"No Whey Lady Takes SF" may sound kind of silly because San Francisco is my home, but the truth is I explore more and more of it every day. Things are constantly changing -- and not just me, my taste buds, and cravings -- but also the city! I get a lot of questions regarding where to eat when visiting San Francisco. Truthfully, as a "normal eater" you really can't go wrong by doing a yelp search in the neighborhood you are looking to eat, SF has some really great food. However, for those of us with food allergies and dietary restrictions, it's a different story. The round up below includes some of my favorite spots that can easily cater to allergic, sensitive bodies.
- Little Gem - 100% dairy-free, gluten-free kitchen that can cater to almost any food allergy (my corn sensitivity included). Chef Dave Cruz is extremely inventive + passionate when it comes to his kitchen and his food.
- Mau - my favorite pho spot! The only dairy that is served is for dessert, so it's very safe cross-contamination wise. The pho ga (my dish of choice) is totally gluten-free and comes with organic, local chicken. They have a variety of gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.
- Burma Super Star // B Star // Burma Love - this family of restaurants has officially made it's way to the Mission District with their newest location Burma Love. All of their restaurants have the same "base menu" with different flares from location to location. They are very good at relaying allergies to the kitchen and have many flavorful and delicious options for the allergy-prone person.
- El Techo - fresh margaritas with no corn included, a view, and heat lamps. This place rocks. Though there is a lot of cheese and corn on the menu, they have apps (I'm partial to the coctel de cameron) and salads that are vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Fun fact, if you eat pork and are also dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free the chicharrones are a safe bet ;)
- Central Kitchen - california cuisine made with locally sourced, organic ingredients and an amazing vibe. Literally, nothing could be better than that, except for the fact that they have a fab open air kitchen and bend over backwards for those with food allergies. Pricey but totally worth it.
- Saru - shhhh keep this one on the DL. This is best sushi my love and I have found in SF. We've tried a lot of spots and kind of consider ourselves sushi connoisseurs, so if you know a better spot feel free to let me know!
- Roam - they have bison burgers!...and veggie burgers, and turkey burgers, and normal burgers. I don't eat cow, but will eat bison (message me or comment below if you have a Q about this) and this place makes a mean burger + sweet potato fries. They also have gluten-free buns AND do lettuce wraps. If you have an extreme allergy like me, be sure to extra warn them about cross contamination and inspect your food before digging in. I have had to send stuff back before and will tell you that they location in Pacific Heights is much more understanding in regards to food allergies than the Marina location.
- Nourish - my favorite little vegan spot in the city! They have the best giant, and by giant I mean gargantuan, salad bowls, as well as tons of vegan, gluten-free baked goods, juices, and acai bowls! Pig out here and bring a big bag to take extra goodies home.
- Seed + Salt - best stop for a quick and easy lunch that is guaranteed to be gluten-free and vegan. Their wraps are my personal favorite and though their falafels don't actually taste like legit falafels...I'm minorly obsessed with those too. The best part about this place is that you can ask them what is in ANYTHING. Simply tell the person at the ordering station that you want to know what's in a wrap, in a sauce, even what's in their vegan cream cheese and they will pull out an ingredients list to show you. If that's not heaven for an allergy sufferer (or wellness foodie!), I don't know what it.
- Urban Remedy - hands down the best grab and go juice and prepackaged meal spot. Nika is extremely inventive when it comes to her combos, and they're local! You kind find them all over the city (like on Union Street, the Ferry Building, the Whole Foods in SOMA, and Rainbow, among others). Be sure to grab a Matcha au Lait and some snacks at the very least. It's completely plant based (minus the protein add in packages they have at their union store).
- Gracias Madre - I can only review one dish + the sides here as everything is pretty corn-based plus the fact that I am a creature of habit and always get the same thing. I am in love just because it's a Mexican restaurant where I can dine and not have to worry about dairy cross-contamination (plus they make a mean soju based marg). I highly recommend the platillo de legumbres with a side of guac and grilled mushrooms. You will have terrific bestover leftovers the next day!
- Shizen - vegan Japanese, yes I said that. I'm a big time sashimi girl but will try anything that's dairy-free, gluten-free, and corn-free once...I've been ready to go back since. Their menu has a color key so you know what's gluten-free before the server tries to take your order. The small plates (both hot and cold) were great, the sushi rolls are inventive (and look real), but the true winner here is their ramen which is made from scratch and can be ordered gluten-free and corn-free. This is the only spot I've ever been able to eat ramen out!
- Greens - not vegan, but has many vegan options and a terrific view (be sure to ask for a table by the window)! Dairy allergy sufferers be warned, though they can serve you delicious food, you have to be very clear about your allergy and explain cross contamination. I stick with the truly vegan dishes here to ensure a completely dairy-free meal. Great spot for a romantic night out. You can take a stroll along the water before or after dinner :)
In the Bay Area:
- Mission Heirloom - literally drooling just thinking about this place. If you are a healthy loving foodie you must make the trek across the bridge to eat here. Not only is the food fabulous but they have the cutest outdoor seating and so many glass packed goods to take home for later (bone broths, salads, veggies galore). Everything here is perfect, fresh, and organic and they are super conscious about food allergies. Their lamb bone broth is actually one of the best things I've ever tasted.
- Calafia - they serve up some beautiful dishes made with fresh, local, sustainable and organic whenever possible ingredients. Hands down my favorite spot in Palo Alto when visiting my mother on the peninsula. They have a meat eater and a plant eater menu and take food allergies seriously. Anyone who eats here will love the meal (even picky meat loving boyfriends).
- Millenium Restaurant - this place used to be located in downtown SF and has recently relocated to Oakland. While I have not eaten there since the move, the menu is 100% plant-based and so inventive. Though it was founded by a different chef, it is definitely on par with Plant + Wine (in Venice // Wynwood)
Have a blast in my city! If you're a local or have visited SF recently and have a resto rec that you think I may like that I haven't discovered yet, let me know. This lady is always on the search for new, fun, jenna-friendly eats.
*If you have serious allergies, no matter where you are dining, please tell the waitstaff and the kitchen to ensure a fun, safe meal!