Your Gluten-Free Guide to Santa Rosa and Sonoma
Gluten-free travelers have so many options in Sonoma County that we couldn’t fit everything into one guide. From gluten-free bakeries to dedicated gluten-free menus at local restaurants, the selections seem endless, so we split our gluten-free foodie guide to Sonoma County into different posts, by region!
Criminal Baking Co. (Santa Rosa)
Criminal Baking Co. offers the best gluten-free selection of any coffee shop in Sonoma County. The downtown Santa Rosa cafe always has at least a few gluten-free scone options in addition to a few cakes or other specialty baked sweet items, gluten -ree bagels (from Mama Mel’s Bakery), gluten-free granola and oatmeal, and at least one savory gluten-free frittata option. The cafe also offers the option to add gluten-free (Mama Mel’s) bread on any sandwich.
Criminal Baking Co. recently opened a second location in Sebastopol that focuses more on pies (the cafe offers a more limited variety of bakery items than the Santa Rosa location) and always features both a sweet and a savory gluten-free pie by the slice. Check out what the pies of the day will be on their Facebook page (Criminal Baking Co. and Noshery).
Both bakeries offer the option to place advance orders for gluten-free pies, cakes, or cupcakes for an event or special occasion.
Avid Coffee (Santa Rosa)
Avid Coffee offers a gluten-free bread option (Mama Mel’s) for any of their breakfast toasts (yes, they have avocado toast and you can add a poached egg!) or lunch sandwiches. The cafe also always offers at least one sweet gluten-free bakery item.
Grossman’s (Santa Rosa)
Dubbed as a "New York style deli, bakery, and bar," Grossman's makes it easy for gluten-free diners by providing a separate gluten-free menu (upon request). At last count, we spied 27+ menu items on Grossman’s gluten-free menu, including a wide range of brunch items and sandwiches that come with house-made gluten-free bread or toast (upon request). Hungry for breakfast or brunch? Try the incredibly popular potato leek latke Benedict or the griddled Pastrami breakfast sandwich, served with poached eggs and avocado on freshly baked gluten-free rye!
Located in Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa, Grossman's serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails (as well as beer and wine). They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, and their outdoor seating (a covered patio with picnic tables) is dog-friendly.
Due to the popularity of this restaurant, reservations are strongly advised (especially for breakfast or brunch on weekends)!
Monti’s provides a gluten-free menu upon request that contains only the dishes the restaurant serves that are gluten-free. This makes it easy to safely peruse the menu and select your plates! The restaurant always offers a few different main courses that are gluten-free (these normally include a fish- and meat-based dish), and always have at least one gluten-free item on the dessert menu.
Rosso Pizzeria and Wine Bar (Santa Rosa)
Rosso Pizzeria and Wine Bar offers a fantastic selection of gluten-free menu items, including some great small plates (such as shishito peppers and charcuterie), salads, main dishes, and even pizza! The restaurant makes an effort to use gluten-free ingredients whenever possible (such as frying their fried chicken in rice flour) to make the menu friendlier to gluten-free diners. A few of customer’s favorite gluten-free dishes include the pork belly or veggie polenta plate, the Mediterranean lamb salad, and any pizza on the menu with a gluten-free crust.
Willi’s Wine Bar
Willi’s Wine Bar specializes in internationally inspired small, shareable plates and an extensive wine list featuring both local and international selections. Like all Stark Reality group restaurants (Grossman's, Monti's, Stark Steakhouse, Bravas Tapas, etc.), Willi’s Wine Bar provides a gluten-free menu upon request that contains only the dishes the restaurant serves that are gluten-free. In our experience, there’s always a large number of gluten-free plates on Willi’s menu. A few of our go-to gluten-free favorites include the warm spinach salad with goat cheese and pancetta, butter-braised Alaskan halibut, and pulled duck with polenta.
Il Fuoco (Sonoma)
Il Fuoco offers wood-fired farm-to-pie art that incorporates ingredients from as many local sources as possible (from the purple potatoes to the mozzarella that tops their pies). The modern Italian pizzeria also offers a house-made gluten-free crust on any pizza, making it one of the two best places in Sonoma to enjoy a gourmet gluten-free pizza.
Jackson’s Bar and Oven
Jackson’s in downtown Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square was the first place with a wood-fired pizza oven in Santa Rosa to offer a gluten-free option, and they’ve still got one of the best (house-made) gluten-free crusts in town. A few of our favorite pizzas at Jackson’s include the Mixed Mushroom (drizzled with truffle oil), the Prosciutto (with pear, mascarpone, arugula, and balsamic), and the Calabrian Sausage (with white sauce, broccoli rabe, and caramelized onions).
