When I travel to new cities and countries, I always look for gluten free travel guides written by coeliacs and gluten intolerant people who actually live those cities and countries as good first sources of information.
I live in London (I’m proud to call this wonderful city my home for 20 years!) and I have personally visited all the restaurants and cafes listed here, sometimes many times.
This is a collection of gluten free restaurants in London that I eat at and am happy to recommend.
Where can I find London’s 100% gluten free restaurants?
I’ll be honest, I don’t make a massive effort to search out 100% gluten free restaurants. Of course I’m happy when this is an option, but given the choices and high standards of non-100% gluten free restaurants in London, this is an option for me but not a requirement.
Leggero – This friendly Italian restaurant – evolved from a previous incarnation as La Polentaria – has now expanded to 3 locations in London. Come here for wonderful, fresh pasta dishes or small plates to share *if you can share arancini…). Leggero is 100% gluten free and has Coeliac UK accreditation, meaning a safe option for Coeliacs eating out in central London. ££
Ardiciocca – I adored my meal at this 100% gluten free trattoria and pizzeria in Fulham. If you’re looking for the lightest, tastiest gluten free pizza was top quality ingredients, you would be hard pushed to find a better place than this authentic, Italian run restaurant. Despite the lightness of the food I could not help indulging on my meal here. The menu is full of flavour combinations you won’t find offered gluten free elsewhere in London; from potato and mussel croquettes, arancini, pasta with beef ragu to tripe to pizza Nduja with lemon and rocket. This is a must-visit destination in London. ££
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 has several locations; either Fitzrovia or Upper Street, Islington It offers good gluten free savoury options (delicious rolls with interesting fillings, toasties, quiche) as well as sweet treats. You can also find Beyond Bread in Selfridges on Oxford Street. ££
Yorica – Looking for dessert while you’re in the West End? This could be your best stop! Catering to those while multiple allergies, Yorica’s soft serve, ice cream comes with toppings usually out of bounds for coeliacs such as jammy wheels, cookies and sprinkles. They also offer waffles and crepes, both gluten free. I have to be honest and say the ice cream is not my favourite here (I’m not keen on the coconut flavour base) but the soft serve is delicious and I love the freedom to choose toppings. £
GROM – Londoner’s rejoice! There’s no need to fly to Italy for every coeliac’s favourite authentic gelato when you can visit their UK store at Piccadilly! As well as the gluten free cones, they also have gluten free cookies and hot chocolate. £
Where do you recommend for a reasonably priced gluten free lunch or dinner in London? The multiple location (chain) restaurants:
Although the word ” chain” perhaps has negative connotations for some, for those with allergies and intolerances they can be an ideal place to eat. Why? Because excellent staff training, standardised procedures and a well thought through approach at head office level (often involving industry experts) means high quality processes to minimise the risk of cross contamination.
Almost all of the restaurants below are nationwide in the UK (some much bigger than others) so if you are travelling outside of London, these are highly recommended places to eat.
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. ££
Rosa’s Thai – If you love Thai food, Rosa’s is a must visit for authentic Thai dishes. They have a dedicated gluten free menu and I particularly like the transparency in explaining how gluten is handled in their kitchens. ££
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. £
DF Mexico – I’ve eaten at the Old Truman Brewery site (near to Brick Lane / Spitalfields) but they also have a Tottenham Court Road. Come here for delicious rice bowls ad tacos (make sure to ask for the corn/gluten free tortillas when you order). From the same group as Wahaca, this restaurant’s allergy menu has almost identical wording to Wahaca’s. Sadly the nachos and tortilla chips here are not safe for coeliacs. ££
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.
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. ££
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.
Which independent restaurants in London offer a reasonably priced gluten free meal?
Mommi – This fabulous restaurant in Clapham, south west London, offers an exciting menu of Japanese – Peruvian inspired dishes. I’ve visited a few times and always impressed with their approach to diners (like me) with more than one allergy. You can read my post about Mommi’s entry in the Free From Eating Out Awards (they won!). The menu is full of interesting dishes and for me, the Nikkei tempura fish and chips, with wasabi mayo and cassava fries is a stand out in terms of flavours and textures. All dishes at Mommi are gluten free and it’s also accredited by Coeliac UK. ££ (but £££ if you explore the fantastic cocktails on offer)
Bird – Come here for naturally gluten free finger lickin’ good fried chicken – yes, it really does exist! Bird should probably be in the chain section following their recent expansion (check website for current locations)
The Vurger Co – This vegan and plant based burger resto in Shoreditch offers gluten free burgers and buns. I thoroughly enjoyed eating here, especially as they offer 50/50 fries – for those like me who can’t decide between regular and sweet potato fries. ££
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. ££
Don’t all British people enjoy afternoon tea (I’ve seen Downton Abbey, you know!) where should I go for gluten free afternoon tea in London?
