This is a quick guide to Gluten Free eating in London for those visiting the city for a few days.
It is not a complete list, merely a few restaurants with uncomplicated menus that are easy to find in central London. They are mainly chains with many restaurants so you will always be close to one.
The information is the same as in the previous post in Spanish.
I’d like to mention supermarkets first. Most of them (Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer) carry a selection of Free From foods, and it’s quite easy to find bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, biscuits, and various types of milk (soya, almond, rice). In general they tend to carry a large proportion of own brand products and some by the well loved brands (Genius, Newburn Bakehouse).
If you’d like to buy something a bit more special, the best shop is Whole Foods Market. One of its larger stores is in Piccadilly Circus, but there are a few around London, here is their website:
This chain of restaurants is serious about Gluten Free eating. From their regular menu you can choose any of their toppings, just need to ask for the gluten free base, and they are quite nice too.
They have a couple of choices for starters and desserts, all clearly labelled on their menu (available on their website). They also have Green Beer, which is gluten free and Aspall cider.
There are lots of restaurants around London and the UK, and I’ve eaten here many times, and I’ve never been ill afterwards.
This is a family run Italian restaurant. The owner is a coeliac, so we are in good hands!
All dishes on their menu have gluten/gluten free options, just that the gluten free ones are a bit more expensive.
Opening hours: 12 to 2.30pm and from 6pm to 11.30pm, closed on Saturday morning and Sundays.
It is close to Waterloo (5/10 minutes walk), just opposite Lambeth North tube station. They not only have pasta and pizza, they also have starters, meat and fish mains and a few desserts, tiramisu being my favourite. They even have gluten free bread rolls. I recommend it.
This Japanese style restaurant is quite popular, no need to book. There are lots of them and they are easy to find.
The main menu does not indicate which dishes have or not gluten, but in all their restaurants they have two very useful folders, you just need to ask their helpful staff when you arrive.
The first one is an allergy folder, listing all the dishes that contain a particular allergen and the second is a substitutions folder, suggesting which dishes from the main menu could be easily adapted to your requirements.
Be careful and do not use the soya sauce on the table.
In my experience the staff have always taken me seriously and have always been happy to answers any questions about ingredients.
They do have a dietary filter menu on their website, so you can check out your options before you go.
If you like noodles I’d recommend it, I’ve never been ill after eating here.
This Mexican style chain has many restaurants around London. There are no reservations; you might have to wait a bit. The one based in the Southbank (near Waterloo) is built with shipping containers, and has some fantastic views over the river.
They have a dedicated Gluten Free menu accessible on their website.
Like Leon, this restaurant offers nutritious and healthy food and information about allergies can be found on the menu itself.
There is a symbol for each of the following: superfood, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, wheat free, dairy free, gluten free, contains seeds, contains nuts
They have breakfast options, including gluten free toast made with Genius bread and shakes, salads, wraps and hot pods, their warm pots of deliciousness.
The ingredients used in all their dishes are super fresh from the market every morning.
Most Pods are located around the City / Holborn areas and generally open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, but some of the branches open even at 7am and some close at 4pm.
I can imagine the typical customer being someone who needs breakfast and/or lunch to go around work, but they also have seating space at all Pods if you prefer to eat in.
You can see opening times and the full menu on their website:
This is a Portuguese style chain with all dishes based on roasted chicken with piri piri sauce, and some sides like chips, salad, corn and so on. Very much like McDonalds but with roast chicken and no bun.
They do have allergy information in a folder behind the counter, and the best thing to do is what they recommend on their website, ask for the manager to check your gluten free order. I’ve eaten here a couple of times, always asked for the least spicy roast chicken with chips and salad and I’ve added some of the lemon and herbs sauce and I’ve never had a problem.
Obviously you have to avoid the burger, pitta and wraps...
This is the burger place most talked about by Gluten free eaters in London. The first and only restaurant for a long time is in Brixton, but there are now other branches around London, even one in Portobello road if you are visiting the market. They have buns with and without gluten. I haven’t been myself yet, but will have to get there soon...
The Soho restaurant is quite tiny so if you plan to visit this one, get there early and/or be prepared to wait.
GBK – Gourmet Burger Kitchen
These burger restaurants have just added a Gluten Free menu to their choices. It is so new that the menu is not yet available on their website (April 2014) although it will be soon.
I’ve got in touch with them by email and they’ve sent it to me.
It looks impressive, so many different burgers you can choose from, beef, lamb, chicken, vegetarian... Although there are no chips on the gluten free menu.
I hope these recommendations are useful for anyone visiting London, let me know ;)
All opinions my own.
** I have removed Leon from the list, as @celeberrima has found cross contamination in their rice here