San Francisco thrives on innovation, especially when it comes to what’s on its plate. The city’s dining scene ranks among the best in the world, and restaurants constantly concoct inventive dishes and creative concepts that cater to an international audience. The rising awareness of gluten sensitivities has presented chefs with their latest challenge, and the best and brightest have risen to the occasion. Here’s where to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner wheat (but not pleasure) free.
Gluten-Free Breakfasts in San Francisco:
Mariposa Baking Company: If the Ferry Building is ground zero for foodies, Mariposa Baking Company is its gluten-free epicenter. Founder Patti Furey Crane spent more than a year perfecting the butter croissant, and its airy, golden folds are good enough to fool even the most discerning of Francophiles. Pick up a sticky-sweet cinnamon roll and a flaky quiche to go and roam the rest of the marketplace stalls without a pang of food envy. 1 Ferry Building Plaza, San Francisco.
Plow: The sugar-dusted almond flour pancakes at Plow might make you believe the server mixed up your order. Don’t fret—the griddle-fresh cakes are truly wheat-free, as are the chia seed pudding and the eggs, which are fried in a pan that doesn’t touch gluten. 1299 18th St., San Francisco, 415.821.7569.
Jane: Kitchen manager Emma Benson strives to make the gluten-free (and often vegan) baked goods at Jane taste just like the originals. The peanut butter millet cookie will have you fooled, but the quinoa bread steals the show. Order it with butter and jam or as part of a disassembled sandwich for a toasty wake-up call. 2123 Fillmore St., San Francisco, 415.931.5263
Gluten-Free Lunches in San Francisco:
E&O Kitchen and Bar: At this sleek Union Square restaurant, a well-balanced, gluten-free menu consists of modern Asian dishes. Try the beef topokki for a playful take on Korean street food, or immerse yourself in the fiery, elevated flavors of the pad Thai. 314 Sutter St., San Francisco, 415.693.0303.
American Grilled Cheese Kitchen: Famed for putting an elaborate spin on its eponymous dish, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen offers many of its award-winning sandwiches on house-made, gluten-free bread. The Moscone will please adventurous palates, but if you prefer to keep it (close to) classic, stick with the three-cheese Mousetrap. 1 South Park Ave., San Francisco, 415.243.0107. 2400 Harrison St., San Francisco, 415.926.5076.
Gluten-Free Dinners in San Francisco:
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana: Tony’s Pizza is one of the hottest tables in town—and gluten-free diners can get more than just a slice of the pie. Most pizzas on the menu can be prepared on Tony’s specially made gluten-free dough (sweetened with honey harvested from the restaurant’s rooftop garden). The crisp, dulcet crust goes perfectly with gluten-free spaghetti marinara and wheat-free beer, and all three are so good that they’ll vanish as quickly as a seat at the bar. 1570 Stockon St., San Francisco, 415.835.9888.
La Mediterranee: This family-owned restaurant welcomes dietary restrictions with open arms and a full menu. The falafel—light, herby and made from scratch daily—is an absolute must, as are the smoky salmon skewers and the tangy pomegranate chicken. Finish with the muhalabiye, a sweet blend of rosewater, cream and pistachios, for a delicate dessert. 2210 Fillmore St., San Francisco, 415.921.2956. 288 Noe St., San Francisco, 415.431.7210.
Skool: Skool’s seafood-centric cuisine focuses on sustainable ingredients. Extra care goes into preparing the restaurant’s gluten-free menus, updated each season. Take your taste buds for a twirl with Skool’s signature uni flan—savory, whipped sea urchin topped with fresh uni and fleur de sel—and the gindara filet, an Alaskan black cod filet that melts on the tongue. 1725 Alameda St., San Francisco, 415.255.8800.
Park Tavern: Many of the dishes from this upscale North Beach brasserie (which earned a coveted three-star rating from SF Chronicle critic Michael Bauer) are—or can be—gluten free. Menu standouts, like the highly addictive Brussels sprout chips and the decadent smoked deviled egg, come by it naturally. All fried items are prepared in rice flour bran oil, so feel free to indulge, but save room for the —the tender, marinated meat refuses to stay on the bone. 1652 Stockon St., San Francisco, 415.989.7300.