Seattle has been on my gluten-free hit list for some time. It’s home to several gluten-free restaurants that serve generally off-limits treats, like fried chicken and fish & chips.
I was thrilled to finally get a taste of some of Seattle’s best gluten-free spots!
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Where to Eat: Best Dedicated Gluten-Free Restaurants & Bakeries
Whether gluten intolerance or celiac disease has you in search of safe, gluten-free food, you will be wowed by these amazing Seattle restaurants and gluten-free bakeries.
Located between the airport and downtown, Ghostfish Brewing Company is an easy first stop if you have a car, which we didn’t. We took the Link Light Rail from Sea-Tac (airport) and had luggage, so we backtracked to Ghostfish later.
This restaurant is amazing and understandably a gluten-free Seattle favorite.
The waiter said the most popular menu items are fish & chips and onion rings. Fried foods are always a hit with those of us who have to avoid shared fryers in most restaurants.
His personal favorite was the chicken sandwich. I followed suit and ordered the spicy chicken sandwich. My kids ordered the buffalo chicken sandwich, which was a current special. Both versions were served on perfect gluten-free buns.
This was my first time eating a fried chicken sandwich since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It was perfect! Crunchy, spicy, and there was no way you could tell it was gluten-free. The sandwich came with fries, but since we were sharing onion rings, I upgraded to a salad with croutons.
The onion rings were covered with a crisp, generous, batter. They were delicious!
For dessert, my husband ordered a carrot cake, it was beautiful and tasted good… but it was especially beautiful. I generally have no trouble resisting carrot cake, but I had a bite, just because it was so pretty.
Even better were the churros. We shared one order of churros, which consisted of five small pieces. We had already eaten well, between the onion rings and the entrées. Plus, we knew that there would be gluten-free churros on our cruise, so I was perfectly happy to just have one churro.
Otherwise, this dessert is better shared between two people, with the bonus churro going to the gluten-free diner, of course!
At Ghostfish Brewery, the beer is all gluten-free, starting with gluten-free grains (not gluten-removed). You’ll find a standing selection of gluten-free beers, along with limited releases and rotating hard ciders and seltzers. While waiting for your food, head to the back of the restaurant to peak at the on-site brewery.
Located in the trendy Capitol Hill area of Seattle, Capitol Cider was bustling. The vibe is that of a UK pub.
Everything in the scratch kitchen is completely gluten-free. Not so with all of the alcohol. There are both “regular” and gluten-free beers available. The ciders, however, are naturally gluten-free and were the inspiration for the entirely gluten-free menu.
Between the four of us, we tried (and loved) a cheeseburger, fish & chips, fried chicken, Caesar salad with gluten-free croutons, and strawberry shortcake. Everything was absolutely amazing, but the fried chicken was exceptional!
Strawberry shortcake, made with delicious gluten-free biscuits, was also a favorite.
Capitol Cider was an all-around great experience. Highly recommend!
We had a chance to meet Estella Martinez, the owner of Askatu Bakery. Estella shared the story of her daughter being diagnosed with over 50 allergies by the time she was 3. Askatu Bakery came out of Estella’s journey to safely feed her daughter good food. She is genuinely thrilled to make treats that delight others facing similar dietary restrictions.
Askatu is a tiny bakery/cafe that accommodates a long list of allergens in addition to gluten-free: dairy-free, egg-free, nut/peanut-free, sory-free, corn-free, and sesame-free. The prices are fairly high, but about what you would expect for a gluten-free, allergen-free bakery in Seattle that uses high-quality and expensive ingredients.
Miss E and I each ordered a turkey pesto sandwich. I added (and recommend) a new garlic & sundried tomato spread they were testing. There were lavender-blueberry pop tarts (hand pies), raspberry pop tarts, and tea cookies in a variety of flavors, including matcha.
Miss E took a blueberry lavender pop tart to have the next day, and it kept well. Thankfully, she shared a bite with me. It was essentially a blueberry hand pie with a nice crust and a hint of lavender.
