gluten-free in London's coolest neighborhoods

We have collaborated with the friendly people at Expedia.com to bring you this post about exploring London (more on that here) and its gluten free eats.

Being gluten-free, I frequently have to fight the urge to snack on a freshly baked loaf of bread, or dig into a bowl of beautiful pasta. The struggle is real. Sometimes my options become more confusing when I’m traveling in a new place, struggling with a language and wondering what the gesture is for ‘sorry, I can’t eat gluten.’

Luckily, here in London, there has been a surge in gluten-free offerings, from street food stalls to high-end dining. My favorite offerings are to be found, coincidentally, in some of the funkier London neighborhoods, which helpfully makes living a gluten-free lifestyle downright easy.

Presented in no particular order, here are my favorite gluten-free finds from my favorite London neighborhoods, ensuring a tasty and amazing visit each and every time!

gluten-free in London's coolest neighborhoods

SoHo

SoHo is the original nightlife hub of London, home to beatnik culture in the 1950s and the punk rock movement of the 1970s and 80s. For visitors these days, SoHo still maintains its active nightlife. The streets are packed with bars, restaurants, and clubs. It also neighbors Chinatown and the West End, London’s version of Broadway.If you are visiting London, it’s likely that you will end up in SoHo at some point.

So whether you are going to the theater, or looking to take in some live music, here are your best bets for a bite to eat beforehand, all of which make gluten-free dining easy and enjoyable.

Sri Lankan food

Hoppers

This new, red-hot restaurant on Frith Street is easy to find: just look for the queue. Keeping with the current trend in London, Hoppers does not take reservations, so if you want to dine during prime time, expect to wait. Your patience will be rewarded though, as Hoppers’ Sri Lankan food will blow you away. The main event is the hopper, a Sri Lankan version of a crepe, made from naturally gluten-free rice flour, and shaped into a shallow bowl. Select a curry to go along with it, and then dig in, ripping off some of the hopper to scoop up curry. The menu is almost entirely gluten-free, and the staff is well-trained, so don’t be afraid to ask about a specific menu item if you’re not sure. Don’t skip the deviled shrimp starter either, packed with spice and heat.

Herman ze German

Sausages are typically off limits for the gluten free, but Herman ze German does not add flour or breadcrumbs to any of their sausages. I come here to indulge in a bratwurst or spicy chilliwurst, with sides of sauerkraut, pommes frites, potato salad, or coleslaw, all blissfully gluten-free. Their SoHo location is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, so it’s a perfect spot to grab some late night eats.

Flat Iron

This restaurant (now with multiple locations) makes eating a steak an affordable venture, especially compared to many of the nearby swanky steakhouses. They offer one steak, a flat iron cut, with a side salad, for a surprisingly low price of £10. A majority of the sides are gluten-free, like beef-dripping chips (yes, they are indulgent as they sound). They even offer complimentary popcorn while you wait. Reservations are not taken, so there will probably be a wait. Luckily, they mix fabulous cocktails in the dark subterranean bar in their Beak Street branch. Waiting never tasted so good.

London street art

Shoreditch

With its buildings covered in every-changing street art, and new, trendy restaurants popping up every week, Shoreditch is a vibrant and exciting area to explore in London. Once a complete ghost town, Shoreditch is now one of the best areas in London for eating and drinking. It’s extremely well connected too, a short walk from Liverpool Street Station on the Central Line or Old Street Station on the Northern Line of the London Underground.

Shoreditch is worth a visit, if only to wander around looking at the street art on side streets and alleys. But while there, you might as well stick around for dinner.

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Bird

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Well, for gluten-free diners, fried chicken is not usually an option, thanks to the flour coating. Fried chicken masters at Bird have concocted a rice flour and cornstarch batter, making the crispy, delicious fried chicken naturally gluten-free. Many of their side dishes are gluten-free too, providing almost too many tempting options. Their Korean gochujang glaze is a must-try, as well as the Nashville extra hot, if you like things spicy.

