Eating gluten free is a lifestyle choice for some, a fad for others, and for a select lucky few celiacs like myself, a challenge when it comes to dining out. Luckily, Orange County boasts quite a few fabulous gluten free options for GF diners no matter the reasons they follow this lifestyle. Here are some of the OC’s Best gluten free restaurant options.

Project Juice
1100 S. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 484-0239
www.projectjuice.com
Project Juice co-founder Marra St. Clair, a diagnosed celiac, understands the struggle of searching for healthful, delicious foods free of allergens. Everything offered at Project Juice is certified organic, non-GMO, gluten, dairy, and most allergen free. Popular gluten-free options include Gluten-Free Avocado Toast or Banana Almond Butter GF Toast, Paelo Protein Waffles (topped with berries, almond “cream cheese,” honey, and toasted almonds among other varieties), Hot GF Protein Oats, Coconut Yogurt Parfait, Acai Bowls, and daily soup offerings (bottled to-go options available) that are always gluten free.

True Food Kitchen
451 Newport Center Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 644-2400
www.truefoodkitchen.com
Newport’s True Food Kitchen is a health-food haven, seamlessly blending together tasty, seasonal menus and the most nutrient-rich, artisan ingredients. The restaurant offers a wide selection of gluten-free options on their seasonal menus; current offerings include three signature gluten free items, charred cauliflower, cashew pad thai, and an inside out quinoa burger.

Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(888) 960-9653
www.greatwolf.com
SoCal’s only indoor waterpark resort, Great Wolf Lodge, knows a thing or two about food allergies and a gluten-free lifestyle. Chef Hany Ali and the team offer a variety of gluten-free options including sweet potato and regular french fries, calamari and chicken tenders (using rice flour), mushroom risotto, and chile rubbed wings, among other dishes. For dessert, the restaurant offers a gluten free bread pudding and a vegan chocolate brownie (which you wouldn’t believe is soy free, gluten free, nut free, dairy free, egg free)!

Seabirds Kitchen
2930 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
www.seabirdskitchen.com
Vegan hotspot, Seabirds Kitchen, which began as a popular food truck and has spawned two SoCal locations, serves artisan food from scratch made from local, seasonal produce combined to create unique flavor combinations. Their menu features an extensive selection of gluten-free options (labeled GF on the menu) including tomato soup, burnt Brussels sprouts, Natural cut fries, a warm cauliflower salad, taco varieties, bibimbap bowls, enchiladas and tamales. Gluten-free brunch and dessert options are also available.

Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen
13126 Jamboree Rd.
Irvine, CA 92602
(714) 408-7819
www.chachaslatinkitchen.com
The menu at Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen adapts the culinary heritage of Mexico and Latin America to a fresh and modern style, while still providing a slew of options for gluten-free guests. Cha Cha’s labels all gluten-free items on the menu with ‘GF’ to make it simple and straightforward. Gluten-free guests can choose from fresh ceviche, wood-fired queso fundido, corn tortilla tacos (with fish, chicken, steak, or mushrooms), and plenty more.

Islands Restaurants
4020 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92604
Additional OC Locations
www.islandsrestaurants.com
Catch a wave with the laid back vibe at Islands Restaurants; even diners looking for gluten-free options can join in the fun. Popular gluten-free favorites include their grilled chicken tacos, the Kaanapali Kobb Salad, and their specialty nachos. A hard-to-find-option that gets rave reviews are the gluten-free cheddar cheese fries, a perfect comfort food.

Sensitive Sweets
17431 Brookhurst Street
Fountain Valley, CA
(714) 968-9169
www.sensitivesweets.com
Melanie Hohman, owner and head baker at Fountain Valley’s Sensitive Sweets, bakes from experience as her youngest son suffers from severe food allergies. Everything served at her shop (and you can order online) is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free, in addition to being delicious. From birthday cakes and cupcakes to cookies and brownies, donuts, muffins, and pies, Sensitive Sweets is a must-stop treat shop for treat hunters on a gluten free diet.

Green Tomato Grill
1419 N. Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 532-1220
www.greentomatogrill.com
With core principles of fast, healthy, affordable and sustainable food, Green Tomato Grill is one of only a few fast-food establishments that specifically aims to serve those with special dietary needs, including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan offerings. Gluten free diners will enjoy a clearly labeled menu with options such as rice bowls (nearly 10 varieties are gluten free), salads, soups, fish tacos, breakfasts, and an assortment of sides, sauces, and dressings.

Fly N’ Fish Oyster Bar
2304 W Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA
(949) 673-8400
www.flynfishoysterbar.com
This popular seafood restaurant and Newport Beach mainstay offers guests a beachfront atmosphere and curated menu filled with gluten-free options like hand-shucked oysters, bacon wrapped scallops, and freshly caught fish. Their signature cioppino is a gluten-free fan favorite, with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, crab, and fresh catch of the day simmered in a zesty red wine sauce.

SAJJ Mediterranean
22245 El Paseo Suite A
Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688
(949)-709-7779
www.sajjstreeteats.com
The menu at SAJJ Mediterranean was built to be easily customizable for everyone, no matter their dietary preferences or restrictions. Nearly 80% of SAJJ’s offerings are gluten-free, including the turmeric rice or salad bowls, which can be topped with gluten-free proteins (falafel, pomegranate chicken, steak shawarma, etc.) and a wide variety of gluten-free mix-ins and sides (hummus, tahini, eggplant ragout, etc.). To eliminate any guesswork, SAJJ’s menu labels their gluten-free items with ‘GF.’

Pita Jungle
1200 Bison Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
www.pitajungle.com
Pita Jungle features a variety of healthy, delicious Mediterranean food at their Newport Beach location, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Very few items on the menu have gluten in them (with taboule the notable exception) as the foods are filled with lean proteins, legumes, nuts, and fruit.

Red Robin
12007 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Additional OC Locations
www.redrobin.com
One of AllergyEat’s “Top Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains” (for six years running!), Red Robin features an Interactive Allergen Menu that helps diners with food allergies customize their order. Team members are also trained to handle allergies, from gluten or otherwise, with care and safety procedures, including use of an entirely clean and sanitized utensil and prep kit for each allergen order. Gluten-free favorites include burgers (on an Udi bun!), fries and sweet potato fries (fried in a dedicated, gluten-free fryer)!

The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar
31431 Santa Margarita Pkwy,
Rancho Santa Margarita
(949) 888-0072
www.theblindpigoc.com
The Blind Pig serves up shareable gourmet American cuisine, created by Executive Chef Karl Pfleider, in a speakeasy-style setting. Enjoy a three-course gluten-free feast off the new spring menu, beginning with the mushroom saltado, followed by the shredded duck leg risotto entree and finished with flourless chocolate cake. Additional gluten-free menu offerings are clearly labeled ‘GF’ to make dining at The Blind Pig a simple and enjoyable experience for all.

Katie Bodell is the Blog Editor for Trekaroo, the largest family travel website in the U.S. She is also a freelance writer, a happy wife to her best friend, and a mom to three sweet California girls. See more on: Trekaroo | CheapOair | Google+ | Twitter.

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