More Dedicated Gluten-Free Restaurants:
We ran out of time to visit all of the dedicated gluten-free restaurants and bakeries in Seattle, but the following were recommended by others on our Celiac Cruise as some of the best places to eat:
Chicken Supply: Pre-order the fried chicken, it sells out quickly.
Nuflours: The cinnamon rolls were a favorite at this gluten-free bakery in Capitol Hill. I was sorry to have missed this bakery.
Frankie & Jo’s: Visit for plant-based, gluten-free ice cream with gf waffle cones. (note, they use oats)
Tip! Use Uber Eats for delivery if you’d rather all the gluten-free treats come to you!
Where to Eat: Not Dedicated, but Great Gluten-Free Protocols
Because our stop in Seattle was short, we did not make it past the list of dedicated gluten-free places.
(Except for the first-ever Starbucks, which we will get to in a minute.)
However, both of the following restaurants came highly recommended by other celiacs, and remain on my must-visit list for next time:
Virginia Inn has a dedicated fryer. The previous owner had celiac disease and the restaurant has maintained excellent protocols. The best part is that Virginia Inn is by Pike Place Market, so you’ll have a safe place to eat while making this iconic Seattle stop.
Razzi’s Pizzeria has two Seattle restaurants (a Downtown location and one in Greenwood). There’s an extensive gluten-free menu and a separate gluten-free kitchen.
What to See in Seattle
The Space Needle is Seattle’s famous observation tower that defines its skyline. A zippy, 43-second elevator ride takes you to the top. Once there, check out the beautiful views. If you’re feeling gutsy, sit on a “skyriser” (a glass bench) and lean back on the glass wall.
Be sure to head down the stairs to the rotating glass floor.
Outside the Space Needle, we took a break at one of the coolest playgrounds we’ve ever seen, with a gigantic climbing structure. Take a moment to lie down while swinging on the tire swing—the Space Needle towers above you for a unique Seattle experience.
Chihuly Garden & Glass was fascinating. My teen/tween kids had a blast taking creative photos. The place practically begs for it!
We also enjoyed the films depicting the creation of giant pieces of glass art. Mesmerizing! It took me back to a visit to the Murano Glass Factory in Italy, where Chihuly studied glass-making.
For a quick snack, we picked up kettle corn from one of the stands at Seattle Center. It had no gluten ingredients and passed my cross-contamination questions.
Pike Place Market
This place is a Seattle must-do. Watch employees throw fish, buy up a couple of souvenirs, buy over-priced fruit, and pick up a bouquet of flowers for an unbelievable price.
If you get hungry, stop by Virginia Inn, a great place to enjoy gluten-free fish and chips made in a dedicated fryer.
The Original Starbucks
Right next to Pike Place Market is the original Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place.
If you get there and there’s no line, you’re at the wrong Starbucks! Expect a line of about 30 minutes or more. My daughter, Miss E, is a huge Starbucks fan, so there was no skipping this line.
Once you get inside, you can order your favorite drinks and buy unique Starbucks paraphernalia that you can only purchase at the Original Starbucks. We picked up the Pike Market Blend and a couple of unique cups.
Despite how busy it was, the employees were happy to take the usual Starbucks precautions to avoid gluten cross-contamination, at our request.
You can walk along the Seattle Waterfront or take the free shuttle (when available).
Bainbridge Island Ferry
Bainbridge Island is a 35-minute ferry ride across Puget Sound with gorgeous views of the Seattle skyline and Mount Ranier.
That quick ferry ride takes you a world away from the city, where you will find slow-paced options for your island getaway:
- Visit charming shops, including Island Life Artisan Gifts (full of souvenirs made by local artists) and Calico Toy Shoppe.
- Go to a winery and tasting room.
- Walk along beautiful trails.
