By Christina P. Kantzavelos

Albuquerque is growing in its culinary offerings, and it’s no question that their gluten-free cuisine options are becoming more plentiful. Outside of traditional New Mexican plates, one can safely enjoy gluten-free options at restaurants that offer Colombian fare, bar food, comfort food, sweets, breads, south Indian, ayurvedic, Chinese, Native American, and other cuisines. Always let your server know if you have any food restrictions. 

*Although gluten-friendly, and aware, some of these establishments do not have dedicated gluten-free environments. Please use your best judgment, and ensure that the waiting staff is aware of the severity of your food restrictions prior to dining. 

Call first or check restaurant websites to find out if they’re operating at standard business hours—or offering carryout or delivery.

Ajiaco Columbian Bistro

Ajiaco is a Columbian restaurant and their menu is naturally 100% gluten-free. The name comes from the traditional soup, ajiaco, which is typically made with corn, varieties of potato, chicken, and a Colombian herb called guascas. Their menu also includes other traditional dishes like patacones (fried green plantains), arepas (corn cakes), aborrajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), empanadas, and bandeja paisa (meat sampler plate, served with avocado, rice, beans a fried egg). They also serve Colombian coffee along with traditional desserts such as arepa de chocolo (sweet corn cake with cheese and cream). 

Try this: Boronía. This dish showcases Chef Nubia Garcia’s flair on the traditional eggplant-plantain mashup with a balsamic reduction and roasted bell peppers on top. It is accompanied by red beans, flavorful white rice, and a salad with house-made vinaigrette. 

Find: 3216 Silver Ave SE, Albuquerque

Planty Sweet 

Planty Sweet is Alberquerque’s first 100% gluten-free and vegan bakery. They currently only offer pick-up with orders made a week in advance. However, for those who can’t wait, they wholesale to a few coffee shops in town, including Zendo Coffee, Humble Coffee Company, Whispering Bean Coffee Roasters, and Cutbow Coffee Roastology. Their menu includes gorgeous custom cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and glazed bundt cakes. Aside from being gluten-free and plant-based, they do not use refined sugars or hydrogenated oils, and try to use organic and local ingredients whenever possible. 

Try this: Glazed Bundt Cakes. Try their popular flavors such as the “Samoa” or “birthday cake.” Their seasonal specials currently include “peach” and “apple crumble.”

Find: Order online and find at various wholesale locations.

Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe 

Annapurna is a 100% organic, plant-based, and ayurvedic restaurant with multiple locations in Albuquerque and in Santa Fe. The owner, Yashoda, is a lifetime vegetarian, and strives to make sure just about anyone can eat safely in her restaurants. Their menu clearly states what is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. In addition, as with ayurvedic tradition, proper doshas are also marked next to each item. Doshas are derived from the elements and are biological energies found in the body and mind. This includes pitta (fire) reducing, vata (air) reducing, kapha (water) reducing, and tri-doshic. Some of their gluten-free menu items include cardamom pancakes, yogi bowl, dal soup, south Indian sampler, and most desserts. 

Try this: Thaali Plate. The chapati or dosa (gluten-free crepe) is served with a sample of their daily vegetables, dal, sambhar, basmati, brown rice, or quinoa, and a choice of chutney or sauce. This is tri-doshic, meaning it nutritionally balances all three doshas in the body. 

Find: 2201 Silver Avenue SE, Albuquerque (various locations)

Pueblo Harvest 

Pueblo Harvest is located inside the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which is owned and operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico on a parcel of Native land in the heart of Albuquerque. They have separate menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as their happy hour, all of which change with the equinoxes and solstices. Each menu clearly states items that are gluten-free and/or vegan. They have a dedicated fryer and can make delicious items such as amaranth and corn fritters, bison bites, tacos, toasted blue corn porridge, bison carpaccio, and so much more. Wheat was first introduced to New Mexico via the Spanish and is not indigenous. Therefore, the pre-contact sections of the menu are always gluten-free. Many of their ingredients are sourced from Pueblos and from other Native American growers and suppliers. 

Try this: Buffalo Steak Frites. This grilled buffalo flank steak comes with duck fat fries, house-made steak sauce, and red chile butter.

Find: 2401 12th St NW, Albuquerque

Budai Gourmet Chinese 

For those who crave true Shanghai-style Chinese food but haven’t been able to eat it because most options are not gluten-free friendly, you will be pleased to find out Budai has many options available for you. They are willing to accommodate most restrictions. They have a dedicated fryer and use proper substitutes and separate cooking utensils. With that said, they can modify just about any of their entree items to be gluten-free, as well as for their desserts. One of their owners has been gluten-free for over two decades, and a few of their employees also avoid it. So they are aware of the importance of cross-contact avoidance. 

Try this: Salt and Pepper Squid – This squid comes breaded with sweet potato starch.

