Let’s address the elephant in the room…what exactly is gluten? And what foods are gluten-free?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “gluten is a protein found in certain grains, such as wheat, barley, [and] rye.” Some of the most common foods containing gluten include bread, pastries, pasta, cereal, soy sauce, and beer. That list may include many of life’s greatest joys, but just because somebody can’t eat gluten doesn’t mean they can’t find some lovely foods to eat.
Fortunately, Atlanta has a wide list of restaurants offering gluten-free options that will knock your socks off, whether you can eat gluten or not.
If you’ve never had an arepa, they’re a South American delight: crispy and cheesy white corn cakes, often stuffed with all sorts of tasty fillings, and they taste even better than they look. Due to the cornmeal flour, arepas are indeed gluten-free! You can also pair this with a gluten-free side like plantain chips and tostones (plantains that have been fried, smashed, and fried again). Just make sure to confirm your arepa fillings are gluten-free.
If you’re a glutton for gluten, you may think it’s impossible to enjoy a pastry or other baked good that’s gluten-free. Alpharetta’s 2BWhole changes that narrative, serving a killer lineup of gluten-free pastries, desserts, and savory dishes. Start your day right with their breakfast items like Stuffed Egg & Cheese Biscuits and Vegan Cinnamon Rolls, or end it with a bang with pies, cakes, muffins, and cupcakes.
Ramen might not seem glutinous, but the noodles are often made with flour. E Ramen + in Midtown lets you enjoy their robust and savory broth with gluten-free noodles so you can slurp away without a care in the world.
With a name like Flower Child, you know there’s plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, but there’s also plenty for a gluten-free eater to enjoy. Some of them you probably expect to be gluten-free, like their Italian Chopped Salad, loaded with greens, veggies, chickpeas, and a calabrian chili vinaigrette, but a few are a bit more surprising, like the Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese with white cheddar and parmesan.
Pizza is one of the most popular foods containing gluten, so it has understandably also become a common target for gluten-free gastronomy. Fritti serves a fantastic pizza with a myriad of toppings, and you can get any one of them with gluten-free crust!
Who said being gluten-free means you can’t enjoy a donut? Alejandra Luaces was inspired by her own allergy and love for baking to open the door for patrons of all dietary restrictions (if any at all) to enjoy some of life’s greatest foods, like donuts, biscuits, scones, pies, cookies, and more. Everything at Hell Yeah is gluten-free, not to mention dairy- and nut-free, and you surely won’t miss their absence once you taste these treats.
Metro Fresh is a go-to spot for light yet hearty fare, and many of those are gluten-free. The menu is ever-changing, but you can kick off your morning with treats like Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes or Organic Hot Maple Quinoa, and enjoy a lunch of items like Vegan Butternut Squash Soup, Garden Veggie Caprese, or Apple Cider Marinated Kale Salad.
The Salty, with locations all over the Southeast, specializes in donuts, coffee, and good vibes. While the latter two generally don’t contain gluten, The Salty has a specifically gluten-free donut to check all the boxes. The Chocolate Chip & Sea Salt Donut is a baked chocolate chip cake donut with a cocoa glaze and topped with pieces of chocolate chip cookies and Maldon sea salt. It’s sweet, it’s salty, and it’s free of gluten!
Souper Jenny has an ever-changing lineup of soups, salads, and sandwiches, some of which are gluten-free and some are not. One mainstay of the menu, however, is My Dad’s Turkey Chili, a warm and comforting dish that is so balanced and flavorful that you won’t even realize it’s gluten-free until you’re staring at your empty bowl.
Recess serves up a hodgepodge of healthy salads and bowls that are not only delicious but filling as well. Many of their best menu items are gluten-free too, like the Harvest Moon (spring mix, kale, cauliflower, cabbage slaw, citrus red onion, and a sesame pumpkin seed mix with turmeric pepper vinaigrette), La Vega (spring mix, avocado, roasted corn, black beans, citrus, red onion, cherry tomato, and corn tortilla strips with a chipotle crema), and the Dirty Bird (multiple rice options, quinoa, roasted sweet potato, broccoli, marinated kale, and slow-cooked shredded chicken with a sweet chili sauce). With bowls as fun as this, you’ll feel like you’re playing at recess!