The Top 10 Best Gluten-Free Quick Places to Eat in London
“Tired of London, tired of life”
(quote: Tom Jones)
Out-and-about with a hungry fire in your belly is absolutely no problem for a coeliac in London!
There’s an outright ocean of choices, and no reason to go hungry. In fact, I’d say it would be hard to compete with London in terms of ease and choice!
Whether you’d like something on the go, or a full-blown fancy dinner; London offers up!
As an adopted Londoner (who isn’t), I’ve come to love the incredible choices this city has to offer.
This is my list of the top 10 gluten-free quick-eats for shoppers, lunchers and visitors. If you want quick and tasty food, no fuss and absolutely no googling, this is the list you’re looking for!
You can click on each of the restaurant names to locate one near you!
In no particular order:
- Leon is one of my favourite gluten-free pitstops. Their simple but delicious hot and cold meals are divine and super easy, and their gluten-free cake selection is tempting to say the least. Leon is a dream come true for coeliacs, with plenty of options and no sacrifices. Light, healthy and tasty!
Pick up a gluten-free sandwich with a dessert of ready cut fruits from Waitrose or M&S. Both shops offer sandwiches with little to no additives, and both have more than one option for coeliacs. Perfect on the run! Go to the chilled sandwich section, and look for the green labels.
Enjoy a hot lunch of sensationally good gluten-free pasta at Jamie’s Italian, pretty much anywhere in England (41 restaurants)! The pasta they use is magnificent, and the selection for coeliacs is great. You can even order an entré size, and still fill up! I love the classic bolognese, but there are plenty of more creative alternatives! Update: Jamies recently changed their gluten-free pasta supplier, and the quality went from awesome to below par. They promised me it was merely a trial, but I don’t know whether it has been changed back or not. Let me know what you think!
One of my very favourite restaurant chains is Busaba Eat Thai. You can find these restaurants spread all across London, and they all offer a great atmosphere, many gluten-free options, and delicious food. Busaba is a Thai style restaurant, with modern Asian inspired design, communal tables and a very tempting menu. My hubby and I visit frequently, ever since he took me there for our first date! My favourite is the Pad Thai, but they have many gluten-free options. Make sure you let them know you are coeliac, and ask them to point out which dishes are gluten-free. Bonus points to Busaba for their payment app, which gives new customers a discount!
The old pitstop called Starbucks have recently decided to jump on the gluten-free trend (finally, and thankfully), and now offer two versions of gluten-free wraps, plus a gf brownie which you can ask to have served in its wrapper for safety. The wraps taste great, and are certainly an easy meal option on the go. However, Starbucks get a handful of minus points for their massive amount of unnecessary ingredients and preservatives..No keeping it fresh and simple here. Then again, if you’ve stepped into Starbucks, you probably weren’t exactly looking for organic macrobiotic salads.
Pizza Express makes for a good gluten-free lunch option, with their gluten-free base and multiple topping selections. Let them know you have coeliac disease, as they have received instructions on how to handle gluten-free food correctly. Pizza Express also offer takeaways.
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday you can visit Borough Market near London Bridge station, for a multitude of gluten-free options. They have recently updated with allergen warnings throughout, and most stands will be helpful with bunless variations and the likes. My two favourite stands are the totally gluten-free Free From Bakehouse, with its massive selection of gluten-free cakes (and some savoury), and a salted beef stand next to the fish monger who have always been really helpful. Oh, and not to forget the German sausage stand by the church, who have gluten-free, preservative-free bunless sausages.
Honest Burgers have 9 restaurants across London, and makes for a great and easy option for coeliacs. They serve burgers (of course) and they go one step further than just a bunless variety, in fact, they have gluten-free buns on offer! What more can a coeliac ask for!
I love the odd noodle soup, and I frequently stop by Pho (Vietnamese Street Food) when I’m at Westfield Shepherds Bush to see a movie. They have a whopping 14 restaurants in London, and all you need to do is let them know you’re coeliac to get served safely. Beware, however; they have recently started using MSG in some of their dishes.. which has kinda put me off going too often. But not everyone cares about that, and their pho’s are decidedly yummy, so I reckon they’re well worth a mention!
Another cafe that is everywhere to be found is Le Pain Quotidien. Yes, it is a bread lover’s mecca, with French patisserie delights galore, and no obvious coeliac choice by any means. But, I’d like to include it because it really is everywhere, and they do in fact (surprisingly so) cater to coeliacs! I’ve had a lovely yoghurt and gluten-free granola parfait, baked eggs with smoked salmon, and soup of the day there. They haven’t got gluten-free bread, but they do offer gluten-free crackers to go with your meal. Make sure you specify that you have coeliac disease though.
Because you can find a Le Pain cafe just about anywhere in London, it does make the top 10 list over quick-eats!
Finally I’d like to mention one more restaurant, which does not make the top 10 (because I hate their pasta), but because it’s such an accessible alternative, and because some might disagree with my opinion of their pasta quality, I’ll add it as a mention, to the list.
Carluccios is everywhere. With 20 restaurants in Greater London, you simply can’t miss them. They can do just about any dish with gluten-free pasta, which is great, but the pasta they use is, in my opinion, horrid -which is not so great. But, if you find yourself starving in central London, and the only thing you see is a white and blue Carluccios sign (which may, in fact, happen), then at least you know you won’t go hungry. So, for that, they get a numberless spot on my top 10 list.
I hope my top 10 list can become your handy little guide for you to use during your lunch break or on holiday, and I’ll get back to you with my top 5 fine eats, and top 5 gluten-free gems later on!
If you would like to contribute to the list, I’d love to hear from you!