Hi everyone! I made a list! A list of our favorite gluten free restaurants and margaritas in Austin, Texas with menu links and tips. It’s really nice to live in a city with so many options for meeting up with friends or date night (do you call it that when you don’t have kids?).
It used to be a little harder on me finding safe places to eat because I’m super sensitive to cross-contamination so gluten-friendly or gluten free-ish places didn’t really work for me. But lately I’ve been impressed with how knowledgeable restaurants and staff are and how easy it is to safely eat out.
Now when eating out, there is always a risk. Sometimes we’ve had to sit down with a manager and talk to them about food preparation and potential cross-contamination. We had a great experience at Kerbey Lane, although I was very hesitant at first because the menu is gluten free-ish.
Whereas we probably ate at PF Chang’s in The Woodlands fifteen times before I got gluten-ed really bad and never went back to that particular place. Every restaurant is unique even if it is part of a chain. And when a new restaurant opens the dedicated fryer might start out gluten free but then get contaminated – so please ask if it is safe every time as annoying as it might be.
I do find it safer to eat at places that have a member of the owner’s family that has Celiac disease and truly understand the details of cross-contamination and where gluten lurks. I feel safest when the waiter asks if I need to eat gluten free for my diet or because of Celiac disease. Then I know that they understand the difference. And they will try to reduce cross-contamination and keep it safe.
Like I said, I’m so impressed with how much the staff here in Austin know. It has been pretty incredible as I’ve started to eat out more often in this town. It’s so exciting to have so many options!
Remember menus and suppliers change often, too – so again, you should always ask and not assume anything is safe. The lawyer in me hates making this list – but it’s just a guide. You are responsible for what you eat. Educate yourself. And enjoy yourself, too because we’ve got some amazing restaurants in this town!
Gluten-Free Restaurants & Places
The menus change seasonally, but all gluten free dishes have a little “gf” next to them on the menu. We first went for Sunday Funday happy hour on the dog-friendly patio. We had fabulous margaritas with house made Triple Sec (pictured above) and some tasty apps. They have a great wine list and specialty drinks, too.
We tried the edamame with sea salt, Moroccan lamb kabobs (no bread for gluten free and avoid the sauces for dairy free) and chicken street tacos. Although NOT gluten free, the hubs enjoyed the pork belly bao buns, too. Bison burgers are fantastic. Salads are amazing! This has turned into one of our favorite places now because the servers are so knowledgeable and fun and the food is consistently good.
This menu is mainly seafood. It is pretty much entirely gluten free and they make the best homemade corn tortillas. We tried a few appetizers and for dinner I had the pork shank carnitas, which were cooked on the bone. The specialty drinks are fun! I loved the PEPINO PICOSO (frozen margarita, house cucumber-jalapeño purée, el chile rim).
Love this place – so fun to watch a movie, eat and drink adult beverages. We used to go all the time before my dietary restrictions became so limiting. But now they have a gluten free menu! I usually order the Once Upon a Time in Mexico Salad + Flat Iron Steak (South Lamar location). The popcorn with clarified butter is pretty great, too.
So Kerbey Lane has a gluten free-ish guide to their menu. Some of the items on the menu can be made gluten free, but I was really worried about cross contamination because they make a lot of pancakes. We used to eat here all the time before I had to avoid gluten and dairy in my diet and I still miss that Kerbey Queso. One night we were literally driving in circles trying to figure out where to eat. I didn’t feel like Mexican food, BBQ or a salad – what I was really craving was a burger. So we decided to try it (South Lamar location) although I was very hesitant at first.
The manager was so nice and sat down with me and discussed how the Black Angus Bacon Burger was prepared. He assured me that he would personally clean off an area of the stainless steel flat top in the back section. The bun is individually wrapped (one of the best gluten free buns I’ve tried so far). Everything was cooked in the cleaned area. I couldn’t order fries because there is not a dedicated fryer, but the garlic mashed potatoes come in sealed containers. So it was a success and I’m so glad we tried it!
I’m so happy we can eat there again. And I love that they are always rolling out new seasonal menu items, too. Here is the new KLC Summer Menu 2017.
