Coeliac friendly eateries in Melbourne's Inner Suburbs
October 4, 2016
From Brunswick to Port Melbourne, Camberwell and Prahran – If the city isn’t too far from you – neither will be these eateries.
At the time of writing, all the listed venues could cater for coeliac requirements, however, when visiting them, it's still important to stress you have coeliac disease and verify they still can cater to your needs. Unfortunately, menus, owners, staff and protocols change, so it's always important to ask the questions and use your judgement. If you believe I've missed somewhere great, or included somewhere awful, let me know! I want this list to stay up-to-date with the best coeliac friendly establishments and that's only possible with your help (my belly and budget can only go so far).
If you're only interested in 100% GF restaurants in Melbourne, we've got a list of them too.
Veggie bar 380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065 vegiebar.com.au
For 20 years, Vegie Bar has been serving up steamed greens to the folks of Fitzroy, and has built up a very good reputation. Wholesome, nutritious, vegetarian food that tastes really really good. Even your most carnivorous of friends will leave satisfied (trust me, I’ve done the leg work, dinner with two Greek and Italian girls, brought up almost solely on lamb and salami by Nonna- if they loved it, anyone will). Huge portions for extremely reasonable prices, there is a reason this is one of Melbourne's most loved vegetarian hangouts. Vegetarians are part of the fussy eating family and therefore understand the needs of us poor coeliac's and are very allergy aware. Considering the wholefood focus of their menu, the majority of the dishes are naturally gluten free anyway! Gado gado, original satay stir-fry and the chocoholics dream cake are my three favourites and are pictured. If you want to leave dinner feeling full but still fab, and with a few bucks still in your wallet, Vegie Bar is the venue for you.
181 Victoria Ave, Albert Park VIC 3206 www.foddies.com/
This place is AMAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!!! It takes its name from the FODMAP diet which it specialises in catering for. It's also fantastic at catering for any dietary requirement - coeliac disease included. The menu is extensive, the food is delicious, the staff are extremely helpful and well-versed in various dietary limitations and their respective needs. This is one of my go to cafes, particularly if I'm dining with others with fussy tummies - it's a one-stop shop where we can all enjoy our meals without fear or repercussions. Just look at the pancakes!
Natural, raw, vegan and sustainable are some of those nutritional buzz words that get thrown around alot in food media and resturant culture at the moment, but Yong Green Food has been green since the beginning (hence the name). Their mantra is focused on giving back to the environment, and the chinese health philosophy of ying and yang. Basically balance. Eat something sweet, eat something salty, take from the land, replant in the soil. A really organic, positive and eco-friendly approach to food which creates a really unique vibe inside the restaurant. Everyone is calm, nourished and you can just tell they all have a vegie patch at home in their back yards. They really practice what they preach which makes the whole experience so special. I went with a friend and together we devoured the feast above, from L-R: Nachos! A far cry from the greasy, cheese coated, deep fried messes I was served up in the States, instead some wholesome crackers, homemade dips and tahini yoghurt. In the centre were the two raw cakes- one raspberry coconut, the other chocolate heaven (pretty sure that wasn't the name but it was pretty darn tasty) and finally, on the right, my rawsagna- basically a vegie stack layered with cashew nut cheese and walnut "bolognaise". Despite the extremely healthy look, and ingredients, it did taste rather like a crunchy lasagne. Health enthusiasts, and foodies alike, get to Yong's for and rebalance your zen.
My poorly lit photos may give a little clue as to the type of venue which holds this hawker-esque Asian tapas haven. Not sure? Here's another clue. It's Chapel St nightclub, Revolver, which transforms into a funky resturant before the late night antics begin. But don't let the setting fool you, the food is incredible! They have a seperate gluten free menu, awesome staff, and good knowledge of coeliac needs. If you aren't sold yet, they hold an impressive 97% rating on Zomato after more than 3,000 reviews. You simply can't disagree with that. Bookings are essential.
