contact February 7th, 2013
Annapurna, 1085 Bathurst Street (south of Dupont), Toronto, Ontario, M5R 3G8, 416.537.8513
Annapurna is a South Indian/Sri Lankan vegetarian restaurant inspired by Sri Chinmoy. Its specializes in Southern Indian poori-based vegetarian dishes, an amazing number of which are gluten-free. Annapurna is an economical and very casual restaurant that also offers take-out and catering. Masala Dosai, made of rice and lentil flours, is only $5.99. All milk ingredients are clearly indicated, and many of the dishes are dairy-free. The staff is able to provide accurate information about ingredients, and could even answer my question about cross-contamination of fried foods.
Biryani House, 25 Wellesley Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2S9 & 6 Roy’s Square, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 2Y2, 416.927.9340
Now Magazine says: “this hole in the wall has morphed into an almost classy boite dishing up some of the best Indian food south of the 401…and it’s still dirt cheap.” Biryani House has opened a new location just just off Yonge Street, at Wellesley, and has kept it Roy’s Square location. The food is really excellent, and I have been able to confirm ingredients with no trouble. In my experience, none of the curries contain any wheat. As usual, please ask.
Café Next Door, 790 Broadview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, 416.469.1971
Café Next Door is operated by Magic Over (see listing below). The owner informed me that the menu features vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and wheat-free options for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
Le Commensal, 655 Bay Street (at Elm Street), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2K4, 416.595.9364; fax 416.596.9365
Le Commensal is a pay-by-the-weight vegetarian restaurant in downtown Toronto. The menu promises no preservatives or additives, and dishes are labeled V (vegan), O (egg), and L (dairy). The wait staff has a list of gluten-free items, and happily walked me through the buffet to show me which dishes were gluten-free. Ingredients like wheat and dairy are also indicated on the back of the dish label. For eat-in buffet menu, take-out menu, Toronto.com editorial, and review click here.
Il Fornello (several Toronto and area locations)
Il Fornello offers selections from an Alternative Menu: gluten-free pasta, gluten-free pizza crust, and gluten-free bruschetta are available, but call ahead because selections differ at each location.
Fox and Fiddle, 535 Danforth Ave, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1P7, 416.462.9830; fax 416.462.3132
The Fox and Fiddle Pub used to be owned and operated by Dennis Hansen, a Celiac. They used to prepare a range of gluten-free items, such as chicken wings and fish and chips in a dedicated deep fryer. I am unsure about the status of the menu now that he is no longer the owner.
Fressen, 478 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2B2, 416.504.5127
Fressen offers a completely vegetarian cuisine sensitive to many food allergies and intolerances. Several GF menu items were available during my visit (I really should go back, ’cause it’s been a while). Please note that Fressen also serves the usual fair of gluten-laden items. Editorial profile and review at Toronto.com.
Indian Flavour, 595 Bay Street (at Dundas, in the Atrium on Bay), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2C2, 416.408.2799; fax 416.408.3651; cell 416.885.5080
As with the majority of Indian restaurants, most of the food is wheat-free and gluten-free. I have confirmed this on my visits. Indian Flavour uses no commercially-prepared sauces, and avoids MSG and other additives. The menu includes a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The most popular option is probably the lunch buffet, which offers a minimum of seven dishes. Toronto Life calls Indian Flavour ” Toronto’s most successful Indian self-serve.” ZagatSurvey gives praise for this restaurant’s “great vegetarian menu.”
Indian Rice Factory, 414 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1V9, 416.961.3472
The menu asks customers to advise wait staff of any allergies. Pakoras are made with 100% chick pea flour; Papadums are made with 100% lentil flour; no wheat products are present in any curry or sauce (please verify this information when you call the restaurant: you may also want to inquire about cross-contamination). The Factory has a small, but nice, patio out back. See Toronto.com for description or Tordine.com for a brief review.
Island Grill, 3434 Weston Road (at Finch), Toronto, Ontario, M9M 2W1, 416.742.9200
Thank you to Randy for telling me about the Island Grill, a Jamaican restaurant with several gluten-free dishes. Although some dishes contain wheat four, most of the beef, pork, chicken, and fish dishes are GF, and apparently quite good too. The restaurant is owned by Patrick Lyn.
Juice for Life (now called Fresh by Juice for Life) 336 Queen Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2A2, 416.599.4442; 894 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, 416-913-2720; 521 Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y4, 416.531.2635
Good for juice and shakes, but not so good for food. Juice for Life is a completely vegetarian juice bar with food counter. Milk and cheese products are clearly labeled, and the menu promises no hidden milk ingredients in any dishes. Unfortunately, most dishes–even Rice Bowls–contain wheat products (usually tamari or soy sauce). You can find a few gluten-free items, especially salads, but the choices are slim. The vast array of juices and shakes, however, may make Juice for Life useful. You may be able to make a special request for a rice bowl without the offending ingredients.