5. Shady Grove
Shady Grove is another Austin place we’ve been going to since our college days. They do have a gluten free menu in the restaurant with a cross-contamination disclaimer. So I was worried about potential cross-contamination here, too. But after talking to the server, I ordered the Flat-Iron Steak Salad. I try to find things to eat with the least possibility of contamination (usually a salad and grilled meat if the meat is cooked on a clean non-porous surface). It was really good and I was A-okay. Another place I’m so glad we can enjoy again!
Hot dogs, cold beer! And waffle fries! German potato salad, too. Lots of gluten free options here and very knowledgable, friendly and helpful servers.
The fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer and were so good dipped in Frank Sauce (they have several gluten free sauces). I had the Texalina artisan sausage served on an Udi’s bun. They had a few gluten free beers, too but we opted for the Miss Margaret (vodka, blueberry basil syrup, peach puree, soda) – it won first place in Tito’s Vodka National Contest! So delicious.
7. Z’ Tejas
My MIL really likes to have dinners here. They do have a limited gluten free menu – mostly salads and grilled fish, chicken or steak. I usually order a salad with a vinaigrette dressing like the Z’ Salad or Smoked Chicken & Black Bean Salad (without cheese for dairy free). Fun specialty drinks here, too.
The fries are gluten free at P. Terry’s! But they do NOT have gluten free buns for burgers. I usually get a beef or chicken burger on lettuce and fries when we eat there or drive thru.
We’ve been to South Congress Cafe about five times so far for dinner (still haven’t made it to the very popular brunch) and I’ve never been gluten-ed. The menu is always changing so do a little research online and talk to your server. They have some amazing specialty drinks and wine, too.
We discovered the Black Walnut Cafe when we lived in Houston. It’s one of those places that has something everyone will like so we went with family several times and met up with friends. The food was great and I never had a problem except for maybe a little too much salt. I haven’t been to the one in Austin yet but plan on trying it out next time we are up North.
At the bottom of the menu, they point out that the meat is cooked on a separate grill away from the bread (so they don’t cook the buns on the same grill as the burgers). They also have a nice toasted gluten free bread they offer you instead. Items on the menu that will be cross-contaminated, like tortilla strips because they are fried in the same oil as breaded items, are indicated with **. They don’t have servers – you place your order at the register so make sure to tell them about your food allergies and restrictions when you place your order.
Jasper’s is wonderful and has an amazing gluten free menu (this link is older so some of the dishes listed are older, too). They change some items on the menu every so often and the current gluten free menu will be available in the restaurant. We’ve been to the one in Austin twice and in The Woodlands several times – including two of our anniversary dinners. They have so many incredible dishes, but I usually order the Rotisserie Chicken (the sauce and veggies change) and my husband gets the Smoked Baby Back Ribs (Named One of Bon Appetit’s Top 3 Choices for “America’s Best Ribs”) and shares one with me. The staff has always been very knowledgable and helpful as well.
They have an extensive, expensive and delicious gluten free menu at Fleming’s. We’ve been a few times and enjoyed our dinners. I had a steak, of course. 👊
Outback has a great gluten free menu with lots of options, too. Since it is a popular chain, it can be a safe and easy place to go when travelling. We’ve been so many times in many different places and were never been disappointed or gluten-ed. The gluten free menu even lists directions to help you order safely. I usually get a Sirloin Steak, Steamed Veggies and a Baked Potato (no cheese, sour cream or butter for dairy free), Grilled Chicken on the Barbie or the Alice Springs Chicken (sans cheese – did I mention that I really miss cheese).
They have a gluten free menu in the restaurant. I’ve read some bad reviews from people who were gluten-ed, but I’ve had several meals there safely. The reviews make it seem like the servers are not well trained when it comes to what is and is not gluten free but that may have changed as more awareness about celiac disease prevails and time passes. Still I would be careful and do a little online research before ordering if you aren’t sure. But the food is really good and it’s a fun atmosphere. It’s definitely worth exploring as a dinner option!
15. Culinary Dropout
This place is so cool. Huge bar, live music, games, great pub food. Our server was so knowledgable about dietary allergies and restrictions, too. There are things you can eat here that are gluten free. I went with antipasti and goat cheese and it was awesome.
Seems like a perfect place to watch the Horns play, too.
I was craving beef pho so I looked around for a place that served take out close by and came across the menu for Pho Thai Son, which clearly marks foods that are gluten free. And there are a lot of gluten free options on the menu.
We ordered take out from the Southpark Meadows location and the broth was nice and hot. The rest of the stuff came in a separate container to be assembled at home. I’m in no way an expert on Vietnamese cuisine but I thought it was pretty good. More importantly it was safe.