I DO indeed LOVE afternoon tea! It’s such a treat and there are many places in London which offer excellent gluten free (and nut free) afternoon tea. I’ve been lucky to enjoy quite a few gluten free afternoon teas (and I have a couple planned for 2019) so I will update this page.
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. ££
Tips for (gluten free) afternoon tea:
It’s VERY popular: You should book as far in advance as possible.
Some hotels have dress codes to varying degrees, I’d recommend checking the website in advance. Don’t worry, you don’t need a hat! But gentlemen sometimes require jackets and usually long trousers.
Gluten afternoon tea in most of the 5 star hotels is going to set you back upwards of £ 50 – more if you add a glass of champagne
I’m looking for a restaurant to enjoy a fantastic meal, where should I go for gluten free fine dining in London?
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.
Gordon Ramsey, Royal Hospital Road – Like every upscale restaurants in this list, Gordon Ramsey’s flagship restaurant catered effortlessly for my gluten free and nut free dietary requirements. But what more would you expect from a Michelin 3 star restaurant? Wonderful food and stellar wine list £££££
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. £££££
The Palomar – I adore the food here, inspired by modern day Jerusalem. The Octo Hummus is divine – reason alone to eat here. I’ve sat both in the back (with reservation) and at the high bar overlooking the kitchen on another visit. Whilst not everything is gluten free, they do a great job of offering delicious gluten free and nut free adapted dishes. Sadly no gluten free kabaneh, though! ££££
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! £££
Where can I eat gluten free near to London’s tourist attractions?
Royal Academy – The Peyton & Byrne restaurant has been very accommodating in adapting dishes to be gluten free on numerous Friday night visits. They also do gluten free chocolate cake. ££
British Museum – Offers gluten free Afternoon Tea for a very reasonable £18. Advance notice required. ££
Hang on, you’ve not mentioned where I can find gluten free fish and chips in London yet?
London and the UK may be known for it’s national favourite of fish and chips but it’s surprisingly difficult to find coeliac safe fish and chips in London. If you’re in a restaurant which claims it has gluten free fish and chips, please do check and double check the batter AND that they have a separate and dedicated fryer as this is not always the case.
The Mayfair Chippy
Olley’s Fish and Chips – Olley’s opposite Brockwell Park offers Coeliac UK certified gluten free fish and chips every day of the week! But you don’t have to take my word for for how good their fish and chips are – in 2019 Olley’s have just been rated in the Top 10 fish and chip shops in all the UK! Olley’s is 10 minutes by overland train from Victoria station to Herne Hill. ££
The Seine Rigger – technically this is not in London (it’s in Surrey) but I enjoyed the fish and chips here so much I’ve had to include it. If you’re in south London, this might be an option. Please do call ahead to make sure the separate fryer is on and for them to prepare a fresh batch of the gluten free batter.
Wait! You’ve missed my favourite gluten free bakery or restaurant in London from this list, why is that?
Perhaps your favourite spot is one I haven’t visited, or perhaps I did visit and I didn’t have a great experience there, both reasons they might not be in this list.
This is a list of my personal recommendations. This is not a list constructed from google search or other people’s blog posts; these are the places I have actually eaten in, sometimes once and sometimes I eat there every week! If you met me in real life, these are the places I’d tell you to eat.
However, one other reason there are some notable absences (especially London’s gluten free bakeries) is that I have a nut allergy (I’m allergic to almonds, hazelnuts and chestnuts) which means many of the gluten free bakeries which use nuts/nut based flours are off limits for me.
Gluten free restaurants – the closed list
Just like the Lonely Planet says, good restaurants close, new restaurants open and head chefs and menus can change regularly. That’s why it’s always important to double check information before making a special trip to any restaurant you’ve found online – and another reason why it’s good to trust a local with your restaurant recommendations. It’s easy to write blog posts from Google searches, but they are not always kept updated. Here’s a list of the gluten free and coeliac friendly restaurants in London we’ve had to bid a sad farewell to:
La Polentaria – the bad news is that this fantastic 100% gluten free restaurant focusing on (yes, you guessed it…) polenta has closed but the good news is it’s been replaced with a new restaurant with the same team Leggero (see above).
WagFree – This pioneer of gluten free dining in Brixton Village is no longer operating. In its place is Station 26, a 100% gluten free restaurant
Manna Dew – Battersea’s finest 100% gluten free patisserie and cafe is very sadly no longer operating – however, they do offer an only service
Romeo’s Gluten Free Bakery – Whilst Romeo’s gluten free bakery has closed, it’s sister restaurant (a few doors along Upper Street, Islington), Romeo’s Sugar Free restaurant remains open
Juliet gluten free bakery –Walthamstow – another 100% gluten free bakery which has closed down. Again, they offer an online service for customers in North / North East London
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.