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Toronto Restaurant Menus Let You Be Gluten-Free and Proud



There are those who must be gluten free, but the gluten free movement has exploded much beyond need in Toronto. Many people feel that a lack of gluten in their diet can bring everything from clear skin to a flat belly. Whether you are celiac or in want of Miley Cyrus' abs, you are not destined to live off of salads and breads that weigh as much as bricks. Take a journey with us through Toronto's seriously tasty gluten free world.

You can go for the restaurants that are so health-conscious that everything on the menu is naturally free of gluten. Feel Good Guru and Live Food Bar fit this bill with menu items so delectable you won't miss the heat, the meat or the gluten.

If you are craving the familiar favourites under a new cloak, there is also plenty of selection. Riz Restaurant has an Asian fusion menu that can be made entirely gluten free, with spring rolls to match. Villa Restaurant gives you gluten free crusts to feed your wood oven pizza craving. And Starving Artists creates waffles that you would never imagine that may make you consider purchasing a waffle iron.

There is no need to stay in anymore with a restricted diet. Bring your dietary preferences into the open air. Toronto is happy to feed them.


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10
West Toronto
Villa Restaurant


If you are gluten free and looking for a classy meal, look no further than Villa. Rather than jealously gazing at your friend's pasta and pizza dishes, you can revel in your own. There are gluten free options to almost every traditional dish. Brown rice flour is used in the pizza crust, and brown rice also works to simulate pasta with the al dente texture most gluten free alternatives are lacking. There are also gluten free desserts and gluten free beers to round out the experience. You pay a touch extra for the gluten free experience, but just look at it as your version of VIP.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Being on the more expensive side, the gluten free options at Villa are a great way to celebrate a special occasion.

Courtney's expert tip: Consider visiting for brunch. From fig and prosciutto pizza to baked eggs, it is as close to gluten free heaven as it gets.

Read more about Villa Restaurant →


9
Downtown
iQ Food Co.
Photo courtesy of iQ Food Co.


When it comes time to pick up lunch, choices came seem worse for the wear when you are gluten free. Should you cross your fingers and hope that the item in front of you has not been contaminated? Going to iQ Food Co with three locations takes the ingredients and puts them in front of you in a bare format. A cardboard takeout box awaits waiting to be decorated with greens or grains with toppings ranging from avocado to sesame seeds to tempeh. You can get your inner chef on without having to wield a knife or wear an apron. There are some pre-made boxes with gluten free or vegan choices, such as the Evolve brown rice bowl made with salmon, edamame, roasted sweet potato, apple, pickled cucumbers and more.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: The food is fresh, simple and healthy and takes the guesswork over what is in your lunch. Transparency sure tastes good.

Courtney's expert tip: The lineup is quite long during peak lunch hours. Consider going first thing in the morning to pick up your lunch early if you anticipate a long day at the office.

Read more about iQ Food Co. →


Starving Artist
Photo courtesy of Starving Artist Facebook page


When you are thinking "gluten free" the last thing you are probably thinking about is waffles. Heck, when you think "restaurant" an experience built around waffles is probably not on the top of your list. Think again. Starving Artist was opened by hard-core waffle lover Bryan Jackson. He puts waffles as the star of the show and they work as the base for things ranging from poached eggs to hot dogs. They work in lieu of bread for some seriously crunchy sandwiches. Waffles come regular, vegan, gluten free or potato. Guess what is the star of the show when it comes to dessert? We will let you ponder that one for a moment or two.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: From smores waffles to grilled cheese waffle-wiches, Starving Artist happily does not live up to its name.

Courtney's expert tip: Starving Artist has lots more seating outdoors, so if you want to reduce your brunch waiting time, make sure to visit in the summer.

Read more about Starving Artist →


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The Beet Organic Cafe


The Beet is owned by certified Nutritional Practitioner Michelle Vella and Homeopathic Doctor Heather Osler. Whether you want to eat well when you eat out, or you have a specific dietary preference, the Beet has you covered. The Beet supports local farmers, buying fair trade when possible and it is proudly 99% organic. You will not have to read labels to be certain that you are getting your RDA of pretty much everything that matters. Highlights include poutine made with miso gravy and goat cheese curds, or incredible burgers that can be carnivorous or vegetarian, cheesy or lactose free and regular or gluten free. The drink list is also extensive, from healing teas to wine and local craft beer.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Lots of tummy-friendly options that taste gourmet while keeping your digestive health in mind.

Courtney's expert tip: From gluten free mac and cheese to gluten free burgers, there is a great selection for comfort food. Wash it all down with a gluten free beer (because you can).

Read more about The Beet Organic Cafe →


6
Kensington
Hibiscus Cafe


Hibiscus cafe in Kensington market is cozy like a warm hug. Even if the only thing gluten free about you is the fact that you occasionally indulge in a cup of soup, you won't be disappointed. Speaking of soup, the soup and salad combo gets rave reviews with a daily soup offering and an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad (some of the ingredients include quinoa, tofu, kale and okra). Hibiscus cafe has also been brave enough to tackle the normally glutenous crepe and come out as a strong contender. Silky and light crepes are filled with toppings ranging from brie to dark chocolate. If you go the savoury route, you can always get your sweet fix in the form of an incredible dairy free ice cream.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Vegan and gluten free food that doesn't keep your stomach rumbling. Every dish is tasty and filling.

