As a follow up to last week’s gluten free restaurants on the go (US), I wanted to do a similar list of some go-to places in the United Kingdom. Here in the UK, there is a major organization, Coeliac UK, which gives accreditation to restaurants who have good gluten free options and safe kitchen procedures. Not all of the restaurants I’ve included are accredited, but some are – I’ve labeled them where appropriate. For someone with coeliac disease in the UK, this accreditation offers a little bit of extra assurance that they aren’t going to unintentionally eat gluten. Here are my top picks for gluten free restaurants in the UK!
Important: All of these restaurants handle gluten-containing ingredients, so there is a risk of kitchen cross-contamination. If you’re that sensitive, you already know that eating out is a risk that you may not want to take. Even in places with Coeliac UK accreditation, please do your own investigating to assure their processes are up to your standards.
Muffin Break is a coffee and muffin chain with locations across the UK. The Glasgow location is in St. Enoch Shopping Centre (a mall for my US readers.) They generally have a couple gluten free muffin varieties on offer daily. I assume they are baked in the same kitchen as the gluten-containing options, but I’ve eaten there several times and never had an issue.
Costa is a big coffee chain – the second largest in the world behind Starbucks. With locations just about everywhere in the UK, they are a decent option for grab and go food. They usually offer a couple gluten free wraps as well as a baked sweet or two in their larger locations.
Nando’s is a South African food chain that’s huge in the UK. In fact, it was recently named the most popular place for a first date here. They are famous for piri piri (spicy) chicken. Their menu isn’t labeled but allergen information easy to get in the stores – they have a book behind the counter, just ask! The chicken is safe, as are the sauces and many sides. They do deal in gluten so be aware of how things are prepared.
I categorized Nando’s as fast food – it’s a little nicer than your typical fast food joint, and if you dine in, you get actual plates and silverware. You can also order food for takeaway. I like the chicken wings with medium sauce.
Pizza Express is Coeliac UK accredited. They offer gluten free pizza bases and just recently introduced gluten free dough balls. I’ve eaten there several times and it’s pretty good for thin crust. My favorite pie is the Padana, which includes goat’s cheese, mozzarella, tomato, caramelized onion, spinach, red onion and garlic oil.
Ed’s is also Coeliac UK accredited. It’s a diner with American-style burgers and hot dogs, fries and shakes. They offer a gluten free menu that includes 85% of regular menu, so you’ll be spoiled for choice there. They have locations across the United Kingdom – the Glasgow location is also in St. Enoch Shopping Centre.
Côte is a French brasserie with Coeliac UK accreditation. They have a dedicated gluten free menu that includes French onion soup and a big selection of desserts. They have locations across the UK, but only one in Scotland – it’s in Glasgow on West Nile Street. I haven’t been there yet – their Coeliac UK accreditation was only recently announced and it just wasn’t on my radar before that. It’s definitely on my list to try soon – I haven’t had French onion soup since giving up gluten!
Miller and Carter is a chain of steakhouses that choose interesting or historic buildings for all their locations. You can find them in cities across the UK. They don’t label gluten free but have lots of options. Their steaks and sauces are safe, as well as a couple starters and even a dessert! Ask staff and they’ll help you find gluten free options.
I had the opportunity and good luck to attend their opening preview night in Glasgow and got to try their food – it’s absolutely incredible. I shared the tomahawk steak with a friend and we loved it. From starters to dessert, we had an excellent meal there, and they were really good about assuring my order was completely gluten free. Definitely a good option for a nicer lunch or a night out.
If you’re on the go in the UK, there are a few other ways to source gluten free meals.
- Visit Coeliac UK’s website to see what restaurants they have accredited
- Use the “Find Me Gluten Free” website or app – this app is really handy for getting information from locals about the non-chain places in the area. If you find it useful, be sure to add information to the database too and help your fellow gluten free folks out!
- Search Yelp reviews for mentions of gluten free. (Check me out, I’m always adding reviews)
- Do a Google search for “gluten free (city)” and see what blogs and news stories come up.
Where do you feel safe dining with coeliac disease? Do you have any other tips and tricks to find gluten free restaurants in the United Kingdom? Tell me in the comments!