Hong Kong: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

This year I took my very first trip to Asia to visit a friend in Hong Kong. A city full to the brim with amazing Dim Sum and other traditionally glutenous treats, I was sceptical about just how well I would eat when I was there. I had heard endless reports of just how hard it is to come across safe gluten free options and so took it upon myself to research every single place I would be eating. What happened? I ended finding some amazing places and never went hungry. From Dim Sum to Venezuelan Empanadas, from crepes to epic toasties – Hong Kong really does have it all! Check out my guide for a number of options within Hong Kong itself and a bonus addition for Macao, which is just an hour’s ferry ride away and well worth a trip.

Sweetpea Cafe

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Officially Hong Kong’s sole 100% spot, Sweetpea Cafe really found a gap in the market. This gorgeous little cafe is hidden away in the hilly streets of Hong Kong Central and has a menu with more options than you would think from the size of the place itself. Get ready to be wowed by the impressive cake counter as soon as you walk into the shop, which offers a selection of vegan and sugar free cakes too. The sandwiches here are all delicious, and individually made to order, including a selection of toasties. However be warned, Sweetpea Cafe works on a cash only basis and prices are high as, unsurprisingly, gluten free products are hard to source in Hong Kong. I thought this was a great shame however as I would have quite happily eaten breakfast here most days had it been more affordable. Definitely a must-visit, if for nothing more than a wonderful slice of cake and a latte with homemade nut mylk! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
4 Shin Hing Street
Hong Kong Central

Fresca

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Another Hong Kong Central find, Fresca offers up healthy breakfast and lunch options which you can either enjoy in-store or to go. Fresca is most known for its amazing salad bar, which boasts many gluten free options that can be mixed and matched for a decent sized lunch. The cafe also offers several gluten free sweet treats however, which are widely advertised. Their steamed muffins come in several flavours and are made using all natural ingredients. I opted for salted caramel, which paired nicely with a coffee. The gluten free crepes are undoubtedly the yummiest thing on the menu at Fresca however, and come stuffed with either banana and nutella or baked apples and summer berries. Closed on Mondays.

Brickhouse

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Everyone headed to Hong Kong must put one night aside to head to Brickhouse where nearly all tacos are gluten free! Even better, if you go on Monday or Tuesday, the restaurant has a great deal on tacos between 6pm and 8pm and always has a delicious taco of the month on offer. Several starters are also gluten free – just be sure to ask a member of staff for guidance on the menu. Brickhouse fills up pretty quickly most nights so get there early to avoid disappointment. We were lucky enough to sit at the bar in front of the chefs and so got to watch all our delicious food being prepared (which is basically my version of being in a toy shop). Don’t forget to wash your food down with several of the house margaritas – they’re fantastic! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
20 D’Aguilar Street
Hong Kong Central

Yardbird

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For the most delicious rice dishes you’ll try during your entire stay, head straight to Yardbird. This chicken-lovers paradise is located in the bustling Sheung Wan area of Hong Kong and pays great attention to dietary requirements. A number of rice dishes – including the unbeatable Chicken Rice – are gluten free and both incredibly filling and good value for money. While the fried chicken on offer at Yardbird is also gluten free, it is not coeliac safe due to cross contamination and the use of a shared fryer. While this was heartbreaking to learn at first, I quickly got over it when I received my main and a delicious steaming bowl of edamame beans. Top marks for both food and the general vibe at this Soho hotspot. Closed on Sundays.

Where?
154-158 Wing Lok Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Picada

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I did not expect to find so much amazing Latin American food in Hong Kong but I really hit the jackpot with Picada. Not only does this restaurant offer an amazing variety of meat and fish dishes as main courses, but an impressive starter selection too including (lo and behold) gluten free fried chicken AND gluten free empanadas. Of course we had to order both and we were by no means disappointed. It was hard to believe the fried chicken was gluten free and the empanadas were not only beautiful (pink, green and yellow) but each and every one delicious. Picada also has a delicious selection of cocktails and live music on the weekends – what’s not to like? Closed on Saturdays.

