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Gluten free restaurant options

My wife and I are desperate to eat out again after her diagnosis of Celiac disease. Can anyone make any suggestions where to go in the Toronto area and for what sort of dishes?

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  1. Relish, on Danforth east of Woodbine, has an extensive (printed) celiac menu. It's a small-plates style place and is very good. Definitely go there!

    The Magic Oven (pizzas and such - two locations) also has celiac items. It's not the most physically comfortable place and I'd describe the pizzas more as "things in the form of a pizza" because the very odd pies (say Thai flavours) are much better than the classics. Inconsistent, but can be delicious.

    I believe (but am not certain) that Il Fornello can accommodate you.

    And most any place with a reasonable menu can deal with this so long as you order carefully and, for possibly questionable items, just avoid ordering them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: embee

      Big Momma's Boy has a number of gluten-free dishes. Although they have a latge sign saying so, there's not much info otherwise on their website. Mostly organic, too:


      and the Now:


    2. Fressen on Queen West does a marvellous job with most dishes and can accommodate any special diet. They have gluten-free dishes already on their menu. Be forewarned that it is "sharing-style" and dishes arrive randomly when they are ready, so if you are ordering separately and not sharing dishes, then one of you could be finished your meal before the other person receives their food!

      And of course, Live Raw Organic restaurant on Dupont is fantastic and delicious, and has both cooked and raw meal options.

      You won't miss the meat at both of the above!

      1. i'm not celiac but i don't like eating grains (including rice) as a personal preference. it's not that hard if you're careful with what you eat. just know where everything comes from. if you stick to vegetables, meat, eggs at restaurants that keep it natural then you're likely to be ok. just double check with people to make sure, stressing the importance of your gluten-free diet.

        1. I have celiac disease and eat out quite often.The most difficult places to get gluten free options generally are fast food places, with the exception of Wendy's & Swiss Chalet. The forementioned restaurants suggested here are good options. Most restaurants are willing to accomodate a person with gluten free meal as long as it's not totally off the menu; after all it's good business to give your customers a meal that won't make them ill! Chinese, Thai, Japanese & other oriental cuisines are generally okay since they're mostly rice based, but you have to know your ingredients (eg many, but not all, soy sauces are wheat based) You can eat Italian cuisine (but not conventional pastas or pizzas) for example risottos and all sorts of meat & veggie dishes that aren't breaded, Sauces & soups can be a minefield of possible gluten,eg clam chowder uses a butter & flour base, so always ask before placing an order. Seafood places usually are fine, Indian cuisine, especially tandoori meats, is not off the list, but again find out the ingredients. Best thing to do is research with the Canadian Celiac Association website www,celiac.ca/ & get a copy of this handy little book "Pocket Dictionary: Acceptability of Foods and Food Ingredients for the Gluten-free Diet" which lists what ingredients are, including ethnic foods (for example I didn't know that gram flour used in Indian cuisine was fine because it's chickpea flour) There is also a section on the website about possible souces of cross contamination of foods which is an eye opener.

          1. Il Fornello is another one with a great selection of gluten free pizza and pasta as well as regular kinds for yourself!

            1. If you are not sticking to the typical veggie, health foody spots, his: http://www.celiactravel.com/restauran...

              is a fantastic idea. This celiac sufferer created these little cards in many languages (good for travelling), including English, to give to servers, which they can then pass on to the chef when placing your order. In addition to helping them understand your questions about the menu, it can help ensure the restaurant doesn't accidentally do something like breading your food, or that they don't underestimate the seriousness of your wife's condition.

              I haven't tried them myself, but came across it when doing research for a recently diagnosed friend.

              Good luck!

              1. These restaurants are all in Toronto.

                Big Mamma's Boy - 554 Parliament Street
                *All menu items are (or can be modified to be) gluten-free (except spring rolls). Pasta, pizza, pancakes, toast, burgers, chicken, ribs, desserts and more.

                Cafe Next Door - 790 Broadview Avenue
                *Offers gluten-free grilled cheese, bagels, sandwiches, salads, rice bowls and desserts.

                Fressen Restaurant - 478 Queen Street W.
                *Vegan cuisine. Menu indicates gluten-free options. Also willing to work around other food sensitivities.

                Il Fornello
                * 1560 Yonge Street
                * 2901 Bayview Avenue
                * 207 Queen's Quay W.
                * 214 King Street W.
                * 576 Danforth Avenue
                * 2022 Queen Street E.
                * 8851 Yonge Street (Richmond Hill)
                * 491 Church Street
                *Offers gluten-free pasta and pizza.

                Le Cafe Vert - 946 Queen Street E.
                *Gluten-free options specified on menu.

                Lemongrass - 3300 Bloor Street W.
                *Gluten-free section is not displayed online but they do have a few gluten-free options specified on their take-home menu.

                Magic Oven
                * 788 Broadview Avenue
                * 127 Jefferson Avenue
                * 270 Dupont Street
                *Offers gluten-free pasta, pizza, salad and dessert.

                Outback Steakhouse
                * 801 Dixon Road
                * 30 High Tech Road (Richmond Hill)
                *Ask for gluten-free menu.

                Pulp Kitchen - 898 Queen Street E.
                *Vegetarian cuisine. Juicebar and healthy eatery. Offers gluten-free bread as substitute for toast and sandwiches.

                Vegetarian Haven - 17 Baldwin Street
                *Vegan cuisine. Menu indicates wheat-free (wf) options.