Kensington Natural Bakery, 460 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1X8, 416.534.1294
Kensington Natural Bakery (in business since 1980) is a pay-by-weight vegetarian cafe offering dishes free of sugar and preservatives. You may choose from a variety of pre-made dishes in the display case, which are then heated in a microwave. Many dishes are gluten-free. Almost everything would be gluten-free but for the presence of barley syrup or malt syrup (used as sugar substitutes) in many dishes. Despite this, there are several GF dishes to choose from. The cafe also specializes in dairy-free, wheat-free, and yeast-free baking, but keep in mind that none of its baked products are gluten-free. Freshly squeezed juices and herbal teas are also available.
Magic Oven (2 locations): 788 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2P7, 416.466.0111; and 127 Jefferson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3E4 416.539.0555, firstname.lastname@example.org
Described as the “best pizza this side of Italy” by the National Post, and among the city’s best by Toronto Life, Magic Oven offers a gluten-free rice flour pizza crust – now available by the slice. The restaurant also caters to other dietary requirements by offering a wheat-free (but not gluten-free) spelt crust, a yeast-free whole wheat crust, as well as dairy-free and organic cheeses. A large selection of vegetarian toppings are available. Magic Oven delivers to the Danforth, Riverdale, Cabbagetown, and Rosedale areas and to Liberty Village, Parkdale, Harbourfront, Downtown, Annex, and Roncesvalles from its Jefferson Ave location. See catering section, below, for Magical Catering.
Magic Oven has recently opened Café Next Door. See listing above for more details.
Megas Restaurant, 402 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1P3, 416.466.7771
This is a recommendation from Rod. He syas: “The Greek food is excellent and there are many gf choices as well as lactose free meals possible.” I haven’t been there yet.
Messis, 97 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1G4, 416.920.2186
Messis is located very close to the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. I have managed to get a gluten-free meal every time I have dined there. I doubt if there are ever any vegetarian gluten-free items, but you may want to check. See a brief description at Tordine.com.
Mong-Kut Thai, 596 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1R1, 416.463.2667; fax 416.463.2678
Mong-Kut, located in Greek Town, offers eat-in, take-out, and delivery. I have never visited this restaurant, but the owner has asked me to ad it to this page. If you dine there, please tell me about your experience. The website has a full menu.
New York Fries, various locations, including two in the Eaton Centre.
NYF is my emergency lunch (when I haven’t brought anything and I am rushed for time). According to Celiac Canada’s Fast Food Fries list, which includes some information on toppings, NYF are fine. I think the staff at the Eaton Centre’s north location is beginning to recognize me. A listing of Ontario locations is available here.
El Palenque, 653 St. Clair Avenue West (east of Christie), Toronto, Ontario M6C 1A7, 416.656.0725; fax 416.656.3757
El Palenque, a family-owned business, bills itself as an “Authentic Mexican Restaurant.” While the waitress was not familiar with Celiac Disease or gluten, she was able to confirm the ingredients of several dishes. Reservations are recommended, but just be sure not to accept a seat in the basement. Even if you are not afflicted from claustrophobia, you’ll run away screaming and agitated before you ever get to taste the food. (There is a second location, which I have never visited: 9 Milvan Avenue (Weston Road and Finch), Toronto, 416-740-9718). Now has a lengthy review. See my recent (short) post on my blog about this place.
Royal Thai Garden Restaurant, 524 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y3, 416.536.6868
I have ordered from this restaurant many times, usually when we are too tired to cook. Verifying ingredients may be a challenge, depending on when you call and if the person who answers speaks English well-enough. If you can get “no wheat” written on your order, you should be fine. You may get a better explanation while dining in, but I haven’t done that in a very long time. A brief review is available here.
Salad King, 335 Yonge Street (entrance off Gould), Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1R7, 416.971.7041, email@example.com
This Thai restaurant is a frantically busy operation, because it sits on the fringe of the Ryerson University Campus, and is close to Yonge & Dundas, Toronto’s busiest intersection. Salad King recently renovated, so it is no longer quite so loud and uncomfortable. I include it because I can see it from my office window Both the menu and a large red sign at the cash ask customers to alert staff to any food allergies. In my experience, the staff are aware of ingredients and can make recommendations. If you want to talk to the chef, you would be advised to go as early as possible, or wait for the small drop in traffic after lunch and before the evening students descend. You might want to read my recent entry on the blog about Thai food.
Swiss Chalet, (various locations: try SW’s Restaurant Locator), 1.800.860.4082
Swiss Chalet operates more than 180 restaurants in Canada and selected parts of the USA. The menu focuses on rotisserie chicken, but other dishes are available. Please read the Allergy Information fact sheet before dining. The allergy information seems comprehensive (it includes nuts, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat & glutens, sesame, and sulphites) but you may want to make further inquires when you arrive.
