Looking for some inspiration on where to dine out gluten free? Coming to London or the UK on holiday and worried about where to eat with food intolerances? I’d like to share with you a selection of gluten free friendly restaurants in London and the UK.
I have personally visited all the restaurants and cafes listed here, sometimes many times. I live in London and eat out regularly but only include restaurants in this list which I think will offer the gluten free diner a safe and positive experience.
Pod – Plenty of gluten free breakfast including porridge (which comes gluten free as standard) and they offer gluten free bread. Lunch ideas include veggie packed salads, nori wraps and hot dishes from a regularly updated menu along with individually wrapped gluten free (and some nut free) sweet treats are on offer at this growing chain. Clear allergy labelling is shown against the dishes on the menu boards. £
Pure – A great choice for breakfasts with all porridge and bircher muesli made with gluten free oats. Other gluten free breakfast options are the super eggs with various toppings ranging from goats cheese or smoked salmon or salsa fresco. There’s also plenty of gluten free lunch time options from salads or hot pots. The coffee is really good here and the staff in the branch I visit at Moorgate are super friendly.
Eliot’s Cafe – If you are into food markets, this cool little restaurant with a daily changing menu is perfectly situated for Borough market. I booked a table for Saturday brunch (of delicious leek, goat’s cheese and Jersey Royal frittata) here via OpenDining with a note on my dietary restrictions. I was extremely impressed they called me back within 10 minutes to confirm they could safely cater for me. Check their website for opening times. ££
Starbucks – Offer gluten free sandwiches or wraps (fillings change from time to time), salads and cakes. The packaging does not shout about the wraps being gluten free so it may be worth asking if they have any in stock if you can’t immediately see them. The gluten free cakes are usually unwrapped (and thus present a possible cross contamination risk) but it’s possible to ask for a wrapped one from behind the counter. £
WAGfree Cafe – Gluten and wheat free cafe and bakery serving a great choice of gluten free pasta, toasties, cakes, biscuits in great atmosphere of Brixton Village. WAGfree also supply their wonderful products to Selfridges in London. Check their website here for location and current opening hours. £
Artisan Gluten Free Bakery – Formerly known as Romeo’s, this dedicated gluten free bakery located on Upper Street Islington offers – in my view – London’s best gluten free bread. Eat in or take away their sandwiches, breads, salads, cakes and much more. The owner is passionate about providing the best in class gluten free products so you can be assured both a safe, and delicious meal here.
Manna Dew – Why go to Paris when you can come to Battersea and sample some of the most beautiful patisserie you’ll see this side of Le Manche? This dedicated gluten free patisserie is located on Battersea High Street, about a 10 minute walk from Clapham Junction station. Sadly for me (with a nut allergy) I am limited in what I can eat here, but the savoury items – in particular the bread – are worth coming for.
Free From Bakehouse – Although Caroline’s award winning can be bought online and in various outlets ranging from Fortnums to Whole Food Markets, it’s to Borough Market (NB the market is only open Wednesday – Saturday) you should come. The market itself is a wonderful place for a foodie to roam, if a little crowded on a weekend. My favourites are the savoury tarts and the raspberry and white chocolate brownies are impossible for me to resist – so good!
Beyond Bread – This stylish 100% gluten free bakery is located in London’s Fitzrovia, just north of Oxford Street. It offers good gluten free savory options (delicious rolls with interesting fillings, toasties, quiche) as well as sweet treats.
Deelight Bakery – I love this local bakery in Balham which offers plenty of savoury as well as sweet gluten free options. Importantly for me (as I have a nut allergy) there are usually several nut free as well as gluten free options. Although this is not a dedicated gluten free bakery, they do take great care to prevent cross contamination. Has a small play area for kids at the back. Serves some of the best coffee in south west London.
Reasonably Priced Lunch or Dinner
Honest Burgers – The original location is in the thriving culinary centre that is Brixton Village but they are expanding their restaurants all over London. Honest serves arguably London’s best burger in a gluten free bun along with house chips (French fries) with rosemary salt which can’t be beaten. They even offer gluten free Daura beer! If you only had time to visit one gluten free place for lunch in London, I would choose either Honest or Leon. £
Leon – Possibly my favourite place for a healthy quick lunch with a wide choice of gluten free options such as felafel served with rice and slaw is my favourite. Clear and well displayed allergy labelling. They have a good kid’s menu and welcome small people with pencils, paper and smiles. Branches located all over London and expanding. Can be found landside at Heathrow T3, King’s Cross and Folkestone Eurotunnel for any Eurostar travellers. £
Pho This Vietnamese chain of restaurants found all over the capital have recently updated their menu so that it is 99% gluten free. As well as serving warming bowls of Pho, I particularly enjoy the deep fried spring rolls here. ££
Ping Pong – Think you can’t eat dim sum? Think again! Ping Pong now offer gluten free (plus nut free) dim sum in their restaurants. I’ve eaten here a few times since they’ve offered the gluten free menu and have been impressed each time at their cross contamination measures and how the cooking process was explained to me. ££
La Polentaria – This friendly Italian restaurant located in the centre of Soho specialises in, you’ve guessed it, polenta based dishes. Everything on the menu – even lasagne and tiramisu – is gluten free. La Polentaria has Coeliac UK accreditation, meaning a safe option for Coeliacs eating out in central London. ££
Printworks Kitchen – If you find yourself in the Farringdon/Clerkenwell area and looking for a delicious lunch, you could do no better than head for this cafe. Interesting salads made of the freshest seasonal ingredients (recent examples are peach & mixed tomato or watercress, watermelon and feta). Free from cakes are made by the lovely Catherine of Sweetcheeks Bakery, who is one of half of the duo running this cafe.
