My top ten gluten-free safe places for coeliacs in Bristol
There are a lot of places boasting they do gluten-free these days. There aren't a lot of places, however, that can be totally trusted. From cross-contamination to a general ignorance about what gluten is (don't you just love it when they confuse it with being vegan?), it's important to have complete faith in cafes and restaurants.
So for anyone who needs to avoid gluten in the same sense that I do (i.e. coeliac who mustn't have more than 20 parts per million of gluten or gets really sick), here are my trusted places in Bristol, accommodating a wide range of cuisines and needs from a morning coffee and cake to something more substantial.
1. Rocotillos (Clifton/Glos Rd)
With 2 locations on both The Triangle in Clifton and a bigger restaurant on Gloucester Road, Rocotillos knows exactly what it's doing when it comes to gluten-free. They always stock gluten-free bread and know to toast it completely separately from anything that might contain gluten. The American-diner style menu boasts everything from burgers & shakes to delicious breakfasts of scrambled eggs and salmon.
2. Warmley Waiting Room (Bristol & Bath Railway Path)
With a TARDIS in the garden (that'll be the loo, by the way), this is a unique café indeed. Although their fresh cakes aren't guaranteed gluten-free (bear with me), they know exactly how to make a gluten-free toastie without cross-contaminating, even opening a new packet of crisps for me for ultimate reassurance. They also do sealed snacks like Pom-bears for small children.
You can either drive to the free car park next door or cycle along the Bristol/Bath cycle path and stop off. It's also the ultimate place to take young children as there's a large garden with games like badminton and giant Jenga.
3. The Coconut Tree (Clifton/Glos Rd)
The delicious food served here is Caribbean and scrumptious. The menu has GF and GFO (i.e. gluten-free options) and you won't have to have a separate menu (or worse, the dreaded folder) to find out what's safe for you. You can visit either Clifton or Gloucester Road.
4. Pho (City Centre)
Good ol' Pho now boasts a number of restaurants around the UK and for good reason: the food is scrumptious. They know exactly what they're talking about when it comes to gluten-free so if you want a spring roll or a rice bowl, they're the people to go to.
5. Cowshed (Clifton)
Fancy sharing a massive steak and all the trimmings with a friend? This is the place to come to for a decadent night out on Whiteladies Road.
6. Loch Fyne (City Centre)
Love seafood? Love Loch Fyne! This place boasts the very best in fresh fish and knows exactly how to cook it. On the pricey side, there are plenty of deals to be had if you get there early. There's also a stunning venue in Bath if you're nearby.
7. Revolucion de Cuba (Bristol Harbourside)
Originally the site of Bordeaux Quay, Revolucion de Cuba has changed the layout beyond recognition. You'll feel completely transported inside and the food options are fantastic. There's a slightly odd ordering system where they check the gluten-free options are definitely still gluten-free online (in case their suppliers' ingredients have changed) but once you're past this, there's delicious food to be had, including vegan options. I'd also heartily recommend the rum brought over to me - the smoothest drink I've had in a long time.
8. Pieminister (Cheltenham Rd/Supermarkets)
Whether you'd like a sit down meal or simply wish to grab a pie on the go, Pieminister is the place to come. They boast 3 different gluten-free pies and you can find all of them in your local supermarket if you'd rather be at home. My favourite is GF Heidi, the one with goats' cheese and sweet potato.
9. Spicer & Cole (4 Independent Cafes including Clifton)
After a slightly hairy start, Spicer & Cole have completely changed their procedures in store to minimise cross contamination. They now have a dedicated oat milk wand for their coffee machine and keep the gluten-free cakes completely separate with their own tongs. Admittedly, I've only been to the Clifton branch, but there are 3 others in Bristol including Finzels Reach, Queen Square & Gloucester Road.
10. Coconut Chilli (Whiteladies Rd, Clifton)
This pop-up restaurant is simply brilliant. Offering an alternative to the usual curries you'd get from India, the owners have devised a menu with 'bowls' for their mains. I had their meatballs with a side of yogurt and pomegranate seeds - a fiery and delicious dinner indeed! They've also got outdoor seating should you wish to sit outside and watch the world go by.
One thing, though - this is only a pop-up, so you'll need to get there soon before it moves on!
Disclaimer: although I've had fantastic experiences at these places, please be careful. With staff and menus apt to change, adopt an 'as foolproof as you can make it' absolute policy of being ridiculously thorough with the staff at the eatery you visit to ensure you get a meal that meets your dietary needs.
Have you got any favourite gluten-free places in Bristol? Do share them below!