Where?
2F & 3F LKF 29 Building
29 Wyndham Street
Hong Kong Central

Madame Fu

I was told that gluten free dim sum was not a thing. Whoever told me this was oh so wrong. Madame Fu – a beautiful eatery tucked away in the brand new Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts – offers a fully gluten free menu to diners upon request which includes a selection of phenomenal dim sum. A little on the pricier side, this restaurant also has a selection of gluten free main dishes and desserts which are all almost too pretty to eat. I highly recommend a trip here for lunch one day when you’re wanting a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where?
Shop 03-101A Blk
3 No.10 Hollywood Rd
Hong Kong Central

Mott 32

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Located in the Standard Chartered Bank Building, Mott 32 has two Michelin stars. The menu is mostly designed for sharing and offers up traditional Cantonese cuisine with a modern flair. Gluten free diners will receive an extensive gluten free menu upon request, which is almost identical to the regular menu with the exception of a handful of dishes. We ordered from the gluten free menu and shared everything, including lobster dim sum which was probably the most delicious thing I had during my entire stay in Hong Kong. While the meal was expensive it was totally worth it and an ideal spot for a special occasion or when you feel tempted to just treat yourself!

Where?
Standard Chartered Bank Building
4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central
Hong Kong Central

Pizza Express

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I was as surprised as you to see that not only does Pizza Express exist in Hong Kong, it offers gluten free bases too! With several branches across the city, rest assured you can give into those pizza cravings pretty easily whilst in Hong Kong. We opted for takeaway gluten free pizzas one evening as a no-fuss dinner and the bases were just as good as in the UK and the attention paid to dietary requirements also on a par. Check the company website for your closest branch.

Shopping

Filling up your suitcase with gluten free bread and other essentials before heading to Hong Kong is something I would highly recommend. However, a chain of supermarkets around the city – Market Place by Jason’s – has an impressive selection of sweet treats and snacks that you can top up with whilst you are there. I noticed a number of gluten free bread, cake and pancake mixes so ideal if you are staying in self-catered accommodation during your stay. Important to note there is no dedicated gluten free section in these stores so be prepared to scour the aisles like I did. Check the company website for your nearest branch.

Gluten Free at the Venetian in Macau

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During my time in Hong Kong, we took a day trip to Macau, via the Turbo Jet Ferry which took just under one hour. Known as Chinese Vegas, Macao is home to multiple famous hotels including the MGM Grand, The Parisian, Mandarin Oriental and more. We opted for a bottomless brunch at The Venetian where we sat for three hours plus indulging in The Portofino restaurant’s endless raw seafood, steak, cheese and salad bars as well as limitless mimosas, Bloody Marys and more. The gluten free options here were fantastic and I was given great guidance by staff on duty as to what was gluten free. I was brought my own basket of gluten free bread but I advise stating your dietary requirements when you book to ensure they have bread for you. Check the hotel website for current prices and table availability.

Côte Brasserie: A Coeliac UK Accredited Gem (Invite)

While eating out for gluten free folk in the UK is becoming easier in terms of the variety of options available, places that adhere strictly to standards safe enough for coeliacs are still a rarity. UK chain Côte Brasserie is one of those exceptions, and is fully accredited by Coeliac UK. To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness week, the team at Côte invited me along to try their extensive gluten free menu with some of my wonderful gluten free friends. I have always been a fan of this restaurant, which offers up traditional and modern French dishes with a twist. Côte has recently however revamped its gluten free offerings and even now has a dedicated Gluten Free Prestige set menu so coeliacs need not feel left out of the two and three course deals offered in all branches.

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While perusing the menu, we ordered a selection of mixed olives and saucisson sec to start, which paired perfectly with Côte’s wonderfully crisp sparkling wine Blanc de Blancs Brut. I then opted for the Prawn Gratinee as a starter: king prawns baked in a white wine, garlic, chilli and tomato sauce. This came with a serving of gluten free toast on the side and was one of the most delicious starters I have had in a restaurant for quite some time – not least because of the blue gluten free flags that came in the dish to indicate that this was indeed coeliac safe! My friend Jessie and I also shared a chicken parfait, which came with a serving of cornichons, spiced apple chutney and more gluten free bread, toasted to perfection.