                Villa - 2277 Bloor Street W.
                *Offers gluten-free pasta, pizza and almond dessert.

                I pasted this from my website: http://www.glutenfreeontario.ca

                My favourite places are Il Fornello and Cafe Next Door.

                4 Replies
                1. re: celiacjax

                  You skipped Relish Bar and Grill, an absolutely fabulous little place.

                  1. re: Googs

                    Yep, I know - thanks :) I still have a few more that I will be adding to the site shortly (I just need to call and double check a few of them before adding - some places don't have websites showing their menu)

                    Relish Bar and Grill – 2152 Danforth Avenue
                    *Gluten-free menu available.

                    Naturally Yours Gourmet
                    * 1 First Canadian Place
                    * 919 Kingston Road
                    *Gluten-free pizza available.

                    Thirty Five Elm Restaurants – 35 Elm Street
                    *Gluten-free options available for pizzas and most pastas.

                    Live Organic Food Bar – 264 Dupont Street
                    *Raw/macrobiotic cuisine. Most menu items (if not all) are gluten-free (I will call and update the site). They also make GF cakes starting from $30.

                    Hibiscus – 238 Augusta Street
                    *Vegetarian cuisine with many (possibly all) foods gluten-free (I will call and update the site).

                    Fresh by Juice for Life
                    * 326 Bloor Street West
                    * 894 Queen Street West
                    * 147 Spadina Avenue
                    * Vegetarian cuisine. GF salads are available. Wheat-free (WF) items are identified.
                    (I am hesitant about adding this one... I went there once and they told me the fries are cooked in the same fryer as everything else gluteny, even though they list them as wheat-free. I was unsure if the other "wheat-free" menu items were indeed wheat-free or gluten-free - like the corn bread and dosas. Maybe I'm just paranoid :p)

                    1. re: celiacjax

                      Thirty Five Elm has closed, I believe.

                      1. re: JamieK

                        Thanks for letting me know! It has been removed from the site.

                2. My wife has to eat gluten free. We are doing well by i) avoiding generically grainy places, e.g. Noodle or Italian and ii) quizzing the staff. If the staff does not know what is in there, it is time to
                  leave anyway. Usually, people are so afraid of serving you something you cannot eat that this really works well. This even worked on touristy place like table rock restaurant at Niagara Falls.

                  1. My friend has Celiac disease and we go for everything from Mexican Food from El Sol on the Danforth (just make sure your wife only eats corn tortillas and not flour tortillas); to Indian Food (just avoid the breads and have rice with the curries instead); to Sushi, Chinese, Thai - just make sure to stick to rice noodles and not wheat noodles.

                    IL Fornello has many pasta dishes with rice pasta.

                    The key, no matter where you go, is to let them know that your wife can't eat wheat products, and most places will be happy to accomodate and advise you of what is safe.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LovelyAsia

                      Soy sauce can contain wheat, so ask them to hold that if you are at an Asian restaurant.

                    2. I just wanted to bring back this topic so I could mention that Pizza Pizza has introduced a gluten-free crust for those of us with Celiac Disease.

                      Currently, it is only available at come locations in Toronto but I hope they expand its availability as it is very good!!


                      Caution - the pepperoni contains wheat!! Please check ingredients before purchasing:

                      1. Hanoi 3 Seasons with North Vietnamese food seems to be a good option in East TO, as is The Friendly Thai (seems to be a mini chain). BTW Hanoi 3 Seasons has another location on Queen St East, near Pape, located in Leslieville.

                        Hanoi 3 Seasons
                        588 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

                        The Friendly Thai
                        1218 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1L7, CA

                        1. You should be fine if you go to a place that prepares its sauces from scratch without using thickening agents for their sauces. Most self-respecting restaurants that prepare their food a la minute can and should be able to accommodate a gluten free diner. You may be restricted in your choice of dessert, but otherwise you should be ok. If you're not sure, try calling your restaurant of choice in advance to verify that they can do gluten free dishes.

                          1. we went to beer bistro recently. they have 1 gluten free beer. also, we were told by our server that the owner's daughter is gluten intolerant, and they are testing new recipes for gluten free dishes there...don't know what they have come up with since, but my friend had the rice based crust pizza and said that it was very decent. looking at this thread..(full of pizza recommendations), i hope they have created more offerings for our gluten free friends.

                            1. We have also been discussing this topic here:

                              The problem is that many seasoning contain gluten - things like oyster sauce and worchestershire. It create a very big challenge for us who can't eat gluten. Looking for places that make things from scratch still involves making sure the chef doesn't use these types of igredients that they may never have considered containing wheat.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bacchus_is_watching

                                That is why I recommend calling in advance. Many processed foods, including the ones you listed above, do contain gluten. That said, there are many restaurants that do not rely upon seasoning agents like those listed above. Call first... a 5 minute chat with the chef/manager should clear up any questions you may have.

                              2. Pizza Nova also has a gluten free crust now. I've had it a few times. A couple times, it's been pretty bad, other times it's been pretty good. If you get it, you have to make sure they make it well done and crispy, otherwise it has a weird texture.

                                1. I like Fresh/ uice For Life - at Bloor & Spadina and Live Organic Food Bar (raw cuisine) at Spadina & Dupont.

                                  1. Not a restaurant, but there is a brand new bakery on Yonge, about 2 blocks north of Lawrence on the east side which is completely gluten free. Sorry, don't remember the name. It opened only 2 weeks ago.