Gluten-free in Pittsburgh? Skip the Fish Fry and try these Fish Fridays | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Gluten-free in Pittsburgh? Skip the Fish Fry and try these Fish Fridays

Fish Fry Fridays are an institution in the greater Pittsburgh region. Scores of churches, restaurants, breweries, and more serve fried fish in late winter to hungry customers who are observing Catholics (and everyone else!). What might have started as a way to help Catholics observe Lent, Fish Fries have transformed into community gatherings, and something for Pittsburghers to look forward to during the winter doldrums.

But the tradition has still largely left out some, like people seeking gluten-free options. Fried fish sandwiches are the name of the game for most Fish Fridays, but battered, breadcrumb-laden fish on a roll are covered in gluten. For those with Celiac disease, gluten-intolerance, or people who just want to reduce their gluten intake, Pittsburgh City Paper found six great spots that offer all that great seafood taste for Fish Friday, but without the gluten.

Casa Brasil

5904 Bryant St., Highland Park.
This hip Brazilian spot is offering some fried goodness with gluten-free fish and chips each Friday during lent to celebrate Fish Friday. The fish is fried smelts made with gluten-free batter, and the chips are fried yuca, a root vegetable popular in South America. It’s bit different than the typical fried cod and french fries, but a relief for gluten-free diners looking for a similar experience. Served Fridays only during Lent.

Kahuna Poke and Juice bar

132 S. Highland St., East Liberty.
Pick from a variety of poke bowls loaded with tuna or salmon at this eatery in East Liberty. Gluten-free sauces are available on request, so just ask the staff, and they will ensure you that a bowl filled with fish rice, vegetables, and other mix-ins will have no traces of gluten. Poke bowls range from spicy to sweet and are loaded with flavor.

Penn Ave Fish Company

2208 Penn Ave., Strip District.
Some of the freshest fish in Pittsburgh, and they accommodate gluten-free diners extremely well. Sample their extensive sushi menu and remind staff about accommodating your gluten-free requests. And because Penn Ave Fish Company has so many options to choose from, sushi doesn’t have to include raw fish. Try the eel or shrimp for some cooked sashimi or nigiri.

Saint Irenaeus Catholic Church

387 Maryland Ave., Oakmont.
A traditional Pittsburgh Fish Fry, at a church, that offers gluten-free fish and bread. Just what the doctor ordered. At Saint Irenaeus in Oakmont, patrons can order a baked fish sandwich on a gluten-free bun, and some gluten-free sides like coleslaw or a salad. Open for lunch and for dinner. Take-out only.

Shaka inside Federal Galley

200 Children’s Way, North Side.
This joint located inside Federal Galley is taking the North Side by storm, and it’s a great place for a gluten-free poke bowl while your gluten-loving friends are waiting in line for the fish fry at the nearby Elks lodge. Try the Spicy Smoked Salmon bowl with edamame, chickpea, onions, pickled vegetables, roe, and toasted sesame. Make sure to ask for gluten-free soy sauce. Shaka's poke is next level.


202 38th St., Lawrenceville.
This popular restaurant offers fresh fish and seafood grilled over hot charcoals in a process known as robatayaki. Order from the Robata menu, where cooks will grill you up a whole fish or squid, or individual shrimps. Make sure to remind staff about your gluten-free desires, and they will accommodate you. The whole fish takes 25 minutes to cook, so order ahead.