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For my main, I could not resist ordering a fillet steak, recommended to me by the manager. Perfectly cooked, the steak was served with a generous portion of Côte’s trademark coeliac safe fries and truffle hollandaise sauce. To add a touch of greenery to our meal, Jessie and I also ordered some creamed spinach and French beans to accompany our meal. Again, our meals came with gluten free flags intact, allowing us to be fully relaxed without having to ask the usual twenty questions that follow the arrival of food for most gluten free diners.

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What’s important to note about Côte is that you will need to save room for dessert. Forget the usual single ice cream option all of us gluten free diners are far too familiar with in most restaurants – Côte offers a great selection including Creme Brulee, chocolate compote, crumble and more. I finally decided on the mixed summer berries with warm white chocolate sauce, which I would quite happily eat everyday if I could.
To conclude, I urge you all to head to Côte as soon as you can to see for yourselves just how wide a variety they have on offer for gluten free diners. If you have any other dietary requirements, intolerances or allergies, Côte will also go above and beyond to ensure you eat well and safely. Thank you again to the team for taking such good care of us – we all can’t wait to come back!

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We dined at the Soho branch of Côte Brasserie on Wardour Street. Tables bookable on the company website and on Quandoo.

Tooting: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Those of y’all who follow my Instagram account will know by now that I LOVE my neighbourhood. I grew up in South East London and three years ago switched things up by moving South West to Tooting. In the past three years alone, this area has seen an immense amount of change, especially when it comes to food! Home to the famous Tooting Market and Broadway Market, this area has something for everyone, and is especially great when it comes to gluten free. Enjoy reading through my guide and seeing for yourself just how awesome this southern corner of the capital is!

Boom Bap Burger

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I’ve tried a lot of burgers in my time, and since going gluten free seven years ago, I’ve tried even more. However, top of my list for anyone visiting Tooting has got to be Boom Bap Burger, which offers delicious gluten free patties, packed full of flavour, and perfectly sguidgy gluten free burger buns to boot. The french fries are fried in their own separate fryer and are the perfect vehicle for mounds of cheese if you’re in the mood for epic cheesy fries to accompany your burger. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 2, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Mamma Mia Pasta

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If you’re a gnocchi fan like me, you won’t be disappointed that gnocchi is your only gluten free option at this family-run pasta restaurant inside Tooting Broadway Market – you’ll be ELATED. Gluten free gnocchi is still incredibly hard to come across on the London restaurant scene and here at Mamma Mia Pasta, the chef will top it with any sauce you desire, whilst taking extra care to avoid cross contamination. I highly recommend you opt for the slow cooked tomato and basil sauce with burrata – absolute winner! State your allergy or dietary requirement and you’ll be wonderfully taken care of. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. 

Where?
Tooting Broadway Market
The Cave
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RJ

Herbies

Tooting is now home to Herbies – the market’s first vegan takeaway restaurant, which is both reasonably priced and perfect when you’re in the mood for something on the healthier side. Currently gluten free on the menu are the turmeric cauliflower with a zesty tahnini and lemon dressing, the garbanzo salad with a chive dressing (without the pearl barley) and the signature squash and green bean satay, served with cauliflower rice. A little birdie also told me that the Herbies kitchen is working on a gluten free batter for its indulgent fried items so watch this space! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 13, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Plot

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Another sleek addition to Tooting Market, Plot specialises in small plates with a Michelin-star-style twist. The menu changes frequently, in line with what is in season, but there are always naturally gluten free options on offer here. Perfect for date night or for an occasion warranting more than a burger! Plot has seats all the way down its chic bar where you can eat and watch the action in the kitchen, whilst sipping on a glass of wine from the hand picked list. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
70-72 Broadway Market
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

The Gorringe Park

This isn’t just my favourite pub in Tooting because it’s local but because a large portion of the menu is gluten free! And the items safe for us to eat are not just steak, or grilled fish and mash – they include things like croquettes, breaded camembert, calamari and much much more! The Gorringe Park has a separate fryer for all of its gluten free items, meaning the chips are safe to eat – something which sadly seems to be a rarity in pubs these days. If you’re in the mood for culture with your meal, pop on down to the pub cinema in the basement, which shows several movies daily and is free – just buy yourself a drink or a snack and enjoy!

