Chicago Food Guide

ft. recommendations for those with dietary restrictions and people who just love good food

For those who have been following me for a while, you know this was originally just a Google Doc because I didn’t have a better way to share it. Well now that I have a website, I gave my guide a much needed reboot! If you live in Chicago, or plan to travel here, you’ll want to bookmark this guide. It is continuously growing as I find new spots that are worthy of sharing.

You’ll find an interactive map below, and my thoughts on most of the establishments included. If I don’t discuss a restaurant on the map and you have questions, please let me know!

Most places are within Chicago, but some are in the suburbs as well (zoom out for more options). Many of these have multiple locations, so I encourage you to search for other locations more convenient for you. I hope you find this helpful ☺️

Let me know if you try any of these places, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you post on Instagram, tag me @livwelleatwell . You can also check out my feed and “Chicago” highlight for pics of some of my fave dishes.

Color Key
Purple: entirely gluten free establishment
Brown: health food/grocery store
Orange: gluten free menu
Green: has gluten free options but not an entire menu, might not be entirely Low FODMAP. I suggest you check menu in advance. A lot of these have Anti-Candida / Paleo options.
Blue: most of these have gluten, dairy and/or FODMAP free options but not an entire menu. Feel free to check with me or read below for menu item suggestions.

My top ten*

*in no particular order

  1. Tweet: I LOVE TWEET! Their food is always so tasty and most options have huge portions (especially their drinks). The wait time can be a little long, but it’s so worth it. They have a gluten free menu with a plethora of options. Cash only.
  2. O’Shaughnessy’s Public House: great for brunch, lunch or dinner! Can sub amazing gluten free bread on all of their sandwiches. My favorites: the cali for brunch or the turkey club without guacamole (most likely contains onion and/or garlic). Their breakfast potatoes and fries are amazing.
  3. Trio Eatery and Juice Bar (now The Cafeteria): Trio opened this year and I have been obsessed ever since (as you can probably see on my profile). They are really flexible with making items you can eat. Their smoothies are always so creamy and delicious, I highly recommend strawberry pitaya or blueberry spirulina. Their “what’s up doc?” juice is Low FODMAP and delicious. Their salads and mediterranean bowls are so good too–basically I haven’t been disappointed yet *knocks on wood*. For the mediterranean bowls, I usually get cauliflower rice with falafel, hummus, a few salads and parsley tahini dressing (this most likely contains garlic and onion)
  4. LYFE Kitchen: I eat here a few times a month it’s so good. Their chicken avocado sandwich on gluten free bread is my absolute favorite. They have fun brunch items too, like breakfast pizza (ask for no onions, then it’s Low FODMAP).. They also have goodies from Defloured and other local brands!
  5. beLIGHTful Bakery: gluten free and vegan bakery that sells their delicious items throughout Chicago at various events. I highly recommend the pop tarts 🙂
  6. Pizano’s: amazing gluten free pizza and their sauce is garlic and onion free!
  7. Real Good Stuff Co: they have multiple locations and vegan froyo (noyo froyo!). Most are Anti-Candida and Low FODMAP safe but just double check ingredients. They also have great smoothies.
  8. Defloured: my FAVORITE gluten free bakery. They have many dairy free and vegan options too. My favorite item: glazed oatmeal cookie. If you are Low FODMAP, make sure to check for other ingredients such as honey, molasses, etc.
  9. Wheat’s End Cafe: best place for a safe gluten free brunch. Many dairy free options as well. Not all items are Low FODMAP (i.e. their english muffins contain onion), so just check ingredients. My favorite item: their donuts!
  10. Kale My Name: this is a vegan restaurant with a TON of gluten free options. Their food is absolutely delicious and they are always adding fun items to the menu. I highly recommend the mac balls and the fried cauliflower!

