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10 places to eat gluten free in CBR

Melita Simmonds

I am coeliac. No, it’s not a passing fad diet. No, I am not choosing to eat “ThePaleo Way”; I am allergic to gluten. So finding cafes and restaurants around Canberra with true gluten free options is essential.

Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. I think most people realise that gluten is found in many flours, breads and pasta; however, it is also an ingredient in many sauces, lollies, gravies and so. If I eat just two breadcrumbs, I become extremely sick. Scroll to the bottom of this article for a crash course in just why providing gluten free options is so important for restaurants – and not just a ‘trendy’ thing to do.

But for now, here are 10 of my favourite local restaurants and cafes with legit gluten free options for you try…

C Dine Bar, {Kingston Foreshore}

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My fiancé and I ate here for the first time recently for lunch, and it won’t be our last. It was amazing. I knew I was in good hands when the waitress was so well versed in gluten free, and explained that their kitchen was set up so cross contamination would be avoided! WOW! She knew about cross contamination! We will be back – some of the best prawns I’ve ever eaten and the dish reminded me of how dill can make or break a seafood dish. Beautiful!

The essentials
Where: Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore
When: Lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Friday; breakfast, lunch and dinner, Saturdays; breakfast and lunch, Sundays.
Phone: 6239 5299
Web: cdinebar.com.au

Paleo Perfection, {Kingston Foreshore}

paleo-perfection

I love this store. I rarely have time to eat in, but it’s great to pop past and grab some options to keep on hand for breakfast, lunch and for morning and afternoon tea. I love the Caveman Bars – serious addiction! Great quiches, and Anzac biscuits – yes – gluten free Anzac biscuits!

The essentials
Where: Trevellian Quay, Kingston Foreshore
When: 6.30am-3pm Monday to Friday; 6.30am-2pm Saturday; and 8am-2pm Sunday.
Phone: 0403 085 279
Web: www.paleoperfection.id.au

The Ridge Restaurant, {Farrer}

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The entire menu is gluten free—all entrees, mains and desserts. It’s coeliac heaven! The restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday and it often books out, so you need to make a booking. Plus it’s also a BYO restaurant. The menu changes seasonally with dishes the more adventurous diners as well as those who like to play it safe. You must save room for dessert as the Coupé is unbelievably good!

The essentials
Where: Farrer Shops — Farrer Place, Farrer
When: Wednesday to Saturday
Phone: 6286 8088

Versatile Restaurant, {Gold Creek}

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I have eaten here a few times, either at the restaurant or at a wedding (the same space is called Functions at Federation). On all occasions, I’ve been impressed with the knowledge of gluten free meals and the caring of the chefs for their customers. I love going to Versatile as I am confident I won’t get sick, and I am also confident the meals will taste fantastic. My recommendation is to book in advance as this restaurant is so popular!

The essentials
Where: Gold Creek Village, Gold Creek
When: From 6pm Wednesday to Saturday
Phone: 6230 9333
Web: www.facebook.com/Versatilerestaurant

Green Herring Restaurant, {Gold Creek}

GreenHerring

Another great restaurant in Gold Creek for coeliacs. I was quite surprised by the number of mains that I could order, and even more so by the desserts. Gluten free dessert is so hard to find, and great gluten free dessert is even more difficult. And although one of my bugbears is that chefs regularly seem to fall back on steak or salmon as gluten free dishes, my fiancé and I ordered these dishes and they were amazing! The dessert was even better.

The essentials
Where: Federation Square, O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls
When: From 6pm Tuesday to Saturday
Phone: 6230 2657
Web: www.thegreenherring.com.au

Walsh’s Hotel, {Queanbeyan}

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Yep, one of the pubs in the main street of Queanbeyan! Michael, the chef, cooks the best gluten free Surf ‘n’ Turf that you will ever have! A lovely steak with half a soft shell crab, prawns, mussels, and calamari. If you tell the lovely waitress that you are gluten free the chef will use a gluten free crumb for the seafood and separately pan fry it too. This meal also comes with a side of green vegies with a wonderful gluten free asian style sauce over the vegetables.

The essentials
Where: Monaro Street, Queanbeyan
When: Lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Phone: 6297 1001
Web: walshshotel.com.au

Punjabi Hut, {Queanbeyan}

Punjabi

Simply the BEST Butter Chicken you will ever have! The great thing about almost all Indian meals is that it’s based on chickpea flour – which is naturally gluten free. All of the main meals are gluten free, and roughly half of the entrees are gluten free as well. The restaurant is a BYO. The service is attentive.

The essentials
Where: Crawford Street, Queanbeyan
When: Lunch 12pm-2pm Thursday & Friday; Dinner 5pm-10pm Sunday through to Saturday
Phone: 6297 2717
Web: www.punjabihut.com.au

Plumb on Tennant, {Fyshwick}

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This place has the most gorgeous Banana and Cinnamon cupcake with a Cream Cheese frosting with a Caramel sauce over the top – memorable as it is so different to the “usual” gluten free options of Orange and Poppyseed Cake and/or Gluten free Chocolate Brownie.