Where?
29 London Road
London SW17 9JR

Brickwood Coffee and Bread

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This Australian-themed brunch spot has a plethora of gluten free options available for breakfast or brunch each day. Brickwood offers gluten free bread to its diners which can be easily swapped into your meal to make signature dishes like the Avo toast with chorizo or feta or eggs any way safe to eat. Brickwood even has hash nuggets to accompany your brunch – just be warned you may not want to share they’re so good! Be sure to state your dietary requirements upon arrival and you’ll be in good hands!

Where?
Tooting Market
21-23 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0SN

Barra 10

Argentina has come to Tooting! The team behind this traditional style parilla restaurant (or Argentine steak house) are from Buenos Aires itself and offer an array of traditional dishes, many of which are naturally gluten free. Venture here for perfectly cooked steak, wine from the famous Mendoza region, oh and a provoleta – barbecued provolone cheese – for a quintessentially Porteño experience! Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
16 Broadway Market
Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

Milk Teeth

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I definitely can’t complain when it comes to Tooting’s brunch offerings. Milk Teeth – sister restaurant of Balham’s Milk – is always spot on when you’re in the mood for eggs, perfect flat whites and retro hip hop, all at the same time. Gluten free diners can choose between several dishes but are likely to be drawn to signature numbers like sweetcorn fritters with kasundi and the Young Betty – Milk Teeth’s answer to Eggs Benedict, served atop homemade cornbread and drizzled with Espresso Hollandaise. Those in the mood for sweet treats can also order a slice of the pistachio and polenta cake with buttercream frosting – it’s truly delightful AND gluten free!

Where?
110 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9NG

Green Monkey

Tucked away behind Tooting Bec station, Green Monkey is a hidden gem for gluten free. Serving up delicious coffee, Green Monkey has a selection of sweet gluten free treats on offer including one of the best brownies I’ve ever had, topped with a salted caramel swirl. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, Green Monkey whips up an epic Avo Toast on gluten free bread or a salt beef and chicken sandwich.

Where?
2d Tooting Bec Road
London SW17 7TS

Mud

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Another spot for the breakfast fans out there, Mud serves up all sorts of egg-based dishes seven days a week. Gluten free eaters can replace regular bread with gluten free bread on most breakfast dishes or can tuck into the buckwheat pancakes which are served wtih caremalised pear puree, pecans, lemon balm and maple creme fraiche. I tend to go big here and order the Eggs Benny with pork belly, and usually finish with at least three coffees just to bring me out of the food coma. Be sure to flag your requirements upon arrival so the team at Mud can take care of you!

Where?
141 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9PE

The Little Taperia

If you’re in the mood for Tapas, The Little Taperia has got you covered. This charming, neighbourhood restaurant has a traditional menu, featuring naturally gluten free favourites such as Tortilla Española, Garlic Prawns, Grilled Octopus and more, not to mention the amazing Jamon Serrano and cheese selection on offer. It’s worth mentioning that the team at The Little Taperia could not be more accomodating when it comes to dietary requirements, so while you can’t tuck into the fried items or the bread, they will do everything they can to make sure you don’t miss them!

Where?
143 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RU

Nuvola – A Little Bakery

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I’m usually in the market for something sweet after all of the savoury treats that Tooting has to offer, and so tend to head on over to Nuvola – A Little Bakery. This organic bakery is not a gluten free dedicated facility but always has at least two delicious gluten free baked goods on offer. Run by former pastry chef Nuvola Tivoli, this bakery prides itself on handmade cakes made only with the best ingredients, which will make you even prouder to support such a great local business! Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Where?
Unit 25, Tooting Market
Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Rosa’s Thai Cafe

As well as a plethora of independent shops and restaurants, Tooting has a number of reliable chains which offer solid gluten free options. Rosa’s Thai Cafe is one of those, offering a detailed gluten free menu upon request. Take your pick from a number of fragrant curries, stir fries, Asian salads and more and you’re sure to be well looked after.

Where?
70 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

Honest Burgers

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A restaurant these days which needs little introduction, Honest Burgers has long had a home in Tooting. A great and fuss-free option for gluten free diners who want to tuck into a familiar and great-tasting burger, Honest Burgers offers all patties on a gluten free bun as well as coeliac-safe rosemary fries and onion rings. Wash it all down with a gluten free Daura Damm beer and you’ve got a winning combination!