Ladro 162 Greville Street PRAHRAN ladro.com.au
As a food enthusiast and self-confessed instagram addict, a serious portion of my time is spent scrolling through food accounts, particularly fellow gluten free ones. The number of times I stumbled across “Ladro” was ridiculous, and it looked good too. Crispy thin homemade bases, not store bought, defrosted, 2-inch-thick bricks, which chefs would be horrified to serve any normal patron, but for a fussy gluten free fad dieter, will suffice.
Thankfully this uninformed attitude was nowhere to be seen at Ladro. Instead, kind knowledgeable staff who understand cross contamination issues and coeliac requirements. I was treated like a not-fussy food loving diner who unfortunately happened to have a serious dietary requirement, which funnily enough is all we coeliac’s ever want to be treated. No fanfare, no fuss, just a good tasting meal without the worry.
This pizza was thin and stretchy with an almost roti bread like texture. I opted for a simple italiano style of toppings: rich tomato base, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, capers, and piles of YUM. If you love pizza (or roti bread) you simply must pay the lovely folk at Ladro a visit. And for all you folks floating on the over side of the river, no need to fret, there’s another location at 224A Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
Blink and you’ll miss this café. But try not to – it’s really good. What looks more like a brick wall adjacent to a carpark is actually this funky vegan eatery which has amazing coffee and an almost 100% GF menu. The staff are very helpful and happy to talk about coeliac needs – try the apple pancakes – they’re also vegan and lip-smacking good! Occasionally, this café hosts Friday night dinners which are 100% GF so keep your eyes and ears peeled – they are great evenings.
Hooked Fish and Chipper
384 Brunswick St, 172 Chapel St & 669 Glenferrie Rd
Fish and chips is that guilty luxury we all love to indulge in occasionally, but the constant problem is the consequence of this treat. That heavy sick feeling after shovelling down half a kilo of fatty fried chips and battered fish is most likely the only reason fish and chips is a “sometimes” food.
Imagine a world where you could still get your fish and chips without that heavy feeling. And even better, one where coeliac’s can get their fix of crunchy battered fish, crispy chips and no worries of cross contamination – thanks to a dedicated GF fryer. This, my friends, is no fantasy, it’s fish and chips from Hook’d, where everything bar vegie burgers can be made gluten free. You can get your seafood battered, or grilled, you can get chips, or rice and Asian greens, you can go healthy or cheeky, and leave as happy as a fisherman after a full catch.
Various locations state wide
Grill'd is an interesting one - some outlets I've been too go above and beyond to make a coeliac safe meal, others not so much. How can you tell if your local store is a winner? Either take toaster bags and ask them to toast the GF bun in them OR ask them to toast the GF bun on the grill. If they won't do either - they aren't a good store and turn away now. Gluten free buns aren't gluten free after being contaminated in a normal toaster. Most stores, however, will happily keep the GF bread safe for you. If that's the case, then ask if staff can change their gloves and use new sauces - double dipping means they may be crumb filled. Some stores will also ask when you first order if you're allergic to gluten or its just a choice - this is another great indicator they're educated and ready to help you stay safe. Best part is there three chip varieties - potato, sweet potato and zucchini are all gluten free.
Guzman y Gomez
This Mexican chain is new to Melbourne, which is great news for us coeliac's. It's largely gluten free with a clearly marked GF menu, just ask staff for the allergen menu to ensure you're selecting gluten free safe options. All reports say this venue is pretty safe for coeliacs, but as with any chain, experiences may vary between outlets - always ask the relevant questions and judge their knowledge of coeliac needs before committing to ordering.
Saigon Sally 2 Duke St, Windsor VIC 3181 saigonsally.com.au
This Vietnamese-inspired restaurant is perfect for special occasions. It's classy, the food is INCREDIBLE and the pastry chef is a coelaic which means the kitchen is well-versed in coeliac requirements AND all the desserts are gluten free! The menu has clearly marked GF options and if you advised the staff you haev coeliac disease they will let the chefs know to take the necessary precautions. The chicken coleslaw salad, beef cheek curry and any of the desserts are absolute musts! Sorry for the absence of photos, but the dim lighting in this setting doens't do the food any justice. You'll just have to take my word for it, yum yum YUM!
