Eating out while eating gluten-free is not always straightforward; gluten-free restaurants can be hard to find. Most chefs will do their very best to accommodate any dietary requirements but we’re a long way from the day when every menu carries comprehensive allergy/intolerance/ingredients information as a matter of routine.
Here are five Edinburgh restaurants which make it easy for you to make informed decisions about your dinner.
Bread Street Brasserie
Part of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, Bread Street Brasserie is a good looking restaurant which is handily located for the Usher Hall and several of Edinburgh’s theatres and cinemas. They also offer clearly labelled menus with a selection of gluten-free, veggie and vegan options which is wider than most.
A popular GF choice is the lamb rack with lamb mince, mash, turnip and carrot. A vegan GF choice might be the char grilled celeriac with polenta chips, tender stem broccoli and rosemary butter.
You can enjoy a 20% discount on the a la carte menu if you book a table through 5pm for this evening.
A funky, modern Italian restaurant on Nicolson Street, Tutto Matto opened in late 2015 and has been winning fans ever since. Handy for the Festival Theatre, it has a contemporary rustic interior fitted out with wood block features and decorative pizza oven paddles. The open plan kitchens provide their own fast moving theatre.
They offer some 22 varieties of pizza. These range from simple, classic Margheritas to more exotic variations which are named after significant cities around the world and have flavours to match. For example, the Marrakech is made with Moroccan tomato sauce with cumin and cinnamon, spiced merguez sausage, slow-fried red peppers, red onions, herbed goat’s cheese and red chillies.
All of Tutto Matto’s pizza can be made gluten-free for a supplement of £2.
Book through 5pm today and you can enjoy two courses from the a la carte menu for £9.95 between noon and 4pm. Two courses on the a la carte from 4.15pm to 10pm are yours for £10.95.
Opened in 2004 as the first of Victor and Carina Contini’s group of three Edinburgh restaurants, Ristorante blends contemporary Italian cooking with well sourced local ingredients and imported Italian specialities. Set in an imposing converted banking hall on George Street, the restaurant is grand yet also attractively feminine in its neat palette of pink, grey and white.
At Contini Ristorante, the kitchen is very upfront and honest about their gluten labelling. If you stick rigidly to the letter of the law then the term ‘gluten-free’ should only be used for pre-packed foods that are lab tested.
The chefs at Ristorante are very well trained and very careful about gluten cross contamination. However, like most kitchens, they do use products containing gluten.
The restaurant takes the line recommended by Coeliac UK and produce dishes made with ‘no gluten-containing ingredients’.
These dishes are labelled as being ‘G – gluten-reduced’ which means they are made with no gluten-containing ingredients.
Other dishes are labelled as ‘O’ meaning that a gluten-reduced option is available.
Dishes labelled G include the bresaola – air-dried fillet of Valtellina beef IGP, Treviso, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and I Ciacca Extra Virgin Olive Oil or the char grilled sea bass with pan-fried Pachino tomatoes, caperberries, spinach and a little fresh garlic.
Two courses from the George Street menu are yours for £14.95 if you dine between noon and 3pm today. You can book through 5pm.
Restaurant Mark Greenaway
As you would expect from one of Edinburgh’s most prominent and innovative chefs, Mark Greenaway takes most dietary requirements in his stride. As always, the more notice the kitchen has, the more it can adapt existing dishes or devise new menus which fit those requirements.
There are always gluten-free dishes on the menus here and the staff are more than happy to point them out. Many of the dishes can also be adapted and made gluten-free.
On the present menu, GF starters include the venison carpaccio with soused tomatoes, tomato tartare and Parmesan snow as well as the duo of hand-dived West Coast scallops which come with pork crackling, dashi broth, soy caramel, sea vegetables and rice wine vinegar jelly.
From the main courses, the 40-day dry-aged fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef is one of several gluten-free choices. The Scottish hake fillet which comes with a shellfish cannelloni, fennel and dill purée, clams, cockles, salt baked celeriac and fennel bisque can be made gluten-free.
Edinburgh River Life
Offering a combination of Caribbean and French cuisine, Edinburgh River Life is a bijou and welcoming restaurant on Dalry Road. The French Caribbean cooking may seem unusual. It reflects the chef patron’s upbringing on Guadeloupe followed by a career which took him to Paris before he opened in Edinburgh.
The menus at Edinburgh River Life are marked with the potentially troublesome ingredients which they include. So the slow cooked and browned pork fusion dish is marked as containing wheat while the seafood bisque includes milk, fish, crustaceans, wheat and sulphur dioxide from wine.