I’ve recently noticed a new trend rising in the food industry: gluten-free products. From cereal to pasta, there is an ever-increasing supply of gluten-free food appearing on grocery shelves and in restaurants. I didn’t show an interest in eating gluten-free until this past summer when I read the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist in Wisconsin.
The book explains the harmful effects gluten can have on your body, and can even lead to celiac disease, a condition that damages the
lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy.
After reading the book, I decided to try the gluten-free diet myself. While it was, and continues to be, difficult to find gluten-free foods, I feel healthier and more energetic, which according to Wheat Belly, are positive side effects from not eating gluten. While I chose to adopt new eating habits, there are those who are forced to lead a gluten-free lifestyle due to celiac disease and gluten-intolerance.
I had the chance to speak with Louise Pearl who was diagnosed with celiac disease nine years ago, and is the founder and owner of Louise’s Gluten Free Table in Dorval. She decided to open her own gluten-free grocery store and bakery because she was frustrated at the lack of gluten-free products in her local grocery stores.
“While there is a loss of freedom in the choices of food I can eat, I feel much better,” said Pearl.
Whether you decide to take on a gluten-free diet by choice or not, it is difficult to find good food to accommodate this diet. As for people diagnosed with celiac disease, it isn’t as simple as eating products that are sans gluten. They need to be aware of cross-contamination, which can make it all the more difficult to eat out. Restaurants are sometimes ignorant of the sensitivity level and simply include gluten-free dishes to the menu because of the current trend. So we decided to take on the challenge and help you discover some of Montreal’s best gluten-free, celiac-friendly restaurants.
1. For fresh and delicious food try La Carreta. An authentic Salvadorian restaurant located at 350 St-Zotique St. It is a family-owned restaurant in the neighbourhood of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. All the enchiladas are gluten-free, and anything else you desire, aside from the chimichangas, can be prepared without gluten ingredients. The best part of this restaurant is that the food is naturally gluten-free from El Salvador!
2. Another great Montreal place is Zero8, a hypoallergenic restaurant. It’s name says it all because it means that their dishes are free of gluten and do not contain eight common allergens such as fish, shellfish, soy, dairy, egg, and nuts. It offers a wide arrange of dishes and $5 glasses of rosé wine. Zero8 also makes their own ketchup and has gluten-free soap in their dispensers! They are extremely accommodating and attentive; a sanctuary for celiacs.
3. Ottavio will satisfy your craving for great Italian food, sans gluten! This restaurant is in a great location and you can even bring your own wine! There is a specific gluten-free menu that includes pizza, pasta, and dessert, and there are even dairy-free options as well. On the menu, they inform their customers that they are aware of cross-contamination, serving the gluten-free meals on red plates to ensure there is no confusion.
The more I have looked into Montreal’s gluten-free scene, I have come to realize that there are more options than I thought. More and more restaurants are becoming gluten-free friendly, offering amazing and diverse options on their menus.
Louise’s Gluten Free Table is located on 475 Dumont, suite 109
La Caretta is located on 350 St-Zotique East St.
Zero8 is located on 1735 St-Denis St.
Ottavio is located on 6880 Jean Talon East St.