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With a statewide love for shoyu, noodles, and all types of buns, many of the food staples that help to define Hawai‘i are off limits for gluten-free eaters. Luckily for those who want to avoid gluten, plenty of Oahu restaurants are beginning to jump on the bandwagon and offer gluten-free options on their menus.
So, leave your worries behind and check out these delicious Oahu spots that cater to your gluten-free lifestyle.
The owner of Hiking Hawaii Cafe opened this charming Waikiki concept as a way to combine her two greatest loves: healthy food and hiking. The result was a pretty awesome success. Along with custom hiking tours around the island, this spot provides an extensive menu including flavor-filled bowls, unique pizzas, and breakfast scrambles. You can sub gluten-free toast for an extra dollar or get any of their pizzas with a gluten-free crust for an extra two dollars. Fitt Tip: We suggest their Tofu Hummus pizza — it comes topped with greens and is totally vegan, too.
The upscale restaurant at the Kahala Hotel caters to all sorts of eaters, including those that are foregoing gluten. The menu clearly marks dairy-, nut-, and gluten-free items, making figuring out what you can order a cinch. And Hoku’s is known for its high-quality, "nature-to-table" approach, which means you'll be treated to carefully-crafted dishes that highlight both local and international flavors. They even feature decadent gluten-free pannacotta and chocolate coulant on the dessert menu.
With separate menu just for gluten-free items, Sansei Seafood Restaurant in Waikiki will knock the socks off of any gluten-conscious eater. You'll have a whole menu’s worth of sushi and Japanese food selections to choose from, including Sansei’s Mango Blue Crab Salad Hand Roll and Hamachi Carpaccio with truffle oil and specially-made gluten-free ponzu sauce. And if you're craving something sweet, they also have a classic crème brûlée that you don't want to sleep on.
An off-the-beaten-path eatery in Hale‘iwa, this spot is a local favorite for the best reason possible: everything is homemade! This includes a selection of delicious, freshly-baked gluten-free cookies and bread. And when you're looking for a healthy snack, you can cool off with one of their creamy acai bowls featuring fresh fruit and granola (made with gluten-free oats).
If you try one gluten-free waffle on Oahu, make sure it’s The Nook’s Mochiko Chicken + Mochi Waffles. But if waffles aren't your thing, there are a bunch of other delicious gluten-free menu items to try (like the Kale Okonomiyaki). Plus, they also carry gluten-free bread for toast or sandwiches that is so good you won’t be able to tell the difference from its gluten-heavy counterparts. Oh, and did we mention they also offer polenta fries? This University Ave. cafe is what gluten-free brunch dreams are made of.
The popular Australian eatery has sprouted international roots on Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus will guide gluten-free guests to what they can and cannot eat, like the Fresh Aussie, which is tea smoked salmon, poached Waimanalo eggs, greens, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. Bill’s also offers kama‘aina rates for locals, so there’s a lot to feel good about here.
Sometimes, you just need an extra dose of fruits and vegetables to help you recharge. Enter: the Waikiki vegetarian haven Ruffage Natural Foods. Tucked away on Kuhio Ave., it can be a little hard to find. But once you do, you’ll be coming back day after day for their gluten-free sandwiches and smoothies. And a little history for you: this place was healthy before it was cool — it has been around since 1980!
With locations all over Oahu, Down to Earth is the island's one-stop shop when it comes to all natural, healthy food. Sure, this might technically be a grocery store, but any of their deli sandwiches (all vegetarian) can be made using a gluten-free wrap, bread, or bun. You'll also find tasty gluten-free pizzas and pastries in the bakery section — and don’t forget the salad bar with homemade dressings!
Named for the famous Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s Waikiki serves up a second-to-none surf and turf menu featuring a killer lunch buffet, seafood specials, sandwiches, and burgers (with plenty of gluten-free options available!). Combine that with the oceanfront dining room and bar and there's a reason guests have kept coming back to this homegrown spot year after year. The best part? They designate gluten-conscious items on the menu, like the sweet Caramelized Beet Salad and the Baked “Duke’s Style” freshly-caught Hawai‘ian fish.
In a world where the quality of a sandwich is often measured by the bread it's served on, Sprout Sandwich Shop offers gluten-free eaters the opportunity to try each of its 11 sandwiches with freshly-baked gluten-free bread that's as good as the gluten-filled version. A Hawai‘i-based company, Sprout has locations in Hale‘iwa and Kaimuki, so both the north and south sides of the island get to enjoy the delicious, healthy fare. Can't decide what to order? We recommend the Yogi sandwich with sun-dried tomato hummus, kale, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, and garlic-citrus aioli.
This fast-casual eatery is on a mission to bring simple, healthy food to the Waikiki masses. Fresh salads and cold-pressed juices are available for take-out (perfect for a solo beach sesh), and any of their panini sandwiches can be made with gluten-free bread. And if you're not near the shop, you can find their menu items in all Oahu Whole Foods locations.
Don’t let the fun name fool you — Goofy Cafe is one of the most popular spots on Ala Moana Boulevard. The menu is full of gluten-free items and healthy choices to jump-start your Hawai‘ian day (did we mention breakfast is offered at all hours?). Fitt Tip: It’s a small location, so make sure you either make reservations or get there right when it opens.
With two locations on the island, The Sunrise Shack has already set the standard for organic bullet coffee on Oahu, but we urge you not to overlook their gluten-free pastries. So the next time you stop in for your morning cup of joe, make sure you also snag a banana turmeric muffin, vegan cinnamon roll, or sea salt chocolate chip cookie. Whatever you grab to go, you really can’t go wrong.