Boston’s Best Food Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Dining

February 22, 2012 2:02 AM

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(Photo Credit: Blue Ginger/Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Blue Ginger/Facebook)

If you have food allergies or sensitivities, you probably know the drill. Talk to the server, talk to the manager, talk to the chef, and try not to panic. For a growing number of people suffering from food allergies and sensitivities (more than 12 million in the U.S.), going out to eat can be a terrifying experience.

On the bright side, Massachusetts is leading the charge when it comes to awareness. A state law requires training and notices. Also, all menus and menu boards in food establishments must display the following: “Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.”

What’s even better than that is that a lot of restaurants go above and beyond. CBS Boston put together a list of a few local spots that receive good marks when it comes to dealing with food allergies.

ginger Boston’s Best Food Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Dining

(Photo Credit: Blue Ginger/Facebook)

Blue Ginger

583 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482
(781) 283-5790

The Gold Standard! As a parent of a child with food allergies, Chef Ming Tsai has been at the forefront when it comes to food allergy awareness. With its Asian-fusion entrees priced between $25 and $40, Blue Ginger is a pricey option, but it’s also a sure bet when it comes to allergies.

waga Boston’s Best Food Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Dining

(Photo Credit: Wagamama/Facebook)

Wagamama - Harvard Square

57 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA
(617) 499-0930

See Website for Boston locations

Wagamama is a much more casual and very reasonably-priced Asian-inspired noodle bar. The restaurant has a fantastic allergy friendly food guide right on its website, with options for about a dozen different allergies and food sensitivities.

notyouraveragejoes molly kerrigan Boston’s Best Food Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Dining

Photo Credit: Molly Kerrigan

Not Your Average Joes

Multiple locations

Not Your Average Joes is billed by several food allergy sites as one of the most allergy-friendly restaurants in the area. They offer up all of your standard American fare and make all of their meals from scratch, so they are able accommodate a good number of special requests. Their chefs are all educated in how to deal with allergies and food sensitivities. Not Your Average Joes has a Gluten-free menu available.

legal sea foods Boston’s Best Food Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Dining

(credit: Legal Sea Foods)

Legal Seafoods

Multiple locations

Get this: a number of people with shellfish allergies have recommended Legal on different review websites. Customers with allergies rave about the knowledge and attention they get from staff. Legal offers a wheat and gluten free menu.

changs Boston’s Best Food Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Dining

(credit: Myers & Chang)

Myers + Chang

1145 Washington Street
Boston , MA 02118
(617) 542-5200

Asian food seems to be a popular theme when it comes to allergy friendly. Myers and Chang offers up several alternative allergy menus that include options free of shellfish, nut, meat, and gluten.

A few allergy friendly chains:
Chili’s (menu)
Chipotle (special diet info)
Bertucci’s (website)
Qdoba Mexican Grill (allergy menu)

Know any other good allergy friendly restaurants in the area? Let us know about them in the comments section below.
View Comments
  • George Bush

    Too bad many people make up food allergies. People will often say the are gluten intolerant and then order chocolate cake or something for desert. Some people just want special attention. Stop crying wolf if you do not have real allergies.

    • Ann Marie

      Are you serious. Who does that?

      • Geroge Bush

        I have heard that from several chefs and waiters. Food is kind of a passion of mine, I would have been a chef but the hours are the worst and the pay is low except for the top chefs.
        Some people on the low carb diets think if they say gluten free they will get a special lower carb meal.

    • j.k.

      i was just diagnosed with celiac disease. it sucks, all my favorite foods are now all gone. i hate being that person that has issues with foods. like peanut allergies, dumb. but now i have to watch what i eat. i have to read every package to see if its gluten free. or i have to ask the server for the special menu. i hope i get better real quick so i can someday eat a real hamburger with bun.

      • Paula @CeliacCorner

        j.k. – don’t dismay! First, you are fortunate to have received a diagnosis, as many remain undiagnosed. Once you get the hang of the GF lifestyle, you’ll be a pro, and there is still plenty to eat. I’m sorry to say though that you need to be 100% gluten free for life if you have Celiac, so if you are going to have that bun with your hamburger, it will have to be a gluten-free one! Try UDI’s buns!
        Visit my site for some helpful tips on living gluten-free.

      • Dave

        The 99 Restaurant has GF hamburger buns. Also for great bakery products try

  • Sue

    j.k. if you were accurately diagnosed with celiac disease, then you will never eat a real hamburger with a bun that contains gluten. Celiac disease is a lifelong condition; the only cure being omitting gluten from your diet. As I tell my sons, be thankful that all you need to do to remain healthy is to remove gluten from your diet. Be grateful that you don’t have to inject yourself with insulin or risk anaphylactic shock from a peanut. There are many GF options out there, and they are much more palatable than they used to be! Good luck!

  • mmarcia

    j.k. – why are peanut allergies dumb? Have you no empathy? There is also no “cure” for food allergies; there are ways to lessen the body’s reaction, but you’ll have it forever.

    I am allergic to mold, which includes cheese, mushrooms, beer and wine. And penicillin. You’d be amazed with the reaction when you order pizza without cheese. They usually assume you’re lactose intolerant and don’t let you have ice cream. I’m thankful that restaurants can accommodate my needs, and I stopped caring how many people I have to talk to in order to have a good meal and live to tell about it!

