Planning a trip around food is not uncommon in the free from world. I once went to Spain for a bakery! Here are five of my favourite free from friendly destinations to help with planning your next trip.
The southwest of England is a popular holiday destination, so if you’re heading that way, don’t miss a pit stop in the city of Plymouth. Fish and chips is a staple seaside dish, and Plymouth is one of the few places where you can find an entirely gluten free chippie. Down by Sutton Harbour you’ll find two chippes called Habourside, just a couple of yards from each other, one of which is entirely gluten free. What better way to reduce the risk of cross contamination than leaving the gluten down the road! Here you can enjoy all the classics, including curry sauce, nuggets, sausages and even old favourites like pineapple rings. Just make sure you go to the right shop…
Also try: Kawaffle for customisable bubble waffles and Bonne Santé for cocktails and a wide range of gluten free dishes from around the world.
Bristol is fast becoming the food capital of the west, and seriously catering for dietary requirements along the way. From the street food containers at Wapping Wharf, all the way to the top end of Stokes Croft, you could very nearly say there’s a gluten free spot on every corner. As for my favourites – Loki Poke has my heart when I’m eating on the go. It serves delicious, fresh poke bowls that are completely customisable. The best part is that it uses gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce, which means everything is gluten free. Or, you could head next door to Cargo Cantina, where you can order incredible gluten free tacos (and margaritas) perfect for taking away. The Coconut Tree is another place with plenty of gluten free options, serving up tasty Sri Lankan food. The options are vast, the food is good and the menu is well-labelled, what more could you ask!
Also try: KIBOU Japanese Kitchen & Bar has been recommended to me many times, offering a range of Japanese food like yakitori, sushi platters, even Wagyu!
If there was a city with too much choice for gluten free folk, it would be Barcelona. You can find incredible vegan sushi at Roots & Rolls and safe and tasty Chinese food from Out of China.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, you can grab the set menu at En Ville, a completely gluten free restaurant specialising in Catalonian and French cuisine. It’s on the expensive side, but you can eat for less with its lunchtime set menu with a starter, main, and dessert for around €20.
But if there is one place you must go, it’s Jansana Gluten Free Bakery. A gorgeous shop, tucked away between residential buildings and teaming with gluten free bakes. From pretzels to croissants, empanadas to cakes, there’s nothing more exciting as a gluten free person than having too much choice. For the four days I stayed in Barcelona, I visited Jansana… 4 times.
Also try: Spain – It offers gluten free McDonalds!
When it comes to gluten free food – Italians gets it. It might be because they have more coeliacs than anywhere in the world, or because their traditional food is based entirely on gluten – whatever it is, Italy has seen a need to de-glutenize its meals and time, research, and love has been put into doing it incredibly well. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the capital city, Rome. Voglia di Pizza is a gluten free restaurant that serves freshly prepared pizza and pasta. I ordered capricciosa, topped with tomato, mozzarella, sausage, ham, egg, and artichokes. I could talk all day about the topping, but I would be remiss not to mention the pizza base – which blew my mind. That might sound like an exaggeration, but this was the first time I’d ordered pizza since my coeliac diagnosis that actually tasted like a pizza (rather than a warmed-up bit of cardboard). I saw the light!
If you’re in Rome in the summer, you’ll need gelato. Thankfully Grom, an Italian gluten free gelato chain, can be found in a few locations throughout the city. Here, you won’t have to worry about any pesky cross- contamination, or double dipped scoops, because everything, including the waffle cones are completely gluten free.
Also try: Le Altri Farine del Mulino, a gluten free bakery close to the Vatican and Celiachiamo, another local chain bakery that’s 100% gluten free.
Athens is reasonably new to the gluten free scene, but I had one of my favourite meals here last summer so I couldn’t leave it out. You’ll find the majority of the gluten free spots in the tourists zones, specifically
surrounding the Acropolis. Two places you must know about are Arcadia and Greek Stories. Both of these restaurants are run by the same family and located on the same boulevard, with one restaurant separating them. Arcadia serves plenty of traditional Greek dishes, with a menu full of stews, soups, moussaka, gyros and dolmadakia, many of which are available gluten free. When I was there, they also served me fresh, home-made gluten free focaccia with my meal, which was a lovely touch.
The sister restaurant, Greek stories, is 100% gluten free. Here, they serve souvlaki, fricassee, poke bowls, gyros and an assortment of meats from the grill. I encourage you to take the opportunity to try all the Greek classics that will be difficult to find outside of Athens. My personal favourite was the gyros, served with fries, tzatziki, and soft gluten free pitta.
Also try: Veganaki, a Mediterranean restaurant that’s gluten free and, you guessed it, vegan!