Find: 6300 San Mateo NE, Albuquerque

The Grove Cafe & Market 

One of Albuquerque’s hippest spots to eat for breakfast, brunch, and lunch is also extremely gluten-free friendly. Many of their ingredients are sourced from local growers and producers, and they purchase organic whenever possible. Gluten-free items such as their sweet potato hash, steel cut oat bowl, salads, soups, or any of their sandwiches will leave you full and happy. They are also willing to substitute ingredients in most dishes to accommodate their patrons. Be sure to alert them if you are celiac or have any sort of sensitivity, so they can use separate cooking utensils. Aside from their menu, they have a market with various goods for sale, a full espresso bar, and a pastry case. Keep in mind the gluten-free pastries are in the same area as the non-gluten-free ones. 

Try this: The Sweet Potato Hash. This dish features roasted sweet potatoes, feta, cauliflower rice, avocado, roasted mushrooms, tomatillo salsa, sunflower sprouts, and a sunny-side-up egg.

Find: 600 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque

Sixty-Six Acres 

Sixty-six is a modern gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly restaurant located across the street from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Their menu is clearly labeled, and they have a dedicated fryer, which means you can order delicious spicy calamari and peppers, and crispy tofu bites. Their salads, and many of their sandwiches, and bowls can also be made gluten-free. There is even a gluten-free item on their children’s menu. In addition to food, they have cocktails and local craft beers. Be sure your server knows about any food restrictions. They have a pet-friendly patio, with a fireplace. Be sure to check out their sister restaurant in downtown, Slate Street Cafe, which also has gluten-free items. 

Try this: Spicy Calamari and Peppers. This mix of calamari, peppadew peppers, and jalapeños that are tossed in gluten-free cornmeal dusting before being fried in their dedicated gluten-free fryer. It is then topped with a lemon-basil aioli and served with lemon and more aioli to dip in. This is paired with their Santia Hard Apple Cider that is also gluten-free. 

Find: 2400 12th St NW, Albuquerque

Yanni’s Modern Mediterrenean  

Much of Greek cuisine is naturally gluten-free, except for a few staples that call for flour. Yannis has many gluten-free dishes to choose from, as they use substitute flour, and they do their best to avoid cross-contact. For example, they use a gluten-free flour to cook their Avgolemono (egg, lemon, and chicken soup). They also use quinoa for their tabouli to make it gluten free, and do not add orzo to their rice to keep it gluten free. The owner, Nicole, is extremely health-conscious and cognizant of dietary restrictions. Aside from the food, the restaurant is gorgeous, with large windows that allow for a ton of light to enter through. It’s been a staple for decades in ABQ, in the hip and continuously up-and-coming Nob Hill area. Check out their sister restaurant, Mykonos Cafe and Taverna, which also has great gluten-free Greek options. 

Try this: Mushroom & Pea Risotto. Spring peas, wild mushrooms, and creamy parmesan risotto come together with a fresh fennel and arugula salad.

Find: 3109 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque

Brixens 

Brixens is an award-winning establishment located in downtown Albuquerque, and a dream come true for those craving bar food and comfort food that is safely gluten-free. They have a dedicated fryer, and their award-winning chef and owner, Tanya Sanchez, tries her best to maintain a protocol to avoid cross-contact in the kitchen. They use different prep areas, cooking surfaces, fryers, and utensils for various food restrictions. Their staff is also trained on the difference of dietary preference, restrictions, and allergies, and even their Point of Sale (POS) system is designed for these different dietary offerings. For those who have missed items like fried chicken sliders, quesadillas, wings, fried pickles, taquitos, paninis, or a hot whiskey brownie sundae, look no further. Brixens is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings! 

Try this: Gluten-Free Crispy Honey Chicken. This half-chicken is slow-cooked to tender perfection, then flash-fried to crisp up the skin, and finished with their house-made Red Chile BBQ Seasoning. It’s served atop their southern style (highly acclaimed) gluten-free cornbread and finished with honey butter and a red chile honey glaze. It comes with crispy Brussels sprouts, green onions, and pickled jalapeños to complete this Southern-inspired meal with a New Mexico twist! There is also an option to make this vegetarian, using their gluten-free, tempura-fried portobello mushrooms. 

Find: 400 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque (temporarily closed)

Radish Food

Radish food is a 100% gluten-free, health-conscious cafe that offers ready-made food-to-go. You are welcome to heat-up your food there and eat it, or you can bring it home and do the same. You can also order your meals in advance for pick up the following-day. This is perfect for meal prepping, or if you need something quick for lunch. Menu items include bowls like their buffalo cauli mac, NM chicken bowl, and green chile alfredo lasagna. All of their baked goods are gluten-free, as well as sugar-free and low-carb, and don’t contain any artificial ingredients. Baked goods include cupcakes, brownies, breads, and “buffins.”

Try this: Cuppycakes. These gluten-free and sugar-free cakes are made with almond flour, cage-free eggs, organic erythritol/xylitol, and grass-fed dairy for the frosting. They are both healthy and delicious.

Find: 400 Gold Ave SW, Albuquerque (temporarily closed)

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