Yes, I am a gluten-free eater. No, the food I eat does not taste bad. Since I cut gluten out of my diet about six months ago, I have repeated those two lines around a million times. At first, I was surprised to learn that there are delicious alternatives to traditional wheat pasta, pizza, bread, and fried chicken, but I promise they exist. In fact, there are plenty of  gluten-free restaurants in Charleston. While you are out exploring the never-ending beauty of the city, check out the places on my list of Charleston's 10 best gluten-free restaurants.

1. Persimmon Café

cheese, bacon
Emma Looby

 All gluten-free eaters looking for a delicious toasted panini should head over to Persimmon ASAP. All sandwiches on the menu, including any grilled cheese, can be made gluten-free. The place is small and only has two sandwich toasters, so the employees clean the entire grill before each gluten-free sandwich is warmed. A majority of the soups served are also gluten-free, in addition to two amazing cookies: chocolate chip and oatmeal with peanut butter and M&Ms. 

2. Dellz Uptown

Although it is popular for its vegan and vegetarian dishes, Dellz Uptown has some pretty taste-bud-pleasing gluten-free options too. All of the wraps can be turned into salads and the “bowlz” (like the one above) or nachos are never a bad lunch idea. However, when you order, definitely mention that you don't want pita bread with your order! Another plus, it's a pretty casual place if you want a lunch date with your friend.

3. Five Loaves

balsamic, beet, cranberry, sauce
Emma Looby

Not only is Five Loaves delicious and inexpensive (two things us college students love), but it has a staff devoted to keeping allergen-free food safe. Although there is no separate gluten-free menu, the main menu has a sizable number of options denoted as gluten-free, as well as some vegetarian and vegan. The restaurant has gone as far as getting rid of bread for the table prior to ordering for the purpose of eliminating any risk of bothering gluten-free eaters. One of my personal favorites is the dish shown above, which is the “Chicken Paillard”. It is all natural chicken breast served on top of garlic mashed potatoes with prosciutto, carmelized beets, and arugula on top with a nice drizzle of white vinaigrette to finish it off.

4. Fleet Landing

A more expensive option, Fleet Landing is an awesome place to celebrate a birthday, go on a nice date, or take your parents when they are in town. I recommend this place to all gluten-free seafood lovers because the menu is rather limited, but delicious nonetheless. Out on the water it has some beautiful views and also a fun nautical theme that would make for an awesome brunch or dinner with friends and family.

5. Mellow Mushroom

Mellow’s gluten-free menu is just pizza, but in my personal opinion, it is one of the best gluten-free pizza options in the area. Not being gluten-free for my entire life, I can say that Mellow’s gluten-free crust closely resembles thin crust glutenous pizza, so if you are new to being gluten-free, don’t be scared to try it! Also, it is extra awesome because it doesn’t fall apart as you eat it, like a lot of gluten-free flour based products tend to do. Mellow also lets you build your own pizza with the toppings of your choice.

6. CO

CO is a fun, Asian noodle bar that does not discriminate against gluten-free eaters. A chic and fun environment creates a different dining experience for college students. With different appetizers and a few gluten-free noodle and broth dishes, CO is the perfect place to go if you’re craving something different than your typical sandwich or pizza go-to.  

7. Slightly North of Broad                                    

S.N.O.B. is another pricier restaurant that I recommend for birthday dinners, dates, and to take your parents, but it isn’t just seafood. So, if you aren’t a seafood lover, don’t worry. This restaurant’s gluten-free menu is quite impressive, as it is more extensive than most.

8. Caviar and Bananas

Caviar is perfect for a quick bite or grabbing food with friends. It offers a bunch of options from sandwiches on gluten-free bread to freshly cooked and prepared choices in the refrigerated glass case in the back. All of the gluten-free options set out in the display are labeled in order to avoid confusion, and you can choose from three sizes of containers to mix and match the dishes for a full gluten-free meal. It is also super convenient if you are looking for a small snack because they have baskets and shelves set up all around the space with gluten-free pretzels, chips, and KIND bars.

9. Verde

Emma Looby

An awesome option for a healthy gluten-free lunch, you can choose from one of the signature salads (with the exception of their Caesar, Chickpea, and Southern Harvest salads), or create your own! A majority of their dressings are made without gluten, the only one not being the sesame peanut dressing. As long as you steer clear of the flour tortilla wraps and side of bread, you should be in the clearm because they store the flour products separate from everything else. 

10. King Street Cookies/Cupcake Down South/Jeni's

Okay, I know it is confusing that I put these three dessert places as one gluten-free optionm but I did not want to limit anyone’s gluten-free dessert choices. Personally, I do not discriminate between cookies, cupcakes, or ice cream, but if you have a personal favorite these three places have gluten-free options that will satisfy your cravings.                                                                

*Pictured are the four types of gluten-free cookies at King Street Cookies

Charleston is a city known for its amazing food and now we gluten-free eaters can have just as much fun enjoying the cuisine as everyone else.