Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gluten-Free in San Diego: Cafe Athena

I think that everyone has (or should have) a restaurant that they consider their secret find. A restaurant with amazing food, a great staff, and good prices. And for some reason unknown to you, there's never a wait. I'm always torn between worry that my favorite restaurants will close down because no one else ever seems to frequent them, and worry that they will be discovered for the hidden gems that they are, and I'll have to wait in line to get in.

Cafe Athena is one of those secret finds. This is honestly one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Although, upon looking at their website, I found a list of all the awards they've won for best Greek restaurant. Apparently, it's not as much of a secret as I thought. Still, I've never had to wait for a table, so I consider this my secret San Diego restaurant. My sister, Shani, took me there years ago, and every time I visit her in San Diego, I ask to go back. For this visit, I did a little research on gluten-free restaurants in San Diego, and was surprised to find that Cafe Athena was listed as a gluten-free friendly restaurant. Could it be!? My favorite restaurant was also an easy place to eat out without fear of cross-contamination? I couldn't pass that up!

Upon arriving at the restaurant, I let the server know about my dietary restrictions. Without needing any other information, he immediately went to grab an allergy menu. I was very impressed to see that in addition to listing their non-gluten items, they also listed which items were dairy free, soy free, egg free, etc.

I ordered the:

A mousse of imported red caviar delicately blended with potatoes, olive oil and lemon juice. Garnished with celery and carrots.

A popular soup, made with carrots, celery and tomatoes.


A favorite Greek appetizer with filling of rice, fresh tomato, red pepper, onion, mint and pomegranate molasses. Served chilled.

And it was all amazing! As delicious as always and gluten-free as well! What could be better? If you live nearby or are visiting, it's worth the drive to check out this "hidden" gem.

This post is linked to What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free.


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Great write-up, Iris! Wonderful photos, too. I love it when I find out a restaurant that I've previously enjoyed can do gluten free without a hiccup! :-)


Lauren said...

Sounds like a great place! I love those finds that have fantastic gf options and always know =D.

Juanita said...

I hear you on the fave restaurant anxiety! :-D

The taramosalata sounds decadently yummy! I dig dolmades, also made with vine leaves but stuffed with mince. The best I've tasted were on my way to a train station in Luzern in Switzerland from a chance-find road stall.

Just Call Me Zippy said...

I will be visiting San Diego this summer and am looking forward to finding this restaurant. If anyone else has San Diego recommendations or warnings, I would love to know. I can't think of anything worse than being on your one yearly vacation and spending it sick! Thanks for the info, Iris!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I love finding restaurants like this. Everything looks wonderful!

GF Gidget said...

There is a teeny, tiny Greek restaurant in Pittsburgh that is my personal find. It is in the theater district. The stuffed grape leaves and eggplant dishes are TO DIE FOR!

lynn @ the actors diet said...

san diego is such a wonderful food city. there are 2 restaurants there that i consider "secret finds" and always visit whenever i'm there. though now one of them was featured on the food network, so i guess it's no longer a secret.

My Year Without said...

Hello Iris! Thanks for visiting my blog... after looking at yours, I found we have a lot in common! I too have a degree in Psych, tho just a Bachelor's, and I too plan on becoming a registered dietitian--then all my family and friends will HAVE to listen to me! Anyway, I will send this restaurant link along to my parents who just left for a week in San Diego. Perfect timing to read this!
I'll have to look around some more, here!

Chelsey said...

How cool! An allergy menu, I've never heard of that. I may be going to San Diego in a couple months so I will definitely have to check this restaurant out.

Linda said...

If I ever get to San Diego, I hope I remember to check this place out. It sounds great.

Lisa said...

That looks really good.


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