Tiger Lily’s Noodle House, 257 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1Z4, 416.977.5499
Tiger Lily’s is located on the east end of the trendy Queen Street West area, a few steps from the City-tv headquarters. The restaurant is able to make most of its dishes GF by substituting rice noodles and GF Tamari. When I visited, the wait staff serving my table was friendly and knowledgeable about gluten. Eye has a short review. Here is another short review.
Town Grill, 243 Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5A 2L2, 416.963.9433; fax 416.963.9303
As reported in the March 2002 issue of the Gluten-Free Press (newsletter of the Canadian Celiac Association’s Toronto Chapter), David McGann, chef of the Town Grill, spoke about the difficulties in preparing GF meals and some important issues in food preparation that we should be aware of. The good news is that he is eager to serve Celiacs and welcomes us at his restaurant–called one of the best in Toronto, by Cabbagetown Corners
El Trompo, 277A Augusta Avenue (at Oxford), Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2L4, 416-260-0097
Hilary recommended this Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market. Now recently gave this restaurant three Ns (out of five), saying that it “pumps out first-rate southern Mexican street food without the Tex-Mex watering-down.”
Toronto has dozens of Japanese restaurants. I have only listed the two that I am most familiar with. Your best strategy is to follow the advice on Japanese restaurants in Jax Peters Lowell book, Against the Grain. For those requiring more information, I recommend that you read this extremely interesting posting on the Celiac Listserv regarding Sushi and gluten. There are probably better Japanese restaurants in Toronto, but I haven’t visited them yet.
Dr. Sushi, 26 Roy’s Square (Yonge & Bloor), M4Y 2W2, 416.929.3435; fax 416.929.9262
Dr Sushi is a tiny hole-in-the-wall near the busy corner of Yonge & Bloor. This place is small and unattractive, but the food is good, and it is close to where I work. In the summer, you can find a table in Roy’s Square. Dr. Sushi also delivers. As you know, bring your own wheat-free soy or tamari sauce.
Sushi on Bloor, 515 Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y4, 416.516.3456
An extremely popular and very busy sushi restaurant in the Annex. A reservation is recommended (update: they have just expanded and opened up the second floor). Delivery is available. Sushi on Bloor offers a casual dining experience. If you sit at the back, you can watch the chefs prepare the food, and maybe even have a conversation with them. Read Toronto.com’s editorial and review.
Baskin-Robbins, (various locations around the city)
Publishes LifeStyles 2000 Consumer Information Guide, an eight panel pamphlet that addresses special diet needs and nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies. Baskin-Robbins claims to be the first Canadian retailer of ice cream, and other frozen desserts, to offer customers the Canadian Diabetes Association Food Choice Value symbols. Each product is labeled with an information strip containing important ingredient details. Wheat and gluten content is indicated along with egg, sulfites, nuts, lactose, etc. The symbol for wheat and gluten indicates the presence of “flour, wheat, oats, oatmeal, oat bran, graham, wheat germ, starch, malt and derived ingredients.” (Each BR location usually has one sorbet that is dairy-free & gluten free). An independent laboratory prepares all of the nutritional information. More information is available by calling 1.800.268.4923.
Dairy Queen, (various locations; try DQ’s store locator); contact address in Canada is: 905 Century Drive, Burlington, Ontario,
L7L 5J8, 905.639.1492
DQ has an allergy information page, including a short page about gluten in its products. It is probably wise to discuss ingredients in your local franchise.
The Big Carrot, Natural Food Market, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4K 1N8, 416.466.2129, fax 416.466.2366 (see retail store listings for description).
The Big Carrot can cater a gluten-free lunch or dinner buffet. A description is available on its catering page.
In Her Hands Vegetarian Cooking Service, 416.696.6566; firstname.lastname@example.org
Prepares low fat, low salt foods free of peanuts, eggs, dairy, gluten and vinegar.
Just Eat It Vegetarian Cooking Service, 905.881.9463
Provides low fat meals that can be vegan and gluten-free.
Kilgour’s Party Platters, 220 Industrial Parkway South, Aurora, Ontario, L4G 3V6, 905.751.1455; fax 905.713.1715; email@example.com
This company will cater all kinds of parties and social gatherings. It offers standard party platters and can provide gluten-free platters as well. Visit their website for lots more information.
Kosher, Naturally, 905.770.0646; fax 905.770.3623; firstname.lastname@example.org
All dishes are dairy-free, nut-free, kosher, and mostly organic. They can accommodate special diets for those with allergies or food sensitivities. I am unsure if this includes gluten-free.
Magical Catering, 788 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2P7, 416.466.0111, email@example.com
From the Magic Oven people, this catering service can supply “organic foods, gluten or wheat free foods, vegan or religious requirements.”
Vegan Delights, 416.491.6781
Makes baked vegan food with no hydrogenated fats or refined sugars. Many items are wheat free, but I am not sure if this means gluten-free.
Wholly Macro Food, 416.463.1467
Prepares organic vegan meals. Wholly Macro is sensitive to allergies and food intolerances.