Pizza

  1. Pizano’s (see “my top ten” above)
  2. Lou Malnati’s: delicious gluten free pizza and their sauce is garlic and onion free! I will say, Pizanos is easier on my stomach, but everyone is different.
  3. Blaze Pizza: gluten free crust & build your own options. Their sauce CONTAINS garlic and onion, ask for olive oil instead. Make sure the employee changes their gloves first.
  4. MOD Pizza: gluten free crust & build your own options. Their sauce CONTAINS garlic and onion, ask for olive oil instead. Some locations have vegan cheese. Make sure the employee changes their gloves first.
  5. Ranalli’s of Andersonville: they have two options for gluten free crust, only one is dairy free. They also offer vegan cheese! While I have not tried the pizza, I have had their gluten free pasta and desserts. They are AMAZING. Ranalli’s gluten free menu is insane, and they deliver if you’re in the area! Not the same as the Ranalli’s in Lincoln Park.
  6. Knead: I have never been, but they have gluten free pizza and garlic and onion free sauce.
  7. Panino’s Pizzeria: they have an awesome gluten free menu with items like Detroit style pizza, deep dish pizza, rice crusted chicken wings and more! So good.

Bakeries

  1. Defloured (see “my top ten” above)
  2. Mindful Baking: this gluten free and vegan bakery does not have a storefront, you must order a couple weeks in advance. They also sell their items at other restaurants/events in the city, so check out their site for more details. I have had one of their cakes and it was amazing. Diane is also extremely helpful and will try hard to work around your restrictions.
  3. Nothing Bundt Cakes: this is a chain with amazing gluten free bundt cakes. They use dairy and are most likely not celiac safe. However, if you are just wheat intolerant and can consume dairy I highly recommend. Their non-gluten free cakes are wonderful too.
  4. Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery: There are two locations in the suburbs. Their baked goods are very good, not all are Low FODMAP so check your ingredients. Entirely gluten free establishment.
  5. Dalton’s Cakes: This is a bakery in the northern suburbs. Their cakes are quite tasty. Many dairy free/vegan options as well. Once again, if you’re Low FODMAP just double check ingredients.
  6. Bot Bakery (aka Betty Bot Shop): gluten free and vegan bakery, items are sold at various events and locations around Chicago
  7. beLIGHTful Bakery (see “my top ten” above)
  8. Rosie’s Gluten Free Sweets: this is a newer gluten free bakery in Woodstock, IL. Most options are also dairy free. Their desserts are delicious and you really cannot tell that they’re gluten free! Great prices too.
  9. Sweet Natalie’s Gluten Free Bakery: their gluten free shop also specializes in paleo, keto, sugar free, low carb, vegan and dairy free options. I have never been but they seem to have great options! Located in Wheaton, IL.
  10. Lia P Gluten Free: this gluten free bakery is located in Lemont, IL. They have some dairy free options, but if you call in advance they are willing to work around any dietary restrictions!

Quick eats

  1. Aster Hall: this is an upscale food hall on the 5th and 6th floors of 900 N Michigan shops. It is comprised of many well known Chicago vendors, all of which were created by Hogsalt (one of Chicago’s biggest hospitality companies). Almost all are exclusive to this space which makes it one of the most unique food halls in the city. It’s a great spot for a quick meal, or to meet up with friends. The decor and views are outstanding. You order on a screen and pick up at the corresponding window(s). The burgers from Small Cheval can be wrapped in lettuce–if you get with just mayo, lettuce & tomato it should be Low FODMAP and delicious! They also have yummy smoothies, and you can build your own so it fits in your diet.
  2. Farmer’s Fridge: this is a vending machine with healthy meals in it! It’s honestly insane. There are many locations, so check out their website. Their almond butter oats are Low FODMAP. Their website has a great breakdown of ingredients as well.
  3. Roti Modern Mediterranean: sadly not Low FODMAP because of garlic and onion in most items, but if you can tolerate them this is a great option–especially for those on Anti-Candida/Paleo Diet. I typically choose mixed greens as my base with chicken roti and a few other toppings. Their hummus is lovely. Multiple locations in the city and suburbs.
  4. Epic Burger: I am a big fan of their turkey burgers (turkey is easier on my stomach than beef). They have vegetarian/vegan options AND you can choose lettuce as your bun. My go to order is a turkey burger with a fried egg wrapped in lettuce! Multiple locations.
  5. Jason’s Deli: for a chain sandwich restaurant, their gluten free menu is awesome. I love their sandwiches, baked potatoes AND they have Udi’s cookies for dessert. The build your own sandwich option is great for the Low FODMAP diet. Important note: their potato chips have milk in them which is a weird surprise, avoid if you can’t have dairy.
  6. Jersey Mike’s: they offer gluten free subs! I would get it toasted, if possible, so it’s not as crumbly. They will change gloves and appear to keep the bread separate–I would double check safety if celiac.
  7. Bru Chicago: three words–GLUTEN FREE CREPES. This place is amazing and also has yummy smoothies, juices and protein shakes with dairy free options as well.
  8. Culver’s: they offer gluten free buns (Udi’s Gluten Free) and only season the burgers and chicken with salt and pepper! According to their site the crinkle cut fries are also gluten free (+ the vanilla and chocolate frozen custard if you can have dairy). They even asked about allergies and gave everything separate for you to put together.
  9. Blaze Pizza (see “pizza” above)
  10. MOD Pizza (see “pizza” above)

