This post was written by Maya, one of our community members. Maya is a gluten-free foodie who lives in Toronto. You can follow her on Instagram here.
With an evolving food scene, Toronto combines values from the old and the new. While incorporating the classic poutine that all Canadians love, Toronto has opened its arms to all ethnicities and cultures and that shows in its diverse food. Toronto is a multicultural city and the food scene is simply a reflection of that. Whether you are strolling down by the waterfront or travelling your way up Yonge Street, you can experience so much and taste so many different flavours. As a growing and changing city, Toronto is actively adapting a strong gluten free restaurant culture. This evolution is driven by the large community of gluten free advocates and supporters and I feel confident that this network of advocates will continue to move the needle, pushing for more gluten-friendly restaurants to take root in this thriving city. Stay tuned for Toronto’s exciting next steps and follow my journey @celiac.toronto.
El Pocho Antojitos Bar
Location: 2 Follis Ave, Toronto, ON
Tested: Tacos De Pescado and Carne Asada Pocho Fries
Results: All smiles!!
Notes: El Pocho is a cozy, Mexican-Californian inspired restaurant serving flavourful dishes meant for sharing. The menu is 100% gluten free and 100% delicious! There are so many highlights and I have tried many things, but no matter what you order, you must save room for churros! I had never tried churros before finding this restaurant and trust me, they are to die for. Eating at a restaurant that cares so much about the quality of food and safety is really refreshing and makes for a very nice, care-free meal.
Location: 100 Harbord St, Toronto, ON
Tested: Strawberry Milkshake Cupcake and Chocolate Chunk Cookie
Results: One big smiley face!
Notes: Almond Butterfly is a 100% gluten free cafe and bakeshop with many vegan and paleo options.Their dedication to making safe gluten free treats while trying to maintain a non-gluten free taste goes a long way. You may be tempted to visit for their desserts alone but you should definitely give their sandwiches a try.
Location: 545 King St W, Toronto, ON
Tested: Burrata, Gluten Free Paneto, and Doppio Margherita
Results: One smile and two unfortunate stalks of wheat
Notes: I was very excited to make a trip down to Pizzeria Libretto. Their focus is on quality ingredients, locality, and an experience to remember. Their website states that they can accommodate every diet including, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian, and vegan. While all of their location offer gluten free pizzas, only their King Street location has a dedicated pizza oven. While my salad was safe and delicious, my pizza unfortunately was not. For those people who are gluten intolerant and are not affected by cross contamination, I have been told that their pizza crust is one of the best, however I will have to continue my search for a Celiac-safe restaurant pizza.
Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles
Location: 527 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON
Tested: The Up North Trip
Results: Very happy face!
Notes: Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles has become a classic go-to dinner option for my family. They have a great understanding of cross-contamination and are extremely cautious. All of the chicken made in house is coated in their signature gluten free flour blend so there is no gluten in the fryer. They are a reliable outlet for delicious gluten free food that I didn’t know I was missing before.
Insomnia Restaurant & Lounge
Location: 563 Bloor Street West Toronto , ON
Tested: Avocado Smoked Chicken Sandwich, Arugula Salad with Grilled chicken breast, and Hand cut fries with garlic aioli
Results: Two happy faces, and a gluten found
Notes: Insomnia strives for great food and service and they don’t disappoint. Upon ordering, I mentioned cross-contamination and the waitress asked about whether or not I had Celiac Disease. The staff have a great level of knowledge and care about keeping the meal gluten free. My sandwich and salad both tested safe, and the gluten free bread was actually soft and tasty! The waitress told us up front that the fries were made in a dedicated fryer but ultimately tested as containing gluten. It’s unclear whether the gluten came from the fries or the garlic aioli, tested together. I will definitely be going back and testing the fries on their own to get a more accurate reading.
Riz on Yonge
Location: 3321 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
Tested: Spider roll
Notes: Riz is reliable and extremely consistent. They truly care about the quality and safety of their food and customers. The owner and all of the staff know the severity of being Celiac and understand the precautions that need to be taken to ensure safe gluten free food. They are dedicated to making the finest quality gluten free Asian food and they have been certified with the Gluten Free Food Service Certification (GFFS) from the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG), and is Gluten-free verified by the Gluten-Free Food Program from the Canadian Celiac Association.
Off The Hook Fishbar
Location: 749 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON
Tested: Halibut battered in their gluten free batter with french fries
Results: All smiles!
Notes: Off The Hook is definitely a must visit. With my worries about fried foods, I was happily surprised by my safe and yummy gluten free fish and chips. Despite a limited menu, there are so many things that stuck out to me as a picky eater. All of the staff have a great level of knowledge and awareness and I was able to witness the kitchen staff taking precautions while cooking my gluten free food.
Cibo Wine Bar
Location: 2472 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
Tested: Caesar salad and Gigli pasta
Results: One happy face, one not so happy face
Notes: Cibo has a very wide variety of gluten free options. On their large menu, many items are indicated as being naturally gluten free. Upon ordering, the staff was very knowledgeable and were able to guide me through the menu with confidence. Despite an unfortunate appetizer, I had a safe and delicious main course pasta!
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