This review is entirely my own opinion and from personal experiences, and is meant to be a guide. When choosing a gluten free restaurant, please use caution according to your individual needs.
Finding gluten free options while traveling can sometimes be a hassle. Not only did I happen to travel to Palo Alto, California last week, I actually traveled for the first time traveling since being diagnosed with Celiac.
Palo Alto, California is located in Northern California, and is home to Stanford University and some major tech companies. It’s an absolutely gorgeous area to visit, and has plenty of gluten free dining options available. I always start by going on my FindMeGlutenFree app to search for suggestions and read through reviews, and finish by exploring the restaurant website or possibly calling them ahead of time. I also bring my Nima Sensor with me in case I need to use it. Luckily enough, there are a good amount of reviews and suggestions for Palo Alto gluten free dining.
I spent most of my time visiting family and walking around Stanford campus. If you haven’t walked through Stanford yet, and are traveling to the area, I highly recommend it. The campus is over 8000 acres wide, so you will get a good walk in before eating all your delicious gluten free food.
So, what’s gluten free in Palo Alto? Here’s quick list of a few options, as well as some in the surrounding cities.
This list may be updated periodically with more options. Last updated 01/2018.
This is my absolute favorite pick in the area! Asian Box is a 100% gluten free restaurant located just across Stanford campus in Town & Country Village (a little strip mall with tons of great food and shopping). They offer farm-to-box style meals with locally sourced ingredients, and use pesticide and hormone free produce and proteins. The best thing about having a restaurant that is 100% gluten free is that you don’t have to worry about things like cross-contamination. They have no freezers, use no woks or fryers, and make every meal from scratch!
Asian Box has several different menu options to choose from on their signature box menu, but also has a “build your own box” option. You choose your base of rice or noodles, protein type, any additional toppings you want (I’m obsessed with their crispy shallots), and finish by choosing your sauce. The portions are large, service is very fast, and their customized box meals tend to price just under $10. Not in Palo Alto or traveling around the Bay Area? They also have several other locations across Northern and Southern California!
Oren’s Hummus is another great gluten free option, especially for those who have Celiac! They offer authentic Israeli food, with almost their entire menu being gluten free – they even offer gluten free pita. The waiters (who are very knowledgeable when it comes to Celiac) did inform me that they do not make their pita bread in house, so they don’t have flour around the kitchen. They also use a separate fryer for the one or two fried items they have that may contain gluten.
Oren’s has a wonderful list of hummus, kabobs, pita sandwiches, and even falafel to enjoy. Best of all, this is definitely the place to go if you are a fan of shakshuka! All of their gluten free items are clearly marked on the menu, so you will be able to identify the few items that are not. They bring baskets of pita to the table with your hummus, but you can also request a HUGE basket of veggies instead!
They have a few different locations, with their Palo Alto location being a little smaller. Their Cupertino location offers a larger sit-down style restaurant, and even has a large take-out counter.
Photos in order: kabob with falafel and baba ganoush, shakshuka, falafel with hummus and eggplant stew.
True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen is located in the Stanford Shopping Center, and has a outdoor entrance at the mall. It’s a health-driven, seasonal restaurant that has a variety of gluten free, organic, vegan and vegetarian options to choose from (all clearly marked on the menu). My family doesn’t eat gluten free, and they absolutely loved their meals!
As for gluten free options, I believe it depends on if you have Celiac and need to limit cross-contamination. My first dish, the charred cauliflower appetizer, did test positive for gluten with my Nima Sensor. However, the staff did a VERY good job of addressing the issue and making sure that it was made again so that I could eat it. They even checked in with me several times when I was testing it to see if it was cross-contaminated. My main dish, the cashew pad thai, came back all smiles/safe with my Nima.
As far as customer service goes, they really did an excellent job and even offered to take care of both appetizers to cover the cost of me using a second Nima capsule. Even with my experience that night, I think it’s definitely a great option to consider if you are gluten free.
Chef Chu’s, Los Altos
If you don’t mind driving 10-15 minutes out of Palo Alto, I had a great experience at Chef Chu’s in Los Altos! I found this restaurant on my FindMeGlutenFree app after family suggested it, and needless to say we had a great time. The portions are pretty large, perfect for sharing with the table, and most of their menu can be made gluten free (just specify that you need to be gluten free and ask a few cross-contamination questions if you need to so they understand).
It did take a while for my meal to come out after everyone else had started eating, but the waiter kept informing me that they were making sure my dish was made correctly and without cross-contamination. Regardless of how long it took, I appreciated that they really paid attention to my meal! Oh, and it was ridiculously delicious.
Stacks Breakfast, Campbell and Redwood City
If you are looking for a breakfast or brunch restaurant with a huge gluten free menu, check out Stacks Breakfast in Campbell or Redwood City! I also found this one on my FindMeGlutenFree app, with 40 reviews and 5 stars…it’s clearly a must-try. I personally haven’t gone yet, but will definitely be going next time I’m in town. Their reviews are very celiac-friendly, and apparently their gluten free Belgian waffles are life-changing.
Just be sure you are going to Stacks Breakfast in one of these two cities, as there is a Stacks Restaurant in Menlo Park and other surrounding cities that seems similar but doesn’t look to have a gluten free menu.
If you have access to a kitchen, a hotel refrigerator, or just want to pick up some food to have throughout the day, finding a grocery store with lots of gluten free options is a must. Luckily, there is a Trader Joes in Palo Alto and a Whole Foods very close by to shop at!
Do you have any other gluten free or Celiac-friendly restaurant suggestions in Palo Alto? Let me know, I’d love to hear!
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Thanks so much for this useful post! I also recommend this restaurant in the Palo Alto area: https://www.indorestaurant.com/ they have a separate (and very comprehensive) Gluten Free menu, and the food is delicious.
Lauren @ Zest and Lemons
Thanks for the recommendation!