Health Food/Grocery Stores

  1. Middle East Bakery & Grocery: their red pepper hummus is garlic and onion free! It’s amazing. Their ginger candies are great as well. Can get a lot of spices, seeds, nuts, flour, etc for a great price here.
  2. Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen: they sell many Low FODMAP friendly groceries here, including Lo-Fo Pantry flour blends in the upstairs section. If Anti-Candida, get The Real Coconut tortilla chips–you’ll thank me later 🙂
  3. Chicago Health Foods: this is the largest health food store I have found in Chicago so far. Lots of supplements and packaged food options. I will say, they are not always the friendliest/most helpful but their selection makes it worth the trip.
  4. Earthly Goods Health Foods: lots of food options here for Low FODMAP, Anti-Candida or any other strict diet. They are also really nice and make great smoothies to order. This is in the northern suburbs.
  5. Polson’s Natural Foods: This is also in the northern suburbs and has lots of great options. When they have sales, the prices are unbeatable. The employees are usually really helpful with finding safe options. ALSO they have an almond milk based ice cream made by Quirky Foods, Inc. that I can’t find anywhere else–so good.
  6. Natures Cornucopia: another health food store in the suburbs with decent packaged food options.

Celiac Safe

  1. Wheat’s End Cafe: best place for a safe gluten free brunch. Many dairy free options as well. Not all items are Low FODMAP (i.e. their english muffins contain onion), so just check ingredients. My favorite item: their donuts!
  2. XO Marshmallow: entirely gluten free with many dairy free options. They make marshmallows, hot cocoa, s’mores and other sweet treats! Highly recommend.
  3. Brightwok & Double Thai: these sister restaurants are entirely gluten, dairy, fish, shellfish, and peanut-free! They are really great at working around dietary preferences, plus their food tastes AMAZING.
  4. The Little Beet Table: I have never been, but have seen many good reviews. Entirely gluten free. I personally think the menu is small, which makes me nervous about Low FODMAP options–this is why I have never been. Just check menu ahead to see if it works for your diet!
  5. CheSa’s Gluten Tootin Free Gourmet Food Truck: this is an entirely gluten free FOOD TRUCK! So cool. You can order pickup or delivery. I personally love their cajun fries.
  6. Mindful Baking (see “bakeries” above)
  7. Defloured (see “bakeries” above)
  8. Bot Bakery (see “bakeries” above)
  9. beLIGHTful Bakery (see “bakeries” above)
  10. Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery (see “bakeries” above)
  11. Dalton’s Cakes (see “bakeries” above)

Vegan Options

  1. Kale My Name (see “my top ten” above)
  2. Trio Eatery and Juice Bar (see “my top ten” above)
  3. Real Good Stuff Co (see “my top ten” above)
  4. Mindful Baking (see “bakeries” above)
  5. Defloured (see “my top ten” above)
  6. Bot Bakery (see “bakeries” above)
  7. beLIGHTful Bakery (see “bakeries” above)

