Saturday, February 24, 2007

Indian Flavour, formerly in the Atrium on Bay, is moving. I edited the original post to reflect this change. The restaurant will be re-opening at 958 Bay Street at the end of February.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Omi Japanese Restaurant, 451 Church Street, Toronto, M4Y 2C5, 416.920.8991

I received an email from Michael who suggested Omi. He says "Not only does chef John Lee serve up some really first-rate fresh, creative sushi, but he also keeps a bottle of Tamari on hand - the only sushi bar in town that I've tried that does."

Sounds promising. I may have to check this out.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Specialty Food Shop, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X8, 416.977.4360

Located in the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, with a second location in Hamilton, Specialty Food Shop offers a large selection of gluten-free products, as well as foods suitable for other special diets. Shop in person or order through the store's website.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Magical Catering, 788 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2P7, 416.466.0111,

From the website: "We are sensitive to diet restrictions and can customise menus to include - organic foods, gluten or wheat free foods, vegan or religious requirements."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dairy Queen (store locator)

DQ has a list of gluten-free products here.

Swiss Chalet, (various locations: try SW's Restaurant Locator), 1.800.860.4082

Swiss Chalet operates more than 180 restaurants in Canada and selected parts of the USA. The menu focuses on rotisserie chicken, but other dishes are available.

The allergy information guide seems comprehensive (it includes nuts, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat & glutens, sesame, and sulphites) but you may want to make further inquires when you arrive. I ordered take out once, and, when I mentioned gluten, the staff member instructed the kitchen staff to change gloves.

Swiss Chalet recently added wheat to the rice. I posted about that some time ago.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Salad King, 335 Yonge Street (entrance off Gould), Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1R7, 416.971.7041,

This Thai restaurant is a frantically busy operation, because it sits on the fringe of the Ryerson University Campus, and is close to Yonge & Dundas, Toronto's busiest intersection. Salad King recently renovated, so it is no longer quite so loud and uncomfortable. I include it because I can see it from my office window :-) In my experience, the staff are aware of ingredients and can make recommendations, although usually, the recommendation is Phad Thai only.

Now has a review. Eye readers picked Salad King as the second best indie lunch under $10.

Royal Thai Garden Restaurant, 524 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y3, 416.536.6868

I have ordered from this restaurant many times, usually when we are too tired to cook. Verifying ingredients may be a challenge, depending on when you call and if the person who answers speaks English well-enough. If you can get "no wheat" written on your order, you should be fine. You may get a better explanation while dining in, but I haven't done that in a very long time. A brief review is available here.

El Palenque, 653 St. Clair Avenue West (east of Christie), Toronto, Ontario M6C 1A7, 416.656.0725; fax 416.656.3757

El Palenque, a family-owned business, bills itself as an "Authentic Mexican Restaurant." While the waitress was not familiar with Celiac Disease or gluten, she was able to confirm the ingredients of several dishes. Reservations are recommended, but just be sure not to accept a seat in the basement. Even if you are not afflicted from claustrophobia, you'll run away screaming and agitated before you ever get to taste the food. (There is a second location, which I have never visited: 9 Milvan Avenue (Weston Road and Finch), Toronto, 416-740-9718). Now has a lengthy review.

The second time I visited this place, I was less impressed. That post is here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

New York Fries, various locations, including two in the Eaton Centre

NYF is my emergency lunch (when I haven't brought anything and I am rushed for time). According to Celiac Canada's Fast Food Fries list, which includes some information on toppings, NYF are fine. I think the staff at the Eaton Centre's north location is beginning to recognize me.

Messis, 97 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1G4, 416.920.2186

Messis is located very close to the University of Toronto's downtown campus. I have managed to get a gluten-free meal every time I have dined there. I doubt if there are ever any vegetarian gluten-free items, but you may want to check.

I have not been to this restaurant for quite some time, but the menu suggest possibilities.
Megas Restaurant, 402 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1P3, 416.466.7771

I have never been here, but Rod recommended it. He says: "The Greek food is excellent and there are many gf choices as well as lactose free meals possible."
Fresh by Juice for Life

Fresh is a completely vegetarian juice bar with food counter. Milk and cheese products are clearly labeled, and the menu promises no hidden milk ingredients in any dishes.

