Saturday, July 19, 2014

Best Restaurants for Gluten Free Dining in Orlando

I recently wrote several blog posts about my favorite restaurants at Disney World, so continuing along those lines, I thought it might be nice to put together a list of the best restaurants for gluten free dining outside of Disney.  This post will cover both chain and independent restaurants in Orlando, and some less-pricey fast casual options.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant

The Dana's Parmesan-Crusted Chicken I had at Cooper's Hawk was one of the best entrees I have had at a restaurant this year.  The gluten free menu is huge, the kitchen takes proper precautions, and the food is really incredible.  Locally, you can dine at Cooper's Hawk in Waterford Lakes and on International Drive, and they have a restaurant in Tampa as well.  You can check out my full review of Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant here.

Maggiano's Little Italy

If you love Italian food as much as we do, you have to visit Maggiano's on International Drive, a location that is convenient to all the theme parks.  Their gluten free pasta could fool any gluten eater, and all of their pasta sauces are gluten free.  Another thing I love about Maggiano's is that a chef will visit your table to discuss your food allergies and special dietary needs.  Gluten free options are plentiful, and the portions are large.  You can read about the delicious gluten free pastas we had at Maggiano's here.

Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill was the first restaurant I ate at after my celiac diagnosis six years ago.  Whether we are dining at a Bonefish in Hilton Head, Greenville, or Orlando, I always have consistently good meals.  I love their tilapia and salmon, and the Florida cobb salad is another favorite of mine.  There are plenty of gluten free appetizers, entrees, desserts, and brunch options to choose from at the eight Bonefish Grill locations in Orlando.  You can read my review, and view their store locator here.

California Pizza Kitchen

In my opinion, California Pizza Kitchen has the best gluten free pizzas and salads in Orlando.  My favorites at CPK are the BBQ chicken pizza, Moroccan-spiced chicken salad, and white corn guacamole and chips.  Locally, they have restaurants at Waterford Lakes and in the Mall at Millenia.  You can read my full review here.  My family often has a hard time agreeing on where to dine, but we all love eating at CPK.
Update - the last couple of times I visited CPK, I thought the pizza crust was dry, and didn't enjoy it as much, but I love other dishes there enough to keep California Pizza Kitchen on this list.

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine

Bosphorous doesn't have a gluten free menu, but I have found their servers to be extremely knowledgeable about gluten free options.  My whole family loves their hummus, and chicken and lamb adana.  We always dine at Bosphorous in Winter Park, but they also have a restaurant on Dr. Phillips Boulevard, which is close to the theme parks.  You can check out my full review here.

Orchid Thai Cuisine

If you love Thai food as much as we do, you have to visit Orchid Thai Cuisine in Winter Park.  They have all of our Thai favorites, like massaman curry, pad thai, summer rolls, and the most amazing peanut dressing.  Their short ribs in massaman are just heavenly.  You can read my review of Orchid Thai here.


Moving on to fast casual restaurants, Toasted definitely deserves a spot on my list of best restaurants for gluten free dining in Orlando.  If you're in the mood for a gourmet cheese sandwich on gluten free bread, with a side of truffle oil and rosemary fries, get in your car and head to Winter Park or Lake Nona.  The staff at Toasted is well trained to deal with special diets.  They have a dedicated fryer, a separate cooktop & utensils for gluten free orders, and almost all of their sandwiches can be made gluten free.  You can read more about Toasted here.

Dandelion Communitea Cafe -- Bean There Done That Bowl with quinoa and whirled peas guacamole. The gingerous dressing is so good!

Dandelion Communitea Cafe 

Dandelion Communitea Cafe is located in an adorable little green house on North Thornton Avenue in Orlando.  If you are looking for vegetarian, locally grown, organic, gluten free food, you need to pay Dandelion Cafe a visit.  My personal favorites are the Happy Hempy Hummus and their Bean There, Done That.  All of their gluten free and soy free options are clearly labeled on their menu.  You can check out my full review of Dandelion Communitea Cafe here.

Pei Wei Asian Diner

Moving on to fast casual chains, one of my favorites is Pei Wei Asian Diner, which is owned by P.F. Chang's China Bistro.  Pei Wei is a counter service restaurant with a more limited menu and cheaper prices.  Their gluten free options might not be as numerous as P.F. Chang's, but their food is consistently good.  My favorite dishes are their Pei Wei spicy shrimp and chicken.  Pei Wei has five locations in the Orlando area, including their restaurants on Colonial Drive, right below Baldwin Park, and Turkey Lake Road, next to Whole Foods.  You can read my review of Pei Wei here.

Burger 21

Burger 21 is my top pick for gluten free burgers and fries in Orlando.  There are 7 different burger options, 5 salads, french fries & sweet potato fries, shakes, floats, Woodchuck Hard Cider, coffee & espresso, and kids' options on their gluten free menu.  Locally, they have restaurants near UCF and the Mall at Millenia.  You can read more about Burger 21 here.

Chipotle Mexican Grill 

The final fast casual restaurant on my list is Chipotle Mexican Grill.  I always order a burrito bowl with brown rice, pinto beans, corn salsa, cheese, and guacamole.  It's so yummy!  I like that Chipotle is committed to serving food with integrity.  They try to find the best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment, and the farmers.  Plus, they have locations scattered around the country, so it's a great spot to stop at for lunch or dinner when we are traveling.  You can check out my review of Chipotle here.

Le Macaron

This list wouldn't be complete without my favorite dessert spot in Orlando, Le Macaron.  My personal favorites are their caramel salted butter and pistachio macarons.  All of the macarons are gluten free, and there are a couple of dairy free options as well.  Le Macaron has locations throughout Florida, and can be found locally in Winter Park and the Altamonte Mall.  You can read my review of Le Macaron here.

When I asked my blog readers what their favorites were in Orlando, restaurants like P.F. Chang's, Cantina Laredo, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, and Margaritaville were mentioned more than once, along with some of the choices on my list.

What are your favorite restaurants for gluten free dining in Orlando?


  1. Hmm Bonefish Grill is one of our favorites!