Boston Gluten-Free Travel Guide

Rich in history, culture, cuisine, and sports, Boston is also a spectacular walking city, making it fun to explore almost any time of year. Mollie B. Drury, of cooking website Gluten Free Mollie D, leads the way to the deliciousness to be found in Beantown, including the best gluten-free restaurant choices in Boston.

DO THIS
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
On pretty much everyone’s must-visit list, this iconic landmark and home of bygone American art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner integrates works of art and stunning scenery. gardnermuseum.org

Shop
All the luxury brands are represented on Newbury Street between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue (newbury-st.com) along with boutiques worth browsing. Want streetwear with a side of fun? Head to Bodega (bdgastore.com) on Clearway Street, the ultrahip and swanky clothing and sneaker store, with access hidden through the back of a corner store.

Boston Public Garden
Beautiful any time of year, this Back Bay landmark is especially spectacular while in full bloom spring through fall. Take a ride on the famed Swan Boats (paddle boats powered by your tour guide) and don’t miss the Make Way For Ducklings statues, which are dressed for the occasion year-round. boston.gov/parks/public-garden

Freedom Trail
lThis 2.5-mile, red-lined route leads to 16 historic sites of the American Revolution, including museums, churches, burial grounds, and a ship. It’s also a lovely way to see the city. Stroll on your own or take one of the 90-minute tours ($12). thefreedomtrail.org

Benjamin Franklin statue (photo: GBCVB)

SoWa Open Market
Held on Sundays from May through October, this outdoor market, with a goal of building community and supporting small businesses, hosts local artists, farmers, chefs, brewers, and musicians. Come hungry and expect fresh produce, locally made gifts, artwork, and the largest array of food trucks in the city. sowaboston.com

Shopping at SoWa Open Market

Summer in the City Series
In its 20th season in 2018, this summer entertainment series at Boston Harbor Hotel (page 88) features free live music Tuesday through Thursday evenings and a free movie every Friday night. Arrive early for prime seats and order food and drinks from the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille restaurant adjacent to the stage. thebostoncalendar.com

Water Taxis
Though this floating on-call transportation is a great way to get across the harbor, to East Boston, or from the airport to harbor-front hotels, it’s also your ticket to a fun, scenic ride on a clear, warm evening. bostonharborcruises.com/water-taxi

Boston Harbor-Salem Ferry

Wally’s Café
Family-owned and beloved, this tiny veteran jazz club features live music and a warm, welcoming vibe nightly. wallyscafe.com

SLEEP HERE
Boston Harbor Hotel
Five-star elegance and service meets sweeping harbor views at this landmark along Boston’s waterfront. Don’t miss the lobby’s historic maps of Boston or the harborfront outdoor seating at the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, weather permitting. bhh.com

Boston Park Plaza
Located near the famous Public Garden, historic Back Bay neighborhood, and Boston’s premier shopping, this updated veteran property has a masculinechic vibe, a beckoning restaurant and bar, and surprisingly good rates. bostonparkplaza.com

Boston Park Plaza room

The Envoy Hotel
Situated at the unofficial entrance to the newly popular Seaport (“Innovation”) District, this modern downtown hot spot delivers harbor and city views, swank rooms, and a tech-crowd scene at the very popular seasonal rooftop bar. theenvoyhotel.com

XV Beacon
Nestled atop Beacon Hill near the Boston Common, this ultraposh, architectural boutique hotel is one of the city’s finest. It’s also pet-friendly and environmentally conscious and features “Mooo….,” a premier steak restaurant. xvbeacon.com

XV Beacon (photo Dom Miguel)

Hotel Commonwealth
This very Boston hotel situated along the course of the famed Boston Marathon is also a short walk from Fenway Park, home to baseball’s Boston Red Sox. The freshly renovated rooms have views of Kenmore Square and, in some cases, the ballpark. hotelcommonwealth.com

The Godfrey
Chic midcentury and contemporary decor paired with a historic footprint and a prime downtown location make this property uberattractive. Plus, it’s got an artisan-coffee bar and is close to the Theater District and great restaurants. godfreyhotelboston.com

The lobby at the Godfrey

The Verb Hotel
The Fenway Park area’s playful rock ’n’ roll–inspired hotel treats guests to music memorabilia, a seasonal outdoor pool, an ultrahip restaurant boasting vintage video games and pinball machines, and access to an extensive vinyl collection (record players are in all rooms). Along with easy ballpark access, it’s also close to plenty of great restaurants and shops. theverbhotel.com

Fairmont Copley Plaza
In the heart of Copley Square and surrounded by the Boston Public Library and the Trinity Church, this Back Bay landmark is loaded with Old World charm, modern-day luxury, and quick access to some of the best scenery and food in town. fairmont.com

Yotel Boston
This new addition to the rapidly expanding Seaport District keeps things cheap-chic and simple with tiny, well-designed, fully loaded, modern “cabins” and large communal areas, including a bar and lounge and rooftop terrace with awesome views. yotel.com

DRINK IT IN
Thinking Cup
On shopping-centric Newbury Street, this is a reliable source for a quality cup of coffee, espresso, sandwiches (on GF bread upon request), and even GF cookies. Outdoor seating is a dream in spring and summer. thinkingcup.com

Drink
With no menu in sight at this industrial-chic bar in Boston’s up-and-coming Fort Point neighborhood, you simply tell the bartenders your alcohol and flavor preferences and let them create a cocktail just for you. drinkfortpoint.com

The Hawthorne
A prime choice for after-work drinks or pregame cocktails near Fenway Park, this beautifully appointed bar with comfy seating and friendly staff offers classic cocktails, house specialties, and a small food menu. thehawthornebar.com

Rowes Wharf Bar
This cozy, inviting bar located off the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel (page 88) crafts classic cocktails and a perfect size bar menu. Add the live music, and this is a great evening gathering spot no matter the season. bhh.com/dining

Rowes Wharf Bar offerings (photo Mikhail Glabets Photography)

EAT HERE
Most of the restaurants on this list are not 100 percent gluten-free, but they are accustomed to accommodating GF diners. When you sit down, be sure to advise your server of your dietary needs.

