Your social life definitely takes a hit when you join the fight against gluten — and so does your wallet. On the brighter side, you acquire some mad dining skills because making substitutions, eliminations, and alterations just comes with the territory. But… you soon tire of the task.
Luckily, the extra workload of the gluten-free is being delegated as we speak, and Vancouver’s restaurants are jumping to the task. Vancity knows the battle you face and invites you to beat your gluten-free woes and chow down. Here’s the best gluten-free restaurants in Vancouver.
Commercial Dr. is known for its character and international flare, and Bandidas does not contest it. Corn prevails over wheat at this little East Side taqueria. And, the Mexican-inspired, vegetarian menu boasts enough flavour and excitement that wheat-lovers will beg to dine with you. Eggs benny on housemade corn bread muffins and roasted yams, anyone? Yes, please. Fitt Tip: on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you can find the Bandidas food truck downtown on West Georgia, and on most Tuesdays, catch them at Emily Carr University.
Gluten-free gets gourmet at this Yaletown pizza nook. Handcrafted pies get stone-baked to perfection and taste even better when paired with one of the bar’s elegantly-twisted cocktails. The well-loved “GF” option is listed on every single pizza (and almost every other item on the menu). Enjoy an evening by candlelight in a tufted booth while a live DJ plays tunes in the background; if you’re going to eat pizza, you may as well do it in style.
Iki Japanese Bistro
The quest for sushi ends here. Iki is a Kitsilano jewel known for brown rice sushi rolls and rice noodle soups. Gyoza, tempura, soy sauce — check! A sign on the door even asks Iki fans not to bring in any wheat-infested items (take that, gluten-free haters). And, just when you thought your mind was already blown, this quaint little eatery also serves gluten-free beer. We bow in respect.
Anh and Chi
Get your collection of upscale, yet affordable, Vietnamese staples right in the heart of Main St. Vancouver’s pho fare is iconic for its rice noodles. And, contrary to your typical mom-and-pop pho shop, brother-and-sister duo Vincent and Amelie describe their award-winning hip hub as a vibrant and cultured place to eat, drink, and connect. That said, be forewarned: Instagram opportunities may interfere with conversation.
Chomp Vegan Eatery
Vegan food doesn’t suck, and Fraserhood’s Chomp proves it. Fresh, local, organic, and catering to all sensitivities, menu items here do not discriminate. Gluten-free omnivores, carnivores, and herbivores can choose from an array of healthy classics, comfort foods, snacks, and local artisan sweets. Following your gut is strongly encouraged here.
Waffle-deficient? Scandinavia brings Grandview-Woodlands its waffle creations with two of its four varieties being—wait for it—gluten-free! Plunder your waffle hunger for an extra toonie. But, if you decide not to, a brunch menu with gluten-free options is still to be had. Oh, and this just in, gluten-free doughnuts are made fresh daily.
The Gluten Free Epicurean
Pastries go so well with coffee, so don’t ditch it from your diet just yet. Embrace the epicurean in you (you live for good food) and make your way to this little Fraserhood bake shop for your custom gluten-free goodie bag. Choose from a smorgasbord of smoothies, pizzas, sandwiches, and sweet treats. Baking enthusiasts can even have at ’er with a selection of take-and-bakes, grain-free mixes, and baking classes to kick their gluten-free kitchen into full gear.
Ask for Luigi
Forget the pitfalls of pasta. Specializing in freshly-handmade pasta, this popular little Downtown Eastside Italian-inspired bistro ensures you gluten-free folk are covered. Dare the Squid Ink Conzetti or keep it seasonal with the warm Chestnut Gnocchi. Refined and family style are the services rendered and the typical toonie is added to the bill for the special request — a small price to pay for gluten-free goodness.
Fancy food without politics? Here’s another Main St. fave that is fit for every kind of foodie. Whether it’s brekkie with the bros, lunch with the gals, or dinner with a date, The Wallflower sets the mood just right for casual dining. This spot actually has an asterisk for the limited items that aren’t gluten-free because the rest of the menu (a fairly robust one at that) just kills it.
SMAK is setting the fast food world straight with its 100% gluten-free menu and zero-waste philosophy. The menu at both their W. Pender St. and Granville St. locations is a mecca for the gluten-intolerant (gut-wrenching ingredients don’t exist here). Go to town on the spicy avocado mash breakfast sandwich or snack on the Oceanwise Salmon SMAK Box. Here, you can dine out like it’s nobody’s business.
Put your hands together for The Acorn, one of the city’s best restaurants that just so happens to have a menu that’s almost entirely gluten-free. At this Main St. spot you can get house-made fettuccine pasta or their signature summer squash tart. And If brunch is your jam, they have a wicked selection of gluten-free options that you can chow down on. Dig into poached eggs with a cauliflower puree or a spinach and goat cheese omelette. One thing’s for sure — this spot makes eating gluten-free a cinch.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co
Don’t let being gluten-free stop you from indulging in a slice of pizza (or two, or three). This pizzeria in Kitsilano and on Main St. serves up a variety of options from sundried tomato and tomato basil to Genoa salami and pesto shrimp. The best part is you can make any pizza gluten-free for just three to four bucks. It’s a small price to pay for their pies — take our word for it.
Gluten-free eaters, rejoice. You can now find popular vegetarian joint Meet on Main in Gastown and Yaletown, too. And with a wide range of veggie delights that can be made vegan or gluten-free, it’s easy to see why this place is such a hit. Their menu is full of delicious burgers and comforting bowls that’ll satisfy all your sans gluten needs. Try their Butter Chikkin or classic Mac n’ Cheez Bowl for homestyle dishes with a gluten-free twist.
Aphrodite’s Café & Pie Shop
Dreaming of pie but can’t have gluten? You’re in luck. Stop by the Pie Shop on West 4th Ave. for pumpkin or chocolate pecan pie that’s completely gluten-free. If another flavour catches your eye (like strawberry rhubarb, apple, or cherry), you can request to have it made with a gluten-free or vegan crust. Now, you don’t have to skip out on dessert — it’s officially time to treat yourself!
If you’re looking for new gluten-free spots in the city, then you’ll need to add this gem to your list ASAP. Get your fill of Lebanese cuisine at this adorable eatery’s four locations (and hopefully more to come) around the city. Gluten-free options include their crispy cauliflower, falafel, Vegan Stew, and a Beef Sirloin Kebab — just to name a few.
**Updated by Meagan Gill, August 2018