Top 5 Houston Restaurants With Gluten-Free Options

Categories: Top 10

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Ruggles Green at CityCenter.
Before you roll your eyes at this post title and think, "God, I'm so ready for that trend to be over," (as I admittedly have done on previous occasions), consider that gluten-free dining is not just a casual lifestyle for many Americans. One in three 133 (apologies! -ed) Americans suffers from some form of celiac disease, which makes digestion of grains not only impossible but seriously deleterious to their health. Although many Houston restaurants technically offer gluten-free options, I recently learned that often these items are still at risk for contamination from being prepared and/or cooked near other foods containing wheat. Here are five restaurants that offer a range of delicious gluten-free dishes safe for celiacs and wheat-haters alike.

5. Hugo's. Hugo's more well-known claim to fame is that it's home to Houston's best margarita. Its barbacoa also made EOW headlines via its inclusion on our 100 Favorite Dishes list. But Hugo's also deserves accolades for having a staff well-versed in the restaurant's gluten-free specialties. Servers are quick to advise patrons on which menu items are definitely friendly (or unfriendly) to celiacs.

4. Ruggles Green. Although Ruggles Green vends a host of gluten-free options (spicy shrimp tacos, spinach dip, hamburgers), it's probably most revered for its pizzas, an especially tricky food to prepare well without using wheat. Of special note is the standard margherita and the dressier Dale's pizza, with ham, bacon, crème fraiche, basil, thyme, roasted garlic, and mozzarella.

3.P.F. Chang's. Boasting not only multiple locations (hey, chains are good for something) but also an entire gluten-free menu, P.F. Chang's is a reliable, moderately-priced, and celiac-safe restaurant. Carnivorous as well as vegetarian gluten-free dishes are available, including shrimp with lobster sauce, Singapore street noodles, stir-fried garlic snap peas, and a flourless chocolate dome dessert.

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Taco Milagro.
2.Indika. A restaurant that's upscale, Asian, and gluten-free? Sounds like a clue for the Scavenger Hunt From Hell for celiacs. The solution is Indika, where the majority of dishes are (or can be made) without wheat.

1.Taco Milagro. Considering one of the owners has celiac, it's not terribly surprising that wonderful gluten-free options abound at Taco Milagro. Everything on the menu, with the exception of the flour tortillas, hamburger buns, and fried fish tacos, is sans gluten, a boon for the wheat-loathing (and Tex-Mex-loving) diner.



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Location Info

Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Indika

516 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Taco Milagro - CLOSED

2555 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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34 comments
nowake200
nowake200

Maybe this article can be revisited since the #1 gluten free restaurant is no longer in business?

Also, there is a great smart phone app for people like myself with Celiac and it is called "Find Me Gluten Free" take can be mentioned.  It uses your current location and provides a list of restaurants that offer gluten free menus/options along with star ratings and user reviews.  We have found this app to be life saver while on the road and away from home, but we have noticed it is only as good as the users in the area.  Some parts of the country there are tons of reviews and ratings, surprisingly Houston doesn't seem to use this app because the developer is just down the road from Austin.  If you find/have a restaurant that is not a chain you can also submit the business information with a review and it will be put on the list.  This is big since there are probably a lot of locations that are off the beaten path that wouldn't have been given a second thought if even found. 


Celiac is NOT fun and it is even worse when you want to dine out, very ounce of additional information is a BIG help to those of us that don't have a choice or cannot risk cross contamination.  

 

gluten free foods restaurants
gluten free foods restaurants

 As general awareness of the disease grows, so too does the gluten free product range. Existing brands are branching into the gluten free food market and specialised companies are on the rise. You need no longer scour the shelves of quirky health food shops in obscure locations to find something suitable to your diet. Most major supermarket chains now provide dedicated sections for coeliac and allergy sufferers with an array of tasty alternatives to the gluten-based variety on offer.

FoodieKate
FoodieKate

None of these places, as far as I can tell, offer GF dessert options.  So, here's my recommendation for where to get great recipes for the desserts to go with your meal!:  http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-F...

