Houston's Best Gluten-Free Dining Options

Categories: For Your Health

Photo courtesy of Prego
Corn flour penne pasta with heirloom tomatoes, Texas smoked mozzarella, roasted garlic and fresh basil.

Next to pizza, pasta is another item that many GF diners find themselves missing. It doesn't have to be that way at these Italian restaurants, where you can not only indulge in naturally GF dishes such as gnocchi and risotto, but house-made GF pastas at places such as Coppa and Prego. And at chains like Carrabba's, you'll find entire GF menus.

Coppa Ristorante Italiano

Fine Dining

Being gluten-free doesn't mean sticking to chains or having to make everything at home. You can get fancy, too, with anything from Texas quail with a summer corn tamale and huitlacoche sauce at RDG + Bar Annie to flourless chocolate cake at Mockingbird Bistro. While not all of the places listed below have separate GF menus, they're all notable for being extremely flexible and adaptive to the needs of GF diners.

Backstreet Cafe
Mockingbird Bistro
RDG + Bar Annie
Vic & Anthony's

Photo by Jeff Balke
Chicken and salad at Ruggles Green.
Cute & Casual

Like most of the places listed above, these are non-chain spots throughout Houston that are receptive to GF diners even if the restaurants themselves don't have dedicated GF menus. Most of the items on the menu at Roots Bistro, for example, are naturally gluten-free, such as its raw "squashta" tossed with spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beets and a ginger dressing or sautéed Jerusalem artichokes with vegetables, beet puree and pesto. Ditto Pondicheri, the little sister restaurant to Indian favorite Indika. And at Ruggles Green, you'll find a handy color-coded menu that denotes which of its many items are vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free or all three.

Cafe TH
Kenny & Ziggy's
Roots Bistro
Ruggles Green

Vegan & Vegetarian

Vegan doesn't necessarily mean gluten-free; after all, it's easy to make vegan wraps, crackers, bread or other products from wheat, rye, barley or other grains containing gluten -- so beware. But when you're eating at vegan or vegetarian places that specialize in raw food, your chances of encountering gluten products drop significantly. Ditto for places such as Radical Eats, which are both vegan and Mexican.

Doshi House
Green Seed Vegan
Radical Eats

Photo by Chuck Cook
Delicious dishes at Bare Bowls.
Food Trucks

Finding a food truck that serves GF items can be tough. Fortunately, there are places like Bare Bowls -- which offers dishes such as market-fresh vegetables on basmati rice -- and Monster PB&J, where all of its sandwiches come with a GF bread option.

Bare Bowls
Green Seed Vegan
Monster PB&J

Coffee Shops

What's a cup of coffee without a pastry or snack on the side? These coffee shops are notable for offering goodies from some of our favorite vegan bakeries around town, such as Sinfull Bakery, as well as raw treats from folks like Pat Greer.

Antidote Coffee
Black Hole Coffee House
Taft Street Coffee
Waldo's Coffee House

Did we miss your favorite gluten-free spot? Share it with others in the comments section below.

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"The fact of the matter is that most Mexican joints are safely gluten-free if you abstain from flour tortillas, sopapillas and the like. "

Are you kidding?  Nearly every Mexican restaurant out there marinates BOTH their chicken and their beef in soy sauce.  Soy sauce sold here in the U.S. contains wheat in order to speed up the fermentation process.  Real soy sauce is fermented over a period of 6 months and does not contain wheat.  Real soy sauce is called tamari.

Major props to Lupe Tortilla for their excellent celiac-friendly menu.  They take great precautions, but even there you can't eat the chips as they are fried in a common fryer. 


@Celiac I agree. I love Mexican, so I've tried (after being assured by managers that they're fine) food all over town. I always get sick. Chuy's says they have gluten free options, but then they told me that they marinate their meat in beer! I've never gotten sick at Hugo's or Radical Eats, and you can get great chips and guac at the latter.


"...indulge in naturally GF dishes such as gnocchi..."

This is not true and shows a serious lack of credibility in this article.  The two main ingredients in gnocchi are potatoes and FLOUR.  People with celiac should avoid gnocchi unless it is specified as gluten free.


