What are the BEST Gluten-Free restaurants in WASHINGTON, D.C.?
This past week, I spent four days in Washington, D.C. for a conference. My days were full of speakers and workshops (read: starving and living off Luna bars, but that’s another blog post…). Every night we tried a new restaurant, and I definitely indulged in big gluten-free dinners because by the end of the day I was so hungry.
Gluten-Free Guide to Washington, D.C.!
Chop’t is the most casual, fast-pace place we stopped for lunch the Sunday we got in. A small chain in the area, Chop’t is a “Creative Salad Company,” kind of like Sweetgreen (my loveee) for our purposes. Their menu is not labeled, but they were so knowledgable about what was and was not gluten-free, and why. All their salad dressings are gluten-free!
I got the Mexican Caesar salad, which was a little spicy and very delicious, and I got it with chicken to make it more filling! They use different chopping boards and equipment for each new salad, but make sure you let them know about celiac disease to play it safe.
Old Ebbitt Grill has a big menu with many gluten-free options, my waitress was so knowledgeable and even offered to make something that wasn’t listed gluten-free as gluten-free to accommodate me. She suggested the crab dip, and made it gluten-free for me. I ordered a cheeseburger (don’t ask me why… did you read this blog post?!), and fries.
When my meal came out, the bun looked a little too, normal? And I asked if it was gluten-free, and the runner said “no, did you want it gluten-free?” Major facepalm - especially after I had felt so confident ordering from the waitress. He took it back and remade it, and we asked to speak with the manager who profusely apologized and said she didn’t know what happened, and that they are typically known for how well they handle allergies.
My waitress was again, phenomenal, at handling the situation, and apologized profusely and comped my meal - which I believe is the correct way to act in this situation. When I order at any restaurant, particularly a restaurant well-rated on Find Me Gluten Free, I share that I have celiac disease and ask a slew of questions. When I’m handed a meal that’s made incorrectly using gluten, it makes me lose confidence in the restaurant, even when they make it. Why should I pay for a meal, that is literally going to poison me and damage my body? If I hadn’t noticed the way the bun looked, it would have been a major issue for me for weeks. I ate the re-made meal, and it was good! They have a dedicated fryer, and the fries were very good!
Overall, I left upset that a kitchen can make a mistake this huge, but pleased with the way they handled the situation.
When a restaurant messes up, what is your expectation? Do you expect a meal to be comped, or just remade? Reminder to always ask if your meal is gluten-free when it’s brought to your table, even if you’re 99% sure. Better to be safe than sorry!
We went to Firefly on our second night, and loved the atmosphere. Cute and cozy with a tree up the middle and with every detail thought out decor-wise, I was so excited to try their food! The waiter, host, and everyone in between were so friendly and chatty which is always a good touch.
The waiter asked right off the bat if we had any allergies; when I told him I had celiac disease and can’t eat gluten he thoroughly explained the menu to me and was able to answer all my questions.
I ordered buffalo wings and fries, and they brought me a special sauce for the wings since their blue cheese isn’t gluten-free. The buffalo wings were good, but not spicy enough (nothing is), and the fries were very good. They’re the only thing they fry in their fryer! They also have gluten-free desserts! I was too full, but they have a few good options if you save room.
Overall, I was very impressed with Firefly and will definitely return next time I’m in Washington D.C.
With several locations and a super extensive menu, BBB definitely a good option if you’re craving… well, burgers, beer, or bourbon. They also have cool appetizers, so many fries, tacos, and way more - and the whole menu is labeled!
The waitress was knowledgeable on what could and could not be made gluten-free, and suggested what to try. I got jalapeno poppers as an appetizer - I have never had them, or even anything like it and figured it’ll be a long time before I see that kind of appetizer on a gluten-free menu again and went for it. They were good, but not at all what I was expecting and not spicy at all (but remember, nothing is to me!).
I ordered a baja burger on a gluten-free bun, which makes that specific burger gluten-free. The burger was a little too cooked for my liking but overall really good with the toppings! I also got sriracha fries, which were fully gluten-free and sprinkled with some sort of sriracha powder.
Even though it was my first real meal of the day, I definitely couldn’t finish all the food and could’ve had enough for another two people. A must-try if you’re craving burgers and other American-style food that you may not be able to find elsewhere!