Itsu – A chain of good sushi restaurants located all over London and even airside at Heathrow T5. Itsu offer a good range of gluten free options which are shown on their website here. They still do not offer gluten free soy sauce but this may change in the future, so do ask. £
ASK Italian, Zizzi, Carluccio’s, Pizza Hut, Prezzo, and Bella Italia – These Italian chain restaurants which are easily found all over London all offer gluten free menus. Carluccio’s is my favourite for pasta, even offering this laminated gluten free menu. I prefer the gluten free pizza at ASK Italian. ££
Cote Brasserie – This collection of restaurants offer delicious classic French dishes with a dedicated gluten free menu, accredited by Coeliac UK. The team behind Cote have put a lot of effort into developing a great menu for Coeliac / gluten intolerant diners. My top picks are steak frites. Gluten free dishes here are identified with small picks to ensure diners receive the correct dish.
Perhaps you’d like a special romantic meal? Or maybe you’d like to entertain a client (or even better, be entertained?). London has many excellent and Michelin starred restaurants and the majority of these will be able to cater for gluten free diets without fuss by adapting the dishes. Good restaurants do get booked up long in advance so if you have somewhere special in mind, make sure you call in advance and reserve a table. At the same time, notify the restaurant of your dietary restrictions, discuss with them how they will handle cooking for you and ask they confirm which menu options would be suitable for you.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park – voted top 5 restaurant in the world, this 2 Michelin star restaurant delivers spectacular British food from historical recipes. I’ve been lucky to go three times and on each occasion they’ve catered both gluten free and nut free effortlessly. ££££
The Ledbury – This 2 Michelin star restaurant in Notting Hill has won a slew of awards. The menu focuses on the best of British produce in its stunning dishes. The food was delicious but I found the interior décor, whilst stylish, to be a bit lacking in atmosphere. Perhaps just the January night I visited. ££££
Le Gavroche – Michel Roux Jr’s 2 Michelin star restaurant achieved the near impossible and catered not only gluten and nut free but also for me when I was in the early stages of pregnancy and suffering from extreme
morning all day sickness. This was no mean feat since it meant no shellfish and – pregnant or not – I refuse to eat any red meat when cooked well done.
Nopi – Lebanese / Middle Eastern / Asian influenced dishes. Many naturally gluten free options or can be easily adapted which means your (non gluten free) dining companions should be very happy with the choice of gluten free sharing dishes. £££
Hakkasan – Think you can’t eat gluten free Chinese? Think again! With one day’s notice the kitchen can prepare dishes such as Golden Fried Soft Shell Crab gluten free and without the risk of cross contamination. The interior of this Michelin starred restaurant is dark, sexy and I particularly love the pink mojitos here. ££££
Nobu– Japanese food in this well known celeb spot on Park Lane. They were incredibly helpful with gluten free dining and provided me with gluten free soy sauce. ££££
Rivington Grill – On a recent visit I had notified their Shoreditch location in advance of my dietary restrictions. When I arrived the chef had pre-prepared a menu for me with the items I could eat indicated. Menu focuses on modern British cuisine and has a lovely brasserie feel. Olympic visitors may find the Greenwich location convenient. £££
Polpo – Arrived in London without making any plans? This Italian bacaro in Soho could be the place for you as they don’t take advance reservations. Reasonable selection of gluten free dishes to share. However, it scores extra points with me since they were playing The Smiths the last time I ate dinner there! £££
Refuel on the Tourist Trail
British Museum – Offers gluten free Afternoon Tea for a very reasonable £18. Advance notice required. ££
Fish & Chips – No trip to London could be complete without fish and chips! On Tuesday evenings, Olley’s in Brockwell Park offers this great British tradition in gluten free batter. Olley’s is 10 minutes by overland train from Victoria station to Herne Hill. ££
Indian – How about a curry (or ‘Ruby Murray’ in Cockney rhyming slang) on Brick Lane in London’s East End? This busy and vibrant street on the eastern edge of the City, London’s financial district is home to numerous restaurants from the Indian sub-continent. Indian food uses mainly non-wheat based flours making it an ideal choice for the gluten intolerant diner but obviously discuss cross contamination issues as you would in any restaurant. Not keen on spicy food? That’s OK, there are dishes such as korma or passanda which are less spicy. Indian food is also offers an excellent choice for vegetarians. For those with nut allergies, please ensure you ask which dishes contain nuts. ££
Gluten Free Afternoon Tea – Why not celebrate just being in one of the world’s most exciting cities by treating yourself to that quintessentially English tradition of Afternoon Tea? Many of the top London hotels offer gluten free afternoon tea alongside their regular afternoon tea menus. Some also cater for additional dietary requirements such as diabetic and vegan. The best afternoon teas can be found at Brown’s Hotel, Claridges Hotel, and Fortnum & Mason. The Sanderson Hotel offers a Mad Hatter’s themed gluten free afternoon tea. I’ve recently tried the gluten free and nut free afternoon tea at the beautiful Claridges hotel and also the Lanesborough hotel (blog posts to come). Prices vary but budget for around £40 per person. Afternoon Tea is VERY popular and weekend slots can be booked weeks or even months in advance so please plan ahead and reserve if at all possible. £££
What are your favourite gluten free places to eat in London? Please do leave a comment below and help fellow travellers to London, along with residents, get the best out of gluten free London.
And please remember, these are the places which I have personally visited and am happy to recommend. If you’re visiting London and have specific questions on where to eat out safely, please do email me and I’ll help if I can.
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