Lone Star Taco Bar
Great prices, awesome tacos (with homemade tortillas), creative margaritas, and late-night service draw the young and hungry to this spot. Along with festive music, expect TVs broadcasting Westerns and food allergy–savvy servers. Must tries: carnitas; Dallas spicy beef; chorizo tacos. lonestar-boston.com

Myers + Chang
Asian fusion stars at this South End staple offering allergy-friendly menus, a food-knowledgeable staff, and a see-and-be scene. Must-tries: nasi goreng (fried rice); chicken and broccoli chow fun. myersandchang.com

Ostra
Murals of underwater sea creatures and sleek decor match the upscale mood at this special-occasion seafood restaurant. Whether at the bar, with live piano music nightly, or in the intimate dining room, expect superb service and elegant dishes plated with precision. Must tries: grilled Spanish octopus; ricotta gnocchetti (ask for GF pasta); salt-crusted branzino. ostraboston.com

Salt-crusted branzino at Ostra (photo Kristin Teig)

Kava Neo-Taverna
A menu of sharable, delicious Greek dishes make the line out the door worth the wait at this urban, South End hot spot. For the best people-watching, sit at a cozy window table. Must tries: gemista (stuffed peppers); imam (a tomato-mushroom dish with cheese); octopodi (grilled octopus); loukaniko (grilled sausage); mixed grill (perfect for two!). kavaneotaverna.com

The Tip Tap Room
This casual Beacon Hill meeting place is best known for its many beers on tap (skip those), bold appetizers, and eclectic selection of steak and other “tips.” Come early or plan to wait. In spring and summer, you’ll catch a warm breeze from the giant open windows as you eat. Must-tries: swordfish or lamb tips; endive, radicchio, and arugula salad. thetiptaproom.com

Toro
A whirlwind experience of Spanish tapas, larger plates, drinks, and a festive vibe keep this famous South End eatery bustling. Be prepared to wait; dinner reservations aren’t accepted. Must tries: paella Valenciana; tortilla Espanola; gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp). toro-restaurant.com

Toro’s spiced carrots with garlic yogurt (photo: Noah Fecks)

Nebo Cucina and Enoteca
If an energetic, group-friendly Italian feast sounds like fun, head to this Seaport District spot featuring an expansive gluten-free menu and a GF-knowledgeable staff. Weather permitting, sit outdoors and enjoy the people-watching as you indulge in every gluten-free Italian dish imaginable. Must-tries: Calamari fritti, salsicce e rabe (sausage and broccoli rabe), zucchini lasagna, and Piemonte pizza. neborestaurant.com

The Beehive
As much a beloved music venue as a favored restaurant, this buzzing South End spot has a festive jazz brunch, two floors of seating, two bars, and thanks to nightly live music, enough energy to last well past bedtime. Must tries: roasted half chicken; spice-rubbed swordfish; schmaltz fried rice. beehiveboston.com

Legal Sea Foods Harborside
It’s almost a rite of passage to dine at this veteran Boston-based seafood chain. This huge flagship Harborside location (and other outposts) is so GF-friendly that you can even eat fish and chips here. Pick from the three levels of dining with a waterfront setting: first-floor casual, second-story fine dining, and third-floor open-airr-oof cocktails and sushi. Must tries: fried clams; char-grilled yellowfin tuna; lobster bake; sautéed mussels. legalseafoods.com

Fried goodness at Legal Seafoods

Sweet Cheeks Q
A preferred pregame BBQ fix near Fenway, this family-friendly joint serves food tray-style. Grab bar seats for a quick bite, or settle in at a high-top table. Must-tries: pulled pork; brisket; collard greens; potato salad; key lime pie (!); butterscotch pudding. sweetcheeksq.com

Outdoor dining at Sweet Cheeks (photo: Mike Diskin)

Citrus & Salt
Coastal Mexican food is served tapas style at this super-fun and inspired Back Bay newcomer. Don’t miss the inventive cocktails and impressive tequila and mezcal lists. Must tries: Freshly made guacamole with hand-cut tortilla chips (note: chips share fryer with gluten items); pasilla-braised beef cheek; Jonah crab tostadas; and chilaquiles. citrusandsaltboston.com

No. 9 Park
Veteran chef Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant, atop Beacon Hill and overlooking the State House, is one of Boston’s top special-occasion restaurants where refinement extends from the intimate Bar Room (a great spot for a cocktail or slightly less formal meal) to the dining room to the seasonally inspired Italian- and French-influenced menu. Must-tries: artichoke salad; Nantucket Bay scallops; duet of Colorado lamb. no9park.com

Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar
For a relaxed evening, stop in at this friendly, casual Fenway-area tavern offering a varied menu of crowd-pleasers and an extensive beverage program, including a multipage whiskey list. Must tries: loaded baby sweet-potato skins; sirloin burger (sans bun). citizenpub.com

Snacks at Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen
Voted “Best Hotel Bar” by Boston magazine, this Copley Square gem features an impressive all-day menu to go along with its famed, and extensive, cocktail and beverage list. Plant yourself at the bar or on one of the comfy couches to enjoy sophisticated takes on classic American dishes. Must tries: avocado crab toast (request GF bread); cured meat and local cheese board; corned beef hash; burger (sans bun) or turkey sandwich on GF bread. oaklongbarkitchen.com

Beet salad at Oak Long Bar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.