In Hawai’i there never used to be too many options for gluten-free eats besides rice, fish, vegetables, and SPAM. In the land of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, you could never be too sure that the hibachi had been cleaned enough and the thought of a gluten-free menu at the saimin shop down the street was ludicrous. However, with the tourists came the food and gluten-free dining options are finally prominent around the islands.
As with everywhere, some restaurants are more accommodating than others. Some tell you how you can modify menu options to meet a basic gluten-free diet while others boast about their unique gluten-free offerings.
Here are the best restaurants to dine at for gluten-free fare:
73-5617 Maiau St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
The only all gluten-free cafe in Hawaii, Lotus Cafe is also GMO-free. They pride themselves on being 100% solar PV powered with zero waste. They also recently started a food truck, which roves around the island delivering fresh eats to hungry islanders. Their fare ranges from delicious salads and soups you won’t find on the mainland, to tasty curries and noodle dishes. And don’t try to leave without trying their house-made gelato!
Maui Specialty Bakery
879 Front Street, Suite A10, Lahaina, HI 96761
This bakery offers gluten-free and vegan products. Just about anything that can be made with regular wheat flour can be made with their gluten-free baking mix. Everything from pancake and scone recipes to decadent chocolate cakes recipes have been developed and then tested and retested until they look and taste just like their gluten-filled counterparts. Individuals with special diets can also have cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, and other sweets for special celebrations.
Green Market & Cafe
45-3512 Mamane Street Honoka’a, HI 96727
With a menu of 95% organic and locally grown items, gluten-free fare is abundant at Green Market. Dig into the daily poke bowl, Chicken Lemongrass Coconut Soup, or Organic Grass Fed Beef Burger on a Gluten-Free bun. At Green Market, you get big island taste without worry of eating gluten. The Kauai Sweet Shrimp or Beef Pho are some of their best gluten-free sellers and when you’re done, top your meal off with one of three desserts; Flourless Chocolate Cake, Berry and Silken Tofu Cream, or Chocolate Macadamia Nut Mousse.
Tommy Bahama is delicious and has a large gluten-free menu. Whether craving scallops, ribs, chicken, or fish, Tommy Bahama’s can satisfy your craving in a very flavorful way. They even have two desserts, a Butterscotch Pudding and a Pineapple Upside Down Vanilla Cheese Cake. Very ono! Full menu here.
Blue Dragon Coastal Cuisine
61-3616 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
Blue Dragon has an amazing dish called the Truffle-Yaki Tofu, a grilled tofu dish that is marinated in a truffle teriyaki sauce with sweet potatoes and vegetables. It’s a must-have when in Waimea. Not a truffle fan? Fear not, the gluten-free menu also boasts tantalizing dishes like Hamakua Mushroom Polenta and a Guava Pork Chop!