Restaurants That Get it, Restaurants That Don’t

In honor of National Celiac Awareness Day which was September 13, I thought I would share my opinion of Jacksonville Restaurants that Get it and Don’t Get it when it comes to accommodating the diets of those of us with celiac disease.  This is completely my opinion based on my dining experiences.  The restaurants that Don’t Get it, are not bad restaurants, actually almost all of them are some of my favorite places to eat back before I knew I had celiac disease.  I am sad that I can’t get a full belly at these places anymore without getting sick.   My hopes are that these establishments will hopefully become aware of the needs of those of us with annoying, I mean, special, diets.

Restaurants that do a great job at accommodating those with gluten intolerance and celiac disease ranked in order favorite, 2nd favorite, etc.:

Restaurants that “GET IT”:

  1. Bonefish GrillBonefish Grill is my all time favorite.   They have a special gluten-free menu that mimics their regular menu but has GF next to those that are Gluten Free.  At the Bonefish Grill in Mandarin, they also offer gluten-free bread which is fantastic and goes so well with their herb olive oil blend (just make sure you get a separate dish from those who have the regular bread).  I have heard that the bang-bang shrimp sauce is Gluten-Free and if you get the shrimp grilled with the sauce it is safe.  I have yet to try it though.
  2. Taverna- Taverna is located in San Marco near Square One and the San Marco Theater.  It is locally owned and opened about a year ago in 2009.  I happened upon this place not long after my diagnosis and was surprised that they could easily accommodate a gluten-free diet.  One of the head chefs has either celiac disease or gluten intolerance and was well aware of what I could eat.  Most of their dishes are made with fresh ingredients and include meats and veges (except for their pasta dishes of course).  They were so knowledgable that they were able to discourage a dessert that is gluten-free, however, the pan was dusted with flour.  So nice to go to a restaurant that knows how to accommodate a gluten-free diet.  They also have the coolest wine glasses in Jacksonville, in my opinion.

    Taverna Interior

  3. PF Changs–  One of the biggest no no’s of a gluten-free diet, other than pasta and breads is soy sauce.  PF Changs, not only has their gluten-free menu been added to every menu in the restaurant on the back, but they also have gluten-free soy sauce as well.  PF Changs also has gluten-free desserts and a recent new dessert, a Triple Chocolate Mousse Mini Dessert. I had it this week and it was AMAZING!  It includes three sinful layers of Chocolate Ganache, Milk Chocolate Mousse and Flourless Chocolate Cake.
  4. Outback steakhouse– Much like Bonefish Grill (they are owned by the same people) Outback Steakhouse has a special menu that looks similar to the main menu with items listed as gluten-free with all of the proper substitutions.  Another plus, the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under is gluten-free!
  5. Tommy’s Brick Oven Pizza and Mellow Mushroom TIED!  It is hard to pick between these two, because where Tommy’s has been providing gluten-free pizza for a while as well as appetizers, beer, salads and cookies; Mellow Mushroom has just recently hopped on the bandwagon.  A lot of my friends like to hang out at Mellow Mushroom so the addition of gluten-free pizza and gluten-free beer in a fun environment helps me feel normal while watching football, socializing and etc.

Now for those that need some work:

Those that “Don’t Get It”

  1. Bahama Breeze -As much as I love this restaurant and as much fish and vegetables they have on the menu it is impossible to get fish or chicken here that is gluten-free because most of their stuff is already pre mixed and premade.

    Bahama Breeze Lunch Item- no gluten free


  2. Mama Fu’s recently the organization had a promo for items on their gluten-free menu yet the Jacksonville store (located in Mandarin) does not have a gluten-free menu.  They said it is coming soon, but I am still waiting.
  3. III Forks I love the ambiance of III Forks, however, I cannot have their steak.  It is marinated in broth/aus jus, which means it contains gluten.
  4. European Street– while they have done a great job at getting gluten-free beers and gluten-free bread; nothing that goes on the gluten-free bread is certified gluten-free and their vegan/gluten free options are very expensive and very small.  The Vegan/Gluten Free burrito was terrible and $11. *Since my original post they have begun using new gluten-free wraps that are actually quite tasty. They are trying.
  5. Burrito Gallery– I love this place.  It has done wonders for downtown and the owners are very involved in reviving art downtown, however the cooking staff is not educated enough about needs of those of us with celiac disease.

All of these are debatable and could change at any moment.  Please, restaurants, if I am wrong or if things have changed I would love to learn more.   I would recommend every restaurant on this list for people without Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but for those with, the bottom five should be explored with caution.


