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Gluten Free Menu Available at Zocalo Back Bay Mexican Bistro

Margaritas on the patio. Guacamole made fresh as it’s ordered. Authentic Mexican dishes crafted with fresh ingredients from traditional recipes. All that, and more, is what you will find at Zocalo.Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 3.56.15 PM

When I was asked to join owner Ricardo Ramos to try out Zocalo’s menu and learn more about the gluten free processes in place at his restaurant, I couldn’t resist. I love Mexican food and it is one of the best options for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Most Mexican carbs are made from corn (think corn tortillas). Even the chips that they start you off with are usually gluten free friendly.

So, what does Zocalo mean exactly? A ‘zocalo’ is a public square, a gathering place for neighbors. And here, you’ll find friends worth toasting and flavors worth experiencing again and again. This zocalo is filled with colorful and eye-catching artwork, bright lightening, and enjoyable Latin music.

Riccardo had a friend that was diagnosed with celiac in 2006, and who inspired him to implement a gluten free menu at Zocalo. This was long before the gluten free diet became as prevalent and well known as it is today; many people hadn’t heard of celiac disease or even knew what gluten meant.

At Zocalo, the gluten free corn tortilla chips are the first batch made everyday in the fryer, which is thoroughly cleaned every single night. The chips are labeled, dated, and stored separately for the lunch and dinner services.IMG_5522

The chefs are well trained when it comes to gluten allergies, as well as other common allergies they see each week – dairy, shellfish, and nuts.  When the chefs are informed of a gluten allergy, they change their gloves and wash their pots and pans without hesitation; it’s almost second nature to them by now. And if you’re vegan, they will scrub the grill clean before they begin preparing your meal.

After hearing all that I couldn’t wait to try some of the gluten free options!

I started with the Sun-Dia, made with Cazadores Blanco Tequila, St.Germaine, fresh watermelon, and lime juice. It was tasty, and fairly spicy! This was accompanied by homemade salsa and tortilla chips. The salsa was incredibly fresh and flavorful.IMG_5521

For my appetizer I took Riccardo’s advice and had the Gambas al Ajillo. This garlic shrimp dish is the Mexican version of the popular Spanish tapa with the same name. This dish is made by sautéing shrimp in olive oil, white wine, tomatoes, garlic, and mild chipotle sauce. It was delicious and incredibly flavorful; just to die for! I highly recommend ordering Gambas as your appetizer.IMG_5524

For dinner I tried the Beef Piramide; grilled hanger steak served with roasted tomatoes, onions, black bean puree, fresh guacamole, corn tortilla strips and red bliss mashed potatoes.IMG_5530

Let me start off with the guacamole. The guacamole used in this dish is not the same as the tableside guacamole you can order off the appetizer menu. Rather, this guacamole is made with pineapple and cucumber, adding a nice crunch to the otherwise smooth guacamole.  The steak was juicy, tender, and extremely flavorful. The portion size was big and I took leftovers home for lunch the next day.IMG_5528

Some of the other popular gluten free entrees include Chicken Enchiladas, Chilaquiles (Mexican Lasagna), Chile Rellenos, and Salmon a la Plancha (Grilled Salmon).

If you are looking to try someplace different or have a hankering for Mexican cuisine, I highly recommend you give this place a try. Here you can indulge without feeling like you’re missing out; you can even order a gluten free quesadilla here, not something I usually see on gluten free menus [ever]!

Zocalo also offers a $35 bottomless mimosa brunch. This includes one entrée (5 of the 8 options are gluten free) and two hours of unlimited mimosas. The drink choices include a traditional mimosa, peach bellini, the Bostonian, purple raspberry mimosa, an apricot Marielle and the strawberry Ellie.

Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.

2 thoughts on “Gluten Free Menu Available at Zocalo Back Bay Mexican Bistro

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