Courtney's expert tip: If you are dining alone, check out the vegetarian friendly magazines that Hibiscus lends out. You can always pretend you aren't people watching.

Read more about Hibiscus Cafe →


Live Food Bar


Gourmet, gluten free and sugar free, the restaurant "live" will allow you to feel more "alive" upon exiting. Although it caters to the raw and vegan subset of the population, you certainly don't have to be either to enjoy the inventive food of head chef Jennifer Italiano. There are warm dishes such as burritos or soup for the coldest of days, but it is amazing how much you can enjoy a raw vegan poutine. Raw vegetables fused together through dehydration or blending become an entirely different animal (no carnivorous joke intended). Live's two locations are both flooded with light and have minimal decor, making the aesthetic as clean as the food. Go here right after you have uttered the phrase "I need to detox."

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: It is lovely to go out to eat and not have to request a separate menu. Live is all wheat free for your gut's pleasure.

Courtney's expert tip: Try the raw platter to dip your toe into the pool of raw eating. With pates and dips and flatbreads, you will be amazed at their makeover of the vegetable.

Read more about Live Food Bar →




This extensive pan asian restaurant includes dishes inspired by Malaysia, Thailand, China, Korea and Vietnam and yet manages to have cohesive flavours. Choose all you can taste if you are currently suffering with fierce hunger, or try the menu with amazing dishes like szechwan crispy beef. If you choose to go with the gluten free menu, you won't miss gluten at all. There is also a menu that has gluten, but many of those dishes can be made gluten-free as well. Pay attention to the peppers on the menu: if two peppers reside beside a dish, it is serious about being spicy. Make sure you are as well.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Five words that are like music to gluten sensitive ears: Certified Gluten Free Asian Cuisine.

Courtney's expert tip: From gluten free spring rolls to gluten free plates, you can be certain that your food won't be contaminated. Just make sure you have the right menu, as there is a separate equally extensive menu that contains gluten.

Read more about Riz Restaurant →


Fresh Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Fresh Restaurant


Fresh restaurant opened its doors in 1999, way before "clean eating" and "vegetarian" were on the lips of every second Torontonian. As the times changed to make healthy choices not about deprivation, Fresh grew along with it, opening four locations around the city. Tables are always packed and there is almost always a wait, but the food delivers on every count. This is not diet food, this is about living well. The gluten free allergy menu is substantial and includes favourites like grilled tofu tacos in gluten free green wraps and rice bowls piled high with vegetables and drizzled with decadent sauces.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Everything is made from fresh and whole ingredients, and there is a gluten allergy menu to boot.

Courtney's expert tip: You don't have to forego brunch with your gluten free lifestyle. Fresh even has a gluten free pancake platter.

Read more about Fresh Restaurant →


2
Queen West
Feel Good Guru
Photo courtesy of Moira Nordholt


Feel Good Guru may have hippie written all over it (hyper-local, super-awesome organic plant-powered food, thank you very much) but it is not just for the granola crowd. Local businesses have become addicted to the plant powered juices, inventive desserts and out of this world salads. The dressings are so flavourful, you may be tempted to lick the takeout container (luckily, tongues don't usually grow that long so our dignity is safe). Visit the neighbourhood for one-of-a-kind shopping, as well as to see the outdoor art through the Toronto Lovebot who lives outside of Feel Good Guru. The prices are incredibly reasonable for 100% in house ingredients. The chef even has her own garden at Trinity Bellwoods. It is some of the best "plant-powered food," hands down, and will refuel lagging energy for a long day of city navigating.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Raw, organic, vegan, gluten free and run by people who look as good as they uncook. Takeout has never felt so good.

Courtney's expert tip: Many of the gluten dishes don't hold together too well, so take a lot of napkins to go. It is well worth your while to try the raw vegan nutball sub - if you are mature enough to say the word "nutball" without snickering.

Read more about Feel Good Guru →


Kupfert and Kim
Photo courtesy of Kupfert and Kim


The general mathematical rule is that the more kale a Toronto restaurant has, the more expensive it will be. Healthy doesn't have to break the bank now that Kupfert & Kim have set up shop right in the heart of the financial district. Healthy gluten free and meatless meals offer substantial fuel for long days at the office. A hearty breakfast option is the sweet quinoa with cashew butter, bananas and cinnamon. Take that, oats! Lunches come in charming takeout boxes and are filled to the brim with good stuff like brown rice, beans and chia seeds. Expect fresh ingredients that change with the seasons.

Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Wheatless, meatless and delicious: people line up for gluten free goodness at Kupfert & Kim.

Courtney's expert tip: Treats and sweets come sourced from various bakeshops around the city, including the popular gluten-free Bunners.

Read more about Kupfert and Kim →


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Meet Courtney Sunday

Courtney Sunday has lived in England, Switzerland, Canada and the US, finding her way into the professions of freelance writing and yoga teaching in between travel opportunities. She learned...  More About Courtney

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