I LOVE Toronto. It’s one of my favourite cities in the world. What a fantastic city with so much going on. I moved to Toronto to live and work for a year when I was 21. What did I eat and drink in this lovely Canadian city? A lot of poutine and beer. Not very celiac friendly choices but don’t worry, this was in pre-celiac days. I often wonder what Toronto is like for gluten free options as I plan to return soon to explore old haunts and reconnect with old friends. For now though I asked my friend and fellow celiac, Sile Farrell, to share her experiences of gluten free travelling in Toronto, Canada. I also spoke with my cousin, Kim, who just returned from a year of living and working in Toronto. We are in luck! Toronto is a fantastic place for celiacs and other gluten free-ers to go for some gluten free travelling!
Sile ate at the following restaurants and was extremely happy that the staff at these places understand the seriousness of celiac disease and take good precautions to lessen the risk of cross contamination in those with shared kitchens.
Grind House (on 365 King St West) does gluten free burgers and chips. Gluten free buns are available for an additional $1. Their Spanish Fly Burger sounds absolutely amazing! Chorizo minced with House Beef , La Bomba Hot Salsa, Manchego Cheese. Yes please!
Villa Restaurant (on 2277 Bloor St West) is an Italian restaurant which offers a bunch of gluten free options. Pasta dishes can be served on gluten free brown rice pasta noodles for an additional $1.95 and pizzas can be made on gluten free rice crusts for an additional $3.95. All pizza crusts are made in house. They also do gluten free appetizers, desserts and beers.
Far Niente (on 187 Bay St) is fairly expensive but the food they serve is really good. The menu doesn’t specifically mention gluten free options but much of what they do is naturally gluten free so be sure to chat with your server about celiac friendly options.
The Keg Steakhouse and Bar has a bunch of locations in Toronto and around Canada (as well as in four US states). They provide a gluten free menu featuring items which “can be ordered with the suggested changes for those with gluten sensitivities.” This menu mentions that all of their starch options are gluten free except for the rice pilaf and a whole variety of starters and entrees are naturally gluten free. As usual, the menu also states that The Keg’s kitchen is not 100% gluten free and therefore cross contamination is a possibility. Definitely double check with staff if eating here that the necessary precautions are being taken to minimise this risk.
St Lawrence Market (on Front Street) is a fun place to visit in Toronto and a great place to find gluten free goodies. There are a few vendors selling celiac friendly options and gluten free artisanal treats. There are also some stores in the market which carry gluten free products.
Yummy gluten free finds in Toronto, according to Kim.
Hibiscus is a cute little cafe in Kensington Market. It’s easy to miss even thought it’s on Augusta Avenue right in the heart of the market. They sell amazing raw, vegan and gluten free treats.
Fresh is a chain of healthy restaurants with three locations in Toronto. You can sit in or take out. It’s quite pricey but the food is very good and they have loads of ‘superfood’ options and gluten free options too.
Arepa Cafe (on 490 Queen St W) looks like a similar place to the amazing Pica Pica in San Francisco which does lots of gluten free options. They do a large variety of different Arepas (Yum!!) plus finger foods, salads and platters. (Have a read at the comments below regarding this cafe.)
Fressen + Urban herbivore is a take away place that does huge salads and health lunches. Fressen is a vegetarian restaurant which does a bunch of gluten free options. Gluten free options are clearly marked with a ‘g’ and wheat free options with a ‘w’. Gluten free dinner options include cold tapas, appetisers and entrees.
Magic Oven have five locations in Toronto. They do gluten free pizzas, gluten free pastas and gluten free salads for eat in or delivery. They also do a selection of gluten free desserts including carrot cake and chocolate cake. Yum!
Coras Kitchen is a little bakery in the centre of Kensington. Kim got her gluten free birthday cake here and it was delicious! To quote Coras from their website. “We love gluten-free cupcakes because life is hard enough without gluten and even harder without cake.” Well said!
These are some other places with gluten free options that I’ve come across in Toronto which I think look particularly delicious!
When I lived in Toronto I ate an obscene amount of poutine, seriously! But where can a celiac find gluten free poutine? Putini’s House of Poutine, (on 1112 Queen St West) That’s where! They serve a traditional poutine served with Fresh Cheese Curds and Beef, Vegetarian or Gluten-Free Gravy. I seriously cannot wait to give this place a try.
The Kensington Cornerstone Restaurant. (on 2A Kensington Ave) is a restaurant where their entire menu is gluten free. Yup, everything! Salads, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, brunch and kids options are all gluten free. They also serve a selection of gluten free beers, ciders, wines and alcoholic coffees!
Mengrai Gourmet Thai (on 82 Ontario St) is s Thai restaurant with a whole lot of gluten free options clearly marked on the menu. Their gluten free symbol marks dishes which can be made gluten free, if you ask. If you eat here, definitely mention to your server that you are celiac or gluten intolerant to make sure there are no cross contamination issues. A lot of Thai food is naturally gluten free but it’s often difficult to be completely sure as different restaurants prepare dishes differently. I love it when I come across a Thai restaurant which understands the importance of gluten free labelling!
So as you can see, Toronto is a pretty celiac friendly gluten free travelling location! There are so many cafes and restaurants with gluten free options here that celiacs and other gluten free travellers to the city shouldn’t have any problems finding safe cafes and restaurants at which to eat and stores at which to buy safe products. I can’t wait to return to try all these awesome places!
Check out the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association for more celiac friendly info on living and travelling gluten free in Toronto.
Do you live gluten free in Toronto or perhaps you’ve travelled there and come across some particularly tasty celiac friendly options? Share your experiences in the comments below..