It’s Australia’s restaurant capital… and considering the abundance of places that cater to gluten-free diners, Melbourne can also stake a claim on being the nation’s gut-friendliest city. At these 10 places clued into the gluten-free cause, no coeliac will be missing a thing.
Melbourne’s home of Mexican good times is also keen on inviting coeliacs to the party. In fact, so much of the menu is gluten-free that it’s the non-GF options that are listed. Feast your way through tacos, quesadillas, toastaditas and more – and don’t forget to add tequila.
The name translates as “everything’s good”, and while some things may still be verboten at this Italian-hearted Southbank stayer, the kitchen’s sensitivity to the gluten-free plight means there’s plenty on offer on the special GF-dedicated menu, including pasta, their signature risottos and braises.
Looking for guilt-free as well as gluten-free? Plant-based fine dining is alive and well in Fitzroy at the architectural gem known as Transformer, a former factory turned airy arbor. The majority of the smart, contemporary menu is gluten-free or has the option of being modified, whether it’s a toasty slab of fried haloumi with honey and black olive, meaty king oyster mushrooms with confit garlic and pine nut puree, or a marinated tofu taco.
Red Door Yum Cha
Dumplings can be a vexed proposition in the land of the gluten-free but not at Red Door. Yum cha to your heart’s content with steamer baskets of har gow, prawn and crab dumplings and duck beancurd wraps – served with GF soy sauce, naturally.
Do we feel guilty including a fish and chip shop on this list? Not a jot. Sweet Salt knows the battle coeliacs experience to find good fish and chips, so this Northcote shop has dedicated gluten-free fryers and burger buns – because even the gluten-free like to burn their fingers on hot, super-crunchy potato cakes.
Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya
Japanese food can be devilishly difficult for those going gluten-free but this zippy Brunswick Street izakaya makes it all too easy with gluten-free soy sauce and the accomodating menu taking out the guesswork. As well as offering boatloads of yakitori, sushi and sashimi, they’ll even do a mean version of nasi dengaku (umami-rich fried eggplant with sweet miso).
Fun fact: Ethiopian cuisine is naturally gluten-free, thanks to the teff flour used for the springy, sauce-sopping bread known as injera and the general all-round coeliac friendliness of dishes such as fava bean stew and dorho (chicken slow-cooked in spices). Saba’s stretches the definition of Ethiopian food to include brownies and chocolate mousse but you can eat assured that everything in this Fitzroy charmer is 100% gluten-safe.
Coeliacs can have their pizza and eat it too, at Ladro, one of Melbourne’s foremost purveyors of traditional wood-fired Neapolitan-style beauties. Their gluten-free bases have won kudos for their close-to-the-real-thing authenticity, while the toppings, from taleggio to truffle oil, reach the standard known in Italy as bellissimo.