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Gluten Free dining in the GTA

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Hi all, I am wondering if anyone has come accross any restaurant serving gluten free dishes. The only one I know of is Il Fornello, who offer excellent rice crust pizza and pasta. It does get very difficult for me to dine out with this limiting food allergy (which excludes anything related to wheat, rye, barley, oats) so I'd love to hear from anyone that has any recommendations!

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  1. We ate at Villa recently (http://www.villarestaurant.ca/) and were pleased with the experience. They offer gluten-free pastas and pizzas, and even a flourless chocolate-almond cake for dessert.

    Also, Fressen (http://www.fressenrestaurant.com/fres...) is a vegetarian restaurant that labels which items on the menu are gluten-free.

    For more information about Toronto-area restaurants, there's a blog called Toronto Celiac (http://torontoceliac.blogspot.com/).

    1. You can probably dine extremely well at Asian restaurants. Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese all have countless numbers of dishes made without the use of grains containing gluten, from rice noodle dishes and soups to all manner of stir-fried dishes served with rice. The only thing I'm not sure about is how cornstarch and soy (as in soy sauce) fit in with your gluten allergy. Are corn and soy allergens for you as well?

      1 Reply
      1. re: FlavoursGal

        corn and soy are ok, however soy sauce contains wheat so it's a no-no. unfortunately that means many chinese dishes are no good :-( :-( thai however don't use soy sauce so it's a safe bet at least, although i must do ingredient check each time!

      2. Hey there
        The fox and fiddle on the danforth actually has a gluton free menu and does a great fish and chips using strongbow cider

        1. I was at Le Cafe Vert on Queen East on Saturday and they had a number of gluten-free items on their menu.

          1. Magic Oven will deliver you a gluten free pizza:
            http://www.magicoven.com/

            There are also a couple of "il Fornello" restaurants in the GTA that have gluten free pizza and pasta.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cracksmith

              I have been to Magic Oven at Woodycrest and Danforth with 2 gluten-free persons and they are very happy with selection there; They also offer flourless chocolate cake and carrot cake

              1. re: gwenchick

                did not try their gluten free things, but i did enjoy Magic Oven at Yonge & Wellesley.

            2. the new pub at mill street brewery in the distillery doesn't have too much on the menu that is gluten free but they do have a gluten free beer! so if you are craving a beer it's be a good stop.

              1. Heya. I totally get the dining out thing. There's nothing like going to a restaurant and ordering... just salad *sigh.* No, nothing on it... and then having everyone look at you like you're some sort of freak, lol. So... I started a gluten-free meetup group at meetup.com. It's brand new, but we'll be heading out to some of the places mentioned in the other posts here. Incidentally, we'll be at Villa this Saturday (March 31st). Why not come? celiacdisease.meetup.com/98/

                1. - Relish on Danforth
                  - Big Mamma's Boy on Parliament
                  - Magic Oven on Broadview

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: embee

                    I had lunch at Cafe Vert on Queen East today; they have a few items on the menu that are listed as gluten-free.

                  2. -Riz on bayview and eglinton (asian cuisine) is amazing! and soon to be certified by a Celiac Disease organization. You just have to ask which dishes are gluten free, but most already are. They use organic soysauce for gluten free people so it is free of wheat preservatives. They even have spring rolls! and a deep fried breaded banana dessert (made with el peto flour). THis place is my favorite.
                    -Pizzapizza in toronto has GF crusts now, check online to verify which toppings are ok
                    -Milestones is very good with allergies, the manager usually comes to verify which dishes are safe
                    -Jack Astors on Front street has a gluten free menu (which has really yummy fries)
                    -Fresh (vegetarian and organic, i think) is pretty good if you just ask if dishes are safe
                    -Alice Fazzoolies has wheat free pasta, but not gluten free anymore, so that's not so good anymore, although they do have a few dishes
                    -Monantas in Whitby has a gluten free menu! Really good nachos! I'm not sure about any in Toronto

                    Thats all i can think of, besides ill fornello of course!

                    1. Compiled by another CH'er:
                      http://www.glutenfreeontario.ca/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Googs

                        My DH is Celiac, so this is an issue for us as well. If you are looking for a special night out, Splendido did their whole tasting menu GF for him when the rest of us had the regular. I thought that was pretty amazing. They goofed once - served lamb on barley risotto - he noticed right away and they literally whisked it away and had another GF lamb dish in front of him within 10 minutes. It was very impressive. You get what you pay for, I guess.

                        The other thing we look for is smaller, chef-run places......when you call for a reservation, call in the mid-afternoon when the folks answering aren't busy, explain everything, and ask if they can accommodate you - they typically can. Notable restos that have been very good and reassuring that everything was 'safe' are: Simple Bistro and Weezie's. Both 'got' it and paid careful attention to making sure everything was GF.