Andina

Peruvian food is having its moment in London right now, with a huge number of Peruvian-influenced restaurants popping up in the past year. Andina is one of the best, sure to be packed with ceviche enthusiasts. Peruvian is an ideal cuisine for gluten-free diners, as it relies heavily on corn flour, rather than wheat flour. Almost all of Andina’s menu is naturally gluten-free, and just to be clear, gluten-free items are marked on the menu. Definitely do not skip the ceviche, especially the ceviche andina, citrus-marinated sea bass with goldenberry, avocado, and sweet potato. The downstairs bar has makes a mean pisco sour, the perfect way to start a Peruvian meal!

Dishoom

This massively popular Indian restaurant has been expanding, opening new locations at a rapid rate. I love their Boundary Street location in Shoreditch, right in the heart of the action in this neighborhood. Dishoom dishes out some of the best, most interesting Indian food in London at a very reasonable price. It is inspired by the old Irani cafes in Bombay that catered to a wide range of customers, and today, Dishoom is perpetually packed with innovative food not found in many of London’s traditional curry houses. The house black daal, spicy lamb boti kebab and gunpowder potatoes will not disappoint.

gluten-free in London's coolest neighborhoods

London Fields

A relatively unknown neighborhood for most visitors to London, this East London area has surged in popularity, bringing with it loads of young families and professionals. Everything is centered around London Fields, a large, inviting park, perfect for picnics. A new London Overground Station just opened here as well, making it a quick ride from Liverpool Street Station for easy access. The main drag, Broadway Market, is lined with fantastic restaurants, bars, book shops, and boutiques.

My favorite thing about London Fields is when the street is closed on Saturdays, making way for pedestrians and dozens of vendors who open up shop on Broadway Market. Great food and great shopping abound.

Floris Foods

Gluten-free baking experts, Floris Foods offers up decadent treats like cinnamon rolls and brownies, as well as savory options like vegetable tarts and focaccia bread. Their stall at the Saturday-only Broadway Market is always busy, so make sure to find some time to grab a bite. If the crowds are too much for you, buy one of their tarts and grab a seat on a bench in the calm and serene London Fields park.

Gujarati Rasoi

This Broadway Market stall packs a flavor punch with its vegetarian Indian dishes, simmering away in massive pans. Most of the options are naturally gluten-free, served over steamed basmati rice with onions, cilantro, tamarind sauce, and yogurt. It is cheap, fast, and so good you won’t miss the meat.

Hill and Szrok

This establishment leads a double life. During the day, it is one of the best butcher shops in London, hawking dry-aged steaks and massive pork chops. At night though, the central marble butcher block is wiped down and becomes a communal dining table, making it one of the best steak restaurants in the capital, with a casual, relaxed vibe. The steaks are sure to impress, and the seasonal vegetable sides dishes are simple perfection. Since it is meat heavy, Hill and Szrok is a great place for the gluten free.


London’s diverse and interesting neighborhoods are reason enough to come for a visit. The city’s ability to react and adjust to customer preferences means that eating in London is no longer a challenge for gluten-free diners. In fact, it’s a pleasure, exploring some of the hidden corners of the restaurant world and discovering amazing offerings for every kind of eater.

PS: Want more information about dining gluten-free in London? Check out our eBook, The Gluten-Free Guide to London. All you will ever need to eat well in London!

Eating Gluten-Free in 3 of London's Coolest Neighborhoods

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  • March 12, 2016

    This is such a brilliant guide for those who have celiac disease or are wheat intolerant. Floors Foods would be a godsend with all their baked treats.
    Sara | Belly Rumbles recently posted…Fiji Airways Business Class Sydney-Nadi ReturnMy Profile

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      Even though I’m not the gluten-free one over here, I definitely appreciate less gluten in my diet. I find I have more energy and don’t get that same mid-day slump. Don’t think I could give it up completely forever, but I guess we can all use more GF food in our lives!

  • March 12, 2016

    I love the diversity of food available in London. Dishoom is one of my fav places to eat so good to see it made the list 🙂
    Curious Claire recently posted…My Kerala Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      Oooh, Dishoom is amazing. Side note: we have friends here in London who own a microbrew – their beer just got picked up by Dishoom, and it’s amazing (says the non gluten-free one here!). Called Mondo. Check it out!

  • March 12, 2016

    London is so brilliant for all kinds of foods, isn’t it? There are usually some great gluten free options at Borough Market too and at some of the vegan places like Tidbits. Love your choices though – thanks.

