Austin is the live music capital of the world, but it’s also home to some of the best cuisine in the country. Whether you’re craving finger-licking, melt off the bone Barbecue, Interior Mexican Cuisine, Tex Mex, Vietnamese or fresh Farm-to-table fare, Austin has plenty to choose from.
And as signs of Spring emerge, so do the signs of Austin’s favorite event – South by Southwest. SXSW turns Austin on it’s head, with some of the best names in music, interactive and film checking out our amazing little town.
And while SXSW is an exciting time for attendees, it can also be a bit daunting if you have food allergies and you’re visiting a new town. While the Convention Center does offer some gluten and dairy free options, our guess is you would like to venture out and explore some of the amazing culinary skills our local chefs have to offer.
Every year, the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance works in partnership with local food bloggers to produce a SXSW guide to all things ‘food’ related that Austin has to offer. Since we’re an allergy-free friendly town, and so many of you are probably seeking tasty and safe allergy-free friendly options, we’ve compiled a list of approved gluten-free friendly Austin jaunts.
So whether you’re new to Austin, or an old regular, here are some of our favorite gluten-free friendly joints in the South Congress and Travis Heights areas to get you started, and browse our suggestion in the Downtown area here.
And if you’re looking for gluten-free friendly restaurants while here, be sure to download the Locate Special Diet app which will give you consumer generated reviews of the best gluten-free friendly joints in town.
SOCO (That’s Austin for South Congress y’all)
Guero’s Taco Bar
Enjoy handmade corn tortillas, specialty dishes and fresh salsa bar. The caldo de pollo and tacos al pastor are just a few tried-and-true favorites. Start off with a hand-shaken margarita in the cantina, or enjoy an icy cold beer while listening to music in the Oak Garden. Just sit back and relax. Offering a special page on their menu for gluten-free items, Guero’s is an awesome Austin joint that accommodates us gluten-free folks!
1412 South Congress (map) 512.447.7688 Hours: M-W: 11am-10pm, Th-Fri: 11am-11pm, S-Sun: 8am-11pm
Located just a few doors down from Guero’s is another Austin favorite.
Known as the daddy of all burgers, Hopdoddy has never disappointed us in its quest to serve the freshest, tastiest burger possible. Handcrafted burgers, beer and a full bar in the heart of SoCo, they offer gluten-free buns and salads to satisfy all your cravings, though you might have to wait a bit to get your feast on. Hopdoddy is no stranger to long, winding lines, though if you do find yourself waiting, you can admire the people watching on South Congress – it’s some of the best we’ve seen.
1400 S Congress Ave (map) 512.243.7505 Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
South Congress Cafe
Less of a cafe and more of an upscale eatery, South Congress Cafe serves inspired Southwestern fare like mesquite-grilled filet sauced with a spicy charred poblano demi glaze and adobo chili bearnaise, crab enchiladas finished with a tomatillo-jalapeno cream sauce and Cajun seafood scampi with Creole garlic butter, all in oversized portions.
While they don’t offer a dedicated gluten-free menu, South Congress Cafe’s staff was more than happy to help steer us to items that are gluten-free friendly, and were happy to accommodate a range of other allergy restrictions. This one is not to be missed!
1600 South Congress Ave (map) 512-447-3905
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos
While not a local Austin jaunt, Wahoo’s is a fun, unique take on a taco joint, and since they’re happy to accommodate food allergy requests, we had to throw them in here. If you’re looking for a quick bite where you can still enjoy a marg or some beer, Wahoo’s is a great option. They do have some breaded items that are fired, so skip the chips if you’re sensitive and head next door to the market where you can buy your own gluten-free, non GMO chips 🙂 Check out the Wahoo’s menu here.
1722 South Congress 512.358.6600
Southside Flying Pizza
These guys have some of the best gluten-free pizza we’ve ever tasted. More reminiscent of focaccia bread than a traditional pizza crust (in flavor) their gluten-free pies are always a big hit. And for you non gluten-free folks, they serve up traditional pies that continue to win ‘best of’ awards. Located on the opposite end of South Congress, this is a bit of a hike from the more hopping part of SoCo, but they’re a gerat delivery option too. Check out their menu and locations here.