Ricky’s Eastbound (Santa Rosa)
Ricky’s Eastbound is a family-friendly, casual, neighborhood restaurant, brew pub, pizzeria, and cocktail bar. The restaurant uses Mama Mel’s gluten-free pizza dough for its gluten-free pizza crust, making any pizza on the menu a gluten-free pizza-lover’s dream come true. A couple of our favorite Ricky’s pizzas include the Artichoke Pesto (topped with burrata, arugula, and lemon drizzle) and the Hawaiian.
The Red Grape
The Red Grape offers gluten-free pizza crust (made from fresh gluten-free pizza dough, not just frozen crust) on any of their delicious, Wine Country gourmet pizzas. Try one of the white (with extra virgin olive oil and and garlic instead of tomato sauce) or red pizzas. A few of our favorites include the Glen Ellen (caramelized apples and onions, prosciutto, goat cheese, parmesan, fresh rosemary, and balsamic reduction), the Pear and Gorgonzola, and the Pesto Chicken (with fresh pesto, grilled chicken breast, and toasted pine nuts).
Oliver's Market (Santa Rosa)
Oliver’s Market offers a gluten-free bread option in the deli, where fantastic sandwiches are made. The deli normally toasts the bread for all gluten-free sandwiches, but you should always ask to make sure!
Things get really busy at Oliver’s during lunch hour, so if you are picking up food for a group and want to reduce your wait time, place your deli (or taqueria) order online for pick-up.
Ike’s Sandwich Shop
Ike’s is one of the OG sandwich shops in Santa Rosa. One of locals’ favorite places to get a messy, hot, delicious sandwich, Ike’s has been around since 2007.
The restaurant has a cold and hot sandwich menu that will get sandwich-lovers drooling. They also offer the option to substitute gluten-free bread on any sandwich (hot or cold)!
Whole Foods (Santa Rosa or Sonoma)
Whole Foods has always offered a gluten-free bread option at their sandwich/deli counter. Most Whole Foods toast gluten-free bread (because it's much, much better this way in our opinion) but again, make sure to ask just in case. This is one of the most affordable places (between $8 and $10 depending on which sandwich you choose) to grab a gluten-free sandwich. There are two Whole Foods stores in Santa Rosa (Montgomery Village and Coddingtown) and one store in Sonoma.
Sweets and Treats
Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Bar
All of Noble Folk’s ice creams are gluten-free unless they contain additions that aren’t. In-store signage next to each ice cream notes whether it is in fact gluten-free.
The dessert bar also offers a couple of different gluten-free cupcakes: ‘The Local" and ‘The Out of Towner," made with almond flour in a Norwegian almond-cake style. Currently, these cupcakes are filled with a cherry jam and topped with cherry buttercream frosting (this one is so popular, the recipe made it into Bon Appetit magazine!) or topped with chocolate frosting.
Last but not least, Noble Folk also makes some deliciously delicate and light-as-air French Macarons, which are also 100% gluten-free.
Oliver’s Market bakery offers the best freshly baked gluten-free pies we've had in the North Bay. Oliver’s bakery mainstays are mini cherry and peach pies, but the store also sells full-sized gluten-free pies from San Rafael’s Upper Crust Pies. In winter, you’ll find cherry and berry options.
In addition to Oliver’s pie selection, you can also snag a bag of gluten-free cookies from local bakery Cookie Take a Bite (these are normally stocked in the coffee counter/bakery area) as well as an assortment of gluten-free cookies and ice cream sandwiches.
Patisserie Angelica is a cozy, French-style bakery and cafe that crafts non-GMO and organically focused desserts, custom cakes, truffles, and other sweet baked treats (such as made-to-order holiday cookies for any holiday). Their motto? “Life is short, eat dessert first.” While Angelica is a regular (glutenous) bakery, the owner makes sure that there is always a few gluten-free cake and dessert options (made in-house).
Sift Dessert Bar
Located in downtown Santa Rosa, Sift Dessert Bar bakes up sinfully sweet confections such as cruffles (cookie dough + truffles), cupcakes, cookies, and macarons. The gluten-free offerings include gluten-free chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, macarons (the sky’s the limit, pick any flavor!), and cakes (by pre-order).
Three Leaves Foods
Three Leaves 100% gluten-free kitchen and bakery in Santa Rosa offers a great selection of gluten-free and largely vegan sweets including the popular cassava brownies, Mexican wedding cookies, take-and-bake chocolate chip cookie dough (vegan and gluten-free), and sea salted caramel granola. Three Leaves desserts are made using no refined sugars or flours, so if you’re looking for something to satiate your sweet tooth that won’t leave you feeling too guilty, this is a great choice.
Written by Brooke Herron