Also, for those of you who are Facebook users and who are battling Celiac Disease, check out the Celiac Disease Support Group.  With over 4,000 members it's a great place to get the support you need from other people dealing with celiac disease.

Ronaboat
Ronaboat

This is a wonderfully helpful article. I nearly died from being undiagnosed for 12 years and know how hard it is to find a safe restaurant. THANKS!

Heather Jacobsen
Heather Jacobsen

Thanks for this great article and great discussion. If you eat gluten-free in Houston, I hope you will consider writing a review of your favorite GF restaurant on our new gluten-free community website: http://www.stuffed-pepper.com.  Thanks again.

Heather Jacobsen
Heather Jacobsen

I agree with all those listed. Pondicherri is also great for gluten-free and even Backstreet Cafe is accommodating to gluten intolerant people, although they don't have a specific gluten-free menu. Candelari's in Bellaire also offer gluten-free pizza, made by the Gluten Free Houston bakery, but I'm not sure how they handle cross-contamination. 

And gluten-free is NOT a trend. Its a permanent lifestylechange for people with celiac disease (an estimated 3 million Americans),gluten-intolerance (an estimated 18 million Americans), autoimmune diseases (anestimated 50 million Americans) and much more. Diagnoses of gluten-intoleranceare increasing and awareness of the problems associated with gluten isexpanding. 

So please, don't roll your eyes.

John K.
John K.

A more adventurous fad: Taunt hypertensive NFL players for wanting less salt on their French fries.

Sarah Rufca
Sarah Rufca

Samba Grille also deserves a mention. Gluten-free cheese rolls. I die.

Renyoj
Renyoj

Also, Pondicheri has some very good gluten free items, including cookies and madelines.

Laura
Laura

Rather than listing a national chain, how about highlighting another great local restaurant, such as Rainbow Lodge?

H_e_x
H_e_x

I wonder if people in the past suffered through the allergy without knowing what it is, or if it's a modern phenomenon.

Corey
Corey

My best friend is a chef/kitchen manager for PF Changs/Pei Wei and has admitted they do have potato starch but more often than not just use the normal stuff and no one has ever complained.  Seriously people find something else to worry about, something real, something you didn't just make up because you got a tummy ache from eating some bread somewhere as a kid or whatever your neurotic excuses may be..

Doc Ricky
Doc Ricky

Mexican cuisine and Chinese cuisine (not that PF Chang facsimile) are easily gluten free. Already. Of all Asian region cuisines, wheat figures prominently in just a few, India being one. 

Other places with gluten free stuff?

Japanese. Just avoid wheat noodles. Soba is good, as buckwheat is already gluten free. 

http://food.drricky.net/2011/1...

Chinese, avoiding the regions that use wheat (usually Northern region). 

Vietnamese, avoiding the banh

Korean

Indonesian

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Oh! And Pecan Creek Grille and Chatter's both have GF menus as well, which is really nice to see on breakfast menus.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Good list! I'd definitely add Prego, Trevisio and D'Amico's to the list, too. It's not often you find Italian restaurants offering such a variety of gluten-free pastas.

nowake200
nowake200

Here is the link... 


http://www.findmeglutenfree.com/

**Also, sorry for the awful sentence structure at the start of the second paragraph, I must of had two different thoughts at one time.  

nowake200
nowake200

@gluten free foods restaurantsI would tend to agree but it seems the biggest gap in awareness is in the restaurant industry.  I cannot tell you how many times we have walked out of locations because the front staff couldn't answer questions or even know what gluten is. 

Something else for restaurants to ponder, if there is a large party dining out and just one person in the group has Celiac that one person will be the one picking the restaurant assuming it is good.  That is a lot revenue hinging on whether one person in that group can safely and without anxiety enjoy a meal.

Stacy
Stacy

Yes, Pondicheri! The delicious fried chicken and fries are fried in chickpea flour!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I have a feeling it's akin to autism in that it's not necessarily more prevalent these days, but that it's more well-diagnosed now. Think about all the infant deaths from ye olden days that were simply listed as "failure to thrive." There's been a lot of speculation about what illnesses those actually were, and that celiac disease was one of them.