2206 S Congress (512) 442-4246
This eclectic burrito joint has exploded in Austin, and is expanding to other parts of the country as well. From their fun, eccentric decor to their straightforward, simple menu, Freebirds gets it right. And if you’re looking for gluten and dairy free options, these guys are a great option for you. Most all of their items are safe (save for the obvious stuff) and they’ve got a handy little guide they can hand you when you walk in. Come for the burritos, salads or bowls, and bring your appetite!
515 S Congress Ave (512) 462-3512
Travis Heights – just a short walk from SOCO
Bufalo Bob’s Chalupa Wagon
This is Austin’s food trucks at their best – delicious, fun and good for you!
Bufalo Bob’s offers range-fed, all natural Bison, Chicken and Vegetarian Chalupas with plenty of gluten-free options! They use locally raised all natural chicken and bison certified free of hormones and antibiotics, and all recipes are homemade using only extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
Bobs (and Bob himself) are fabulous! Bob shared with me one night that his wife is gluten-free and also allergic to soy, so they are very aware of allergy restrictions and are definitely willing to accommodate. They strive to make great tasting food that is good for your body too! This is a MUST TRY!
603 W. Live Oak, Austin, TX. 1 (map) (512) 662-2801
Elizabeth Street Cafe
These guys ‘get’ Vietnamese food, and serve it up in a chic atmosphere offering unique and delicious drinks that are always fun! Once of our favorite places to enjoy a patio, be sure to try the iced green tea with a hint of jasmine, and don’t skip on the apps – the spring rolls are divine and we love the flank steak. The staff is friendly, helpful and will steer you to the best options for your cravings. The Pho is amazing, and will leave you happy and feeling like a million bucks!
1501 South First St.
Come for the sunny rooftop deck, stay for the star filled skies. El Alma is one of our favorite places to chill, and offers delicious, closer-to-authentic Mexican foods and their margs pack a nice little punch. They have plenty of gluten and dairy-free options, and their staff is always knowledgeable and happy to help.
1025 Barton Springs Rd
This large, outdoor, creek side restaurant/bar is in an idyllic setting, under large, shady oak trees. Freddies has a, laid-back, South Austin vibe, with tasty burgers and margaritas, a beautiful setting, live music and friendly staff. Offering a dedicated gluten-free menu, you can enjoy a burger with a gluten-free bun, or french toast for breakfast. They also have a delicious seared tuna, pork chops, salads and more. And if you’re there on a day that’s hotter than 100 degrees, their frozen margs are only 100 pennies 🙂 Can’t beat that!
1703 S 1st St (map) (512) 445-9197 Hours: Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Thrice Cafe (formerly Thai Fresh)
Why do we love Thrice? Fresh steeped loose leaf teas, Kombucha on tap, great selection of beer & wine, and all the Vegan Ice Cream you can imagine! Their menu is almost entirely gluten-free, with the exception of their Vietnamese sandwiches and they’re happy to leave out the grains if you request that they do. We love their curries and our son is a fan of their gluten free chicken strips with homemade rice vinegar dipping sauce.
909 West Mary St. (map) 512 447 9473
Serving up some of the “best damn tacos in Austin”, all day long. Torchy’s Tacos operate several restaurants in Austin, plus one of our favorite trailer parks (located on South 1st Street). They’ve won a bunch of cool awards and have some of the . And thanks to their willingness to accommodate allergy-free dining needs, Torchy’s is a great option for those with gluten-free, dairy free and various other restrictions. Grab their gluten-free menu at the counter before ordering and smile as you sit back to enjoy fresh and tasty tacos, Torchy’s style! Oh, and don’t forget to try the Diablo sauce and their queso is the best in town! Check out their website here for menus and locations.
2809 S 1st St
We hope you enjoy your little city as much as we do – it’s a fantastic place to live and we cherish all that makes it so unique and special!