- Rent an e-bike from Bike Barn Rentals, right next to the Ferry Terminal.
For our day on Bainbridge Island, we purchased picnic items at the Town & Country Market, about a 10-minute walk from the ferry. They had the biggest selection of gluten-free cookies from the Wow Baking Company that I had ever seen, along with all of the typical gluten-free items you would find at any grocery store.
The Bainbridge Island Ferry is a bargain! My husband and I paid under $10 per person, and the kids were free. For kids under 18, you still need to pick up their free ticket at the ticket booth prior to embarking.
The trip back to Seattle from Bainbridge Island is free for everybody.
Gluten-Free Options at the Airport
We did not eat at Sea-Tac, as we were there in between meals. However, others in our celiac group reported eating safely at Floret by Cafe Flora (Concourse A) and Evergreens (Central Terminal Food Court).
Both restaurants are not dedicated gluten-free, but were reported to have good protocols and knowledgeable kitchen staff.
Transportation and Getting Around
My family did a little of everything: walking, taxi, light rail, ferry, monorail, Uber, Lyft, and shuttle.
Light Rail to/from the Airport: We took the Link Light Rail from SeaTac Airport to downtown Seattle, and back for our return flight. It took about 40 minutes. The cost was only $3 per adult one way, and the kids were free. This was by far the least expensive airport ride I have ever taken.
You can also use the Link Light Rail to get around the city.
Ride Share Service: Uber and Lyft were very easy to use in Seattle. We never waited more than two minutes for a car.
Be prepared that rideshare services are more expensive here than in most locations. To save a few dollars, put your destination in Apple Maps for directions, then select “ride share” rather than “drive”. Prices for Uber and Lyft will show up, so you can quickly compare costs.
Walking: The waterfront is especially walkable. Keep in mind that Seattle is hilly as you move in from the waterfront.
More importantly, you need to be aware of the safety of your surroundings. We didn’t walk at night. Ask your hotel for guidance.
Monorail: The best (or most unique) way to get to the Space Needle is on the Seattle Monorail from Westlake Center Mall, which is a quick walk from Pike Place Market. It’s just a few dollars per adult and half price for children.
To/from Pier 91 for our Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise: Our hotel arranged a shuttle to get us to the pier. Uber, Lyft, or a taxi would also have worked fine.
After a cruise, I advise taking a taxi. The taxi line moved quickly, and Uber/Lyft pickups are a bit of a wait and a walk. If you’re heading to the airport, the fares are fixed and noted on the taxi window. At the time of our cruise (summer 2023), it was a $40 flat fee from the pier to the airport.
Other public transportation options include the Waterfront Shuttle, streetcars, water taxis, and ferries.
Where to Stay
Seattle Marriott Waterfront
The Seattle Marriott Waterfront location is ideal. You can easily walk and see sites along the waterfront, like the Seattle Great Wheel.
There is a convenient elevator right outside the Marriott that whisks you up to the elevation of Pike Place Market. From there it is only a 10-minute walk or so to get to Pike Place.
If you happen to be taking a cruise out of Pier 66 (Norweigan or Oceania), you are within just a few minutes on foot.
We booked a regular non-waterfront view room, but serendipitously our room had a peekaboo view of the water from inside the room and a full waterfront view from the small balcony. (not sure if they upgraded us)
Even without an upgrade, you can enjoy a view of the waterfront from the indoor-outdoor pool deck.
The room was updated with luxury plank vinyl. And there was a mini-fridge where we kept simple breakfast items: yogurt, cereal, and fruit.
The only downside was that the hotel provides housekeeping every other day, a bit of a downer on vacation.
But the pros outweighed that one con. The Marriott was clean and safe, with a nice view and an excellent location.
By the Airport: DoubleTree at Seattle Airport. I recommend the airport hotel only if you are not sightseeing in Seattle. For example, if you are flying in the night before a cruise and heading straight to the ship in the morning. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time traveling back and forth to downtown.