Where?
72 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

The Athenian

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You won’t even miss the pitta bread when you tuck into some naturally gluten free Greek street food at The Athenian. On offer for gluten free folk, the Naked Souvlaki box comes jam packed with fresh Greek salad, herbs, grilled meat and is made even better by a portion of grilled halloumi on the side. Staff members will change their gloves for you if you state your allergies and are intent on giving you a stress free ordering experience. The Athenian is part of a chain with locations now all around London and I couldn’t be happier to have it in Tooting!

Where?
Unit 3, Tooting Market
21-23 Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Cardamom Club

Last but not least: Cardamom Club has been my favourite Indian food delivery restaurant since I moved to Tooting. This independent Tooting Bec takeaway has good allergy awareness and always delivers delicious meals that are piping hot. While I’ve tried a number of dishes from here, my number one has got to be Butter Chicken – a perfect combination of spice and creaminess. The Paneer Tikka is also fantastic, and makes for a great starter and is perfect for sharing!

Where?
18 Trinity Road
London SW17 7RE

Barcelona: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

My memories from Barcelona when I was little are filled with bread, croquettes and other gluten-filled Spanish delicacies. When I took my first trip to the Catalan capital as a member of the gluten free crowd therefore, I was worried. Turns out, there was no need to worry in the slightest. Barcelona has quickly become one of my favourite global spots for not only gluten free Spanish food, but gluten free pizzas, cakes and more. Everywhere you need to visit when in Barcelona is detailed in this trusty guide that is sure to leave you craving another trip purely for the food!

Gula Sana

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A new addition to the gluten free scene in Barcelona, this 100% gluten free eatery has more of a cafe vibe, as you have to walk past the long counter filled with sweet and savoury treats to get to the seating area. In the summer, seats are available outside and a perfect location to enjoy Gula Sana’s vast ice cream selection in a gluten free cone of course! Enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch or an early dinner here and don’t forget to try the Red Velvet cake!

Where?
Carrer de la Diputació, 361
08009 Barcelona

Amiette

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If you want the best gluten free croissant of your life, go straight to Amiette – one of Barcelona’s 100% gluten free bakeries which has really hit the nail on the head when it comes to free from pastry and bread. You have a choice of plain croissants or those filled with ham and cheese or sweet fillings like chocolate and custard. I recommend going first thing in the morning when they are fresh out the oven. This bakery is purely a take-out destination, so why not grab some treats and take them to a local park? Or eat them in the street, outside the shop as I did because I couldn’t wait! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
Carrer de Calàbria, 65
08015 Barcelona

Patisseria Jansana Gluten Free

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A gluten free staple in Barcelona, this beautiful bakery in the Eixample neighborhood has been spoiling customers for years with their stunning sweets and savoury treats. The selection is neverending, and you will never come out with just one item – it truly is impossible. Grab a sandwich to go on fresh bread of your choice, with a number of fillings, which are made on the spot or eat in, with a coffee, and enjoy some of the more delicate savoury open faced sandwiches. The croissants here are also top notch, as are the donuts, cookies, macarons and eclairs.

Where?
Carrer de Balmes, 106
08008 Barcelona

Pasticelia

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Perfect spot for breakfast or brunch, Pasticelia is another 100% gluten free haven located in the Esquerra de L’Eixample neighorhood. Like Jansana, Pasticelia will prepare you a sandwich of your choice on fresh bread to take away or eat in. The chocolate croissants here and palmeras are not to be missed, and should preferably be enjoyed on one of the bakery’s comfy chairs with a cafe con leche. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
Carrer de Paris, 165
08036 Barcelona

Celiadictos

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This 100% gluten free gem has been open for several years now, serving locals with unbeatable freshly baked gluten free bread and cakes. Customers can pick their loaves off of a trolley which showcases all varieties of bread that Celiadictos bake each day and is constantly topped up. The cakes here were some of the prettiest I’ve seen – including the merengue pie and apple tartlette. Be sure to grab an Ensaimada – a traditional Mallorcan pastry that resembles a sausage roll – they are absolutely incredible! Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
Carrer de la Pobla de Lillet, 5
08028 Barcelona

Cal Marius 449

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Gluten free tapas are still a rarity in Barcelona so gluten free people will rejoice in knowing they can safely eat croquetas, empanadillas and more at the famous Cal Marius bar. The menu, which also prominently features pastrami on gluten free bagels or baguette, is 100% gluten free. Regular gluten bread can be ordered upon request if you are dining with a non gluten free diner. Be sure to check out Cal Marius’ impressive gluten free beer menu whilst you’re there to accompany your meal! Closed on Tuesdays.