Various locations https://tacobill.com.au/
This Mexican chain is accredited by the Coeliac Society of Victoria which is always a great indicator of their knowledge. Mexican cuisine naturally favours us coeliacs as it favours corn as its staple grain, however, the staff at Taco Bill will ensure meals are GF and coeliac friendly if you advise them of your needs. Cheap, tasty and an easy feed - this is my go to for group dining at late notice. Something that'll satisfy everyone, including us!
746 Main St, Eltham, Victoria 3095
Eltham Hotel is a great place to dine if you're gluten free. The head chef is a coeliac so the kitchen knows how to cater for us. While GF dishes are marked on the menu, the friendly staff are happy to make ANY meal gluten free. Fructose and lactose intolerances are also marked on the menu, so as always, just speak to staff about your requirements when placing your order. The menu offers a wide range of gluten free dishes including kid-friendly options.
Various locations in Melbourne
Just like it's classier big brother, this George Colombaris-run eatery offers up gluten free bread for its souvlaki's and most staff are well-versed in coeliac requirements. It was actually thanks to a young (perhaps 16 year old) male staff member that alerted me before I could even ask that the chips weren't suitable as a coeliac because they had started frying other gluten-filled goodies in the fryer, meaning the chips were cross contaminated. Although it was a bugger because I had enjoyed the chips in the past, it was great that such a young staff member was aware of this. As you can see from the photo all GF wraps are clearly marked to avoid the confusion, and while I keep forgetting to ask which GF wraps they use - they are quite tasty!
I'll admit I haven't yet ventured to this eatery but it's very high up my to visit list. Why, you may ask? GLUTEN FREE NAAN BREAD - THAT'S WHY!!! Plus their website gives me great confidence: "We understand the stress that faces you when you need to make sure Gluten is not used for any of the dishes that you order. We understand this and are able to cater, just let us know when ordering, we even have gluten free Naan bread - try it you will be amazed." So just mention you have coeliac disease and from this claim and from reviews from many gluten free friends - you won't be disappointed.
Red Door Yum Cha 1 Mcilwrick St, Windsor VIC 3181 www.reddooryumcha.com/
As many of you know, Chinese food is typically off limits for coeliac disease. There's oyster and soy sauces everywhere, not to mention the dumplings and battered meats, and I've often faced language barriers when attempting to convey my needs. But this wasn't the case at Red Door - in fact, they had an entirely GF menu and the staff were fantastic about alleviating any of my concerns and reiterating that each dish was gluten free when it was brought to the table. I enjoyed dumplings for the first time in about 10 years, as well as a delicious beef dish and Asian Greens. Very cute decor as it also doubles as an antiques store. This little gem is tucked just off the side of Chapel St.
8D House Dumplings 1369 Toorak Road, Camberwell http://www.8dhouse.com.au/
After a decade of no dumplings, suddenly they are back in my life! And it's very welcome. This restaurant is fantastic as all of their dumpling pastry is GF - and according to my co-diners who love normal gluten dumplings - they taste just as good. Just be mindful that not all of the fillings are gluten free. However, the GF options are all clearly marked both on the online menu and in-store. Staff are also happy to help and presented me with my own GF soy sauce when I mentioned coeliac disease. Ahhhh, it's the little things right?
Theo’s Fish and Chips 165 Upper Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe, Victoria 3079
The best part about this fish and chippery is that all the batter is gluten free - so we can have battered fish and chips any time, with no concerns of cross contamination. Literally the only gluten containing thing in this establishment is the hamburger buns. So that means delights like potato cakes and salt and pepper calamari are also on our menu. To top it off, they've recently extended their offering to include GF hotdogs (in GF rolls) and GF cheesecake for dessert! It's worth noting this is predominately a takeaway outlet, although there are a few tables.