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Ah Maine, a haven of seafood, both steamed and fried, desserts like whoopie and blueberry pies, and creamy chowder which almost always contains wheat flour—it can be dicey for those with Celiac disease or food intolerances. But Portland, Maine has kept up with the times and has more gluten-free friendly eateries than you could ever come close to trying. So these are the best gluten-free restaurants in Portland, Maine, to get you started.
Note that you should always check with the restaurant about gluten-free practices before consuming anything.
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The Sinful Kitchen
The only thing devilish about The Sinful Kitchen is its name, because the menu is seasonally sourced, and a generous number of options are or can be made, gluten-free. Dave Mallari, the chef himself, has celiac disease, so he knows a thing or two about making something beyond a cardboard crust pizza. Sweet or savory waffles, an indulgent french toast Monte Cristo sandwich and a barbecue jackfruit omelet are some of the “brunchy” options.
Eventide Oyster Co.
Eventide Oyster Co. is most notable for all sorts of quirky New England classics, including a lobster roll on an Asian steamed bun. For a safe-to-eat roll you can opt for their delicious gluten-free homemade bread as the base for the hearty pile of lobster. Bakes, non-fried seafood and several other ocean fare options all have an extra something special—Eventide is a pleasant change-up from the norm.
Sea Dog Brewing Company
Sea Dog Brewing Company features a specific filling menu, for those avoiding gluten. Try the tender cod, a juicy burger on a gluten-free bun or, more rarely, gluten-free clam chowder. Sea Dog locations can be found through the Northeast, (and a few in the Southeast), so you can always get an American pub-style meal with a New England twist when in Camden, Bangor and so on.
Portland Pie Company
Because even in the land of incredible sea fare, sometimes a pizza is calling, there’s the Portland Pie Company. Their pies have interesting crust flavors and phenomenal artisan toppings like goat cheese and artichokes. Try the gluten-free pesto base topped with dairy-free cheese and veggies.
Empire Chinese Kitchen
Feel like a little Chinese while in Maine? Look no further than the Empire Chinese Kitchen. Already elevating the joint above the typical Asian cuisine, ingredients are extremely fresh and seasonally, locally sourced for optimal flavor. Not just stirfry and veggie dishes are gluten-free, customers can indulge in steamy dumplings field with spinach, pork, or even lobster! If you’ve never had a lobster dumpling, prepare to be dazzled.
Evo Kitchen + Bar
Evo Kitchen + Bar creates fresh middle eastern dishes that are wholesome and sustainable, as only the best ingredients form the area go into the food. The menu is full of options for those with gluten sensitivity, like chickpea fries, falafel and an incredible tuna plate. Dishes are beautifully presented, and the overall dining experience just feels special and eclectic.
It’s always fun to find that hip, hyper fresh trendy joint in the city you’re visiting, and LB Kitchen is that place. Fluffy gluten-free pancakes with grass-fed butter and maple syrup, avocado toast with local bacon and pickled jalapeño, and bowls infused with veggies, creative sauces, salmon or eggs—it only gets better from here.
Baristas+Bites whips up delicious coffee, refreshing breakfast/brunch selections like the chickpea salad wrap, and lots of goodies that are not just gluten-free, but vegan. The carrot cake muffin is a favorite, and the baristas will walk you through the great case explaining which items are wheat, dairy, egg-free and so on. But you truly can’t go wrong with any of the cupcakes, as connoisseurs praise the sweet delights for tasting even better than gluten-ized versions.
MAIZ Colombian Street Food
Portland, Maine is full of international cuisine, so forging beyond the lobster roll is a breeze. MAIZ Colombian Street Food specializes in satisfying corn arepas, a gluten-free grilled patty that’s slit open and filled with meats, cheeses and veggies. These traditional sandwiches are seriously comforting to the soul, especially the garlic grilled chicken variation. Meals here will only set you back about 10 bucks—it’s a win-win.
Bob’s Clam Hut
Bob’s Clam Hut began quite modestly in a backyard, in Maine. They are famed for two variations of fried clams, a lighter and heavier battered take on the classic. From creamy chowder to crispy golden goodness, it’s the last place one might look for gluten-free options. But Bob’s Portland branch delivers with wheat-free chowder, and by applying a different batter on nearly all the seafood options. Keep in mind, they prepare a lot of regular, gluten-y food here, so cross-contamination is very possible. But for those without Celiac, who just want to steer clear of gluten, Bob’s is quite exciting.