Where?
Carrer de Mallorca, 449
08013 Barcelona

Copasetic

The perfect spot for brunch, Copasetic is a long-time favourite of mine, located in the Eixample neighbourhood. Take your pick from a numer of gluten free options on the menu from hamburgers to eggs florentine. I can never say no to a savoury crepe here however, which I usually order stuffed with ham and cheese, followed by a homemade gluten free cake – the selection of which changes daily. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Carrer de la Diputació, 55
08015 Barcelona

Conesa Entrepans

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Sometimes what you need in a city like Barcelona is a quick place to grab a bite. Conesa Entrepans is a regular sandwich shop which offers most of its sandwiches on gluten free baguette, which are toasted on their own separate grills to avoid cross contamination. A decent option for when you’re rushing around sightseeing – their ham and cheese baguettes are incredibly moreish! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
Carrer de la Llibreteria, 1
08002 Barcelona

Viena

This Spanish fast food restaurant has more than 10 branches around the city and a coeliac-safe menu upon request. The menu features a number of grilled sandwich options which are all prepared separately and can be accompanied by gluten free friendly french fries. Sometimes all you need is gluten free junk food! For your closest restaurant, check out the company website.

M2 Gluten Free

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This 100% gluten free restaurant is a great shout for brunch when you’re in Barcelona. M2 Gluten Free makes good use of local, fresh produce to create several delicious open faced sandwiches and egg dishes. There’s no worry about cross contamination here which makes eating a breeze, and there are even vegan options. If I were you, I’d opt for the open faced turkey sandwich with tomato and avocado on delicious gluten free toast.

Where?
Avinguda Diagonal, 505
08029 Barcelona

Il Piccolo Focone

If you want real Italian food whilst you’re in Barcelona, look no further than Il Piccolo Focone. This restaurant has a gluten free menu which includes the most incredible pizzas, pastas and desserts – all of which are prepared safely. I always start with the fried artichokes before tucking into a pizza. Finishing with the gluten free tiramisu is also advisable! Closed on Sundays.

Messie Sin Gluten

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This 100% gluten free pizzeria is a great lunch or light dinner option. The bases here are thin and crispy and come with a variety of toppings, which can be accompanied by one of the delicious salads on offer. I have never seen a larger gluten free beer selection, which includes a number of international beers as well as Spanish.

Where?
Carrer de Siracusa, 15
08012 Barcelona

McDonald’s

Yes, Barcelona is another city where you can enjoy gluten free McDonald’s! All McDonald’s in the city have carefully marked gluten free menus, which include almost all beef burgers and fries with the option of a gluten free bun. If you’d rather enjoy the city’s other gluten free options during your stay in Barcelona, you can enjoy a gluten free McDonald’s in the airport on your way out.

Restaurant En Ville

Another 100% gluten free tapas restaurant, but this time with a French twist. En Ville is a gorgeous space located near Las Ramblas and is ideal for dinner. All tapas are gluten free on a menu that proudly displays a gluten free bread option on its first page. While En Ville offers a number of delicious main dishes, I was not able to get past the tapas and even ordered a second round of the croquetas de jamon which were absolutely melt in the mouth. Save room for dessert – En Ville serves up a gluten free giant cream puff which comes with hot chocolate sauce to pour over. Closed on Sunday.

Out of China

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How long has it been since you ate dim sum? Well at Out of China your gluten free dreams can come true as free from options are available for most of the dim sum selection. It’s therefore hard not to go crazy with the dumpling selection but if possible save room for some soup or a main dish. You’ll also feel safe at Out of China – as soon as you say you are gluten free or coeliac, your very own gluten free soy sauce pot will be delivered to your table.