Unfortunately, most dishes--even Rice Bowls--contain wheat products (usually tamari or soy sauce). You can find a few gluten-free items, especially salads, but the choices are slim. There is usually only one rice bowl I can eat. The vast array of juices and shakes, however, may make Juice for Life useful.

326 Bloor Street West
phone: 416-531-2635
fax: 416-915-0193

894 Queen Street West
phone: 416-913-2720
fax: 416-533-6568

147 Spadina Avenue
phone: 416-599-4442
fax: 416-599-4443

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sushi on Bloor, 515 Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y4, 416.516.3456;

An extremely popular and very busy sushi restaurant in the Annex. A reservation is recommended. Delivery is available. Sushi on Bloor offers a casual dining experience. If you sit at the back, you can watch the chefs prepare the food, and maybe even have a conversation with them.

Baskin-Robbins, (various locations around the city; try the store locator)

Publishes LifeStyles 2000 Consumer Information Guide, an eight panel pamphlet that addresses special diet needs and nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies. Baskin-Robbins claims to be the first Canadian retailer of ice cream and other frozen desserts, to offer customers the Canadian Diabetes Association Food Choice Value symbols. Each product is labeled with an information strip containing important ingredient details. Wheat and gluten content is indicated along with egg, sulfites, nuts, lactose etc. The symbol for wheat and gluten indicates the presence of "flour, wheat, oats, oatmeal, oat bran, graham, wheat germ, starch, malt and derived ingredients." (Each BR location usually has one sorbet that is dairy-free & gluten free). An independent laboratory prepares all of the nutritional information. More information is available by calling 1.800.268.4923.

Town Grill, 243 Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5A 2L2, 416.963.9433; fax 416.963.9303

As reported in the March 2002 issue of the Gluten-Free Press (newsletter of the Canadian Celiac Association's Toronto Chapter), David McGann, chef of the Town Grill, spoke about the difficulties in preparing GF meals and some important issues in food preparation that we should be aware of. The good news is that he is eager to serve Celiacs and welcomes us at his restaurant--called one of the best in Toronto, by Cabbagetown Corners.

Review from Eye.

I have never dined here, and I have no updated information since I originally posted this on my old site.

Island Grill, 3434 Weston Road (at Finch), Toronto, Ontario, M9M 2W1, 416.742.9200

Thank you to Randy for telling me about the Island Grill, a Jamaican restaurant with several gluten-free dishes. Although some dishes contain wheat four, most of the beef, pork, chicken, and fish dishes are GF, and apparently quite good too. The restaurant is owned by Patrick Lyn.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Indian Rice Factory, 414 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1V9, 416.961.3472

The menu asks customers to advise wait staff of any allergies. Pakoras are made with 100% chick pea flour; Papadums are made with 100% lentil flour; no wheat products are present in any curry or sauce (please verify this information when you call the restaurant: you may also want to inquire about cross-contamination). The Factory has a small, but nice, patio out back.

David left a comment on the old site suggesting that the food was likely contaminated. Since I haven't been back to this restaurant in ages, I can't offer much more advice or context. It's probably best to ask before you go.
Indian Flavour, 595 Bay Street (at Dundas, in the Atrium on Bay), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2C2, 416.408.2799; fax 416.408.3651; cell 416.885.5080

Update: I just walked past and noticed that they are moving to 958 Bay Street, reopening at the end of February.

As with the majority of Indian restaurants, most of the food is wheat-free and gluten-free. I have confirmed this on my visits. Indian Flavour uses no commercially-prepared sauces, and avoids MSG and other additives. The menu includes a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The most popular option is probably the lunch buffet, which offers a minimum of seven dishes. Toronto Life calls Indian Flavour " Toronto’s most successful Indian self-serve." ZagatSurvey gives praise for this restaurant's "great vegetarian menu."

Il Fornello (several Toronto and area locations; see below)

Il Fornello offers selections from an Alternative Menu: gluten-free pasta, gluten-free pizza crust, and gluten-free bruschetta are available, but call ahead because selections differ at each location.

Reviews: Eye (scroll down to find it).

