Gluten Free & Fun at Islands Restaurant!

Islands Dinner

Remember that I was just saying Mike & I haven’t been getting out much for fun date nights? Well, that quote must have brought us good luck, because we have since found ourselves on a string of amazing night outs with equally amazing food! When Islands Restaurant invited us out to see just what it means to eat at their restaurant of “fine drinks and burgers”, we could not have been more excited to head out to our Sherman Oaks location.

I definitely think it says a lot about a restaurant by how you are treated when you enter the door. At Islands, we had 3 people greet us, & were aware that I was coming in Upon entering, you easily could be in Hawaii, or any exotic island location. Beautiful photographs of surf, turf & blue ocean surround you, as well as a laid back vibe that simply screams “Aloha!”

With a slew of Summer specialty items, we dived right in to try them out. Beginning, of course, with their featured DRINKS! Mike tried their Summer special, The Marga’veza–a cooling beer cocktail made with Anejo tequila, Coors Light, sweet and sour and a refreshing squeeze of citrus orange. Definitely not his usual kind of drink but guess what? Mikey liked it! 😉

Photo: Michael Farah.
Photo: Michael Farah.

I opted for their other, The Mixed Berry Cooler. Hand shaken with mixed berries, Tito’s Vodka, sweet and sour and a splash of soda, this cocktail is ideal for cooling off after a hot day at the beach and is sure to add a little “aloha” spirit to any meal. I was skeptical upon  first sip but was pleasantly surprised that it was not over-bearing in the sweet department, much like most cocktails I tend to try….and, a trick I recently learned? Ask the bartender for some club soda to cut the sugar, which is just what Island’s does to create their Mixed Berry Cooler!

Often when I have gone to Islands, I go straight to the Appetizers menu…I have a problem with loving nachos. For this night, we opted for one of their massive plates of chips & salsa. I really wanted to try their Spinach-Artichoke dip, but when I asked Gaby, our Rock Star waitress, if they were gluten-free? They sadly were not. I was so impressed, though, that Gaby KNEW immediately what gluten-free is and that the dip was not. It’s a rare restaurant that doesn’t say, “Let me check”.

Chips & Salsa time! Photo: Michael Farah.
Chips & Salsa time! Photo: Michael Farah.

For our dinner, Mike gave their Summer special burger a whirl: The Hana Hou Burger. Which brings the heat to the grill for a limited time only. Topped with pepper jack cheese, a spicy Machete Aioli and grilled Borracho Beer Onions that are caramelized and simmered in beer, the Hana Hou Burger packs a spicy kick that is perfect for the adventure seeking burger lover. Mike thought it was great & appreciated the amount of “spice” was not too much.

Gluten Free Veggie Tacos! Photo: Michael Farah.
Gluten Free Veggie Tacos! Photo: Michael Farah.
The Hana Hou Burger. Photo: Michael Farah.
The Hana Hou Burger. Photo: Michael Farah.

I chose my old reliable (& favorite) at Islands: Their Veggie Tacos! Loaded with cheese, onions, zucchini, peppers, avocado, corn & cheese, I always love these tacos. They sound extremely simple, but whatever they do, they do it right. Right down to their corn tortillas….what the heck is your secret, Islands?!

Islands Gluten Free menu. Photo: Michael Farah.
Islands Gluten Free menu. Photo: Michael Farah.

I also cannot say enough good things about Gaby. She was the sweetest server you could ask for. Efficient, knew just how often to check on us, never was far away if we needed anything & genuinely cared about us. She even managed to chat with me for a while about traveling, & has really made us want to see Greece & Malaysia! Managers, Andrew & Alex, were equally awesome & Andrew duly noted what I would like to see added to their menu: Shrimp tacos. (Pretty please!)

To find an Islands Restaurant near you, check out their fun web-site here & if you have the chance to visit them in Sherman Oaks, I hope your trip is as wonderful & fun as ours was! xo

(*Disclosure: Special thanks to Islands for inviting me to enjoy their restaurant on behalf of this review. All opinions are my own.)

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