by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
These days, more chefs are making special menus for the poor souls who have wheat allergies, meaning they can't typically have awesome things like bread, beer or pasta. Thankfully for those with celiac disease, gluten-free dining has been popping up on Atlanta's culinary radar. Our guide to eating gluten-free--and eating well--in Atlanta includes full scale gluten-free menus at fine dining champs like Wisteria and Ecco (pictured) and gluten-free burgers, desserts and even pasta at more casual Atlanta restaurants.
Updated: October 15, 2010
This Inman Park mainstay didn't just embrace gluten-free dining, it also developed a full-blown menu dedicated to those with wheat allergies, and according to chef Jason Hill, an average of 20 people a night request the gluten-friendly version. With items like molasses-rubbed pork tenderloin, shrimp and grits, ahi tuna flatbread and revolving gelatos, Wisteria's cult following hardly seems unusual.
Shaun Doty is known for seasonal celiac dinners at his namesake restaurant, Shaun's, so it's no surprise he takes the gluten-sensitive folks into consideration at Yeah! Burger too. All of the restaurant's sauces are gluten-free, Doty developed a gluten-free white bun, and the joint even does gluten-free French fries. As for the burgers, get the bison and thank us later.
Those looking for an upscale Italian experience should look no further than this elegant Virginia Highland trattoria. Grilled calamari, cream-filled mozzarella (burrata), shrimp risotto and veal scallopine with prosciutto more than makes up for the presence of only one gluten-free pasta dish on the menu.
Ecco is Atlanta's champion of thoughtful dining, as the restaurant composts or recycles every bit of waste. And as a part of the savvy Fifth Group restaurants, it's no surprise that it has a gluten-free menu. Ecco's cured meats are some of the best in the city, and glorious entrees like wood-roasted mussels and a ribeye with a Bearnaise sauce have big flavor and no gluten.
Besides the usual gluten-free Mexican options like tacos and guacamole, El Taco brings the thunder with a multitude of ? wait for it ? Mexican pizzas! The pies--giant flatbreads made of masa--are topped with vegetarian black beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese and hot peppers, or add additional topping options such as chorizo, chicken and carnitas.
A pioneer in the new Southern and slow-food movements, South City Kitchen's gluten-free menu sticks to its regional guns. Pimento cheese with house pickles and spicy New Orleans barbecue shrimp (without French bread) make nice starters, while scallops over stone ground grits and pan-seared mountain trout are easy-to-like entrees.
Saving the day for pasta fans is Figo, the local franchise that specializes in build-your-own-pasta-bowls in a super-casual setting. Gluten-free fusilli pasta can be paired with any of the restaurant's 18 sauces, which are all gluten-free. The slightly spicy amatriciana, with pancetta, peperoncini and tomatoes, is a personal favorite and clocks in at around $9.
This thoughtful restaurant in West Midtown is known for its endearing farm-to-table philosophy and likeable owner, Betsy Pitts. The rotating menu is nearly completely free of gluten, and even sandwiches can be delivered with gluten-free bread. Ask Pitts to make a suggestion at the beginning of the meal as she has extensive knowledge on the nuances of gluten-free cooking and the Paleo diet (which focuses on lean meat, seafood, fruits and veggies).
A one-stop shop for gluten-free baked goods, Sally's is safe for those with celiac disease. With a vast selection that includes hamburger buns, sandwich bread, blueberry muffins, cake and even chocolate chip cookies, it's a sweet, doughy escape for those always on lookout for gluten. Did we mention that it has pre-made, gluten-free pizzas? Yeah, there's that too.
While ice cream tends to come loaded with cookie-crumbly gluten-invaders, gelato shops almost always have celiac-friendly options. Enter: Paolo's in Virginia Highland. With a menu that includes cream flavors, fruit flavors and flower flavors (orange blossom anyone?), plus additional options for sugar-free and non-dairy gelato, you're bound to get your sweet fix without the sneaky wheat.
Known for its creative tacos, cheap margs and long but quick-moving lines, Taqueria del Sol is an Atlanta institution. Its tacos are traditionally served in flour tortillas, but you can get signature favorites like beef brisket or barbecue pork wrapped in a corn tortilla instead (they use them for enchiladas), for gluten-free taco gluttony.
Known for its creative tacos, cheap margs and long-but-quick-moving lines, Taqueria del Sol is an Atlanta institution. Their tacos are traditionally served in flour tortillas, but you can get signature favorites like beef brisket or barbecue pork wrapped in a corn tortilla instead (they use them for enchiladas), for gluten-free taco gluttony.