Sometimes I feel like I am stuck in the Toronto bubble. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad, but I am limited to the same activities, restaurants, and foods of the neighbourhoods I spend my most time. I wanted to expand my horizons, spread my wings and explore unknown territories for the best gluten-free foods in the GTA. To start I looked to the west, after all West is Best, from Hamilton to Oakville specifically. Let me tell you, there is a lot out there! Below is my Gluten-Free Round-Up (GTA West) edition.
Hamilton Farmer’s Market
This might be the smaller, less crowded version of St. Lawrence market, but it is filled with adorable vendors that have gluten-free options. Check out Sensational Samosa for gluten-free corn empanadas, gluten-free pakoras, assorted salads, and more. The line-up indicates how great this place is.
There is also Marci’s Bakery, a dedicated gluten-free stall with a ton of assorted treats that is also vegan and nut-free. Muffins, cookies, pizzas, dinner rolls, and other baked goods to satisfy everyone. I like that their baked goods aren’t as sweet as some you may find. They also offer baking mixes so you can make at home!
This little cafe along Hamilton’s James Street is adorable and offers lots of gluten-free options. The Green Bar is vegan, organic and health-conscious, so you can get a plant-based version of some classics. They boast cheery service, which we experienced firsthand. They are known for their mega smoothies, so we naturally ordered the most popular of this time of year: pumpkin spice! As for the main attraction, we couldn’t pass up the mac n cheese. Rice pasta, ooey cheeze sauce, broccoli florets and avocado. I could have licked the bowl clean!
- British Baked Goods — GF pies in Farmer’s Market
- Pokeh — poké bowls in Farmer’s Market
- Mesa — tacos
- Mulberry — GF baked doughnuts
- Mule — tacos
- RELAY — GF baked goods
- Burnt Tongue — GF soups
- Hearty Hooligan — GF & Vegan eats
- Ya’d Never Know — GF bakery (in Dundas)
Lettuce Love Cafe
My one complaint is that Lettuce Love isn’t closer. It’s as sweet as the owners, with a full menu of gluten-free and vegan dishes, ranging from brunch to dinner. I love the story of how the owners took possession of the restaurant when it was sold earlier this year. They were customers for years and loved the concept and decided that they would take over. Now, that is loyalty! They have items such as avocado fries, veggie burgers, falafel bowls, and homemade cheesecakes. They source everything from dedicated gluten-free suppliers and the quality is top-notch. The best part is that you would never know that a) it’s healthy b) it’s gluten-free and vegan.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe
The iconic Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is a must if you’re in Burlington with a sweet tooth. The prettiest cupcakes, brownies, cookies and assorted baked treats fill the display case. It’s almost like you walked into a fairytale with pink accents and pearly white details. Everything down to the packaging is dainty! I have yet to find something that I don’t like, but I will say the ginger molasses cookie and salted caramel cupcakes are great!
You walk into this place and it’s like there’s been fairy dust spilled everywhere. Vegebitez is accented with purple tables, walls and ceilings, it’s fun and playful! Also, the owner has the most insane crystal collection I’ve seen. It’s all vegan and gluten-free comfort foods, but as the slogan says this ain’t your mama’s rabbit food! The Rübie is awesome with sauerkraut, spiced potatoes, soy curls, tofu & lots of yummy sauces and seasoning.
This is one of the most memorable meals of the tour, mind you it was the last and we were very full. It’s all of your favourite pub food gone gluten-free. Head chef, Jonny has celiac disease and his whole approach to the food you wouldn’t know it’s gluten-free. He takes time to perfect the batter for his fish and chips and fried cauliflower. They make their gluten-free buns in house also! It’s really a sneaky field day for all of us gluten-free kids!