I am a foodie: an Italian–French Canadian, 40 something who loves to eat – everything! Imagine my shock, when I attributed a long list and several years of bizarre symptoms to fluctuations in hormones and found it was Celiac Disease. To heal my body and remain healthy, all I had to do was eat a zero tolerance, gluten free diet – forever.
What is gluten in? Almost everything! Gluten is a protein found in many grains like (but not limited to) wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt. It is also found in many natural flavourings, packaged spices and preservatives. It sometimes has sneaky names like HVP, modified ingredients and malt. Foods like chocolate, flavoured tea, instant coffee, processed meats and many others that don’t appear to have gluten, often do. While eating gluten free is a lifestyle choice for some, for those of us with Celiac Disease it is life sustaining.
Eating out at a restaurant can often feel like navigating a minefield. Luckily for me, the foodie in me is more of an adventurer than the adventurer in me is. I have discovered the hard way that the safest restaurants are those with gluten free menus and/or have an honest to goodness chef in residence. I have discovered some gems in Oakville with gluten free menus.
Julia’s Ristorante – 312 Lakeshore Rd., E.
Mussels Rojo is a must-have appetizer. The mussels are cooked to perfection in a slightly spicy, tomato sauce. You’ll also want to order the gluten free baguette with this, for dipping.
The sweet potato crusted Atlantic salmon is my favourite entrée. It is delicious and comes with a fantastic roasted tomato and spinach quinoa. Don’t be afraid of quinoa, it’s a bit like a cross between wild rice and couscous.
Paradiso Restaurant – 125 Lakeshore Rd, E
The honey roasted beet and goat cheese salad is as beautiful as it is flavourful. The sweetness of the beets is nicely balanced by the saltiness of the goat cheese and the tang of the vinaigrette.
Their spice crusted Ontario pork tenderloin is elegant, comfort cuisine at it’s best.
Bamboo Legend – Foxcreek Plaza, 2501 Third Line
Serves a creamy, coconut, Panang curry that has me sneaking out for lunch regularly. This tantalizing lunch entrée comes with a fragrant lemon grass soup.
Milestones – 3529 Wyecroft Rd.
Sometimes you just want a juicy, perfectly grilled, burger. Milestones has one and it comes on a gluten free bun!
I enjoy the Californian style toppings: avocado salsa, tomato, double smoked bacon. It is served with mixed greens and lemon, chardonnay vinaigrette.
Voila Gluten Free Bakery – 22 Lakeshore Rd., W.
Admittedly – not a restaurant but it doesn’t mean that delicious take home food can’t be ordered. On Friday’s they have take out pizza, that will feed two or three! Call ahead to make sure that you get one.
I love the Greek style pizza with pepperoni. The crust is thick and delicious. It’s great hot or cold. The chocolate cake will rival any you’ve ever had – gf or not. I make up birthdays just so I can order “The Cake”.
My favourite Oakville eateries not only have delicious, gluten free choices but also well trained, friendly staff who understand when I clarify that I have an allergy to gluten. They ensure that care is taken in a kitchen that may not be gluten free. Bon appétit.
About the author: Nina March is an Oakville resident and educator. Her loves include: food, family, friends, teaching, her students, her pets, politics and a great latte. Follow her on twitter @gfgerl.