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Gluten-Free Dining in the East Bay

Avoiding gluten doesn't have to be a chore now that Bay Area restaurants are accommodating diners


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East Bay foodies who need to go gluten free can have a tough time dining out: They often feel locked into eating at Thai or Indian restaurants, carrying their own bottle of gluten-free soy sauce to sushi restaurants, or asking confused waiters to dissect menu listings by ingredient. But thanks to a growing understanding of celiac disease and the huge numbers of gluten avoiders, more restaurants are offering accommodating menus.

Eddie Papa’s American Hangout in Pleasanton and Livermore not only offers gluten-free dishes and beer, but it can also make your Memphis pulled pork sandwich on gluten-free (rice) bread, and offers special frying conditions to avoid cross-contamination.

Managers at Va de Vi in Walnut Creek regularly go through the weekly menu to create a gluten-free list, which is kept at the host’s stand. Va de Vi’s chefs pay careful attention to what binders and flours they use.

Rick and Ann’s in Berkeley flips gluten-free pancakes, and even pizza is no longer a no-no. Several local pizza restaurants such as Pizza Rustica (Oakland), Devino's Pizza and Pasta (Pleasant Hill), Pennini’s Ristorante Italiano (Moraga), and the chains Mary’s Pizza Shack, Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, and Z Pizza roll out gluten-free crusts.

Outback Steakhouse, Red Robin, and P. F. Chang’s offer separate menus. But you don’t have to resort to chain dining: A good restaurant will cater to dietary restrictions and requests. Call ahead to find out what menu items are safe or what the chef can prepare for you

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