Where?
Carrer d’Aribau, 112
08036 Barcelona

Envalira

Everyone needs to eat paella when in Spain. Whilst far from Valencia – the home of paella – no frills eatery Envalira serves up the best Spanish rice in Barcelona, with a clearly marked allergen menu presented to all diners. Take your pick from a number of fresh and grilled starters, and be sure to follow those with traditional paella and arroz negro – black rice coloured with squid’s ink – an absolute delicacy. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Plaça del Sol, 13
08012 Barcelona

Gocce di Latte

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Your one stop shop for gelato whilst in Barcelona should be Gocce di Latte – an ice cream shop which has a 100% gluten and dairy free branch on the same street as its regular store. It’s a cross-contaminatin free zone and stays open late so is perfect for those late night sweet cravings. Cash-only.

Where?
Carrer d’Espaseria, 14
08003 Barcelona

Shopping

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Barcelona has a multitude of supermarkets which have a huge offering of gluten free products from cookies, breads and snacks to chilled pastas and frozen pizzas and tapas. The top chains for gluten free are Mercadona, Carrefour and Alcampo. Check out the company websites for your closest branches.

Ardiciocca: A 100% Gluten Free Trattoria Experience in Fulham

London’s ever-expanding gluten free scene is full of Italian food. Pizzas, pastas and more can often be found in gluten free form at restaurants across the city. Italian restaurants that cater entirely to gluten free diners are however, still a novelty. 100% gluten free trattoria Ardiciocca opened up shop three months ago in Fulham and has since remained a hidden gem – well until now.

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Ardiciocca is the latest project from Roberto Costa and the group behind Macellaio RC, which owns four other Italian restaurants in London and one in Milan. The goal for the new Fulham eatery was simple – Costa wanted to make the “comforting, homely” recipes of his childhood available to everyone – not just gluten eaters. The menu lends itself to simple and delicious flavours, many of which will instantly make you feel like you’re on vacation in Italy, as opposed to southwest London.

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With a chilled glass of Prosecco in our hands, we took our pick from the eclectic selection of starters, settling not on one, but three small plates to share between us. The mussel and potato croquettes instantly caught my eye in the typical way that a gluten free person is drawn to breaded, deep fried treats after lengthy periods without. While the croquettes were crispy, warm and bursting with flavour, I couldn’t help but think how a light aioli would have completed the dish. We also chose the salami, broad bean, pecorino cheese and fresh bread plate – the star of the show of which was most certainly the salami, dominated by a strong truffle flavour. I was incredibly impressed by the homemade bread, which was served warm from the oven. My dinner date Mateja also insisted on trying the brain – a delicacy which came fried in light crispy batter.

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Ardiciocca has a wide array of main dishes to choose from, which go way beyond the traditional pizza/pasta offering of many Italian eateries. These range from pickled fried mackerel to sausage stew and homemade hearty minestrone. However, we simply could not resist giving the Sardinian gnocchi and sausage ragú a go, as well as the Nduja pizza – the dough of which is made with gluten free flour and Ferrarelle water before it is left to rise for 72 hours. The ragú was perfectly seasoned and incredibly moreish, leaving me wishing for a second bowl. The pizza crust was thin and light, and topped with flavourful passata, creamy mozzarella and spicy sausage, the kick from which was neutralised softened slightly by the addition of fresh lemon and rocket.

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While we had next to no room left for dessert, I could not pass up the opportunity to sample the basil infused panna cotta – a flavour combination I had never seen on a menu before. It was tangy and refreshing, served with a drizzle of Italian honey on the side. The homemade chocolate torte is also definitely worth a try, only lacking in a side dollop of creme fraiche or gelato, which I’ll be sure to request next time I go.

Anyone in Fulham and beyond must not miss out on the opportunity to eat here for a meal full of flavour, tradition and excellent service to boot. Don’t forget to try a different glass of Italian wine with each course – you won’t be sorry!

Ardiciocca

461-465 North End Road

Fulham

London SW6 INZ

020-3848-6830

(Tables Bookable via email or telephone)

Toulouse: The Mini Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Known for its cassoulet and confit de canard, Toulouse can be a food lover’s paradise. The city pulls in multitudes of tourists each year, especially during the summer months when the masses head to the wine region. It’s a beautiful city to walk around in, with lots of culture and a rich history. But how good is it for gluten free food you ask? Finding gluten-free friendly eateries can still be a challenge and so I’ve pulled together a mini guide to the provincial city, which will be perfect for anyone staying nearby and venturing in for the day or in Toulouse for a city-break over a weekend. Bon Appétit!

