Recently, I took a trip to the UK to visit universities for the fall. As most trips to the UK tend to do, we started in London, giving ourselves a little bit of time to get acclimated to the time change in a familiar city. Based in Waterloo, we were faced with a few challenges when it came to finding me food that I could eat; my mom is not gluten free, and therefore gets to enjoy a wealth of food options that are off-limits to me.
Our hotel was perfectly located next to a few supermarkets and had a little kitchenette, which came in handy so that we didn’t have to pay through the nose for pricey London breakfasts. But that didn’t help us with lunch or dinner, so I’ve put together a small list of London locations that offer gluten free options for brunch, lunch, tea and dinner! I’ll be featuring restaurants I can give a genuine review of near the top of each category in which they’re listed, and suggestions for restaurants that I haven’t tried but know have gluten free options near the bottom of each category. Restaurants I haven’t eaten at are listed in italics.
I’ve also included a few great places to eat at or near tourist attractions to help all my fellow GF world travelers find a quick bite to eat on location!
Duck & Waffle: A beautiful, top-floor restaurant overlooking the city, Duck & Waffle has food that is as spectacular as their views. They even do a gluten free Duck & Waffle — their signature dish. I believe they do have a shared fryer, but they have many gluten free options for you to choose from, and can edit menu items to suit your dietary restrictions. Their beef tartare is amazing, as are their bacon wrapped dates.
Balance: A great little breakfast spot in Waterloo, Balance offers gluten free pancakes and occasionally also has gluten free bread and toast. I had the energy pancakes and the protein pancakes, both of which came in sizable portions, and tried the beet salad with feta cheese, which was also very fresh and tasty.
Crust Bros Pizza: Crust Bros makes a pretty decent gluten free crust. Cross-contamination is definitely a concern here, but the actual gluten free crust is tasty, if a little bit on the limper side. The ingredients are all very fresh, and the pizza is totally customizable. Watch out for the n’duja sausage — it is not gluten free.
Legerro Cafe — totally gluten free Italian dining restaurant. If I had more time I definitely would have tried to eat here.
Restaurants at/near Popular Tourist Attractions:
Antipodea (Kew Gardens): Antipodea is a gorgeous little Australian-style restaurant, though they had fewer GF options than I had thought they would. I ordered the pumpkin and coconut soup without bread, which was delicious, a side of chili grilled halloumi and bacon. It was all delicious! One note: the risotto is not gluten free!
Orangerie (at Kew Gardens): a cafeteria-style eatery at Kew Gardens, I grabbed a quick cake and tea here. I got an orange and almond cake, which was moist and delicious, and a hot cup of English Breakfast. They have a fair number of gluten free options, but cross-contamination here would likely be a risk.
The Botanical (at Kew Gardens): a more upscale location, The Botanical had a number of GF options when I ate there last, including a stuffed eggplant dish that was absolutely amazing. Ask your server for gluten free options.
Cellarium Cafe (at Westminster Abbey): The Cellarium offered a few gluten free options, but it was so cold when we were there that I got the soup and an order of gluten free bread. They also had a gluten free cake, which I did not try, but looked very tasty.
The Privy Cafe (at Hampton Court): The Privy Cafe serves some Henry VIII-style foods, including a very impressive baked potato with cheddar cheese, which I opted for. They also had gluten free soup and a few other little gluten free bits and bobs for snacking.
Henry’s Kitchen (near Hampton Court): I did not eat here, but I really wanted to! They offer gluten free bread, pasta, buns and muffins, and offer an allergen menu on request.
Chain Restaurants — UK-Wide
Gourmet Burger Kitchen: GBK offered super flavorful burgers with fresh ingredients on gluten free buns. The buns themselves were not at all crumbly or fragile, and I can safely say I’ve never had a better chain burger. Would highly recommend!
Wahaca: Wahaca is a chain urban mexican joint with a designated gluten-safe menu. They even break out their menu by level of intolerance, and offer gluten free tortilla chips. I believe they do use a shared fryer, so watch out for any fried foods.
Ask Italian: Hands down my favorite pizza in the UK (and maybe in the world). Ask has really mastered the gluten free crust, and have awesome, quality toppings.
Rossopomodoro: Rossopomodoro also has some really great gluten free Italian options, but they’re not my go-to Italian restaurant. They do offer some gluten free gnocci, which I would love to try sometime soon!
Wagamama: Wagamama is a fast-Asian restaurant with a clean, modern atmosphere. They also have a gluten free menu, and will custom-prepare dishes for GF diners. I usually get the edamame and the gluten free chicken ramen. Yum!
The Savoy: The Savoy hotel is one of my favorite places to get High Tea in London. Be sure to make your reservations at least a few days in advance, and tell them how many members of your party are gluten free. They do gluten free finger sandwiches, scones and mini-desserts, and I always eat way too much when I go here!
I’ll be sure to update this list as I return to London and hear suggestions from fellow travelers and GF friends in the city! Last updated March 5th, 2018.