Surya Cafe is a vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurant which is also entirely gluten free. To the extent that they don’t serve meat, they are also surprisingly paleo friendly. They do offer duck eggs (provided by the chef’s personal ducks) and a choice of dairy or non-dairy yogurt. They’re very willing to alter recipes to accommodate a paleo diet. For example, swapping roasted veggies for beans in the sweet potato hash, or cashews for peanuts.
I haven’t had a chance to personally try their food yet, but menu options that appeal to me include the zucchini noodle alfredo (cashew sauce, cauliflower, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus), hearty bowl (sweet potato hash, kale, avocado, cilantro-lime dressing, omit black beans), and duck egg quiche (spinach, sun-dried tomato, mushroom, served with mixed greens). In addition to entrees, they offer a variety of salads, snack platters, soups, smoothies, juices, coffee and tea. Sandwiches can be made as lettuce wraps or with dry roasted mushroom cap “buns.”
The cafe uses simple, pure ingredients, avoiding additives and processed foods, and utilizing local and organic produce when possible. Cooking fats are exclusively coconut oil and olive oil. Surya Cafe seems like an especially good option if you’re dining with a mixed paleo/vegan group.
5500 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg
Good Food – Low Carb Cafe offers low-carb and paleo-friendly fare such as hot zoodle bowls, lettuce tacos, homemade soups and organic chicken bone broth, salads, Asian meatballs, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, pasture-raised chicken wings, grain-free flatbread pizza, locally-roasted organic coffee, assorted cold drinks, and a weekend brunch menu.
In addition to the restaurant, they also do catering, as well as operate two food carts which are available for private parties. They try to source produce locally when possible, and there are always vegan/vegetarian options. Note: I haven’t been there yet to try it out, initial review stars are based on information from others, and are (as are all reviews) subject to updates.
Open Monday – Friday, 11am – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday (Brunch Menu Only) 9am – 3pm
4674 Cottage Grove Rd
Madison, WI 53716
From a paleo perspective my expectations for an Italian restaurant are low, especially one that clearly specializes in pizza and pasta. Accordingly, I can’t really recommend Papino’s to fellow grain/dairy-free eaters. They do offer gluten-free pizza and pasta choices. While I found nothing fully paleo on the menu (opportunity calling, Papino’s!) I was quite happy with my Italian Salad (minus cheese & croutons) and side order of sausage. On-menu confirmation that the sausage and meatballs are gluten free (assuming they are) would be appreciated.
6601 Traveler Trail, Windsor
Considering that it’s basically a burrito place, Chipotle gets major props for trying to do things right! To start with, the web site lists paleo options by name. They use mostly simple, natural ingredients that you would expect, many of them natural and organic. Most locations offer grass-fed beef. They enforce minimum standards for animals and prominently disclose any exceptions. They cook mostly with rice bran oil and sunflower oil – not perfectly paleo, but in my opinion much better than the soy and canola found elsewhere. They’re very close to completely eliminating GMO ingredients too.
You can design your own naked burrito bowl (or salad), and unlike some competitors most of the options contain only the ingredients you’d expect. Meat choices include steak, chicken, carnitas, and barbacoa. See menu on web site for more details. Catering available. Some locations deliver.
4628 E Washington Ave, Madison
658 State St, Madison
4000 University Ave, Madison
8422 Old Sauk Rd, Middleton
Most menu items are based around corn or wheat tortillas and/or rice. You can order meat and veggie items as a bowl or a naked tortilla, but be aware that there are a lot of unexpected ingredients. For example, all the meats contain various combinations of cornstarch, corn syrup, whey, and/or soybean oil. The fajita vegetables contain soy oil. Therefore, essentially nothing is pure paleo, but you could check ingredient lists for personally acceptable cheats here.
Even most of the salsas contain cornstarch and/or gums. Pico de gallo is one clean exception. The guacamole should also be fine. Of course, there’s always a possibility of gluten cross-contamination.
4718 E Towne Blvd, Madison
548 State St, Madison
2 N Park St, Madison
101 W Broadway, Monona
6650 Mineral Point Rd, Madison
2741 University Ave, Madison
5401 Caddis Bend, Madison
They will do a naked or lettuce-wrapped burger on request. Choices include local grass-fed beef, and sometimes bison. Optional toppings include bacon, egg, and guacamole. Other sandwiches can be made gluten-free also. Steamed veggies available as a side. Most salads ok with omissions. Known as “the birthday bar.”
223 N. Frances Street, Madison
1021 N. Gammon Road, Middleton
315 E. Linnerud Drive, Sun Prairie
This was one of the first places to actually offer lettuce-wrapped burgers right on the menu, and they do it well – using a cut stack of iceberg on each side so it’s easy to pick up and eat. (They also offer a gluten free bun choice.) Otherwise, not much to attract paleo customers unless you have wiggle room on gluten, which most do not. They do offer sweet potato fries, but they’re cooked in a shared fryer. Watch out for possible gluten in the grill seasoning. Salads would be another option.
2440 East Springs Drive, Madison
6522 Monona Drive, Monona
Chain offers full menu of appetizers, entrees, salads, burgers, sandwiches , etc. and full bar. Some dishes can be tweaked to paleo or close. For example, try a steak or grilled salmon and replace rice/potatoes with garden salad. Available sides and extras include steamed broccoli, seared shrimp, avocado slices, and bacon. Salads and bunless burgers too.
4344 E. Towne Blvd, Madison
7301 Mineral Point Road, Madison
I like the salmon salad, though I think it could use a little more of the (very tasty) salmon. If you avoid beer (wheat) be aware they put it many of their dishes. Team Trivia location.
120 East Wilson Street, Madison
Good food, but as with most Mexican places, eating paleo takes some effort here. The vast majority of dishes feature some combination of tortillas, rice, beans, cheese, and sauces which could contain anything. There are some salads (remember to omit cheese and croutons), steaks (watch out for sauces) and a few specialty dishes (Jarocha and Cancun Special are tasty) that might pass if you skip the rice (and sometimes cheese/sour cream. They do make a good tequila & soda, and one guy even knew about the Norcal Margarita. I’d be happy to eat there much more often if they put a simple meat & veggies dish on the menu with no grains/dairy/beans/gluten.
142 Market Street, DeForest