Radical Eats has always been 95% gluten-free.  We use local little Soya soy sauce (g-f) and we don't fry wheat in the fryer.  Just sayin'


Corner table has many interesting gf options, including coconut flour tortillas that come with their almond crusted fish tacos. Also, Ooh LaLa bakery in town and country has gf cupcakes, cookies, and macaroons.


"Corn tortillas -- especially those filled with barbacoaor al pastor from taco trucks -- are one of the easiest bets for the GF diner."

No, NO, NOOO. This is factually incorrect. Almost all Mexican restuarants will fry up their corn tortillas to make them soft. This is usually the same oil and same fryer that they use for those tasty sopapillas and that means that those corn tortillas are most definitely NOT gluten-free. Trust me, I have a very specific reaction to gluten and I've found out the hard way. Molé is right out as well (except guac, thankfully). There are also some soup bases and sauces out there that will use some wheat flour so caldo, enchiladas, and even rice or fajitas can be problematic. Add in the fact that most Mexican places will also fry up their chips in the same gluten-y oil and it make most of them bad places for Celiacs and others with health issues related to gluten. Thanks for posting about Hugo's and Lupe Tortilla.


Two days a week Celebrity Cupcake makes fabulous GF cupcakes, Torchys Tacos has many GF items - also use gloves and handling practices needed for celiacs level of GF precautions, Ruggles green has great gf macaroni and cheese, Candelaris has GF pizza. Pondicheri - owner has a daughter with celiacs and they are extra precautious too.


"These coffee shops are notable for offering goodies from some of our favorite vegan bakeries around town, such as Sinfull Bakery" 

Which is irrelevant because vegan does not mean "gluten free". Why do so many people in Houston think they are the same thing? Maybe because articles like this perpetuate that misconception.


Thanks so much for providing this information! Can't wait to try some of these. I discovered Russo's three weeks ago and have had pizza from them three times already - there is no limit on what toppings you can have and the size is nice as is the pricing. I've had zpizza as well and while it is a good pizza, I was disappointed with the limited topping selection, size and price of the pizza. Hence my being excited about Russo's. Dessert Gallery has a delicious peanut butter and dark chocolate truffle that is gf as well as a flourless chocolate cake.


Most of Hugo's menu is gluten free since corn is the base of most of what we do.  Keep us in mind.

Kevin Lacobie
Kevin Lacobie

Te House of Tea has a solid gluten-free menu. Also, caution about injera: some recipes use wheat! Connie was trying to expand her gluten-free options with a new injera crepe, so visited to local Ethiopian grocer on Bissonnet, and the owner there gave her a recipe with wheat! She experimented on her own, and finally settled on a teff/buckwheat. Alas, the batter spoils quickly, so it didn't remain on the menu.


Why oh wyh woudl anyone give up Gluten? I love mustard.

Danielle Stillman-Diederich
Danielle Stillman-Diederich

Great rundown! Didn't know half of these places had GF options. Thanks for the list; I think we'll be eating from it quite often. :) Wanted to point out sushi is not as simple as "bring your own soy sauce", though, unless you're going straight sashimi. There are lots of potential allergens where you don't think they'll be hiding--like seaweed, roe and other sauces (ponzu, eel, etc). Even the fake wasabi stuff that so many places serve has wheat in it to stretch it. We've kind of given up on sushi since it can be so disastrous.


The Chocolate Bar has a gluten-free chocolate truffle cake (maybe more, too).  Also, while it's not dining out, it is prepared food, HEB (on Buffalo Speedway, at least) has a frozen foods section with prepared meal offerings.


I love the varied selection of international gluten-free offerings listed here. Can't wait to try all of them. Thanks for this posting.


Of course Pei Wei does gluten free as well like PF Chang, since they're owned by the same parent company.  Amazingly, for pizza alot of Dominoes Pizza does GF dough for $5, though only come in personal size, they are happy to accommodate.  Candelari's uses GF Houston's dough for pizza as well.  And of course, sushi is pretty gluten free all around, just avoid the fried stuff.

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