Filed under Dining, lists

21 responses to “Restaurants That Get it, Restaurants That Don’t

  1. Dave

    Great list. Very good assessments of all of them too. Only one I would add (again) is Boston’s Pizza up by the airport. They have small GF pizzas that are pretty good. But no other GF menu items.,+FL&cid=7885708077439028616

    • Jennifer

      Dave, I tried the gluten free pizza at Boston’s a week or so ago when I was heading back from the airport. It was delicious. I practically ate the whole pizza in one sitting (ok, I was a little hungry). Thank you for sharing, I kinda wish it wasn’t so far away from the city.

  2. Stiney

    Great list! I haven’t had problems at any of the Get It list.
    Taverna is AMAZING. We went for our anniversary and they took such great care of me. Their Panna Cotta made me want to weep with joy it was so good.

  3. First, let me say we appreciate your comments on how much you love the III Forks experience. When it comes to our food preparation, let me point out that our steaks are not marinated. We take special requests from people daily. From gluten free to dairy free to sugar free. Our chefs prepare special plates for those that wish, anytime, provided we have some notice. I would welcome anyone to call ahead, speak directly to Executive Chef Dylan, and assuming he has time to source and prepare the dish, deliver an out of this world dish just for them. Thanks again for your interest in III Forks.

    Curtis Osmond
    GM and Proprietor
    III Forks Jacksonville

    • Curtis, thank you so much for the feedback. I had no idea. I will definitely call ahead next time, most of the time I am popping in for your awesome happy hour last minute so the call ahead is usually difficult. I need to make a better effort.

  4. Stiney

    Since European Street dropped the ball on safely preparing their GF sandwiches I went looking elsewhere and found Jason’s Deli on Southside. They have Udi’s bread that they use and they have strict guidelines, changing gloves clean utensils. They were amazing and super yum!

    • You are kidding? I love Jason’s Deli and had no idea they had Udi’s bread. I want to go now! This is great information, thank you for sharing!

      • Stiney

        Oh it was great. And the Udi’s they use is different than the kind you buy at the store. It’s regular bread sized. I had the Mediterranean wrap done on GF bread and it was awesome. Reminded me of my fav sandwich from Panera. Jason’s is def going on the list of places I’d spend my whole lunch hour getting to just to have their sandwiches.

  5. Emily

    Kudos to Jason’s Deli for there gluten free options! The Udi’s bread is great, especially toasted, and I’m thrilled to be able to eat a decent sandwich again at an affordable price! The staff is trained to prepare your gf meals in a separate work station with clean utensils but they are not trained on what products have gluten so be instructive.

  6. Lisa

    Roy’s Restaurant has an awesome gluten-free menu as well. And their Chocolate Souffle is gluten-free and the best dessert I’ve ever had! All of Outback’s concepts now have gluten-free menus so that includes Outback, Roy’s, Carrabba’s, and Bonefish

  7. Love your blog!! This entry has helped me so much in finding great restaurants in Jax!!

  8. Rachel

    Thanks for the list! I was looking for a place to go for lunch..and I happened on your blog. Thanks for highlighting the options!!

  9. GF family

    Think you need to revisit European Street. I am a very sensitive Celiac and have been GF for 12 years, so I’m quite picky about where I go. Their GF bread is soft and wonderful, doesn’t fall apart. They have lots of great choices for sandwiches, desserts we can have, etc. I have eaten there many times without any problems and can honestly say I love to go there. Try it again. They have their act together!

    • GF Family, thank you for the post. Since I made this post they have made changes and I have had many tell me how much they have changed and I have actually dined there safely. From what I hear they use baked goods from Cookie Momsters, one of my favorite local g-free/dairy-free/casein-free bakeries. I plan to update this list soon. If you have other places you would like to share since you are a 12 year veteran please share here or on my facebook page

  10. Pingback: food allergy

  11. Larry’s Giant Subs has gluten free bread and gluten free wraps at most of their locations especially the one on Southside and Baymeadows.

  12. Thank you for writing this! I realize it’s a bit old, but I wanted to let you know about Enza’s Italian Restaurant in Mandarin (near Whole Foods). We went there last year for my grandmother’s birthday and they had a wonderful GF menu (including pasta which they boil away from the wheat pasta!). I ordered and had no qualms about dining because they are very meticulous and understand the needs of true GF diners.

  13. glutenfreegal

    Thank you for writing this! I realize it’s a bit old, but I wanted to let you know about Enza’s Italian Restaurant in Mandarin (near Whole Foods). We went there last year for my grandmother’s birthday and they had a wonderful GF menu (including pasta which they boil away from the wheat pasta!). I ordered and had no qualms about dining because they are very meticulous and understand the needs of true GF diners.

Leave a Reply to Jennifer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s