17. 24 Diner
Okay, so I really LOVE this place! It’s a diner and open late night in the ATX. I ordered hash both times we’ve been and it was probably the best I’ve had so far in this town. Perfect potatoes, jalapeños, sausage, bacon and medium eggs for me because I don’t like runny raw eggs.
They have a gluten free menu with tons of options and servers know to ask if it is dietary or Celiac. And the staff really seem to enjoy working there, which is in itself a great thing. Just love this place!
Again, this is a hot spot in Austin. And well worth the hype. They don’t have a gluten free menu but a friend of mine came into town and wanted to check it out so I was game. Because now almost every restaurant in Austin has gluten free options. Safely. We tried a lot of dishes. The gluten free pommes frites were fantastic. I loved the roasted mushrooms version and the lox version (they put the Crème fraîche on the side because of my dairy issues). And I actually don’t eat any seafood but that smoked salmon lox was really impressive. And the haricot vert with sherry vinegar were addictive. The other foods that everybody else could eat were off the charts, too. I also discovered ginger beer here. So I like this place a lot, too.
Mexican, Tex-Mex & Tacos
This space is so beautiful and the food is amazing! The margaritas are really strong, too. This is the prickly pear fromo.
The menu doesn’t specify gluten free dishes but most of it is gluten free (I called to verify and the server was very knowledgeable as well). The chips have a dedicated fryer, the salsas were unique and delicious and they have the best corn tortillas. We’ve been several times and had the picadillo tacos, tostaditas and birria de res. 👌 This is a place you might need to ask about the dedicated fryer again…
We love Maudie’s and it is our go-to for Tex-Mex and margaritas. They have a huge selection of food that can be made gluten free (using corn tortillas), lots of dairy free options, fresh natural food, great drinks (margaritas, skinny margaritas, specialty drinks, Mexican martinis…), wonderful staff, awesome happy hours, several locations and reasonable prices. They used to have gluten free menus but now there is a single menu with gluten free items marked.
They will bring you gluten free tortilla chips in a special bag (they DO NOT have a dedicated fryer and sometimes they will bring you regular chips before the server knows that you need gluten free ones but they will replace them for you right away). Just let them know.
Some of my favorite gluten free, casein free, dairy free dishes are the Carnitas Tacos, Seasoned Beef Soft Tacos, Beef Lover’s Enchiladas (no cheese) and Skinny Sheryl’s. There are so many more options if you can eat cheese, too. Also FYI, the guacamole has a little sour cream in it so it is NOT dairy free.
So Lupe Tortilla is another one of our favorite Tex-Mex places, although it is a little more expensive depending on what you order. Almost everything is gluten free, including the tortilla chips (they do have a dedicated fryer). The menu has a little wheat symbol next to menu items that contain wheat or flour and are not gluten free. They have great skinny margaritas, frozen and regular margaritas, too! My preference is usually the skinny or a frozen sangria swirl.
Some of my dinner favorites are the Lime Pepper Beef Fajitas (with corn tortillas – NOT flour), Carne Asada (it’s lime marinated beef fajita steak – basically the fajita meat with rice and beans only), Barbacoa Tacos (no queso fresco) and the Soft Tacos with Seasoned Beef (no cheese). There are so many great choices on the menu! The fresh guacamole is wonderful.
The tacos are damn good and both the red and green salsas are👌😍! The corn tortilla chips are safe at some locations (make sure to ask if they have a dedicated fryer). They have many locations around Austin, including Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium! 🏈 Be careful with to go orders – I would inspect your taco to make sure it is gluten free before leaving. The portobello mushroom in The Independent should NOT be breaded.
Gloria’s serves Latin cuisine. We’ve been to Gloria’s at the Domain in Austin many times and to the one in Dallas, too. I love the hand-made tamales wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, gently spiced and stuffed with chicken, potatoes and bell pepper (description from the menu). I usually eat a few of those with black beans and rice. I don’t think the chips are safe and may be fried with other gluten/flour foods (no dedicated fryer). I would talk to the server about what else is safe – I think there are a few other items listed on a gluten free guide to the menu. Love the margaritas!
Manuel’s has great Mexican food and offers several gluten free choices. Every time I’ve been, the server was very knowledgeable about gluten free options. The fryers are not dedicated to only gluten-free cooking so pass on anything fried. But the tortilla chips come from El Milagro so they are safe!
