Buvette Brunch Masthead

17 gluten free friendly restaurants to try in Canberra

Natassja Hoogstad Hay

“Can you tell me what’s gluten free on the menu?”

This and the many questions that follow can take the fun out of dining out with an allergy, intolerance or diet-related dilemma. Luckily, Canberra has a whole host of restaurants that will happily cater for gluten free and other dietary needs (even if you interrogate the wait staff with twenty questions).

I’m an avid reader of food blogs and restaurant reviews, but I’m often left wondering, “could I eat there?”. While I understand that unless you have a dietary need these types of questions aren’t normally top of mind, I’ve rounded up my favourite go-to gluten free friendly dining spots in Canberra in a slightly epic list so you won’t be stuck wondering the same thing. Happy eating!

Weekend brunch

Nothing says weekend like brunch! The addition of gluten free bread can easily convert most brunch foods to GF. These are my picks for something a little more inventive than eggs on toast.

Local Press Café, Kingston Foreshore

Local Press Café produces whole foods and is an excellent healthy brunch spot. Local Press is famous for its beautifully presented plates, which have earned it the title of one of Canberra’s most Instagrammed locations.

Local Press

Local Press is famous for its colourful plates

The menu here is very flexible, and easily caters for gluten and dairy free diets. I love the salads here.

Local Press Café | By the water on the Kingston Foreshore | localpresscafe.com.au

A Baker, NewActon

Nestled in the heart of NewActon, A. Baker is a gorgeous spot for an outdoor weekend brunch underneath the trees.

Its menu is just as inviting, with a twist on your standard breakfast fare, with dishes like Poached eggs, seared zucchini, fetta, dukkah, fried capers; and Local haloumi with snaps, peas, dark rye, harissa, sesame, lemon. The bread (including the GF variety) is all baked in-house.

A Baker | NewActon Pavilion 15 Edinburgh Ave | abaker.com.au

TwentyOne, NewActon  

TwentyOne does classic breakfasts with all the favourites – eggs benedict, omelettes and eggs any way you like. They even have a selection of gluten free bread to choose from: fruit, pumpkin, quinoa or multiseed.

TwentyOne

The amazing potato and beetroot roesti from TwentyOne

But, if there’s one highlight it’s hands-down the potato and beetroot rosti. It’s amazingly crispy and crunchy yet soft on the inside – the best way to eat breakfast potato. Breakfast is available until 11:45am on weekends if you want to try this amazing rosti.

TwentyOne | 1/21-23 Marus Clarke Street NewActon | facebook.com/TwentyOneCafeGroceries

Eighty/Twenty, Braddon

Eighty/Twenty’s philosophy follows the 80/20 rule: that if you eat healthy 80 per cent of the time, you can indulge for the other 20 per cent. The menu features all fresh, (mostly) healthy items, and is a picky eater’s dream. Gluten free, dairy free, and even paleo options are marked on the menu, so it’s easy to avoid any nasties that don’t agree with you.

Come for the Mexican quinoa or green nourish bowl, stay for the excellent coffee – coconut milk coffee might sound unusual, but trust me, the sweetness of the coconut milk is a perfect match for that slightly bitter coffee taste. Both the breakfast and lunch menu are customisable, with the option to add extras like salmon, avocado, bacon, or eggs to a dish.

Eighty/Twenty | 1/18 Lonsdale Street Braddon | eightytwentyfood.com.au

The Cupping Room, Civic  

I’m a long-time Cupping Room fan. They won me over early with their delicious coffee, epic milkshakes (by pre-Freakshake standards, anyway) and all day breakfast – every day, not just weekends. This is another café where most of the dishes can be made gluten free on request by swapping out bread or other elements.

Cupping Room

Gluten free chicken burger from Cupping Room

The menu, which changes seasonally, usually features a couple of burgers, which you can order on Deek’s bread. You can even enjoy the fries, cooked to crispy deliciousness in non gluten-contaminated oil (the minefield of GF dining!).

The Cupping Room | 1/18 University Avenue Civic | facebook.com/canberracuppingroom

Space Kitchen, Woden

You’ll recognise Space Kitchen (Read the HC review here) as the sister restaurant of Ricardo’s, Jamison. Although the menu is similarly inventive, it’s unique and well worth the trip Southside.

The all-day weekend menu features gluten free options galore, from breakfast fare (Polenta Waffles, $18.90, are on my list to try), salads (the Chicken Peach Salad with Nuoc Cham dressing, $18.90, sounds delish), burgers and gourmet sandwiches. Just be careful with anything deep-fried (like the chips, sadly), as I’m told they’re not cooked in separate oil to gluten-containing products.

Space-Desserts

Enticing desserts at Space Kitchen

While all this brunch food is delicious, my real love for Space and Ricardo’s is the desserts.

The cake cabinet is gloriously colourful, if you look a little closer, many of these treats are marked with a magical “G”. Not just your standard GF brownie or orange cake, but layered cakes like Strawberry cheesecake, Opera, Summer Passion and Lamington.

Space Kitchen | Furzer Street Phillip | space-kitchen.com.au

A little fancy

Fine dining restaurants can generally cater for dietary requirements, but these are a few of my favourites.

Soju Girl, Civic  

Soju Girl was one of my favourite restaurants even before my gluten free days. The menu features creative and delicious Thai fusion dishes designed for sharing, with a variety of small and large plates. I love sharing food at restaurants because it means trying a whole bunch of dishes, and prevents food envy (a serious risk).

If you have dietary restrictions, sharing can be tough because you’re often limited in what you can order but not so at Soju Girl! Over half the menu here is gluten free, and with 17 small plates and nine large plates, this leaves many dishes to choose from, and they have regular specials too.

To quote the Soju Girl website: “A large portion of the menu has been designed with gluten intolerance in mind.” Amazing!

Soju Girl

Soju Girl’s, Lamb shoulder massaman curry, another favourite.

My favourite small dishes here the Crispy pork belly ($19), Betel leaf with papaya, chilli cashew dressing and smoked trout ($7), and the Green aromatic chicken curry ($35). The menu changes regularly so there’s always something new to try. Soju Girl also has a killer wine list and cocktail menu.

Soju Girl | 41-43 Northbourne Avenue, Civic | sojugirl.com.au

Black Fire, Braddon

I can’t sing Black Fire’s praises enough when it comes to gluten free dining – it’s one of my favourite dinner spots as it’s one of the few restaurants where the wait staff ask if you have any dietary requirements when you sit at the table.

The extensive menu is Mediterranean with a heavy Spanish influence. Every time I go there I get overwhelmed by the menu and always go for the Chef’s tasting menu ($55). You start with four entrees and cured meats, then move on to 12 hour slow roasted pork and lamb served with sides and sauces. Great value for fabulous food.

If your table opts for the tasting menu, the kitchen will modify dishes only for those on a GF diet, which means your friends don’t have to suffer through GF bread and can enjoy the good stuff.

Black Fire | 45/38 Mort Street, Braddon | blackfirerestaurant.com.au

Pialligo Estate, Pialligo

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Pialligo Estate fan. The food and wine produced and cooked here is stunning, and the grounds are really something special. Although I haven’t had a chance to visit the Garden Pavilions yet, which feature a casual breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, I can vouch for the fine dining Farmhouse restaurant.

Pialligo-Estate

Pialligo Estate’s gorgeous entrance.

As you’d expect with a restaurant of this calibre, it’s a case of “let us know what you can’t eat and we’ll adjust the dish for you”. They even bring out GF bread so you can join in the pre-dinner snacking (always a nice touch!).

Pialligo Estate’s menu changes seasonally to make the best use of the local, seasonal produce, grown on the estate itself where possible.

Pialligo Estate | 18 Beltana Road, Pialligo | thepialligoestate.com.au

Monster Kitchen

Photo by Javier Steel

Photo by Javier Steel

Darling of the Canberra restaurant scene Monster Kitchen has a small but inventive, modern Australian menu. You won’t be able to pick out gluten free dishes, but most can be adapted based on your dietary needs. Monster is also a great brunch spot.

Monster Kitchen and Bar | Hotel Hotel, 1 Edinburgh Avenue, NewActon | hotel-hotel.com.au

Mezzalira Ristorante, Civic

Even though it’s one of my favourite types of food, I’ve avoided Italian for the past year or so because not being able to order pasta still stings a little. However, I recently gave the Mezzalira five-course tasting menu a go ($85 or $110 with matched local wines).

Mezzalira

Beautifully presented carpaccio at Mezzalira.

Mezzalira’s dishes are modern but true to authentic Italian flavours. Of the five dishes from the tasting menu, I swapped two courses.

Instead of the ravioli (which looked amazing), I had the beef carpaccio – not something I’d usually choose, but it had incredible flavour with parmesan, lemon, capers and pesto adorning the wafer-thin slices of beef. Other dishes included asparagus risotto, fillet of beef, with a pannacotta and berry dessert.

Mezzalira | 55 London Circuit, Civic | mezzalira.com.au

Quick bites

Whether it’s lunch or dinner, when you want to pick up something gluten free on the go, sometimes you need to think a little creatively.

Burmese Curry Place, Civic

Not only is Burmese Curry Place great value at just $8 to dine-in or $7 takeaway, nearly all the options at this Canberra institution are gluten free. This is one of my favourite lunch spots, and seven of the eight curries and stir-fries on offer, are GF (avoid the fish cake curry).

It’s a simple concept. Choose one or two dishes to eat with a generous serving of rice. The menu doesn’t change, so you always know what’s on offer. My picks are the chicken and bean stir-fry and sweet pork curry.

Burmese Curry Place | 106 City Walk, Civic 

Guzman Y Gomez, Civic, Belconnen

I love GYG for Mexican food in Canberra. The food is fresh, the guacamole is always good, and even better, nearly the entire menu is gluten free. Yes, even the cheesy, oozy quesadillas!

While the nachos are always tempting, slightly healthier GF options are a salad or burrito bowl, $13 with guacamole. Perfect for a work lunch date or a quick dinner.

Guzman Y Gomez | Shop EG07-07B Bunda Street, Civic | guzmanygomez.com

Kinn Thai, Civic

Kinn Thai’s menu is full of fresh, authentic Thai flavours. The service is lightning fast (I’ve been in and out for two courses in half an hour), so it’s ideal for a workday lunch, quick dinner or takeaway.

Kinn Thai

Perfectly balanced green chicken curry at Kinn Thai

Many of Kinn Thai’s signature dishes are off the cards for GF diners, but their traditional dishes like green curry, massaman curry and pad thai are gluten free and spot on. For something a little different try the coconut chicken salad ($21) or the betel leaf ($4 each) for entree.

Not all the gluten free dishes are marked on the menu, so check with your waiter if there’s something you have your eye on. In my experience, they’re very accommodating and are happy to modify dishes if they can.

Kinn Thai | 125 Bunda Street, Civic | kinnrestaurant.com.au/canberra

Grill’d, Civic, Belconnen, Woden

If burgers are your thing, Grill’d is your best friend. Any burger can be converted to GF by switching to a gluten free bun. Or, if you’re avoiding all grains, you can try the low carb superbun. It looks more like a pancake than bread and can have structural integrity issues, but I like the taste.

You can also order a burger without any bun, which leaves room for… chips! Grill’d do three types of chips (all GF): zucchini, sweet potato (my favourite) and regular potato. Extra props to Grill’d for using grass-fed beef in their burgers.

Grill’d | Multiple locations, see website for details 

Spud Bar, Civic

Since going gluten free, I’ve found a new love for potatoes, so Spud Bar has become a fast favourite. Everything here is gluten free, so I love that I can walk in there and order absolutely anything from the menu (it’s the little things!).

The basic concept is to start with a baked potato (choose between regular or sweet potato, or half of each), then add toppings of slow cooked meats, salads and sauces. My favourites are the chilli bean and salsa ($11.20) and the classic ($8.90).

Spud Bar | Shop 1 Garema Centre, 70-84 Bunda Street, Civic | spudbar.com.au

Westside Acton Park

This is a great place to go if you’re with a group with varying tastes. I love it for a weekend lunch by the lake. It’s also full of options for gluten free diners.

miss vans car suit pork

Try a rare beef noodle soup or noodle salad bowl from Miss Van’s, fish and chips from The Fish Can or gluten free tacos from The One.

Even Limey’s gelato has GF options marked! It’s not just dining at Westside. Markets are on Sundays from 10am, or go for a cheeky drink overlooking the lake at Aviary Rooftop Bar.

Westside Park Acton | 3 Barrine Drive, NewActon | westsideactonpark.com.au

N.B. 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.

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Natassja Hoogstad Hay

Natassja Hoogstad Hay is a communications professional working in Canberra. An unashamed foodie, she loves cooking and going out to eat, and has a special love of coffee and wine. She’s obsessed with social media (handy in her field!) and is working on perfecting her Instagram game. In her spare time you might find her at a yoga class, cosied up on the couch with a book or the TV, or outside taking photos of beautiful Canberra sunsets. More about the Author

  • MB

    We tried the cupping room today and unfortunately the gluten free options aren’t as great as it would seem they once were. The fries are no longer gluten free nor can you get anything other than a salad gluten free. I was also pretty alarmed with how uninformed our waitress was who exclaimed that as my son only has an allergy not coeliac then certain things would be ok for him when he in fact has a touch anaphylactic allergy to gluten which could kill him instantly, a point she didn’t seem to understand or care to understand. The food we did order was good if not overpriced though.

  • SC

    Cafe on Benjamin in Belconnen offered a shelf dedicated to GF cakes, as well as GF burger buns, bread, chips, sauce, a delicious morroccan pie, spinach and feta roll, spinach pumpkin and feta fritata and pretty much anything I ask for can be arranged to GF! It is my go-to cafe- even the smoothie bowl uses GF carmans as the muesli sub?! They were overjoyed to tell me what they offered (even offering GF hot chocolate and chai). They do however state they cannot cater for a 100% GF kitchen and hence traces may be present… as for me, its perfect and thought i’d give a share 🙂