Il Fornello, Yonge & St. Clair
1560 Yonge Street (at Delisle)
Toronto, Ontario M4T 2S9
Tel: (416) 920-7347

Il Fornello, Bayview Village
2901 Bayview Avenue (at Sheppard)
North York, Ontario M2K 1E6
Tel: (416) 227-1271

Il Fornello on the Waterfront
Queen's Quay Terminal
207 Queen's Quay W. (at York)
Toronto, Ontario M5J 1A7
Tel: (416) 861-1028

Il Fornello on King
214 King Street W. (at Simcoe)
Toronto, Ontario M5H 3S6
Tel: (416) 977-2855

Il Fornello on the Danforth
576 Danforth Avenue (at Carlaw)
Toronto, Ontario M4K 1R1
Tel: (416) 466-2931

Il Fornello in the Beach
2022 Queen Street E.
Toronto, Ontario M4L 1J4
Tel: (416) 691-8377

Il Fornello on Church
491 Church Street (south of Wellesley)
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2C6
Tel: (416) 944-9052

Outside Toronto

Il Fornello, Richmond Hill
8851 Yonge Street (at Highway 7)
Richmond Hill, Ontario L4C 6Z1
Tel: (905) 530-1153

Il Fornello, Oakville
203 North Service Road W.
Oakville, Ontario L6M 3R2
Tel: (905) 338-5233
Le Commensal, 655 Bay Street (at Elm Street), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2K4, 416.595.9364; fax 416.596.9365

Le Commensal is a pay-by-the-weight vegetarian restaurant in downtown Toronto. The menu promises no preservatives or additives, and dishes are labeled V (vegan), O (egg), and L (dairy). The staff has a list of gluten-free items, and happily walked me through the buffet to show me which dishes were gluten-free. See review from Toronto Vegetarian Association.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

El Trompo, 277A Augusta Avenue (at Oxford), Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2L4, 416-260-0097

Hilary recommended this Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market. NOW recently gave this restaurant three Ns (out of five), saying that it "pumps out first-rate southern Mexican street food without the Tex-Mex watering-down."

I have eaten there three or four times since getting this recommendation, and I can report that the food is very good.

Café Next Door, 790 Broadview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, 416.469.1971

Café Next Door is operated by Magic Over . The owner informed me that the menu features vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and wheat-free options for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Magic Oven

2 locations: 788 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2P7, 416.466.0111;
127 Jefferson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3E4, 416.539.0555;

Described as the "best pizza this side of Italy" by the National Post, and among the city's best by Toronto Life, Magic Oven offers a gluten-free rice flour pizza crust - now available by the slice. The restaurant also caters to other dietary requirements by offering a wheat-free (but not gluten-free) spelt crust, a yeast-free whole wheat crust, as well as dairy-free and organic cheeses. A large selection of vegetarian toppings are available. Magic Oven delivers to the Danforth, Riverdale, Cabbagetown, and Rosedale areas and to Liberty Village, Parkdale, Harbourfront, Downtown, Annex, and Roncesvalles from its Jefferson Ave location.

Biryani House, 25 Wellesley Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2S9, 416-927-9340

Now Magazine (referring to the former location at 6 Roy's Square moved to Hayden Street) says: "this hole in the wall has morphed into an almost classy boite dishing up some of the best Indian food south of the 401...and it's still dirt cheap." Biryani House has opened a new location just off Yonge Street, at Wellesley. The food is really excellent, and I have been able to confirm ingredients with no trouble. In my experience, none of the curries contain any wheat. As usual, please ask.

The last time I was there, the only thing off-limits was the naan.

The former location @ 6 Roy's Square (the restaurant has relocated to Hayden Street, but I do not know the address) seems to retain the same name, but, as Julie tells me, it is no longer owned by Debu Saha. Some people I work with refer to that location as the "Ghetto Biryani."
I am not sure if the food is OK or not. If you know, please let me know.

Update (April 30, 2008): I have heard that Debu Saha has sold the Biryani House on Wellesley, but it still seems to operate under the same name.
Annapurna, 1085 Bathurst Street (south of Dupont), Toronto, Ontario, M5R 3G8, 416.537.8513

Annapurna is a South Indian/Sri Lankan vegetarian restaurant inspired by Sri Chinmoy. Its specializes in Southern Indian poori-based vegetarian dishes, an amazing number of which are gluten-free. Annapurna is an economical and very casual restaurant that also offers take-out and catering. Masala Dosai, made of rice and lentil flours, is only $5.99. All milk ingredients are clearly indicated, and many of the dishes are dairy-free. The staff is able to provide accurate information about ingredients, and could even answer my question about cross-contamination of fried foods.

from Travelocity