As I work on Oxford Street I am currently writing what is turning out to be a really long blog post for eating out around this area for everyone visiting London. However as I write it – and realise just how many places there are to eat gluten free, I’ve realised just how much information there actually is! In the past when I’ve visited cities such as as New York and been the visitor, some websites and blogs have been overwhelming in information. As great as in depth guides are to areas, for short trips they sometimes just aren’t necessary as all you’re really interested in is the real don’t miss, something special type eateries.
For that reason I’m writing this post, to give you my favourite locations in the heart of London. Writing this is hard as it’s difficult to narrow it down from so many great choices but I’ve included the best spots, and only ones in Central London. Realistically as tempting and great as places like Broadway Market are, the average tourist on a short trip to see the sights of London just aren’t going to get out to these locations.
Location – Fitztrovia (nearest tube station is Goodge Street but also very easy from Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus if Goodge Street means lots of changes on the tube!)
If you’re staying in a hotel I personally wouldn’t bother paying to include breakfast when there are so many places to try. I would use this opportunity to fit in another great eatery! For breakfast my top choice is definitely Beyond Bread, a 100% gluten free bakery. It is seriously coeliac heaven. Going for breakfast means a tough choice with a breakfast menu to choose from including all sorts of poached eggs on toast concoctions, waffles, breakfast sandwiches in their excellent bread, their totally amazing pastries and some of their cakes. It’s a tough choice! The pastries are something else though and can be seriously recommended! Try and take lots of people with you so that you can sample as many of these options as possible!
Lots of locations including Regent Street, Eastcastle Street (just behind Oxford Circus), Carnaby Street, Tottenham Court Road and lots of train stations.
Leon is frequently recommended and has become well known for healthy fast food with clear allergen labelling. I particularly like it for breakfast with a range of egg pots available such as smoked salmon and avocado. There are many locations of Leon making this a really quick and convenient stop. They also sell a range of lunches including my top choices of chicken meatballs or chicken satay (as well as vegan options!) making it a top choice for many for lunch too.
If you didn’t make it to Beyond Bread for breakfast then this is a serious contender for lunch with lots of awesome sandwiches waiting for you. However the pastries may be harder to get hold off, often disappearing by lunch!
Locations – Camden, Islington, Shoreditch and Stratford Westfield
One of my favourite spots in London is Bird. KFC is something missed by many coeliacs and Bird serves up some seriously good fried chicken. Fried chicken wings, strips, amazing dipping sauces – I could have cried I was so happy to be eating tasty fried chicken in a restaurant and it can even be washed down with a gluten free beer. It is casual dining and great for a quick lunch for something that is notoriously difficult to find gluten free.
Kerb are killing it at Camden Market with so many gluten free choices in this fab location for a mooch and people watching. Arepa is my favourite stall and if you’ve never tried an Arepa I really recommend them. Made from corn and naturally gluten free it makes this 100% gluten free stand incredibly tempting, and popular judging by the queues. They are dairy free and egg free and depending on the filling can be vegan so they are an excellent choice for those with multiple allergies too.
Location – Oxford Street (nearest tube Bond Street)
A department store may seem like a strange choice for a meal recommendation but honestly the food hall at Selfridges is becoming a standout location for gluten free food in which you’ll never want to leave. Take lots of money as it’s not the cheapest place and you will want to buy EVERYTHING!!
Coori has so much to tempt you as a lunch time treat – pizza slices, tortellini that can be heated for you to take away (it’s seriously good!) arancini, lunch boxes with options such as breaded chicken – so many options that you just never find for a lunch on the go! Their brownies are the gooeyist brownies I’ve ever had (which like most coeliacs is a lot!) and there are often seasonal goods like panettone. They have a wide range of vegan products too and they sell their tortellini in packs to take home.
If you’d prefer something healthier and refined sugar free Hemsely and Hemsley can also be found within Selfridges; Borough 22 donuts and Pearl and Groove cakes are sold from a separate gluten free cake counter and there are lots of goodies to be found within the food hall whilst you are there. Selfridges is definitely worth a trip whilst you are visiting London!
Read my blog post about eating sweet treats in London here for a more extensive list of treats, but in the meantime here are a few highlights to pick from!
Cookies and Scream
Locations – Camden and Holloway Road
My absolute favourite place in London is Cookies and Scream. It is a gluten free and vegan bakery which is unbelievable considering what they sell. My boyfriend didn’t believe me as he drank his thick vanilla icecream shake topped with cookie dough that it could be both of these things, it was a total hit which is the highest praise possible from a gluten eater! Choosing between cookies or donuts, cookie icecream sandwiches, donut icecream sandwiches or vanilla shakes is impossible! Buy lots to take away with you.
Location – Wardour Street (off Oxford Street)
Also gluten free and vegan, Yorica rivals Cookies and Scream serving up waffles, crepes, icecream, froyo and all sorts of toppings. They are nut free which Cookies and Scream is not and working on becoming soy free too so that it can be the ultimate stop for people with all allergies. The photos below will also show my love for their ‘oreo’ biscuit topping!
Locations – many locations including in Selfridges Food Hall, Piccadilly Circus tube station, Kensington tube station and within Topshop at Oxford Circus
There are many Lola’s around London and they sell gluten free cupcakes that have been made in a gluten free facility. There are four flavours – chocolate, red velvet, lemon and blueberry and chocolate and raspberry. They are sold individually boxed and can also be frozen if you want to try them all or are struggling to fit anything else in during a quick visit to the capital! (Selfridges Food Hall has a Lola’s if you have made it there).
Locations – many locations including all the tourist hot spots – Oxford Circus, Baker Street, Camden, South Kensington, Kings Cross and Greenwich.
One of the most frequently recommended places on social media for people requesting guidance on where to eat in London is Honest Burgers and for good reason. They are awesome for making all of their menu gluten free except for normal buns, resulting in gluten free burgers, chicken wings, fries, beer and onion rings. Yes, onion rings, and they are fresh, crispy and fabulous! Let them know that you are Coeliac and they take extra care of your order to prevent cross contamination from the normal buns. With so many locations in London, it is a perfect recommendation as wherever you’re visiting there is likely to be an Honest near you! They do have a disclaimer on their website that they can’t guarantee that there will be no cross contamination. As it’s not a 100% gluten free kitchen it is always a possibility but I’ve always found staff to be clued up and take my order seriously and as such I have not been glutened on any of my visits here. Read my review here.
Location – Old Compton Street, Soho (booking advised)
As some people may prefer a 100% gluten free restaurant and somewhere a bit fancier than Honest Burgers, I am including Leggero as another option for dinner. Serving gluten free Italian food including ravioli and some of the best bread out there it is worth a trip. There are many dairy free options too and allergens are clearly marked. The cheesecake is immense!
Locations – Kensington, Camden and Piccadilly Circus and some further out of Central London
Whole Foods is worth a trip before you leave London! Home to so many gluten free goodies there are lots of products and brands that you won’t have seen before and it’s worth seeing what takes your fancy to take home with you (if there is any room in your bag that should already be filled with Borough 22 donuts, Coori products and Lola’s cupcakes!)
Some of these locations are not 100% gluten free restaurants so make sure you ask all the questions you normally would regarding ingredients and cross contamination to ensure that you’re happy eating there as staff and menus do change!
There are so many other excellent locations for gluten free so there will be places that you think are ‘don’t miss locations’ and there are plenty of places to add should your visit be longer than a day or two. However, I hope this helps get you started if you’re on a quick trip for the places not to miss in the heart of London.
Have a great trip!
The Sightseeing Coeliac x