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6 Must-Try Allergy-Friendly Restaurants in Redwood City

03/19/21

Explore my top choices for some of Redwood City’s best allergy-friendly restaurants.

Navigating life with allergies can be a tricky business — especially when it comes to dining out. As someone who has their fair share of allergies, I’ve learned that often restaurants are unable to adapt their menu to be allergy-friendly. To me, the difference between a cook and a chef is someone who is able to accommodate their guest’s allergies. Read on to learn some of my recommendations for Redwood City restaurants that do just that!
 

Broadway Masala


It’s hard to describe just how wonderful Broadway Masala is. Amazing does not do this Redwood City restaurant justice. I used to live in Sunnyvale, which provided me with plenty of opportunities to sample a variety of Indian restaurants in the area. But none of them — and I really do mean none — have been as accommodating to my allergies as Broadway Masala. This comes from someone who spent years with restaurants serving me nothing but naan and steamed rice! (Perhaps a samosa if I got lucky.)
 
I first went to Broadway Masala for a Valentine's Day takeout dinner. As we spoke with the hostess and told her about my allergies, I was prepared to have very limited options. However, to my surprise, she instantly pulled out a menu and walked me through what I could and could not eat. After this (I think my mouth was still hanging open in shock), she promptly went back to the kitchen to double-check everything. She even directly informed the chef about my allergies. All that to say — the customer service and attention to detail here are second to none. I’ve never had an allergic reaction to anything here. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always hospitable and never have ever once made me feel like a burden due to my allergies.
 
The menu here is constantly evolving and changing. They frequently add new menu items, which means this place is never stale or boring. Instead, there’s always something new and exciting to try. They definitely experiment with fusion (the curried lamb tacos, for example), but magically, it ends up creating something almost heavenly. This is just one of the reasons that keep bringing me back for seconds! You might just become a regular here, too.
 
Some of my top recommendations include the Roomali Roti, Truffle Oil Chicken Tikka, Fig, Walnut Kofta, and Burnt Garlic Daal. I know — it might sound weird that the garlic is burnt, but I promise you, it always seems to work. However, my personal favorites include the Rawat Chicken Kalimirch and the Lychee Martini.
 
Oh, did I forget to mention that during non-COVID times, Broadway Masala has a full bar? Happy hours and samosas? Yes, please!
 

Vesta



Credit: Palo Alto Online
 
COVID has been full of ups and downs, but for me, one small blessing was getting to try Vesta. Although I love to cook, takeout is what happens when I’m too exhausted from the day to want to go into the kitchen and cook a meal. So that means I rarely plan ahead when I'm going to eat out. Unfortunately for me, in non-COVID times, Vesta always has a wait, and I'm not that patient when I'm hungry.
 
Located on Broadway, Vesta is a small indoor-outdoor venue, always abuzz with activity. The menu includes wood-fired pizza, small plates, wine, and beer. They have rotating seasonal pizzas, ingredients sourced from local farms, and generously sized pies! This charming restaurant has limited seating and, because their pizza is to die for, Vesta is always booked, and there’s always a wait. Their vegan pies are great for lactose-intolerant people like me, as well as their tomato-free pies which are also great for me since I'm allergic to tomatoes. I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to their hot honey which they drizzle on some of their pizzas. If you're looking for meat options, you'll find their pork shoulder with polenta cakes and applewood smoked bacon a satisfying gastronomic experience.
 
Vesta has been operating on a takeout-only basis during the pandemic. I make it a priority to support small businesses, especially considering how much the pandemic has caused challenges for local businesses. I’ve made a conscious effort to eat out locally at least once a week to support a small business, and Vesta has definitely made it into the rotation.
 

Karlita’s Taco Place


I’ll be honest: I live just a few blocks from a taco place, and yet I still find myself driving across town to Karlita's Taco Place. Why you might ask? They make pupusas. Pupusas! For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderfulness that is pupusas, a pupusa is made from cornmeal flour (or rice flour) that is mixed with water to make a corn masa mixture. They are typically stuffed with tasty and flavorful ingredients, such as refried beans, shredded pork, or cheese. This is a Salvadoran staple and, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying one, it’s worth checking out.
 