                        Sushi is also a great bet - just tell them you can't have anything with soy sauce or teryaki sauce (no unagi) and nothing deep fried. We bring our own little bitty Nalgene bottle (you can get them at MEC) with wheat-free Tamari and it works out fine.

                        Indian also works out too - just make sure to have them avoid any dish containing asefetida (it is a resin cut with flour) - in the small places they always know which ones these are. You can basically eat everything else except the naan and roti. Even the papadums are safe - made of chick pea flour. We do avoid the deep fried stuff though just in case of cross-contamination....

                        It's great to read CHers input re. 'safe' places for a Celiac as we are always looking for new places to eat! Keep it up!

                      2. Live Organic Food Bar on Dupont just east of Spandina (right next to the Magic Oven) has a large gluten-free menu. Check it out online, all the items are marked 'gf'.

                        Fresh by Juice for Life has a big selection of gluten-free items and allows substitutes for items that contain gluten.

                        Camros Eatery on Hayden St just south of Yonge and Bloor is a great take-out or fast dine-in location and I can't remember there ever being a menu item that contained gluten.

                        A lot of modern, new-age style restaurants have gluten-free options since the celiac disease is so common. As long as you aren't looking for 'steak n potatoes' type meals you'll probably find something delicious at these places. Also, most asian foods are gluten free as long as the soya sauces and other cooking sauces used do not contain wheat fillers.

                        -----
                        Live Organic Food Bar
                        264 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R1V7, CA

                        Fresh
                        147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V2L7, CA

                        Camros
                        25 Hayden St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                        1. . . .

                          -----
                          Camros
                          25 Hayden St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                          1. Tabule middle eastern cuisine at Yonge and Davis...ask the servers but there are many gluton free, vegetarian and vegan dishes available www.tabule.ca

                            1. Although far from gourmet, Pizza Pizza now has a gluten-free pizza dough (rice and potato based). I tried it today and have to say I was actually impressed. Be careful on the toppings, though - make sure to ask for gluten-free. They only charge $3.25 on top of their regular priced pizzas. Not as good as Magic Oven, but convenient locations and delivery areas)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: torontogal

                                Also be careful b/c some Celiac's have reported that the folks making the pizza are using the same ladle to scoop and spread the sauce on the regular and GF pizzas. Personally, I think cross-contamination is a major risk at Pizza Pizza unless they work out some sort of single serving packets of sauce and toppings just for the GF pizzas. No amount of gluten is safe for a true Celiac.....

                                1. re: torontogal

                                  on the note of Pizza pizza offering gluten free crust, I just tried to order a pizza from there and they make it incredibly difficult. They have a special for large pizzas - 5 toppings, 14$. I wanted this on gluten free crust. Because they don't have large gluten-free pizza, they refused to let me have the deal. Even when I said to just put it on a medium pizza and charge me the gluten free surcharge, they refused saying that the deal was for large pizzas only. When I pointed out that they only have gluten free MEDIUM pizza, their response was actualy "yes mame, gluten free is medium, this special is only for large pizzas". I don't understand why they would offer gluten free on only one size and then not be flexible at all about it.they were also incredibly rude about it. When I asked for the number for head office the manager actually said that he wasn't at liberty to give it to me. Which, working in a head office myself, makes absolutely no sense. And then I found it posted on their website under media centre so...

                                  It was very disheartening and frustrating.

                                2. I went to Benihana (@ the Royal York Hotel) this weekend for a friends bday. When I called to make the reservation, I mentioned I had a gluten allergy, they said they take this very seriously and put it in their system, but reminded me to mention it to our waiter anyway. When we arrived, one of the first questions our host asked our table is 'which of you has the gluten allergy' I raised my hand and she came to me and explained that they will cook my food first (we all had the teppanyaki - where the chef cooks right at your dinner table - comes with soup, salad, rice, veggies and your choice of main!), and that I can't have the regular onion soup so they will bring me miso instead (which the entire party ended up ordering as well!), I can't have the ginger dressing so they will give me another dressing (they made me an oil/vinegar type and served on the side, really yummy!). when the chef came out to cook our mains, he did mine first so not to cross contaminate, and he took the tamari (wheat free soy sauce) I brought, poured it in the dipping plate for me, and used it to season my veggies. They were really aware & accommodating, without making me feel like a freak! It was the best gluten free restaurant experience I've had in the 29 years I've been celiac!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: maplesyrup993

                                    Not to be a downer, but be really careful with miso soup. Red or dark miso is fermented barley and the miso used for soups etc is often a mix of the white (fermented rice) types and the red types so it's a common source of cross-contamination. You can make it at home using "pure" white miso that you buy.....just be careful :-) Glad to hear Benihana was accommadating though ...

                                  2. fyi http://www.thestar.com/article/414749

                                    1. I know it's a little late, but if you're still looking for the best gluten free menu in the city it is BIG MAMMA'S BOY on Parliament just south of Wellesley. The food is delicious. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE can dine there regardless of their restrictions. The staff is wonderful and the kitchen can accomodate practically anything. I went there with my GF GF and we had a fantastic meal. The spaghetti squash was fabulous and all of their desserts are gluten free as well.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: purv

                                        Absolutely wonderful pizza- but the rest of the menu was rather rich and heavy. Went a few weeks back and even their fish of the day was in (brown rice) pasta!!

                                      2. I read this compilation a while back:
                                        http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_bes...
                                        Hope that helps!

                                        1. The Outback has a gluten free menue. Millie's offers some gluten-free dishes. I agree with comments on Big Mama's Boy - great pizza too. Paese Ristorante on Bathurst can prepare GF meals - I had a party there and they were great, including a flourless chocolate cake that was wonderful. I haven't been there but Riz on Mount Pleasant (or maybe Bayview) apparently has a GF menu.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: bwolfus

                                            If anyone is in the Burlington/Oakville area Paradiso (one in downtown Oakville and one in downtown Burlington) is an amazing restaurant that caters to those with gluten sensitivities (not sure about cross contamination for those with celiac). One of the staff members is also an ND, so they take thing pretty seriously and are very accommodating.

                                          2. Lemongrass (Thai & Vietnamese fusion) at Islington & Bloor has a gluten free menu.

                                            http://www.lemongrass.ca/

                                            1. You can try doing gluten free in Indian restaurants. The staples are usually rice and vegetables with lentils and meat. Only the naan is made out of wheat flour. And most of the deep fried snacks may have a wheat batter, so you can avoid those. But some pakoras are made with chick pea flour, so its best if you ask before you order.

                                              1. Check out the Grindhouse Burger Bar - I found it a few months back. they make EVERYTHING (even the ketchup and mayo) in house, and 95% is gluten free (stay away from the wheat buns). It is run by 3 chef's who though it would be a good idea to start a food and allergy conscious, local, natural/organic restaurant. The prices are low to boot! They are ocated at King and Peter (365 King St W) and online at www.grindhouse.ca

                                                Magic oven is also a great spot www.magicoven.ca. They many gluten free options Pizza, garlic bread, etc... A little pricier though.

                                                And try out Queen Street Gluten Free Bread (you can get it at most health food stores). It is the best "fresh" gluten free bread I have had, hands down!

                                                -----
                                                Grindhouse Burger Bar
                                                365 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K1, CA

                                                1. Kensington Cornerstone is a new place in Kensington Market with a completely gluten-free menu: http://kensingtoncornerstone.com/

                                                  -----
                                                  Kensington Cornerstone
                                                  2A Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: gregclow

                                                    My GF partner and I ate here this evening for his Birthday. Highly recommend it to anyone, GF or not! Excellent food, and it's gluten free! We had 2 different sandwiches and an order of fish and chips and no one was disappointed, even my 13 yr old gluten glutton had no complaints about his fish and chips. Loved the coleslaw with dill that was included with the meals, the gf bread was awesome and dessert was unbelievable. Service was great. Prices were reasonable for completely gluten free meals.

                                                    1. re: gregclow

                                                      I ate at Kensington Cornerstone last weekend. I enjoyed my meal (fish and chips) and my friend who is avoiding glutten (intolerance to it, or so is her theory) had the pulled pork sandwich. I enjoyed both (and the coleslaw with dill as mentioned by another poster). I had a discount voucher which was an added bonus :)

                                                      -----
                                                      Kensington Cornerstone
                                                      2A Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                    2. teatree cafe and eatery (867 danforth ave- at jones) is a new one!

                                                      gluten free sandwiches, gluten free quiche, gluten free desserts, and soups and salads are always gluten free as well!

                                                      www.teatreecafe.com

                                                      1. Just found out that joey's at the shops on don mills has a gluten free menu.

                                                        http://www.joeyrestaurants.com/resour...

                                                        1. There's also the breakfast place Around The Corner by the Village Butcher in Etobicoke.

                                                          1. Since it's been over 3 years since I posted this link, I thought I would point it out again. They appear to be keeping the list up-to-date (e.g. Enoteca Sociale is listed). Dozens of great choices to be found at:
                                                            http://www.glutenfreeontario.ca/

                                                            -----
                                                            Enoteca Sociale
                                                            1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA