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P.F. Chang's China Bistro
4250 Fairfax Corner Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22030


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Wonderful Gluten-Free Chinese Food -- many locations in Northern VA

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA, USA
Reviewed on Apr 25, 2008

I'd have to say this is one of our favorite places to dine gluten- free, and let me also mention this is a NATIONALLY-based chain. It is so nice to have a restaurant that has made the effort to create a wonderful gluten-free menu with SO many options. Many of the items on the regular menu are gluten- free anyway, and the range of choices available never leaves you feeling that you're limited by your diet. Ask for the gluten- free menu, and you'll find numerous appetizers, entrees, and now even a dessert option (the "chocolate dome" cake). Our favorites include Phil's Better Lemon Chicken (the best we've ever tasted anywhere, gluten-free or not, and our son's favorite dish!), the Ginger Chicken and the Singapore Street Noodles. But these are just s small sampling of the wide variety of choices available. This is not your typical Chinese restaurant...it blends traditional Chinese favorites with a more contemporary Asian twist. We could literally eat here every week! If only all restaurants could have a menu like this!

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The Cheesecake Factory (Dulles Town Center + also in Fair Oaks M
21076 Dulles Town Circle
Sterling, VA 20166


3.5 Palms
3.5 Palms
Gluten-Free Cheesecake!

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA, USA
Reviewed on Apr 25, 2008

Cheesecake Factory, a national chain of casual dining restaurants originally known for their 30+ types of cheesecakes, had always been a favorite of ours, but we hadn't ventured there with our sons since our younger son's diagnosis with Celiac three years ago. We ended up there somewhat out of necessity one night, since the restaurant we had intended to go to for dinner had closed. We were glad for the chance to give Cheesecake Factory a try, especially since they seemed eager to help us navigate the menu. While they don't have a gluten-free menu, the chef is able to access a list of ingredients for any item on the menu at a computer in the kitchen. Many of the salads are gluten-free, as are the burgers (no bun, of course, and the fries are off-limits since they are fried in the same fryer with chicken tenders and other breaded items). They also serve breakfast all day, which is all our son needed to hear. He opted for the scrambled eggs and bacon. (Home fries weren't gluten-free, so they actually substituted with a huge portion of fresh and wonderful green beans). For more sophisticated adult palates that may want something other than eggs and bacon(!), I would venture to say that you are bound to find something that appeals to you that is gluten-free, or can be prepared gluten-free for you. The menu is huge -- it's a bound spiral notebook -- and there is a wide range of items to suit every taste. The best news came with dessert when the server told us their Godiva chocolate cheesecake with a flourless chocolate crust was gluten-free. We ALL enjoyed sharing a piece (especially our son who dug in with abandon!).

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The Birch Tree Cafe
34738 Atlantic Avenue
Ocean View, DE 19970


4.5 Palms
4.5 Palms
Dedicated gluten free bakery and cafe near Bethany Beach, DE

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Jul 01, 2014

We had dined many times at The Cafe on 26 nearby on Route 26 in Ocean View, DC -- right outside Bethany Beach. Cathy Berzins, who had been one of the partners at that restaurant, left a couple years ago to open this cafe. Although most of what The Cafe on 26 offered was gluten free, she wanted a dedicated gluten free cafe for herself and those customers who are particularly sensitive and require a dedicated gluten free environment. The Birch Tree Cafe, a bit further down Route 26, is small and located in the same building as a natural foods market that has many gluten free groceries. So I recommend making a trip here if you are visiting Ocean City, MD or Bethany or Rehoboth Beach. You can stock up on some of your favorite foods and have breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner at the cafe. It is open 7 days a week, year round. They offer a range of items that changes daily. We were hoping to try Cathy's famous gluten free crab cakes, but she did not have them available that day. They were also out of the pizza by the time we arrived for a late lunch. However, we really enjoyed our chicken salad sandwich, our BLT, a wonderful spinach salad, and muffins that my kids said were some of the best they'd ever had. I also enjoyed a wonderful latte. They also have smoothies made with fresh fruit and your choice of various milks (non dairy options, too). In fact, Cathy is able to accommodate many allergies and food intolerances at the cafe. There are vegetarian items on the menu, too. She offers gluten free beer, ale or hard cider as well as organic wine. In addition to the crab cakes, another seasonal specialty, available certain days, is the shrimp salad. In addition to the sandwiches, she offers soups, quiche, pizza, and salads. You can buy various baked goods, including the muffins and yummy GF brownies, to go. And her gluten free bread is a popular item to buy and take home. We particularly enjoyed the Multi-Grain bread our sandwiches were served on. It was amazing. So fresh and you'd never guess it was gluten free. That was the only bread we tried, as they had run out of the Original Blend that day. Cathy also makes gluten free birthday cakes, available by special order. I would give this an even higher rating if the menu had even more choices -- or if we had been able to try some of the things they'd been out of that day. It's not a fancy place, but I'd recommend a visit -- it's very good, and Cathy is very personable, if you can catch her in between all her hard work in the kitchen!

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Coastal Flats
11901 Grand Commons Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22030


4.0 Palms
4.0 Palms
Great group of restaurants

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA, USA
Reviewed on Apr 05, 2008

We live in Northern Virginia, and we are fortunate to have a group of restaurants under the ownership of Great American Restaurants throughout the area. One of our favorite restaurants, Coastal Flats, currently has two locations -- one in Fairfax and the other in the Tysons Corner Mall. It's a hip, casual, 1950's coastal-florida inspired seafood house. The food is delicious. Best of all, they have a pretty extensive gluten-free menu, including many interesting salads (with just minor modifications like asking them to hold the croutons), several fish/seafood dishes, and two steaks. And to end the meal? Well, a warm flourless chocolate waffle, of course! Our whole family -- young kids included -- enjoys dining there. Other restaurants in the group include Sweetwater Tavern, Artie's, Mike's, and Carlyle Grand -- all of which also provide menus for gluten-free diners. The only downside is that they all tend to be pretty popular restaurants, and there can be a wait at peak hours. They don't take reservations, but they have a "call ahead" list to reduce your wait time.

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Beaches Turks and Caicos
45 Lower Bight Road
The Bight Settlement, TKCA 1ZZ
Turks and Caicos Islands

4.0 Palms
4.0 Palms
Family Fun in the Turks and Caicos

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Mar 12, 2008

Overall, this is a good place to go if you're following a gluten- free diet and looking for a family-friendly resort that will please adults and kids of all ages -- infant through teen. (For those of you who don't know, Beaches is the division of the adults-only Sandals resorts, but it's geared to families.) I spoke to the Executive Chef once before booking our trip and again a few weeks before the trip. He assured me they handle gluten-free requests all the time. Once I contacted him upon arrival, we arranged a time to meet, and he guided me toward safe food choices for our four-year-old son. Breakfasts are pretty easy if you stick to eggs, bacon, fruit and yogurt. (The fruit selection was plentiful and varied at each of our breakfasts.) We did bring some of our own food, including our favorite gluten-free pancake mix, and the chef was happy to prepare our son's favorite morning treat: chocolate-chip pancakes! Lunch buffets were a bit more challenging, and it often involved finding a chef who was well-versed in g-f foods and preparation (some were, and some weren't, and that was probably one of the biggest challenges during our stay.) Dinner was better, since we almost always opted for table-service restaurants, and we typically notified the Executive Chef or Sous Chef where we'd be dining. To give you a lay of the land, Beaches Turks and Caicos is one of Beaches' two "high-end" properties, and it has 7 full-service restaurants, along with a sushi bar, bakery cafe, and 24-hour diner that serves things like burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream and sodas. The French bakery usually had fruit and g-f Yoplait yogurt, and the pastry chef was even kind enough to make a special batch of gluten-free coconut macaroons for us (they were so good, we all fought over them!). And at Kimonos, the Japanese steakhouse, they even had g-f soy sauce and could prepare our son's entire tepanyaki-style meal gluten-free. The food and experience were great overall, with only a few downsides. While the chefs were eager to please, you need to be patient and constantly ask questions (even reading labels), because only the top chefs seemed to have a working knowledge of gluten-free foods and ways of avoiding cross- contamination. I had to do some educating in order to have some meals safely prepared. (The Executive Chef has since informed me that they have made big strides recently in this area.) Secondly, you should plan ahead and talk to the Executive or Sous Chef before meals, especially dinner, so they know where you are going and can alert the chef at that restaurant. I found "chasing down" the busy chefs a bit time- consuming and inconvenient at times, and I found myself thinking that this had to be inefficient for them as well. Again, I understand they've made a concerted effort to improve the process since our visit, and I"d recommend a visit to this beautiful and family-friendly resort.

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