Gluten-Free on the Danforth
Although we have many loyal customers who come to the neighbourhood just to see us (we`re flattered!), Greektown (which includes Danforth Avenue, roughly between Broadview and Pape) is packed with amazing restaurant options.
And yes, many of them are Greek. Our neighbourhood really shines in the summer when the sidewalks are shared with restaurant patios and plenty of life.
As a resident of this fair neighbourhood, I’ve tried a good proportion of the restaurants on the Danforth strip. Here is a short list (although by no means comprehensive) of the restaurants I find myself going back to over and over again, and the gluten-free options they offer.
A longstanding fixture on the Danforth, Allen`s is the quintessential neighbourhood gastro pub. With plenty of dark wood, dim lighting, and a menu full of hearty comfort foods, Allen`s feels cozy and inviting. In the summer, their backyard patio is one of the prettiest spots in the neighbourhood, with giant mature trees interrupting the flow of café tables.
Along with many gluten-free options, Allen`s prides itself in offering wild-caught fish and ethical meat from Cumbrae Farms. They change their menu regularly so every couple of months you will find a new dish to love.
Favourite GF Dish: Although Allen`s is likely most famous for their burger, a GF individual like myself tends to go with their fish dishes, which change regularly.
You can usually expect a lovely filet of wild halibut or salmon served with organic greens and seasonal vegetables. Otherwise, try one of their “Viji`s Excellent Curries”, and hold the chapati.
143 Danforth Avenue (at Broadview)
Tea Tree Café and Eatery
I feel like not enough people know about Tea Tree Café, a quiet little culinary sanctuary slightly East of the main Danforth drag. The café is relaxed and the food is wholesome.
The simple fare (think soups, salads, and sandwiches) is often gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free (sandwiches can be served on GF bread for an extra $1). There are lots of vegan options as well for those veggie lovers.
Favourite GF Dish: Their homemade quiche on gluten-free quinoa crust, served with soup or salad makes a perfect light lunch. Tea Tree café is also open on weekends for brunch and one of these days I plan to try their gluten-free cornmeal pancakes…
867 Danforth Avenue (at Jones)
Spanish music plays in the background and the place is almost always packed. Mocha Mocha, while not aiming to be a Michelin star restaurant, is a solid, unpretentious spot to get some nourishing grub. They have a chalkboard menu with just the right amount of selection (although I nearly always order the same thing).
They don’t have tons of GF options, but they do have several good hearty salad options and sometimes their hot specials are gluten-free. Their “Fiesta Platter” (hold the tortilla) is one of my favourite breakfasts on the Danforth- a filling and flavourful dish that combines the magic of refried beans, avocado, and scrambled eggs.
Favourite GF Dish: I go back to Mocha Mocha’s Warm Brown Rice Salad time and time again- it just never disappoints! I’ve also taken a walk on the wild side and tried their Nicoise Salad and their Avocado Salad Plate with happy results.
489 Danforth Avenue (at Logan)
Gluten-Free Mong Kut Thai
I come from a long line of Thai food lovers. My mother and I bond over our love of coconut milk, lemongrass, and peanut sauce. At Mong Kut Thai, you will find all three in abundance in various permutations.
This makes me happy. Furthermore, along with many other Asian cuisines, Thai food is naturally gluten-free most of the time, favouring rice instead of wheat as their starchy base.
Mong Kut Thai has an enormous menu of savoury, saucy dishes, but perhaps my favourite part about the Mong Kut experience is the service.
The wait staff is exceedingly friendly and fast, and they are very accommodating about additions and substitutions to their dishes. For example, want to take the sauce from one dish and put it on the vegetable combo of another dish? They’ll do that. Want extra broccoli or shrimp instead of chicken? No problem.
If you are overwhelmed by the selection on their menu, ask the staff for suggestions. They’ll be happy to oblige, and they’ll do it with a smile.
Favourite GF Dish: I love their Spicy Tiger Shrimps, their Red Veggie Curry (to which I add the aforementioned extra broccoli and shrimp), and my partner is a sucker for their Tofu Pad Prik. I’ve also heard good things about their Green Chicken Curry.
471 Danforth Avenue (at Logan)
If there’s one style of cuisine that tends to leave out GF-ers, it’s Italian. If your friends are going out for Italian, you might as well stay home and wash your hair if gluten makes you grumpy.
Il Fornello graciously takes us GF outcasts into their soft Italian arms and offers us the gluten-free options for many of the dishes they serve, pizzas and kinds of pasta included. They also have a nice roster of appetizers, salads, soups, and mains that are naturally gluten-free.
Favourite GF Dish: Linguini di Mare, substituted with GF pasta…what can I say? Scallops make me weak in the knees! Buon appetito!
576 Danforth Avenue (at Carlaw)
What are your favourite Danforth gluten-free dishes on the Danforth? Leave us a comment.
Written by Alex Picot-Annand, BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach