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)