The essentials
Where: Tennant Street, Fyshwick
When: 7.30am-4pm Monday to Friday; 8am-1pm Saturday
Phone: 6280 6141
Web: www.plumbontennant.com.au

Ricardos, {Jamison}

GFCafesFeature2Ric

WOW! Here’s a fantastic café for coeliacs – great breakfast and lunch options, and the desserts and cakes are to die for! They taste as good as they look – and they look like art! I was so excited the first time I visited I took photos of the Cake Cabinets – yes, plural – two of them!

The essentials
Where: Jamison Plaza, Jamison
When: 7.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday; 7.30am-4pm Saturday and Sunday
Phone: 6251 2666
Web: ricardoscafe.com

Deeks Health Food, {Pearce}

deeks

Everything here is gluten free so you can eat in for a spot of lunch, morning tea or afternoon tea plus you can buy tasty bread, pies, cakes and goodies to take home with you.

The essentials
Where: Pearce Shops – Hodgson Crescent, Pearce
When: 9am-4.30pm Monday to Friday; 9am-3pm Saturday
Phone: 6162 0149
Web: www.deeks.com.au

Want more gluten free options?

Check out these articles from the archives:

Five gluten-free friendly places to eat plus a few more

Gluten free in The Can

A note about this article

When I was asked to write a piece on where to eat gluten-free in Canberra, my mind began to race. WOW! I could pick my favourite restaurants, write up a lovely piece about them and in return support the cafes that are kind enough to accommodate coeliacs, those with gluten intolerances and those who simply prefer a different way of eating without becoming sick afterwards.

However, I really don’t have enough knowledge of the whole of Canberra and tend to stick to my favourite regular restaurants. So I decided to try a few new ones to get a sense of the bigger picture.

What happened throughout my experience was either pretty scary or pretty uninspiring and got me thinking that – as well as selecting a few faves – I had a duty to express my views to local restaurants. To further explain—the “pretty scary” was how sick I became after eating at certain restaurants who assured me they could cater for gluten free, and who promised that my meal was gluten free. The latest “gluten free” meal that I was served, (that wasn’t actually gluten free at all), made be sick for three days!

I beg—PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE—if you own, or cook in, a restaurant or café in Canberra then please read this article. If I could plead to every restaurant and café in Canberra I would ask—could you please provide at least three different meal choices that are gluten free; that you can guarantee are gluten free!

Please prepare meals in a gluten free environment. What do I mean by that?

If you fry foods containing gluten in a deep fryer and then you fry gluten free foods in the same fryer, they are no longer gluten free due to cross contamination.

If you have a cake display cabinet—are the gluten free cakes on the top shelf? If not, the gluten cake crumbs can fall onto the gluten free cakes, causing cross contamination again.

Do you use separate tongs for the gluten free cakes?

Do I sound like I’m being a pain yet?

If I am—I am really sorry. But I’m not alone. To explain—every time my fiance suggests we try a new restaurant, I almost have an anxiety attack! Do I have anything on tomorrow? Do I need to be anywhere? Can I afford to be sick tomorrow?

These are the thoughts that race through my head!

I was perfectly normal until seven years ago. I ate gluten like everyone else until we figured out what was making me so sick. I still remember what great regular food tastes like and gosh I miss it!

I am that girl in the restaurant, who doesn’t want to be a nuisance, but will ask politely for the gluten free options. I am that customer who will choose something, even if she isn’t going to enjoy it, because her family wants to try your restaurant.

So PLEASE do your gluten free diners a service—offer at least three gluten free choices to your customers. By ‘choices’ I don’t mean the ‘choice’ I had when I last dined out—salmon or steak, with chips but without salt (as the anti-caking agent in the salt the restaurant uses contains gluten), with salad but without dressing (as the dressing contains gluten).

For any chef that wants to say that this is a gluten free option—you eat it—and eat it three times a week and tell me that going out for dinner is enjoyable! My fiance and I cook better meals at home—so why am I paying to go out for dinner to be offered such limited meal options? Coeliacs are tired of steak and salmon as THE gluten free option, with chips and salad without dressing.

If you want coeliacs to eat in your restaurant—yes please, absolutely, provide us with a guaranteed gluten free meal, and yes steak and salmon are acceptable options, but could you please try something else as well? Could you please buy a $3 bottle of gluten free salad dressing from your local supermarket and offer us that! I love salad but please offer us fresh salad with dressing.

And for your third option—please surprise us! Anything except salmon or steak, and trust me, we’ll be surprised and delighted!

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in this article is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

Melita Simmonds

Melita Simmonds is the owner of Invitations by Melita, an invitation store in Fyshwick specialising in weddings. Melita and her fiance Darren, also owns the Fyshwick Newsagency. She loves spending time with her fiancé and their two great kids. Melita is passionate about retail and customer service. She loves to cook (and eat) tasty gluten free meals. More about the Author

  • neridagill

    Eighty/Twenty in Braddon is also a great gluten free place.

  • adi

    OX Eatery – Our menu is about 90% gluten free 😊

  • Rebecca

    Ramas Fiji Indian in Pearce and Poachers Pantry are also great for those with Coeliacs.

  • Peta Mercieca Lima

    Great article, would disagree with being allergic to gluten part though, that is not accurate for a coeliac. I will be trying a few more places now. Thank you again. I’m always stuck for ideas of where to eat out.

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