6 Eateries Offering Gluten Free, Vegetarian, and/or Vegan Dishes in Monterey


If you’ve been on our Old Monterey Food Tour, you’ll know we try to do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. We know it can be difficult to pin down good food for those following a gluten sensitive, vegetarian, or vegan diet, so we thought we’d share some of our favorite spots around town to grub down on food that fits those dietary needs.


Nece’s Gluten Free Bistro

Offering gluten free baked goods out of a home kitchen, trust us, Nece’s Gluten Free Bistro never disappoints. While you can find them selling their delicious treats at the Farmer’s Markets (if you’re gluten sensitive and never thought you could enjoy cinnamon rolls, churros, or mac and cheese again, you’ll salivate over these), they also operate as an online delivery system. Their products tend to sell out during the markets, so make sure you’re there early to claim your favorite treat. If you do miss out, you can always place a special order on their website or through the owner, Sharque Starr.

Birdsong Bakery

Birdsong Bakery, the bakery run through the Studio Cafe on Wave Street, offers completely gluten free goods to accompany their coffee and tea selections. Lemon poppyseed muffins? We’ll take three! While you can only find their treats here at the cafe, we recommend the cafe as a great spot to check out near Cannery Row, as well. We can’t get enough of the heated bench outside, so why not enjoy a gluten free Bliss Ball while your glutes get nice and toasty? (See what we did there?) They also have a couple of vegan options, as well, like their pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

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Happy Girl Kitchen

Happy Girl Kitchen is a vegetarian cafe that also serves vegan products. They’re dedicated to simple, farm-driven, locally sourced options, and we can’t get enough of them! You can sample some of their products on our Old Monterey Food Tour, or check out the physical cafe a few blocks away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. One of our favorites is the very peachy scone, pictured above. They’re also featured on HBO’s Big Little Lies. While you can sample a variety of their products in the Joseph Boston Store on the Old Monterey Food Tour, we always encourage people to check out the physical cafe, as well. If HBO signs on for another season of Big Little Lies, we’re hoping we can catch Reese Witherspoon on her visit this time.

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El Cantaro Vegan Mexican Restaurant

Wait… Vegan and Mexican? Yes, you read that right, and El Cantaro nails it like nothing we’ve ever seen! If you thought you’d never be able to order a vegan barbecue chickin (spelled incorrectly on purpose) burrito, you’d be wrong. Located at the end of Wave Street, El Cantaro has an extensive menu including all of your favorite Mexican dishes — and every ingredient is completely vegan. Everything here is also locally sourced and organic, and if you know anything about us, you’ll know that’s always right up our alley! Make sure you come hungry when you come here, too. As with traditional Mexican plates, there’s no shortage of food to make sure you walk out those doors stuffed to the max.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

As if we need another reason to visit arguably the best aquarium in the world, the Monterey Bay Aquarium restaurant also caters to any dietary need. While not everything here is strictly gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan, they have options under each category. To make matters easier, as well, they have a legend on the menu with a corresponding image used as a marker throughout the menu to label which entree fits into which category. After a long day checking out their stellar exhibits, this restaurant is a great place to kick back and enjoy a meal before you leave. They’ve also just introduced a food truck that’s driving around San Francisco, so make sure you keep an eye out for that, too!


Revival Ice Cream

Another of our tour partners, Revival Ice Cream makes everything in-house from scratch. Their waffle cones are vegan and gluten free, and they always have four dairy free options for those following a vegan diet. You can read more about them here, but be aware that their flavors change all the time! You’ll always be able to find their award-winning Bee’s Knees ice cream, which you can also sample on the Old Monterey Food Tour, but we recommend keeping an eye out for their more distinctive and unique flavors (we’re still partial to the goat cheese and beet jam ice cream they rolled out a couple of months ago.)

While these are by no means the only locations offering gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan options, we’re confident all of the above will satisfy your needs! If you’ve tried somewhere else you think is a good fit, feel free to share it with us in the comments!