  • al

    Randolph, Ma
    ALL CAN EAT Bakery/Cafe
    Gluten free, allergen free,
    Great bakery with out the funny aftertaste of some Gluten Free foods.
    Google it, it is worth the trip, great baked items, breads, wraps, pizza,
    full take out/eat in for breakfast and lunch.

    • mpv61

      I heard All Can Eat closed just this past Sunday but I can’t verify that. I’d always wanted to go but hadn’t made the trip. There is a new gluten-free place in Millis called Twist that has good food.

      I always look at the when I want to go out to eat. They have reviews and you can look up by town, state, or restaurant name.

      • rdb

        I also found all can eat closed on sat.3/3/12 it’s to bad they had a great thing going baked goods were great.

  • PMP

    I have a severe reaction to fish. It amazes me that many server’s are not knowledgable, or willing to find out, if the fryer accomodates both potatos and fish / seafood.

    I was at a restaurant and asked if the fries were fried in the same oil as the fried fish. I was assured that it was seperate. Imagine my surprise and fear when my husband found a scallop in the french fry basket. The waitress said it was a scallop not “fish”!

    Since then, I stoppped ordering french fries or onion rings
    while dining out. Unless I know the chef personally.

  • kettle one

    The Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton MA has a wonderful reputation for accomodating folks with allergies. One of the servers told me that it’s part of their orientation.

  • Paula @CeliacCorner

    There are many Boston restaurants with gluten-free menus that did not make it to this list … check out NEBO in the North End!

  • Ramon

    You can search gluten free menus around the Boston area by going to

  • Paul Antico

    AllergyEats, founded south of Boston 2 years ago, is a peer-based guide of the most (and least) allergy-friendly restaurants around the U.S. Our Boston presence is very broad and very deep. And while some of the restaurants above are listed, that is a tiny sample compared to the breadth of coverage we’ve received from YOUR community of food-allergic diners. Consider it the Yelp of food allergy dining.

    • Geroge Bush

      Thanks Paul,
      but I hope it is better than Yelp, Yelp allows businesses to pay more for the ability to filter out bad reviews. Sadly you can not trust Yelp or the Phantom Gourmet either.

      • Paul Antico

        Food allergies and gluten-free are way too serious to allow for any gaming of the system. AllergyEats was designed to be restaurant-agnostic. The only revenue we will consider generating from restaurants (and we haven’t begun ANY revenue attempts yet… from anyone) would be for them to have their logo attached to their listing, for them to be able to share their own message with users (which wouldn’t compromise the independent rating in any way), for them to receive reports from us on how their chain is doing, etc. We also have safeguards in place to identify ratings fraud.
        I’m glad you brought up this issue because I agree that Yelp’s compromised standards have made all review sites suspect.

  • MSR

    If you have food allergies, you should take a food allergy awareness/warning card with you when you go out to eat. Check out

  • Geroge Bush

    I went to Blue Ginger back a few years ago. While the food was very good overall (way too much lemonggrass in the curry) it was quite expensive considering we got all courses and still left a bit hungry. Blue Ginger still has nearly the same menu though as it did years ago. Ming is resting on his laurels. It is a great place to go if you don’t mind dropping some cash though and don’t be in a rush.

  • Fran

    I cant believe some of the restaurants on your list of best gluten free restaurants in Boston… Wouldnt trust Chipolte! Why wasnt Joe’s American Bar and Grill, Papa Razzi and Ted’s Montana Grill on your list… Best GF food!

  • JD

    Well, I will tell you that Bertucci’s doesn’t make the list. I was there last night and told them I had a severe allergy to flaxseed and to make sure the pasta I received was cooked in a separate pot than the multi-grain pasta. The manager came over, assured me that the pasta cooker they use never has multi-grain pasta in it and they would use fresh water, etc. I received my order and after about 5 bites, I felt my throat itchy and tight and then extreme pain in my stomach. I told the waitress ( as I got Benadryl and readied my epi-pen in my purse ) and she said, “Well, the manager is confused because they used a fresh pot of water and it had no contact.” Then the manager came over to apologize…. “Oh, someone put in an order for the same exact dish as you with multi-grain pasta instead and your order got swapped so yours is, in fact, the multi-grain pasta with flax in it.” 8 hours of unbearable pain ensued as my stomach was feeling ripped apart. In the end, the pasta was coated enough that it made it to my stomach that it didn’t completely close my throat, but I know ( from past experiences ) if I threw it up, it would close my throat when I did so, so I spent 8 hours in pain and praying I could keep it down and just deal with the pain.

  • Fernandes

    Cooking Well: Wheat Allergies, Over 145 Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes is a delicious aid to the folks who are sekieng a healthy, gluten -free lifestyle and diet. Filled with more than 145 delicious recipes, chapters include sections on Breakfast, Soups Salads, Fish/Seafood Entrees, Meat/Poultry/ Vegetable Entrees, Side Dishes Snacks, and Desserts. In addition, there are chapters explaining wheat allergies and the importance of nutrition, plus appendices with suggestions for a meal diary, sample menu, substitutions, and references and resources. Tips on shopping and restaurant choices are recommended, and best of all, the recipes sound so tempting that there will be no need to feel deprived while embarking on a tasty, healthy, gluten-free diet. Special recipe selections include Melon with Figs and Prosciutto, Chickpea, Tomato and Rice Soup, Poached Eggs Over Spinach, Grilled Sea Bass With Mango Salsa, Spinach With Walnuts and Pomegranate, and Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis. Cooking Well:Wheat Allergies provides a much needed resource for people with food allergies or people who simply want to follow a healthy diet.

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