Karlita’s Taco Place is a small, hole-in-the-wall shop located next to Petco. Although it’s unassuming on the outside, this local restaurant is worth seeking out. When I’m here, I have to go through my list of allergies in Spanish, but they accommodate them. Plus, the food is delicious. They have an expansive menu, which means everyone can find something they like. However, I recommend the carnitas tacos, which are outstanding. The fried plantains are perfectly cooked and hit the spot. But, as I mentioned before, the pupusas are the main reason I keep coming back. I always get a pupusa if I’m driving by, and they are consistently hot and delicious.
 
There’s no outdoor seating here and, in non-COVID times, the indoor seating is limited so be prepared to take your order to go! This is a great option if you’re grabbing a meal on the go or perhaps wanting to enjoy a picnic at the park. Stop by here, grab your favorites, and head over to the park to soak up the sunshine. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Plus, Karlita’s takes credit cards, so you don’t have to worry about rounding up some cash.
 

Crouching Tiger



Credit: OpenTable
 
Do you know how hard it is to find a Chinese food restaurant willing to make you a full meal with no soy? I mean, no soy sauce, tofu, edamame, miso, black bean sauce, soybean oil, etc.? I decided to give Crouching Tiger a try after seeing them listed on allergyeats.com. I was skeptical, but I called, placed my order, and went through all my allergies with the hostess. A few minutes later, I got a call back from the hostess saying she's spoken with the chef and one of the dishes I'd ordered (wonton soup) could not be made without soy and politely asked if I would like to order something else instead. Understandably, this gave me a boost of confidence in the restaurant and, when it comes to Chinese food, they’re my go-to for takeout.
 
In the mood for something spicy (I’m always in the mood for spicy food)? I recommend the Spicy Boiled Juicy Pork, Dry Cooked Shredded Pork, or the Magic Chili Chicken. Do you want something a little milder and more familiar? Try the mu shu pork (the veggies are always so fresh!), beef with asparagus, Mongolian beef, or the chicken with mixed vegetables. I don't know how they do it, but somehow they make takeout seem almost healthy. It’s hard to beat the delicious food and top-notch customer service here.
 

Harry’s Hofbrau 


Harry's Hofbrau
gets an honorable mention from me for being nostalgic and dependable. My parents would take me here as a kid, and I swear, nothing has changed. Ah, yes, nostalgia. If you need some comfort food, this is the place to go. Harry’s serves hand-carved roasted meats and other traditional favorites. I've dabbled a bit in their menu, but to me, nothing beats their roast beef dinner. Let’s be honest; sometimes, you’re just craving some food that tastes like home! While the food is served cafeteria-style and they can't adjust ingredients, they're always happy to help you find something that meets your requirements, and there's always the option of just a full plate of roast meat.
 
To me, the bigger draw is the full bar and extensive tap list. Seriously, check out their tap list on the Untappd app. During both SF Beer Week and Silicon Valley Beer Week, Harry's Hofbrau is the place to be. They have over 20 beers on tap at any given time and multiple TVs showing all the sports. As someone who loves sports, whiskey, and food (and doesn't have a TV), Harry's is my go-to place to grab a bite and watch the game.
 

Timber and Salt



Credit: Timber and Salt
 
If you’re hunting for some of the best cocktails in town, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Timber and Salt is an electric nook that serves seasonal California cuisine and craft cocktails. Plus, the heated outdoor patio makes for a great spot to catch up with a friend or enjoy a date! This is a great place to grab a drink (...or two) and a bite to eat. Sunday brunch is an especially popular affair here. Although they are officially open for outdoor dining, you should be sure to make reservations in advance!
 
My favorite appetizers include the Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and the Brussels Sprouts in a goat cheese cream. They are most well-known for their burgers, and, honestly, why change what’s working? Their burgers are so good that I’ve never tried anything else. Unadventurous? No, I prefer to think of myself as loyal. After all, no need to reinvent the wheel!
 
I mostly enjoy coming here for their small bites, cocktails, and (as aforementioned) burgers. It’s a great spot to go before or even after a movie at the Century Theaters just down the street. If you have time for a quick drink, I suggest trying the Harvest or the Cinnamon Girl. Or just grab a spirit neat from their impressive bottle list.

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