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Some things are hard to find in DC: parking, a studio that’s not an English basement or converted sunroom, bottomless mimosas under 12 dollars… Gluten-free options, however, are not hard to come by.
This city is filled with gluten-free restaurants, markets, and snacks — you just have to know where to look. From sit-down meals to food truck bites, there’s no shortage of gluten-free alternatives in this city.
Arepa Zone is one of the few food trucks where the majority of the menu is gluten-free (with vegetarian and vegan options available). Arepas are made from corn, not wheat, so you’re sure to find a flavor you love. Plus, you can now find them any time of day at one of their two brick-and-mortar locations in Union Market or on 14th St.
We could not have been happier when Rito Loco opened a storefront in Shaw (as one of the best food trucks in America, their line at Farragut Square is the bane of our existence). While the ‘ritos themselves are made with a flour tortilla, they offer rice bowls, spinach bowls, tacos, and even breakfast pupusas (traditional Salvadoran stuffed tortillas) as alternatives.
Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan — falafel from DC Ballers has got you covered. Almost everything on their menu is safe for consumption (sans the pita). Order a falafel platter with hummus and tabouli salad, or splurge and go straight for the Greek fries.
Originally a food truck, District Taco has now opened multiple brick-and-mortars across DC and Virginia. This local spot pays special attention to specialty diets, noting all allergen information clearly on their site and offering corn tortillas by request for all menu items.
Imagine walking into a restaurant and not asking for a gluten-free menu because only gluten-free items are offered. You’re not dreaming, that’s The Little Beet in Dupont. Whether you’re building your own lunch from their protein and veggie bar, enjoying a ham and cheese breakfast sandwich, or treating yourself to a snickerdoodle cookie — every item is free of contamination.
Mediterranean is always a questionable choice when it comes to eating gluten-free. Is the falafel mixed with flour? Is there a dedicated fryer for gluten-free items? Roti pays special attention to allergens, offering a separate gluten-free menu for all patrons. The best part: they even offer gluten-free pita on request!
Jose Andres’ restaurants have always been the place for conscious cuisine, but you don’t need to drop three figures at minibar to enjoy a meal from the culinary genius. Each option from Beefsteak (where no beef is served — beefsteak refers to the tomato variety) is packed with market fresh veggies. Plus, every menu item—sans the sandwich and seasonal salad—is gluten-free. Try it out for yourself in Tenleytown, Dupont Circle, or at George Washington University on 22nd St. NW.
Can we take a moment of silence for the good &pizza has done for this city? Never has pizza—let alone gluten-free pizza—been so widely available at 3am. Each one of their signature pies (we’re partial to the Maverick and Gnarlic) are available with a gluten-free crust, or you can make your own.
Ella’s Pizza in Chinatown stole our hearts with their authentic wood-fired pizza, and we can’t help but love the gluten-free options. The gluten-free choice comes as a thin-crust, individual pie — stop in and try the Genovese or soppressata.
In our humble opinion, Kyra’s Favorite gluten-free crust by Pete’s New Haven is one of the best-tasting crusts out there. All ingredients for its three DC-area shops are sourced from local area farms and purveyors, so you’ll know exactly where your pizza is coming from. Plus, at $14 for a medium pie, it’s well worth the price.
Firefly’s regular menu offers multiple gluten-free options, yet they still carry a full gluten-free menu. Start with their charcuterie and artisanal cheeses, then pair either the farmhouse chicken or mini pot roast with parmesan fries or caramelized Brussels sprouts for a complete meal and experience in Dupont.
This rustic Italian restaurant in Shaw sources all ingredients from sustainable area farms and offers a variety of gluten-free dishes on their menu. Start with gluten-free pasta (offered for an additional $3) or one of their antipasti dishes, and treat yourself to gelato or an almond torte after dinner.
Agora clearly notes gluten, dairy, and nut ingredients for each dish on their menu. The Turkish restaurant in Dupont offers a variety of gluten-free mezzes (small plates), including stuffed grape leaves, grilled calamari, and lamb dishes.
Walk into the bakery in AdMo and you’ll swear you’ve died and gone to wheat and barley heaven. The bakery is 100% gluten-free — so, have no fear of cross-contamination. Go for the blueberry muffins or chocolate scones for a gluten-ous treat.
This gluten-free patisserie in Falls Church (and Alexandria) is DC’s go-to for gluten-free treats. Offering tarts, cake pops, éclairs, cupcakes, and everything in between — you can always get your sweet fix at this shop.
The award-winning vegan bakery in Columbia Heights (two-time champ of Cupcake Wars, holla!) offers gluten-free cupcakes on their daily menu. If you’re planning a large event, they also offer gluten-free, personalized cakes if you order in advance.
How great is it that the Nats’ stadium offers gluten-free options? In case you haven’t heard, stop by the Center Field Plaza while you’re watching the game. Gluten-Free Grill offers hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches on gluten-free buns, plus nachos, popcorn, and other great snacks. Go Nats!
Always seasonal, always delicious, and always catering toward specialty diets, we were thrilled with True Food Kitchen came to the DMV, specifically Bethesda and Fairfax. Created by a doctor of integrative medicine, True Food Kitchen commits to making food that, “makes you feel better, not worse.” There’s more than enough gluten-free options on their menu — and vegan and vegetarian dishes, too!
This fast-casual Korean joint next to the NoMa metro is the go-to spot over the lunch hour. Pick a rice bowl, sushi burrito, street taco, or salad as your base — it doesn’t matter ’cause it’s all gluten-free (this should go without saying, but as long as the filling is also gluten-free). We love a good street taco filled with spicy beef, all the veggies, and ginger carrot dressing.
As one of DC’s long-time pizza favorites, Comet Ping Pong in Chevy Chase, we couldn’t not be thrilled when they added a gluten-free crust to the menu. Sure, the upcharge is a little steep at $5 (because DC) but it’s one of the best, most authentic crusts you’ll find in Northwest. Our favorites? The Smokey and The Jimmy.
Long before Red Hen got wrongly accused in the Twittersphere for a political debacle (it was in VIRGINIA, people!), they were already one of our favorite restaurants. Their menu floats between Italian and American with incredible pastas—yes, including gluten-free pasta—apps, and mains that rotate seasonally.
One of the best things about living in this city is how exposed we are to cuisines from all across the globe. This Balkan restaurant on Capitol Hill has gone out of their way to accommodate allergen requests, publishing allergy menus for lunch, brunch, dinner, and dessert — with over 80% of the menu gluten-free.
Farmbird, on H Street, is changing the way people think about chicken, only serving those raised on an all-vegetarian diet without hormones or antibiotics. Their menu is almost entirely gluten-free (sans the obvious, namely sandwiches and their mac ’n’ cheese). Our favorites are the Avocado Basil and Chipotle Masala.
**Updated by Kara McCartney, August 2018