Idioma / Language: Spanish

Chicago: discovering gluten-free restaurants in the wind city

Chicago is, as used to sing Frank Sinatra, “My kind of town.” If you allow me, I would say that it is very similar to Madrid and/or Barcelona. With a busy center and an unbearable traffic at rush hour but, at the same time, full of life, people, shops, restaurants and bars. I love it! As it happens in Madrid and Barcelona, when you leave the center you find – more or less – calmed neighborhoods, with the difference that, there, it is a little more dangerous. Let’s say it like this…

This time I flew with Delta Airlines and although the flight was just as long as the two flights I took to go to South Africa via Dubai, this time I had no problem with the gluten free menus. In another post I will tell you about my experience with Fly Emirates… a big fail! Even so, and with the aim to avoid spending another 18 hours without eating, I had prepared some sandwiches of “Spanish ham with spread tomato” that were the envy of the whole line in the plane.

Anyway, let’s get back to the story of this journey…

Click on the image to access the form

Just after taking off, one of the stewardesses came to confirm that I was the boy with the gluten free menu and, few minutes later, they began to distribute the first snack: some cookies with the airline logo. Obviously, with gluten! DAMN! I started to think that I would repeat the same experience I lived with Fly Emirates… As we left at 11:00 AM Spanish time – and we arrived in Chicago about 5.30pm local time, 00.30h in Spain – I decided not to sleep until it was Chicago’s sleeping time – 7 hours later than usual. I think this way it is easier to adapt to their time zone, although I recognize that on this trip I couldn’t get fully adapted. So to not fall asleep, I prepared the presentation of the talk I had to give in Madrid for the Meeting organized by FACE JOVEN (the one I talked about in my previous post) and read a little. During the trip I got a couple of gluten-free menus: one with chicken, rice and vegetables, and later on, a kind of bag with a caramel, a marmalade jar, some gluten free bread sticks, a small chocolate and a kind of omelet with in a pastry shape… as I did not know very well what that was did not eat it… just in case!

When we arrived to New York, where we stopped, we passed the passport control, re-checked my suitcase – everything super fast, not like in Barcelona … -, we went outside for a few minutes so that my colleague could smoke a cigar and then we went straight to take the other flight. We had only an hour and a half to connect to the next flight, so we could not do much more at NY Airport.

Damn haha! What a change! The plane from NY to Chicago was toy size… we could hardly stand in the aisle and the seats were like little kids’ seats haha! And to make it funnier, I had an XXL size American man next to me so I travelled the whole flight sitting with back bent to the corridor because both of us did not fit in that small space… the only good thing about that flight was that we could see the sun setting behind the Lake Michigan and the skyscrapers of the city. After taking my suitcase, we took a taxi to the hotel which took us almost an hour, so we arrived to our hotel at around 7:00 pm – 2h am Spanish time – where we met the other mates.

An hour later, we met at the hall to go for dinner… for us it was 3am Spanish time but, although we were exhausted, we needed to eat… After walking a few streets, and being shocked that Americans eat outside at 12º and without heaters, we saw that the best option was a kind of Italian restaurant: Carmine’s at 1043 North Rush Street. While my colleagues were asking if there was a table for 7, I asked to another waitress if they had gluten-free menu because I couldn’t see any sign claiming for it. They gave me a one page gluten free menu with a few options, but at that time everything was worth it! So I ordered an entrecote with baked potatoes which was wonderful.

After dinner, we were ready to go to sleep with the hope of waking up recovered, as we had to go to the exhibition venue to organize all the sales material in our booth and leave everything ready to start the exhibition the day after.

The hotel was in the very center of Chicago, next to the Water Tower and that area is busy at any hour… although my room was on floor number 15, there was a lot of noise from the street… so, in addition to the time difference with Spain, it didn’t help to fall asleep but, at the end, I made it.

To see the pictures of the trip, click here.

In general, you will find a gluten free menú in almost all restaurants of Chicago. If you are looking for a gluten free pizza, you can go to D’Agostino’s Pizza & Pub, you will find it at:

– 752 Nord Ogden Avenue (606242).

– 1351 wes Addison Street (60657).



P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!


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Me llamo Santi y actualmente vivo en la provincia de Barcelona. En 2001, me diagnosticaron de enfermedad celíaca… ¡por fin! Además, soy intolerante a la lactosa, la alergia al pescado me mata, ¡literalmente!, y también algunas frutas... Viajar sin gluten se ha convertido en mi mayor hobby y creé Gluten Free Adventures por esta razón. Desde los 8 años, he viajado y vivido en distintos países… ¡aquí comparto mis experiencias viajando para descubrir restaurantes sin gluten, pastelerías sin gluten y heladerías sin gluten por todo el mundo! ¡Espero que os gusten nuestros viajes sin gluten!