Diners with gluten sensitivities and allergies—and those who date them—have reason to make Lakeview a destination. The neighborhood has seen three restaurants open in the past two and half years that make a point to offer gluten-free options. But as awareness of this allergy grows, so does the creativity of gluten-free cuisine. Gone are the days of rock-hard, cardboard cookies; at these three spots, you might not even realize you’re going g-free.
First: Cassava 3338 N. Clark St. 773-857-3039
Doughy, filled bread balls (75-95 cents) and empanadas ($3.25) are freshly baked at this counter-service Wrigleyville spot, where the namesake South American cassava starch—naturally gluten-free—takes the place of flour. The pastries pack a slightly sweet flavor and a springy texture, and make for a portable breakfast alongside one of the restaurant’s whole-fruit smoothies ($4.55-$4.85). Vegetarians also are in luck, as the empanadas come in meat-free flavors like spinach-mushroom and roasted veggie.
Next: Bountiful Eatery 3312 N. Broadway 773-687-9811
For the newly gluten-free who miss comfort foods like French toast, sandwiches and burgers, six-month-old Bountiful Eatery puts all those options back on the table. Using gluten-free bread from Evanston’s Rose’s Bakery, the lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus are able to create sandwiches like the turkey-avocado pita ($8.99), a black bean burger ($7.99) and a chicken and veggie kabob ($8.99). Sweet tooth? Desserts by Rose’s and M’s Kitchenette hit the spot.
Last: Senza 2873 N. Broadway 773-770-3527
This date-worthy dining room, full of natural wood and sleek picnic-style tables, sets the scene for an elegantly plated, entirely gluten-free meal. After scrapping its a la carte menu in January, Senza now offers two seasonal tasting menus of four ($50) and nine courses ($100); this winter, hearty dishes like pork belly with carrot and strawberry or tagliatelle with artichoke and truffle sound especially appropriate. A three-course brunch ($24) also is available on weekends, along with a weekday morning to-go bakery case.