Eat and Drink

Dietary Restrictions? Try These 6 Local Spots

Allergies? Vegetarian? Non-ironically gluten-free? I get it: my list of dietary limitations is long and growing. The other day, I licked an envelope and broke out in hives like George’s fiancé on Seinfeld. The good news is, #Southie has some diligent, delicious restaurants. In my experience, each in this list has an attentive staff, large menu, and particular talent for adapting to dietary restrictions without sacrificing taste or sending me to the ER. I tried to provide a variety of food categories; for two, I had to go out as far as South End, so there’s room for improvement. These places haven’t killed me once (lookin’ at you, unnamed Fenway restaurant) or served me a single envelope to lick.

Capo (Italian)
What your friends should order: Their menu changes seasonally, but their classics are house-made pasta, pizzas, croquettes, and chicken parmesan.

What you should order: They have decent gluten-free pasta and pizza dough. Their entrees are easy to modify, and the Italian chop salad is my favorite in Boston.

How to get the best experience: Make a OpenTable reservation and list out your needs. Capo takes the time to read them.

Loco (Mexican)
What your friends should order: As of 3/14, they have a new menu, but when in doubt, go classic: Loaded wings. Baked queso dip. Watch your friends in envy but take heart that your cholesterol is lower.

What you should order: Practically their entire menu is gluten-free. To start, the chips and guac. Their tacos are now a la carte, including vegetarian options. Also, seriously, have drinks. Two of their best are Coco Marg and Smokeshow.

How to get the best experience: The staff does significant allergy training, but if you have many restrictions it’s best to come in with something written down. I have a card that lists mine and apologizes for being the worst.

The Broadway (Bar/American)
What your friends should order: They do a great brunch, including one special called a Boozy Donut that I need to watch someone eat immediately.

What you should order: Their bowls. They made me a custom salmon quinoa beet bowl that was delicious. Gimme gimme.

How to get the best experience: Expect that the manager will come by, and they may take a little longer to prepare the food. If you’re starving, go when it’s not packed.

Fuji at Ink Block (Japanese)
What your friends should order: Even non-sushi lovers find something to love here. They have classics like chicken teriyaki all the way up to the adventurous braised oxtail.

What you should order: Go simple. The nigiri’s always a safe bet: simple meat on rice. The fried rice and the Singapore noodles are also customizable and yummy.

How to get the best experience: Don’t be shy. If they can serve me–soy, nuts, and sesame allergies–you’ll be a walk in the park.

Sullivan’s (Fast Food)
What your friends should order: South Boston’s guilty pleasure fast food-stravaganza has all the classics: hot dog, burger, lobster roll, fries, and their new hot fudge sundae.

What you should order: Sully’s has separate fryers, so it’s one of the few places I can eat fried food without cross-contamination. Their simple dishes (fish, chicken) are safe bets. They also have sweet treats, including a classic lime rickey and water ice.

How to get the best experience: List your allergies before you order, and the staff can always get you a detailed allergy list. They insist they’re ready to feed us whenever, but I suggest not going during peak times so you don’t get whacked with a Patriots jersey.

FoMu (Dessert)
What your friends should order: My husband insists it tastes nothing at all like ice cream, so maybe milk-lovers should bear that in mind.

What you should order: I, on the other hand, love FoMu. They’ve got some good basics like vanilla bean and fresh strawberry, and then I can get fancy with seasonal caramel. They don’t list store menus online, so call for the latest flavors.

How to get the best experience: Their menu board details specific allergens. Study it carefully before prancing up to make an order.

Honorable mention: JP Licks (Dessert)
What’s that you say? They might be opening one in Southie? Cancel all my Barre classes. My beach body is gonna be a bit plush this year.

Comment below if you have more recommendations, and keep an eye out for new spots like the new salad place, Shredded, which opened 3/16!

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About the Author

Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine J. Igoe is a freelance writer and editor who freely admits she just moved to Southie with her husband in 2017. Loves writing about local food, culture, and space savers, as well as more serious things like mental health. Follow her/send her ideas on Twitter @kjigoe. 

Comments

  1. Diet restricted? There’s ten million gluten-free calories here. True, you won’t have any seizures but bring plenty of insulin.

    • Thanks for your comment. My recommendations for Capo (Italian salad, entrees that rarely include a starch), Loco (lots of veggies in their tacos, depending on how well you do with a corn taco shell), and The Broadway (grains like quinoa, vegetable, lean protein) would work better than, say, my recommendations on dessert. My point was that all these places cater their dishes easily and well, in my anecdotal experience.

  2. The Broadway was completely unhelpful when we went with my nephew who has a dairy allergy. The only thing they said they could make for him at brunch was a fruit plate, and that came with a smear of something white (either whipped cream or yogurt) on it. We had to send that back for another, it was really disappointing. My sister in law asked if they could make him poached eggs, or scrambled eggs with oil instead of butter and they refused.

    • That’s such a shame! It sounds like it was the polar opposite of my experience. I’m very interested in encouraging the community to create food options for kids with food restrictions.