I recently retweeted a Boston.com article detailing ten casual and upscale restaurants in Boston with gluten-free option. However, I haven’t been to all of the restaurants on that list so I can’t comment on some of them. Instead, I decided to compile a list of my ten personal favorite GF-friendly restaurants in the city. The styles of these restaurants range from sushi to Italian and casual to trendy, but I can guarantee you will have a fantastic dining experience at any of them if you are on a gluten-free diet! Each of these places has some pretty fantastic options that I have personally tried and can recommend. Here’s my list, in no particular order:
1. PF Chang’s
Though PF Chang’s is a national chain with dishes that are by no means healthy or authentic, I am always impressed by how accommodating they are. About half the dishes can be made gluten free, and that always leaves me with more than enough options. Last night I went with a group of people to the Theater District location and we ordered two of the spicy chicken dishes – one gluten free and one regular. We forced one of the people in our group – who has always knocked the GF dishes at PF Chang’s and claimed that they are worse-tasting – to do a blind taste test. He actually thought that the GF spicy chicken was the normal one and vise versa!
locations: The Shops at the Prudential Center & 800 Boylston St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: chang’s chicken lettuce wraps
2. Papa Razzi
Papa Razzi on Newbury Street is one my favorite go-to when I’m craving a simple pasta dish or pizza. I nearly always get the same thing, penne with spicy tomato sauce and added blackened chicken, though their pizzas are also very good as far as gluten-free goes. I am also a huge fan of the fact that their pastas and doughs are made fresh every day.
location: 159 Newbury St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: penne all’ arabbiata
3. Joe’s American Bar + Grill
I wouldn’t put Joe’s on my list of best restaurants in Boston given that most of the food is nothing special. But when it is a beautiful summer day out, you want to sit on the patio overlooking the water or Back Bay, and you have food allergies that limit your options, Joe’s classic American menu is a great choice for a casual lunch.
locations: 100 Atlantic Ave. Boston, MA & 181 Newbury St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: fresh ground turkey burger with a gluten-free bun
Sonsie is fabulous for any occasion. You really can’t go wrong with any dish at this trendy Back Bay spot.
location: 327 Newbury St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: grilled salmon
I have only ever eaten at Piattini for lunch so I can’t say what dinner service is like there. But the homemade pasta is delicious and always satisfies my craving for Italian. The atmosphere beats that of Papa Razzi if you are in the mood for a more quiet, low key experience – but the pasta is about the same, in my experience, so it really comes down to preference if you are choosing between these two Italian Newbury Street restaurants.
location: 226 Newbury St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: penne all’ arabbiata
6. Red Lantern
Red Lantern is the best sushi restaurant out of every sushi restaurant I have ever been to in any city. It is trendy, loud, and the signature rolls are some of the most unique I’ve ever seen. The service can be pretty slow some nights, but their array of gluten-free options and club-like atmosphere always make up for that.
location: 39 Stanhope St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: ronin roll
7. Jerry Remy’s – Fenway
Jerry Remy’s is quick and fun before a game at Fenway or a casual night out. The atmosphere isn’t particularly unique compared to the myriad other sports bars in the area, but the burgers really are fantastic.
location: 1265 Boylston St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: beef burger with a gluten-free bun
8. Back Deck
Back Deck is literally set up like somebody’s back deck. It is a casual concept burger joint with superb service, and always makes for a fun experience after an afternoon of shopping in Downtown Crossing.
location: 2 West St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: backyard turkey burger
9. Toscano – Beacon Hill
Toscano is the epitome of classic, sophisticated Northern Italian cuisine. I spent a semester in Florence, had some of the best food of my life there, and I can say that Toscano’s bistecca really is fantastic. They have gluten-free pasta options as well, but I would definitely recommend the steak given that you can find decent GF pasta at many other places in Boston. Though Toscano doesn’t have a designated GF menu, the chef is incredibly accommodating with food allergies – you won’t be disappointed.
location: 47 Charles St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: bistecca de manzo
10. Legal Seafoods – Prudential
Hands-down, Legals is my all-time favorite seafood restaurant (maybe with the exception of that family-owned seafood joint atop of a cliff in Amalfi that I ate at once). Their GF rolls are better than almost any I’ve ever had, the manager personally brings out your plate if you have food allergies, and the sea food is fresh. What more could I ask for? And if you don’t live in the city, they have locations all over New England.
location: 800 Boylston St. Boston, MA
favorite item on the menu: anna’s baked boston scrod