Lucas et Marie Sans Genes

A highly popular free from spot, Lucas and Marie Sans Genes is a 100% gluten free bakery, which also specialises in vegan products too. From beautiful pastries to homemade bread, you’ll be spoilt for choice here and will not have to worry about traces. The bakery prides itself on creating food that is free of up to 14 key allergens and is entirely organic. A lovely family run business created by mother Marie and her son Lucas, this place is a must-visit for coeliacs and vegans alike who will go absolutely crazy over the pastry selection – trust me! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
28 Rue des Polinaires
31000 Toulouse

Yard – La Burger Factory

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If you’re craving a proper hamburger while you’re in Toulouse, this is your one-stop shop. This fast food joint is incredibly gluten free friendly, and offers most burgers on a soft and squidgy sesame seed gluten free bun! I was assured that the regular fries and sweet potato fries are also safe, so just be sure to state your dietary requirements at the beginning so the staff make sure to take extra care of you. I opted for a classic cheese burger, which is entirely gluten free when the house Yard sauce is removed and it was absolutely delicious. Yard gets brownie points in my book for also offering a gluten free beer on the menu – the perfect accompaniment to your burger!

Where?
51 Rue du Taur
31000 Toulouse

Invita

Another organic hotspot, Invita is a great destination for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch while you’re in Toulouse. The menu, which is entirely vegetarian, has a great array of options from salads to gluten free pizzas (yes you read correctly!) to galettes. What’s great about Invita is their availability of a weekday meal deal, where you can get two courses for €16 or three for €20. As I hate missing out on dessert, I’d personally recommend you opt for three courses! If you fancy a pizza or vegetarian lasagne course, head to Invita on a Friday or Saturday when they are available. Vegan options are also aplenty!

Where?
18 Rue d’Aubuisson
31000 Toulouse

Pastel & Sarrasin

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Everytime I venture to France I crave crepes and galettes. Luckily for the gluten free community, more and more places are starting to offer a gluten free friendly alternative so that everyone can feel included. Pastel et Sarrasin is a must-visit during your time in Toulouse as they not only use the freshest of ingredients to top and fill their pancakes, but they offer a gluten free batter on the menu too. This expansive restaurant has lots of indoor seating and sets up tables outside on warmer days so you can watch the world going by while you feast. WARNING: As Pastel et Sarrasin deals with non gluten free flour in its kitchen as well, the company warns that traces in the preparation area are a possibility but they take as much care as is possible to avoid that by keeping the gluten free batter away from the rest and cleaning the pans before use.

Where?
75 Rue du Taur
31000 Toulouse

Silex & Fourchette

Are you both gluten and lactose free? Then Silex & Fourchette must be your first stop in the city. This is the first “paleo” restaurant I have seen in continental Europe, so imagine my excitement, especially as paleo food is all naturally gluten free! Silex & Fourchette serves lunch five days a week and has a monthly Sunday brunch for only €18, which includes a lot of food, so check the company website to see if brunch falls on your weekend! The most photographed and ordered item here is undoubtedly the paleo burger, which comes with sweet potato fries and is definitely worth a try! Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Where?
138 Grande Rue Saint-Michel
31400 Toulouse

Aux Douces Heures

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While not an obvious gluten free spot, Aux Douces Heures is the perfect place to stop for a coffee and a rest while you are whizzing around Toulouse. The regular menu at this French tea room is not gluten free, but the team at Aux Douces Heures make sure to always have at least two freshly baked gluten free sweet treats to accompany your coffee or tea for a pick-me-up. The cakes are kept separately from the rest of the restaurant’s offerings and are usually displayed in the window next to a welcoming gluten free sign. The chocolate tart makes a regular appearance and is deliciously rich. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
9bis Rue des Lois
31000 Toulouse

Shopping

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Supermarkets in France have come a long way in the past few years, and that includes smaller city branches. The two biggest supermarket chains in Toulouse are Carrefour and Monoprix, both of which have several stores across the city, so you are never too far from gluten free snacks or necessities. I was able to find gluten free bread, pasta and cookies in all shops I went into so check the company website for your nearest store and stock up!