Renyoj
Renyoj

My guess is that people suffered with it before. My father was diagnosed in 1985, but suffered with it since the 60's. My guess is that others have similar experiences.

Ronaboat
Ronaboat

I know there is no point replying to someone as ignorant as you..but it just makes me feel better...

Joanna O'Leary
Joanna O'Leary

Corey, Corey, Corey.  This is a public blog, not your garage where you can mouth off about [insert X ethnic group here] ruining the neighborhood. You named names and disavowed a legitimate medical minority. Holy lawsuit waiting to happen.

Sajeffco
Sajeffco

I have two close family members with celiac disease and I can tell you it is NOT a made up disease. Both family members were extremely sick for years until they were properly diagnosed, and their symptoms completely disappeared after a few weeks of eating a gluten-free diet. AND, in addition to the blood work and scope test that came back positive, they both tested positive for the celiac gene, because it is a GENETIC disorder. If you want to be a sarcastic smartass, at least be an educated one.

Jorge
Jorge

Tummy ache from eating bread or a neurotic excuse that is made up....it took multiple doctors and finally a biopsy on my small intestine to explain the "neurotic" side effects of the auto immune defeciancy in my digestive tract from being celiac...which I knew nothing about when I found out six years ago.  This is not a fad and not an excuse for those of us who have to deal with it...and I pray that your "friend" at PF Changs does NOT try to slip something by a paying guest who is putting their trust and health in his hands.

This is not a modern phenomenon, and I... like many... suffered for years before my diagonosis.  The best news...no medication needed...life changing news is that you change your lifestyle of eating to be wheat free. 

FoodieKate
FoodieKate

@twitter-23395072:disqus : Actually you must be *very careful* eating at Asian restaurants if you do in fact have celiac disease.  Why? 

Because soy sauce--used in many, many Asian dishes--contains wheat ingredients that will make people with celiac disease ill.  There are GF safe soy sauces available on the market (e.g., Tamari's Gluten Free Soy Sauce), but it is highly unlikely that most restaurants are using these speciality GF soy sauces in their dishes.

I would also caution anyone with severe sensitivity to gluten to be wary of Ruggles Green's GF pizzas.  My Dad opted to pass on them because they are baked in the same oven as their traditional wheat pizzas.  This means there's a pretty strong chance of cross contamination.

Guest
Guest

Actually, for people with serious gluten issues Chinese food is particularly difficult, as most soy sauce is actually made from a mixture of fermented wheat and soy. As you might imagine, this is very difficult to avoid at most Chinese restaurants, as well as some less authentic Thai places.  Only specific 100% soy gluten-free tamari are safe for those with Celiac disease.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Yup, pretty much what I thought too. I was also thinking maybe something in the environment, since god only knows we have been fucking that up for quite some time. 

Joanna O'Leary
Joanna O'Leary

Up until the 20th century, people also thought type 1 diabetics were fabricating their complaints. Yes, thousands of people decided to pretend their pancreases weren't making insulin...purely for shits and giggles.

Heather Jacobsen
Heather Jacobsen

This is not a fad. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance has probably existed as long as wheat has been in our diet, but we are only now discovering its effects on our bodies. There may be some truth in the "modern phenomenon" argument, however. Because the genetically modified wheat that we eat today is far different from what our ancestors ate, with denser gluten proteins today. 

Corey
Corey

There is always shoyu...

Ronaboat
Ronaboat

I read that people were being diagnosed in the 1920s but were only allowed to eat bananas and rice...My doctor told me that celiac was discussed in his medical school class and they were shown pictures of children with bloated stomachs and told that it was such a rare condition (and only found in children) they would probably never encounter it in their practice!! Another of my doctors criticized my being given an endoscopy and later apologized for his ignorance of the illness.

Heather Jacobsen
Heather Jacobsen

its both. the disease has been shown to be more prevalent today than in the past, based on comparing DNA from people today, and frozen DNA from people 50 years ago. But the disease has always existed, and sadly many have suffered silently for decades, not understanding the true cause of their health problems.

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