Sweet Treats

  1. XO Marshmallow (see “celiac safe” above)
  2. Cookie Spin: they have a couple gluten and dairy free cookies. They are really thick and taste insane when warmed! They also offer dairy free SHAKES! They use Chocolate Shoppe’s soy-based ice cream mixed with almond milk. They are pretty careful about cross contamination here, but always safe to ask if you’re celiac!
  3. Sundae Stop: they make homemade ice cream with many vegan options including sorbets, coconut milk based and almond milk based ice creams. The ice cream is insanely creamy and flavorful, you can’t even tell it’s dairy free!
  4. Amy’s Candy Bar: DAIRY FREE CHOCOLATE. Need I say more? Just make sure to ask which flavors are dairy free, they are super helpful here. My favorites: dark chocolate covered orange slices and the dark chocolate covered ginger pieces
  5. ReadGood Stuff Co (see “my top ten” above)
  6. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: they have a few dairy free ice cream options that are delicious, however, not all are gluten free. They use coconut milk as a base.
  7. Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream Bars: some dairy free options! Make sure to clarify which toppings are dairy, gluten, etc free.
  8. Pretty Cool Ice Cream: I have never been, but this is at the top of my to do list. They have multiple dairy free options and I have heard nothing but great things.
  9. Black Dog Gelato: they have a lot of dairy free options. I have only been once, and I loved it.
  10. Do-rite Donuts: Their gluten free donuts are really good. Unfortunately they contain dairy but they appear celiac safe (dedicated fryer and stored in separate case). They also have vegan donuts, but those are not gluten free.

Brunch

  1. Wheat’s End Cafe (see “celiac safe” above)
  2. Tweet (see “my top ten” above)
  3. Yolk: this is a chain with standard breakfast items. I love their skillets and gluten free toast!
  4. O’Shaughnessy’s Public House (see “my top ten” above)
  5. Dollop Diner: cute little place for brunch with an outdoor patio in back. I had an omelette and breakfast potatoes when I went–both v good. They also have multiple locations of their coffee shop, Dollop Coffee.
  6. Golden Nugget: there are Golden Nuggets all throughout Chicago. They are open 24 hours which is great, as most breakfast places in the city close by 2-3pm. I find that breakfast food is always a safe bet for my tummy. You can also ask for a chicken breast with a side of steamed veggies here, I have found them to be pretty accommodating.
  7. Meli Cafe: multiple locations, more fancy brunch option with a few gluten free items
  8. Marmalade: I like their make your own omelette option because I have control of what’s in my food, without feeling like I am annoying for asking for substitutes 
  9. Wildberry: multiple locations with lots of gluten free options, some items are Low FODMAP
  10. Egg Harbor Cafe: cuteee breakfast chain with a gluten free menu. Their gf cinnamon rolls are amazing, but sadly not dairy free. They have locations in the suburbs and a new spot in Streeterville!
  11. Around the Clock: this is in the northern suburbs, they have great skillets. Fun fact: an episode of Catfish was filmed here! 
  12. Windhill Pancake Parlor: another in the suburbs, their gluten free pancakes are amazing (not sure if they’re dairy free)

Multiple locations

*keep in mind menus may vary by location

  1. LYFE Kitchen
  2. Meli Cafe
  3. Brightwok
  4. Nando’s Peri Peri (global locations!)
  5. Roti Modern Mediterranean
  6. Do-rite Donuts
  7. Nothing Bundt Cakes
  8. Yolk
  9. Real Good Stuff Co
  10. Pizano’s
  11. Lou Malnati’s
  12. Amorino
  13. Jersey Mike’s
  14. Epic Burger
  15. Blaze Pizza
  16. MOD Pizza
  17. Jason’s Deli
  18. Culver’s
  19. Protein Bar & Kitchen
  20. True Juice
  21. JuiceRx
  22. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
  23. Freshii
  24. Goddess and Grocer (or Goddess and the Baker)
  25. Graze
  26. IDOF (I Dream of Falafel)
  27. Burger Bar
  28. Sweetgreen
  29. Argo Tea
  30. The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  31. Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe
  32. Farmer’s Fridge
  33. Texas Roadhouse
  34. Golden Nugget
  35. Egg Harbor Cafe
  36. D.C. Cobb’s
  37. Timothy O’Toole’s
  38. Sprinkles Cupcakes

Did I miss any noteworthy stops? Let me know and I’ll check them out!

6 thoughts on “Chicago Food Guide

  1. This is beyond amazing. What else can we do during these crazy times but eat. I say road trip. Bringing a cooler. Thank you for putting this together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is perfect! I’m in Chicago too so I’m always looking for food suggestions. I’ve transitioned to the vegan lifestyle so I am on the search for restaurants where I’m not left eating frencg fries lol. Love your blog template!

    Like

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