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From malassadas (Portuguese doughnuts) to saimin with noodles, Hawaii’s most beloved foods are often off-limits to gluten-free travelers. Lately, however, a growing number of restaurants around the islands are creating delicious menus specifically for selective diners.
While these five options are stand-alone establishments, clients should keep in mind that gluten-free menus are available at many Hawaii hotels, upscale restaurants and carry-out delis at health food stores.
Evolution Bakery & Cafe (Hawaii Island)While it’s not a fully gluten-free restaurant, Evolution goes the extra mile to avoid cross-contamination. For breakfast, there are gluten-free pancakes topped with local fruits, macadamia nuts or all-natural peanut butter. Gourmet sandwiches featuring gluten-free bagels and wraps are ideal for takeaway lunch or dinner. And for an ultra-healthy smoothie, consider the Mauka Mama, a blend of pineapple, orange, melon and ginger.
Greens & Vines (Oahu)This completely gluten-free gem specializes in carefully prepared lunches and dinners. Case in point is the creamy Living Lasagna, which layers zucchini slices with basil pesto, sundried tomato marinara, macadamia nut “ricotta,” spinach and tomatoes. Thai-inspired options include the green papaya and coconut salad. Headlining the desserts is a cheesecake with tropical fruits and a nut-and-date crust.
Maui Brick OvenFounded by chefs with celiac disease, Maui Brick Over nourishes the appetites of like-minded diners. Completely gluten-free, the restaurant has gained a following with its beer-battered mushrooms, eggplant parmesan and chicken stuffed with mango and goat cheese. Especially popular are its pizzas, such as the Paradise Pesto (sausage, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, Greek olives, sweet onion, feta and pesto sauce).
Maui Sugar ShopIf Maui Sugar Shop’s cheery, colorful decor and glass display cases don’t beckon to visitors, its menu will. It touts 100 percent gluten-free baked goods, including whoopie pies, cream puffs, coffee cakes, doughnuts, lilikoi (passion fruit) muffins and chocolate chip cookies. For the ultimate indulgence, order the Elvis cupcake made with banana, caramel and chocolate, topped with bacon crumbles.
Sweet Marie’s (Kauai)Despite its name, this spot serves more than just sweets, and it’s totally gluten-free. The breakfast sandwich is generous with turkey bacon, eggs and cheese. Lunch favorites include turkey meatloaf and the chicken salad sandwich. For the sweeter side of Sweet Marie’s, check out baked treats such as macadamia nut and mango muffins, coconut macaroons and steamed chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse.