This post about gluten-free restaurants in London contains affiliate links. I am updating this post as I eat my way through London June 3-July 13, 2018.
Last updated June 13, 2018
I’m traveling for the next six weeks and am looking for as many gluten-free restaurants in London as I can find.
Of course, as a gluten-free blogger, living in London for six weeks offers an amazing opportunity for me to try many different restaurants and share the best ones with you!
Before you read this, I want to share a few thoughts:
(1) I have found a lot of gluten-free and gluten-free friendly restaurants in London, which means there are probably so many restaurants I haven’t had a chance to try yet. There are quite a few restaurants that are dedicated to serving only gluten-free foods here too, something I’m not used to seeing in Colorado.
(2) I have made every effort to only eat at restaurants where I feel the staff is knowledgable enough to give me a safe meal. I make every effort possible to plan my meals ahead of time. If I know I’m going to be in an area, I research restaurants so I know where I can go. I rarely eat out willy nilly.
(3) I am using my Nima Sensor to test my food for gluten, too. In case you hadn’t heard of the Nima Sensor, it’s a small, portable gluten detecting device that helps you decode whether or not your food is gluten-free.
In order to test each dish, I simply place a pea-sized amount of food in the Nima Sensor test capsule, wait 2-3 minutes, and then Nima tells me how the food fared. I love when Nima smiles at me because that means I know, with a greater level of certainty, that my food is truly gluten-free.
I’ve tried to test as many restaurants as possible – thanks to my friends at Nima Sensor for hooking me up with so many test capsules!
So if you see pictures of a black little device smiling in each picture, you’ll know that place has been Nima tested (and my results are all documented in the Nima app too, which anyone can see regardless if they own a Nima Sensor). (Read more about the Nima Sensor and get a coupon code HERE.)
If you are traveling, EVER, I highly recommend bringing along your own Nima Sensor for the ride!
(4) From my vantage point, it seems like the food culture here in London is quite understanding of us gluten-free folk. There is always a small section at every grocery store I’ve been to that has gluten-free and free-from foods including pasta, bread, treats and such. This includes grocery stores like Tesco and Sainsbury, which you find all over the place.
On top of that, Marks and Spencer has a wonderful selection of free from sandwiches, wraps and salads, so in a pinch, you can easily find something at M&A. I’ve also seen two Whole Food Markets (a celiac’s safe haven) – one near Camden Market and one in Piccadilly – so if you want to stock up on some GF groceries, you can find what you need at Whole Foods.
I am lucky to be staying in a corporate apartment, so I have been able to prepare many of my meals at home, which has been really nice. And I’ve been able to source some gluten-free crumpets from Genius Foods so I could have my first crumpet experience here in London!
OK, so enough of my banter, let’s talk about all the gluten-free restaurants in London that I’ve found and that I believe to be safe for you, too!
Hobson’s Fish and Chips
I desperately wanted the opportunity to try fish and chips, a traditional dish here in the UK and something you can find EVERYWHERE. For someone on a gluten-free diet, you must avoid this dish as the fish is battered and deep fried. The “chips” (what we call French fries in the U.S.) are naturally gluten-free, but more likely than not, they are cooked in the same oil as the battered fish.
A few people in my Instagram community told me about a restaurant called Hobson’s Fish and Chips, which has a dedicated gluten-free fryer and offers this British food staple.
I enjoyed the opportunity to try gluten-free fish and chips very much… and my Nima Sensor gave my dish a vote of confidence, assuring me this dish was indeed gluten-free.
The fish was flaky and the batter crispy, but I do believe this dish lacked flavor. I can’t help but wonder if a little seasoning would have brightened up the taste a bit. I didn’t love the fries either – they were a bit soggy. Skip the fries and get the onion rings instead (pictured on the left above) – crunchy, sweet and delicious!
A highlight eating experience for me here in the UK has been the street food. I am in love with the street food here and am impressed with all the gluten-free options.
One of my favorite street food fairs is the Borough Market, located just steps from Borough Station. The marketplace is filled with food vendors as well as speciality food stores selling everything from fruits and vegetables to tea and butchered meats!
My hands-down favorite street food vendor is Horn OK Please. Weird name but I assure you, this is delicious food. They serve Indian street food, and everything at the booth is 100 percent gluten-free.
My son and I enjoyed the Moong Dal Dosa very much. It is an Indian pancake (made from rice and moong bean) filled with masala potatoes and served with Chana Chaat (spicy chickpeas).
If I hadn’t asked the right questions, I would have been certain that the dosa contained gluten, but Horn OK Please – and my Nima Sensor – assured me that this Indian crepe was totally safe to eat! It is SO GOOD TOO!!
The Borough Market also offered a delicious Chicken Pad Thai (made at a dedicated gluten-free street vendor called Khanom Krok). Khanom Krok makes authentic Thai street food and we ate up every bit of it!
Also, at Borough Market, we found a dedicated gluten-free bake shop called The Free From Bakehouse. We were able to enjoy a few sweets – including the red velvet cupcake, a chocolate brownie and banana bread.
If I’m being honest, I’d say the treats are fair. I’ve had better. That said, it was nice to know there was something sweet awaiting me among the bountiful sweet options available to those OK eating gluten.
After spending the morning “meeting” the Queen during the Trooping of the Colour (the Queen’s birthday parade and celebration), we were famished.
We walked a few blocks from Buckingham Palace and ended up at Bryon Burgers. I usually NEVER order a burger with a bun, but I wanted to see what kind of gluten-free buns were being served up in the UK, so I ordered mine with bun.
I must say, the gluten-free bun served with my burger was delicious! It was spongy and squishy and if it hadn’t been for my Nima Sensor, I would have sworn I was eating gluten! This is one million times better than the Udi’s buns you find everywhere in the U.S. (Udi’s, please change your recipe!!)
Byron Burger’s staff was knowledgeable about gluten, too, enough to tell me to stay away from the fries, which are cooked in a shared fryer. Despite not having fries, I was full and happy. That gluten-free bun… it might just be worth going back to get more buns!
I had heard from my Instagram community that Leggero is a great restaurant for an evening dinner in the center of the hustle and bustle in London. Leggero is located near the theatre district and everything – I do mean EVERYTHING – on the menu is gluten-free.
Most dishes consisted of some sort of gluten-free pasta concotion. My husband and I shared a few dishes, starting with the tomato bruschetta served on homemade bread:
Then we sampled the Potato and Beetroots timbale stuffed with mushrooms and vegan cheese:
And then we shared two main dishes – the Chestnut Pappardelle with Creamy Mushrooms:
And the Basil Tagliatelle with Almond Flakes, Cherry Tomatoes and Aubergine:
Everything was delicious, but I’m not sure I’d go back. The portions were small for the price, and I really wish the pasta dishes included some sort of protein to ensure a more healthy meal. Everything tasted SO GOOD, but the food was a little “fancy” for my family. Go here (without kids), please!
Fortnum & Mason – Proper Afternoon Tea
You can’t go to London without taking time for a proper afternoon tea. My Instagram community told me about Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Salon and how this iconic tea and food department store caters to the GF community.
My son and husband went to see the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child production, so my daughter and I went for afternoon tea. We had such a fun time and ate so much too!
After settling in on a minty tea, I was then served gluten-free finger sandwiches, gluten-free scones with raspberry and lemon curd jams, as well as some small bite-sized desserts and cakes.
If you’re looking for a wonderful opportunity to experience a proper afternoon tea – and you want it to be totally gluten-free – Fortum & Mason has you covered! When you make your reservation, be sure to request a gluten-free afternoon tea so the chef can prepare for you. (Check the gluten-free afternoon tea menu here.)
Arepa & Co
Before heading out to the V&A Museum of Childhood, a small museum that showcases classic toys, I did a little research and found an arepas place called Arepas & Co. within walking distance to the museum. I was in heaven! This place is the real deal, serving up delicious arepas that are totally gluten-free, savory and oh-so-delicious!
Of course I tested my arepa with my Nima Sensor before I ate it, and yep, Nima was all smiles – hooray!
I HIGHLY recommend a visit to Arepa & Co. for a tasty lunch or dinner. Get any arepa you fancy, as well as nibble on the yuca or plantain chips – all gluten-free and cooked in a dedicated gluten-free fryer.
Niche (Gluten-Free Food and Drink)
Looking for a wonderful, cozy and totally gluten-free dining experience? If so, look no further than Niche Food and Drink, located in Angel and just a few minutes by foot from the Angel tube station.
EVERYTHING on the menu is gluten-free, so order away because you can have it ALL!!
My husband and I decided to share a couple of dishes, including the Wild Mushroom Gnocchi made with almond milk. The dish was good although the gnocchi was a little hard (vs. squishy):
We also shared the Steak and Mushroom Pie – look at this beauty!
This dish is INCREDIBLE. It’s bursting with flavor.
For me, I could not resist the opportunity to order a savory pie. Savory pies are on every menu here in the UK, but of course they are off limits to us gluten-free eaters. I could not pass up the opportunity to try a gluten-free savory pie!
Please note that Niche is the UK’s first Coeliac UK accredited 100 percent gluten-free restaurant, and the restaurant accommodates other allergens as well (most dishes can be made vegan/dairy-free, too). Please make a point to go here and support this charming little restaurant!
Fast Food / Fast Casual Places
While in London, I tried a few fun fast food and fast casual type restaurants – and of course I tested them all with my Nima Sensor. Here are some you can try, too:
Nando’s: Nando’s is an international restaurant originating in South Africa that boasts 1,000 restaurants in 30 countries worldwide! Nando’s speciality is in creating spicy Mozambican-Portuguese style chicken dishes topped with PERi-PERi sauce, which is a Portuguese chili sauce.
We don’t have Nando’s in Colorado (although I recently learned there are locations in select US cities), so enjoying it here in London was such a TREAT! This food is the real deal in terms of deliciousness, spice and fun!
We ordered the PERi-PERi chicken wings (moderate spice – you pick your spice level) along with four sides. We picked the corn on the cob, minty peas, spiced rice and fries, which are cooked in dedicated GF oil. The only items not gluten-free on the menu are the breads!
Everything was delicious and the staff is well educated about handling “allergy” requests. My dish came out with a flag alerting the staff it is an allergy dish, and my Nima Sensor was all smiles too! I plan to go back at least once a week while I’m here – for reals!
Leon’s: Chicken burgers, rice bowls and salads – most of which are gluten-free – are on this fast food menu. I tried the Leon’s at Paddington Station.
MORE TO COME! This article will be updated through July 13, 2018 and documents all my favorite gluten-free restaurants in London – all which I tried during my six week visit.