I’ve only been twice. The tortilla chips are cooked in a dedicated fryer so they are safe. The server was very knowledgable about what to order from the menu but I can’t remember what I ate, probably tacos. 🌮🌮
Guero’s has a nice gluten free menu, but I have not actually eaten inside the restaurant yet. We went to watch a band play in the patio area on a Sunday. The chips and salsa were safe. So it was more of a fun activity than a dining experience. Let me know if you’ve eaten inside and what you thought.
Although I have a lot of nostalgic love for Trudy’s Texas Star from my college days – I’ve been very hesitant to eat at any of the locations because they don’t have gluten free menus or guides (online or in the restaurant) so you need to go through the menu with the server to find something safe to eat. On a busy night, I don’t know if I would take that risk… they serve so much food that you really, really have to trust the server and food prep people.
However that said, we did have dinner at the Little Star location once on a slower night and the waitress was great. I didn’t eat the chips (no dedicated fryer) and the tacos I ordered just weren’t that good. It took way too much work to figure out what to eat. Though in the end I didn’t get sick. And they do have great margaritas and specialty drinks.
We have them in Austin, too. 😉
1. Salt Lick
Everything is gluten free at the Salt Lick except the bread and dessert (and they will take special precautions cutting the meat if you let them know). Usually we make the trip out there (Driftwood, TX) for special events or when friends come to town. But now we might live a little too close because we’ve been driving out there on a weeknight just for dinner. It’s so good. Check out the beautiful meat pit!
You can order family style, which is all-you-can-eat ($25 per person) or it’s less expensive to order two plates ($15-18 per person). My husband likes the brisket & sausage plate and I like the brisket & smoked turkey plate (or brisket & ribs). Each plate comes with a lot of beans, potato salad and coleslaw (sometimes I have leftovers, sometimes I can eat the whole plate…😋).
Remember it’s a cash only place. They do have an ATM. And it’s BYOB. They also have a lovely wine tasting area and sell beer and wine now, too.
Our latest venture was to Freedmen’s Bar for some BBQ and drinks on the patio. It was a hot summer in Austin, but we had a nice breeze and the food was so good I’m still thinking about it!
We had a Smokin’ Cactus (Xicaru mezcal, grapefruit, lime, jalapeno agave syrup, smoked sea salt) which was amazing! The drink menu changes seasonally but you can usually find this one on the menu because it’s a favorite. And it went so well with the BBQ.
We had to try the house-made sausage, brisket and ribs. SO GOOD! That bark on the brisket was to die for! And almost everything is gluten-free, except for the bread, sandwiches, chili and beans (made with lone star beer). The wait staff was very knowledgeable about what was gluten free and safe. I had the grilled cabbage slaw and it was so unique and really, really good. And such clean and simple ingredients (grilled cabbage, cider vinegar, caraway seed, cilantro, honey) – I could have brought home a bucket of it. Great place to go! And it’s in the middle of west campus, which makes for a fun experience, too.
Other BBQ joints we tried at the Texas Monthy BBQ Fest serving up gluten free deliciousness in and around Austin, TX were (check menus and ask for details):
4. Cranky Frank’s BBQ in Fredericksburg (he told me the meat and sauce were gluten free)
7. Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue in Austin (don’t miss out on those delicious deviled eggs, too)
8. Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas (all meat except sausage is gluten free)
So cheers y’all! I hope this helps you find safe and fun places to eat out gluten free in and around Austin!
The To Do List
Chi’lantro – They have cheat sheets for GF items on menu.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar – Gluten free buns available.
Mighty Fine Burgers – Gluten free buns available, not sure about prep or fries.
Odd Duck – The menu is always changing depending on what is local and seasonal but they have a solid track record for gluten free dining.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya – Ramen noodles are wheat based so not gluten free, but they may be able to use rice noodles instead and GF soy sauce.
Red Robin – Burgers can be ordered on a gluten free bun & fries might be available from a dedicated fryer.
Thai Spice – Catering is also available!
Wild Wood Bakehouse – The only 100% gluten free kitchen in Austin.
So what did I miss? I know there are lots of places and new ones constantly opening. What are your favorites? Experiences? Let me know!
And I should mention that none of my recommendations are sponsored and opinions are my own.