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10 Places to Indulge in Gluten-Free Comfort Food in San Diego County


For those living with an autoimmune disease like Celiac or with a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, comfort food options can feel extremely limited. But here in San Diego, these ten restaurants are offering old-fashioned indulgences that are 100% gluten-free.

*Menus, ingredients, staff, and company practices change, so always double-check by asking allergen-specific questions before ordering your meal.

Breakfast Classics at Nectarine Grove

948 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas

Nectarine Grove is a 100% gluten-free and organic cafe in Leucadia that sources their ingredients locally and offers paleo, keto, and vegan-friendly options.

While munching on fried chicken and waffles, paleo pizza, and the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had, it’s hard to believe that no refined sugars, soy, corn, or processed ingredients were used. Their in-house gluten-free bakery also supplies their sister cafe, Healthy Creations up the street.

Baked Goods at Starry Lane Bakery

3925 Fourth Avenue, Mission Hills / Hillcrest

You’ll feel like a kid in a candy shop when you walk into this top-ten-allergy-free bakery. Everything is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, fish-free, sesame-free, and mustard-free, as well free from natural food dyes and flavorings.

They bake everything daily, including their various breads, like their famous pretzel rolls, cookies, cupcakes, scones, and many other seasonal pastries.

Burgers and Fries at Station Tavern

2204 Fern Street, South Park Neighborhood

Station Tavern defines their cuisine as “fresh comfort food” and though this local burger joint isn’t 100% gluten-free, their kitchen uses dedicated gluten-free and vegan fryers for their mouth-wateringly crispy tater tots and french fries to enjoy with 12 different aioli dipping sauces. They also have gluten-free buns and add no fillers to their patties, making most of their burgers gluten-free as well.

Tacos & Churros at Death By Tequila

569 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

Top Chef Angelo Sosa using fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients to create the restaurant’s signature Baja Mexican-stye fare. The gluten-free friendly with dedicated fryers for things, like, house-made churros. Yes, mis amigos, they have gluten-free churros. Other amazing gluten-free options include tacos, ceviches, five different guacamoles, and grilled octopus.

Pizza, Pasta, & Fresh Baked Bread at Solare Ristorante

2820 Roosevelt Rd, Liberty Station/ Point Loma

Your days of watching non-gluten-free counterparts indulge in fresh table bread are over. At Solare, you can start your meal with gluten-free bread infused with a hit of thyme and served fresh from the oven alongside extra virgin oil and dried Sicilian oregano. For your main course, restaurant uses organic, freshly grown ingredients from their own urban farm and you can choose from gluten-free pasta and pizza made with housemade dough in a kitchen designed to avoid cross-contamination.

Ice Cream Cones at Stella Jeans

4404 Park Boulevard, Suite B, University Heights

Stella Jeans serves up amazing gluten-free and vegan small-batch, handcrafted ice cream in gluten-free waffle cones. With seasonal flavors like mango sticky rice and matcha pistachio, all your ice cream cone cravings are covered.

Brunch Favorites at The Trails Eatery

7389 Jackson Drive, East County/Mission Trails

It’s time to #brunchsohard at the Trails Eatery, located in east county San Diego, around the corner from the Mission Trails Regional Park. After a hike, enjoy their gooey cinnamon roll pancakes made with cream cheese frosting. It’s like an entire plate of the center of the cinnamon roll.

They also have gluten-free sandwiches, muffins, and desserts, and while the entire menu isn’t gluten-free, the owner and chef is gluten-free herself, and thus very conscious of sensitivities and cross-contamination. They use gluten-free toothpicks to identify your food is safe when it arrives and take extra steps to ensure there isn’t cross-contamination, like never cutting sandwiches and using a separate gluten-free grill, toaster and utensils.

Donuts, Bagels & Wedding Cakes at Coronado’s Gluten-Free Pantry

One of San Diego’s only gluten-free wholesalers, baker and owner Roanna Cenete creates comfort-food eats from fresh breads and doughnuts to bagels, crepe batter, and eclairs for local restaurants like BCB cafe, Communal Coffee, Hawthorn, Holy Matcha, and Plumeria, along with award-winning specialty and wedding cakes.

Since she can’t guarantee their products are free from cross-contamination once they arrive at the restaurants the sell to, you can also order directly from the Coronado’s Gluten-Free Pantry website.

Beer and Sliders at Duckfoot Brewery Taproom and Kitchen

550 Park Boulevard, East Village

The owner of this brewery and kitchen has celiac disease, and thus, creates tasty beer with less than 0-5 ppm of gluten to enjoy alongside brewpub favorites like Brazilian cheese bread, Mac and Cheese, sliders, and Creme Brulee.

Gelato at An’s Dry Cleaning

3017 Adams Avenue, North Park

This small-batch gelato shop uses fresh, local ingredients in their 100% gluten-free line-up, which includes the likes of Gabardine, a combination of fresh bananas studded with pieces of premium dark chocolate. The gluten-free waffle cones are made fresh daily using their own in-house-developed recipe.

Christina Kantzavelos
Christina Kantzavelos is a freelance writer, as well as the owner/editor of award-winning, gluten-free and health-conscious travel and lifestyle blog, @BuenQamino. She enjoys writing about food, travel, health, culture and sustainable-living in San Diego, and beyond.
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