menu is small, there is plenty for vegetarians as well.

Kin Khao
Photograph: Flickr/Kirk K

Kin Khao

Restaurants Thai Tenderloin

The vast majority of dishes at this Michelin starred Thai restaurant are gluten free. The menu is easy to navigate and also indicates which dishes are vegan. Diners avoiding gluten can choose from a wide variety of shareable bites, all the curry dishes and plenty of meat and seafood dishes. For dessert, dig into the black rice pudding with caramelized jackfruit in hibiscus, salty coconut cream, and puffed rice, peanut and sesame praline.

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Firefly
Photograph: Flickr/ Premshree Pillai

Firefly

Restaurants Noe Valley

Throw caution to the wind at this cozy Noe Valley spot where the menu is all gluten-free with just two exceptions: An Acme levain bread (prepared in a designated area outside of the kitchen) and an optional buttermilk biscuit. Menu favorites include the fried chicken with gluten-free cornbread, Japanese sweet potato tostones, and the pork chop.

Mahila
Photograph: Courtesy Mahila/ Jane Sim

Mahila

About 95 percent of the dishes at this warm and inviting Noe Valley restaurant are gluten free. The Malaysian cuisine reflects the chef-owner’s Mamak heritage and the menu includes both treasured family recipes and street food dishes utilizing local and seasonal ingredients. The multi-layered textures and big bold flavors make this food incredibly satisfying. There’s plenty for vegans and vegetarians as well.

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Pica Pica
Photograph: Flickr/jpellgen

Pica Pica

You’ll find a bold blend of Caribbean and South American flavors at this inexpensive Venezuelan restaurant in the Mission where all the food is gluten free. The two signature dishes are the corn-based arepas and cachapas. Both are made fresh daily and stuffed with your choice of savory fillings such as pulled pork, grilled chicken or a vegan melange of sweet plantains, black bean purée, tomato, avocado and pickled jicama. Wash it down with a gluten free beer

Kitava
Photograph: Courtesy Kitava

Kitava

A dream for those with allergies and food intolerances, the menu at Kitava is completely free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, refined sugar and seed oils. Look out for favorites like General Tso’s chicken, Meera’s tikka masala and the pesto chicken Cobb salad. Each item lists all the ingredients, so there are no surprises.

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As Quoted, avocado toast
Photograph: Courtesy As Quoted/ Aubrie Pick

As Quoted

At this bright Presidio Heights cafe the focus is on healthy food that is gluten-free, locally sourced and organic. Think avocado toast, Chinese chicken salad, kale avocado Caesar and open faced sandwiches on gluten-free bread.

Asian Box

Located all around the Bay Area and now Southern California, the Chestnut Street location of Asian Box is bright and cheery. It’s also 100 percent gluten free. The focus is on quick and freshly prepared boxes filled with Asian spiced chicken, pork, beef or tofu and a variety of vegetables on a bed of rice, noodles or salad. Almost all dishes are also dairy free. Favorites include lemongrass pork, coconut curry and lime basil shrimp.

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Little Gem
Photograph: Flickr/Yuichi Sakuraba

Little Gem

Restaurants Hayes Valley

This 100 percent gluten-free restaurant has two locations and offers a mix of dishes that include everything from Asian-style beef short ribs, huevos rancheros and roast chicken with seasonal vegetables. Depending upon the location there is counter service and always full service for dinner. The restaurant prides itself on working with farmers and artisans who share their values and are environmentally sustainable.

Beach Street Grill

Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, Beach Street Grill offers organic and gluten-free options, including breakfast dishes like pancakes, French toast, bagels, and English muffins including eggs Benedict. It wins rave reviews for diner style comfort food at a reasonable price in a part of town that caters to tourists. While not 100 percent gluten free, they do use a separate grill, toaster and utensils for all gluten-free orders.

Vegetarian? We got you covered.

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