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JUL 14, 2020



Whether it’s for breakfast tacos, international eats, vegan fare, or just brunch with your sweat squad, finding gluten-free food is a breeze for in HOU. Houston restaurants have caught onto the gluten-free movement, and fast, designing entire GF menus or fixing up incredible dishes sans the G-word.

Whether you avoid gluten because of celiac, a sensitivity, or just because you’re trying to be a bit more healthy, we’ve got you. We put together a list of Houston’s best gluten-free options — enjoy!

When you’re feeling a little fancy, Backstreet Cafe is the place to go. They do funky twists on Southern coastal classics (hello, kimchi grits with bulgogi) and all of their menus are super-clearly labeled for GF folks and vegetarians alike. Check out brunch or lunch, which have more GF options than dinner. The remodeled River Oaks house they’re based out of is nothing short of adorable, so take that special someone you’ve been trying to impress — or, you know, treat yo’self.

This downtown staple got its start as a food truck in 2011 and built its brick-and-mortar location from a Kickstarter campaign – so you know it has got some staying power. As you might guess from the name, everything on the menu is vegan and soy-free, but they also offer a ton of flexibility to gluten-free customers. Any of their amazing sandwiches, like the Garden Fresh sandwich) can be made gluten-free by subbing a brown rice wrap or a collard wrap (for when you’re feeling especially lean and green). And if you want to have your (gluten-free) cake and eat it too, their gluten-free cupcakes and raw “cheesecake” are next-level. Plus, Bun B loves it. What else do you need to know?

Local Foods continues to push the envelope in Houston, and health- and environmentally-conscious Houstonians are definitely not complaining. Not only does Local Foods offer the option to have any of their incredible sandwiches made on gluten-free bread, they also will turn any of these sandwiches into equally incredible salads. Oh, and all of the desserts (both gluten-free and gluten-full) are amazing, but the GF Seven-Layer bar is easily the best.

Of all of Houston’s Vietnamese standbys, Jenni’s has the largest and most unique gluten-free menu (and three locations in the Loop). All of the noodle salad dishes and soups can easily be made GF by subbing buckwheat noodles, and the Dream Rolls (tofu, veggies, ginger, mint) came by their name honestly. We’ll leave you with a recommendation to try the Spicy Shrimp Pho, and let you come up with all of the puns about how good it is after you’ve checked it out.

The best thing about the menu at Pondicheri is that the gluten-free options aren’t created with weird substitutions; they’re gluten-free because they’re supposed to be, because they taste better that way. The thalis (platters perfect for your indecisive friend) are customized for every meal, include a little bit of everything, and give you an opportunity try lots of amazing menu items—like spiced okra, smoked eggplant, and cumin rice—all at the same time.

As the undisputed and totally legit taco capital of the US (sit down, Austin), it stands to reason that Houston should have some pretty Damn Good GF tacos. Enter: Torchy’s. They have spots all over Houston and an entirely separate menu for GF folks, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice convenience or variety to get your taco fix. Or, you can just order some green chile queso-guac and call it a day — go ahead, we won’t judge.

If you’ve never had Ethiopian food before, it’s time for you to get outside the Loop and check out Blue Nile. Most of the dishes here are stews that come served on injera bread, which is kind of like a cross between a tortilla and a really delicious sponge. Injera is made using teff flour, which is naturally gluten-free, so Ethiopian food is generally gluten-friendly. And here’s the best part: you’ll use your hands, rather than forks and knives, to scoop up the bread and the stew. Get ready to get a little messy.

Plot twist: the best pizza in Houston is gluten-free. Don’t believe us? Get to their Heights spot so you can experience their amazing food and spectacular, mood-lit garden ambience firsthand. Any pizza on the menu can be made with gluten-free cauliflower crust, and their herbs and veggies are grown in-house in the patio garden (take “locally sourced” as literally as possible). If that isn’t enough to convince you, they have a $35, three-course menu for Houston Restaurant Weeks that includes lots of gluten-free options (marked on the menu for you, so you don’t even have to ask). Your biggest problem is going to be deciding what to order first.

The word “healthy” is more than just a buzzword for True Food Kitchen. This healthy chain operating out of Uptown and The Woodlands believes a few things to be true, like true ingredients for their soups, salads, and sandwiches. And while the kitchen isn’t gluten-free, all you have to do is alert your server to the dietary restriction or look for the items marked GF on the menu. Hello, Inside Out Quinoa Burger.

A healthy Vietnamese spot owned by a Netflix-famous chef just opened off Dunlavy. Kâu Ba Kitchen is serving up Vietnamese food with cajun flair because Chef Nikki Tran, who was on Netflix’s Ugly Delicious, believes “life is too short to eat cheap pho”. It’s all very HOU. But it’s also free of MSG and totally gluten-free, too — even the egg rolls are made of a tapioca flour to help us out. Tran’s twists feature a beef wasabi salad and a happy salad that’s stuffed with pineapple, Thai eggplant, calamondin, mint, lemongrass, button mushrooms, and sesame seeds, then topped with a passion fruit dressing.

Just because we’re gluten-free doesn’t mean we can’t dream of carb-loading the night before a race (or any night, for that matter.) And thanks to North Italia’s gluten-free pizza and pasta offerings, we can carb-load on some of the best damn Italian in the Galleria area. Why yes, we would love some bolognese back in our GF life.

New to HOU but not new to GF eats, B.GOOD’s food with roots is also food that’s good for our sensitive bellies. How can a health-conscious joint known for its burgers be good for us? The proof is on the menu. Before you ever head to B.GOOD, you can hop on their website and look at their list of ingredients for every item on the menu. Or if you’re already there, don’t worry — they have a gluten-free symbol to guide your decisions. Plus, like the taco stops on this list, just ask for a gluten-free bun and the options are (almost) endless.

If you haven’t made your way up to the Heights Mercantile off East 7th, add it to your list. It’s there that you’ll find Postino, which serves up all the delicious wine you need for #WineWednesday. But the best part? Its menu offers GF appetizers and more. No more staring at your besties bruschetta and picking at the toppings. Postino offers it on gluten-free bread. And same goes for their paninis.

This farm-to-table spot is focused on locally-sourced ingredients. If you’re looking for breakfast, brunch, happy hour, a special day or even game day, Dish Society has you covered—whether you’re inside or outside the loop—thanks to their spots in Tanglewood, Cinco Ranch, and Memorial Green.

Wanna taco-bout your tacos, gluten-free, with a side of lucha libre (an integral theme to the décor)? Then Tacos A Go Go is the place to be. The rockin’ Tex-Mex taqueria with four Houston eateries offers breakfast tacos, street tacos, and all kinds of other GF tacos as long as you order on a corn tortilla.

With more than 40 types of tacos, this Austin-born taqueria has just one location in HOU — off Washington Ave. And their quirky hours will make you hustle to their hot spot before lunch is over, but they have you covered with a 100% gluten-free menu, (yep, just gotta ask for that perfectly-flattened corn shell.)


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