These days, most decent restaurants will cater to those who can't eat gluten – but there are some that do a much better job at it than others. Whether you're intolerant or coeliac, these top-notch eateries will treat you right. If you're partial to a vegetarian diet, we also have you covered.
Gluten-free restaurants in Melbourne
Join travellers, starving students and crusty St Kilda locals around the open kitchen, where the menu has no prices and the good vibes no bounds. Pay what you can for the daily array of vegetarian curries and salads that are as often as not gluten free and vegan to boot. Sri Lankan coconut dahl, chickpea tabouli and roast vegetable salads will keep your belly happy and what you pay for them goes towards funding education projects.
Everything at this blazing bright Northcote café vibrates with freshness and pep, from the soaring white walls stacked with potted grasses to the power breakfasts packing kale and quinoa. Health food here is a party, not a penance. They do a sago pudding or poached fruit and gluten-free granola for breakfast, and at lunch you can hoard vitamins by ordering the Californian superfood salad with quinoa, kale, wild organic rice, corn, ricotta, black turtle beans, heirloom tomatoes, lime and jalapeno vinaigrette.
There's about 20 per cent of the menu at this good vibes back-alley lurker that'll be off limits for those living gluten free, but considering mist places you'd be lucky if the inverse was true those are some tasty, tasty odds in your favour. Plus these guys do some of the best coffee on the south side. The coffee roast changes almost daily, and they know how to silk your milk – be it from a cow, or soy bean.
Sisters Seon Mi and Seon Joo Lee, vegetarians from meat-loving South Korea, are still hard at work creating raw and wholefood interpretations of classic Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican and Italian dishes. In fact the raw menu, which includes their signature dish rawsagne, is completely organic, vegan and gluten free. And they make their own almond milk and fresh fruit smoothies for fans of liquid nutrition.
You don’t have to be committed to a lifestyle starting with V to enjoy Transformer. Vegetarians in all their stripes, including your hard-core vegans has embraced this sister restaurant to Vegie Bar – but this is a place that doesn’t shove its philosophies down your throat. Many options are gluten-free without saying so.
The vego loving café Monk Bodhi Dharma has expanded their operation with the addition of a sister café in Abbotsford called Admiral Cheng Ho. They are all about including our non-meat eating, non-grain tolerating brethren in Melbourne's city-wide obsession with a café breakfast so the majority of their menu on any day is safe as houses for our gluten-free friends. Plus they have six espresso grinders to spice up your daily fix.
You'd think a raw enchilada was as precious as deep-sea pearls given the lines at Vegie Bar. People are still clamouring for a table at this Fitzroy diner where the meals are cruelty free and the proof is in the chia pudding. And though your stomach rails against gluten the part of your brain dedicated to cake gets to make the chocolate royale your mouth wife.
The kitchen at this Fitzroy tapas joint has no difficulty catering to special diets – we've visited with two omnivores, two vegetarians, two pescatarians and one vegan, and all of us dined like obnoxious Saudi princelings. There is more gluten free fare on the menu here than glutinous so order up the Shark Bay king prawns with aioli, lamb ribs with harissa and the acorn fed jamon and keep 'em coming.
The team at this popular, Mexican snack house are racking up some serious good karma, what with all the sustainably sourced fish, free range chickens, pork that has never done time in a sow stall. And they are a gluten-free friendly bunch here too. Aside from the toasted sandwiches you've pretty much got free reign over the menu of tacos, quesadillas, ceviches and tostaditas. Arriba!
At this Abbotsford shrine to design they’re working with a bite-sized kitchen, but hitting aces anyway. The fried eggs riding atop most savoury breakfast options wobble just like they should. They do a gluten-free, unnecessarily healthy bowl of acai, granola and fruit and an avo, fennel, dill, goat's cheese, tomato and herbs number crunched up with nut crumble. Or you can just order the gluten-free bread for a dollar and get whatever you like.
The guys at Palate understand that it’s hard out there for a paleo, and what's good for a paleo is good for gluten intolerant people generally. Paleo menu items are marked with a ‘P’ so it's easy to identify that the cauliflower rice risotto or the bread free brekkie burger with bacon, tomato, spinach and zucchini stacked between two fried eggs, and topped with guacamole is the one for you.
The owners of this new Smith Street café are the two dames behind boutique gluten-free baking company Box Brownies, meaning almost every last fist-sized peanut butter chocolate cake is delicious and safe for you and your gluten-avoiding pals. This is a better brunch than breakfast proposition. Go for the tart, switched up daily. Ours is a chunky union of beetroot, fetta, chilli and toasted walnuts with a fair whack of Tomboy’s spinach, barely bound with egg in a biscuity gluten-free base.
Ladro's menu manages to be creative and diverse without engaging in any banana-bacon shenanigans. The 'Badabing' number (pork sausage, chilli and oregano) is the perfect beer companion, as well as the Italian Welsh rarebit. The 'J Lo' is a little more traditional than its namesake, with San Marzano tomato, bufala, speck and basil. Best part is, they're all available on gluten-free bases.
Gluten free pizzas are only available on Thursdays here, and they do charge a small surcharge but trust us, this is pizza worth booking ahead for. You can call ahead to reserve a base (really, you'll want to) so all you have to do when you get there is pick your topping. Don't forget the BYO wine.
For those who cannot stomach gluten, relief comes in the form of Pizza Farro. They cover all bases here with a low gluten organic spelt base, as well as a completely gluten-free dough. The ‘Osso Bucco’ is – you guessed it – osso bucco, rocket and parmesan, artfully plonked on a pizza.
This friendly bakeshop believes that there is a way to make every recipe with cruelty-free, organic and fairtrade ingredients. With over 100 cakes, cupcakes and other treats that are all egg and dairy free, this is an allergy-prone dessert lover's paradise. Kosher, soy-free, gluten-free and other allergy-friendly options are also available.