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      That’s a great point, Sarah. Vegan restaurants are also fantastic sources of GF food, not because vegans are GF, but they are sensitive to dietary limitations so there are frequently good GF options!

  • March 12, 2016

    I’m heading to London next May and I think I’lll try one of these places (and favoirite this post on my mobile). Thank you very much for sharing. All this places looks cozy

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      Have a fantastic trip, Sabrina! There are so many great places to eat in London!!! If you need any recos, just shout!

  • March 12, 2016

    OMG, I used to love Herman ze German when I still used to work in London. I am German and whenever I went to their branch at Charing Cross it cheered me up for the rest of the day, no matter how bad the day was.
    tammyonthemove recently posted…Our super Easter give-away (and possibly the wobbliest review ever written)My Profile

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      That name kills me. I mean, even when I don’t go in, just a little walk by to chuckle at the name turns my day around!

  • March 12, 2016

    Thanks for this guide! My husband is gluten free, though only realized his intolerance recently, so it does have a reasonable impact on the destinations we choose to visit. London is one of our favorite cities, though haven’t been back since realizing Mike’s intolerance. Hopefully now knowing that we’ll be fine we can plan another trip soon 🙂
    Meg Jerrard recently posted…The Best Cities in the World for ShoppingMy Profile

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      Oh Meg! As one GF partner to another, I feel your inevitable pain. We have had many a situation when we’re wandering around town trying to look at restaurant windows and search out good GF options. And then we’re hungry and annoying and the whole thing spirals. We’ve found some nice workarounds (BYO-everything, carry snacks). Best of luck to you navigating!

  • March 12, 2016

    I’ve actually been to a few of these places although I don’t look specifically for gluten-free places to eat.

    Flat Iron is definitely one of my top picks in London. Good price and value for a steakhouse, and they usually have some specials as well.

    Working in SoHo makes it easy to explore some of these places.

    Cheers guys.
    Hugo recently posted…3 days in Yosemite during the SummerMy Profile

    • March 13, 2016
      Julie

      I also work in SoHo from time to time and there are so many places to eat in that area. I also love Berwick Market (especially in good weather)!

  • March 13, 2016

    Oh the chicken dish looks absolutely delicious… I love all the excellent food options in London and it’s a good thing I walked so much when living there for 4 months because I really ate my way around the city… Good to know about these gluten-free options, I can eat gluten but variation is key and I try not to eat gluten in every meal.
    Lotte recently posted…23 Photos That Show Why I Love New Zealand So Much!My Profile

  • March 15, 2016

    Pretty good list! While I’m not affected by gluten, my sister has Celiac disease. So she really can’t have gluten. I will be showing her this list!
    Joe Ankenbauer recently posted…A Hidden Paradise: Thousand Steps BeachMy Profile

  • March 15, 2016

    What a comprehensive selection! Everything looks so exciting! I love how London has such a varied array of dining options. I’m exceptionally curious about Dishoom and gochujang glazed fried chicken! I haven’t really explored about gluten free diets but this post just made me more curious!
    Trisha Velarmino – P.S. I’m On My Way recently posted…Happy pizza in Cambodia left me insane in the membrane: a high time in Siem ReapMy Profile

    • March 15, 2016

      Lots of great options in London for gluten-free diners, with is good for me! The fried chicken is delicious, and Dishoom is a perfect dining destination during a visit to London. Fun, interesting Indian food at a great price in a unique, energetic space. Definitely worth a visit.

  • March 17, 2016
    Zorica
    • March 17, 2016
      Julie

      Thanks Zorica – good to hear from you!

  • March 19, 2016

    Thank you for the list of neighborhood places! I frequently review gluten free afternoon teas on my blog. Surprisingly, they’re actually pretty popular in London, which makes it so much easier when you’re interested in experiencing British culture on a trip or living here as an American expat like me. 🙂
    Sunny London recently posted…5 Places to Buy the Best Chocolate in LondonMy Profile

    • March 19, 2016
      Julie

      Fantastic to hear – I’m always on the hunt for the greatest GF afternoon teas in London so I’ll just come to your site to figure it out!