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.

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4628 E Washington Ave, Madison
(608) 242-7334
658 State St, Madison
(608) 250-4613
4000 University Ave, Madison
(608) 233-4305
8422 Old Sauk Rd, Middleton
(608) 826-0919


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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.

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4718 E Towne Blvd, Madison
(608) 819-8910

548 State St, Madison
(608) 280-8720

2 N Park St, Madison
(608) 251-0238

101 W Broadway, Monona
(608) 286-1416

6650 Mineral Point Rd, Madison
(608) 827-7720

2741 University Ave, Madison
(608) 218-9670

5401 Caddis Bend, Madison
(608) 442-9400

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Aranda’s Mexican Restaurant

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.

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142 Market Street, DeForest