If you’re living in (or visiting) Mother City and follow a gluten-free diet, then this is for you. We’ll detail where you can find gluten-free restaurants in Cape Town, highlight some items to look out for, and share our favourite gluten-free recipes and shopping experiences.
Living gluten-free means avoiding all foods that contain the protein gluten. In a nutshell, this includes wheat, oats (though some oats are gluten-free), barley, rye, and malt. Even though following a gluten-free diet may seem enormously complicated, it is actually rather simple and quick to get the hang of. Of course, there are some secret places where gluten may hide, so look out for these (more below).
If you’re new to the gluten-free world or wondering whether you need to switch to one, then you can check back to our article on adopting a gluten-free lifestyle.
Top Gluten-Free Restaurants In Cape Town
Not keen on cooking? Cape Town is one of the best places to eat out in the world. I may be a bit biased here but I do love the social scene in Cape Town. But, hmm, what am I going to eat if I follow a gluten-free diet? Don’t fear, there is always something on the menu for a gluten-free person.
Some of these restaurants are known for being healthy, while others just give you the luxury of choice:
- Active Sushi: If you do away with the soya and teriyaki sauce, sushi is still perfectly fine on a gluten-free diet. I love the seafood salads here, as well as the normal sushi specials. Remember to ask for no sauce!
- Bacini’s: The gluten-free pasta here is one of a kind!
- Blue Café: Chilled and cosy breakfast spot, with gluten-free tea time options.
- Bocca: I don’t go for the pizza, I go for the wine and tapas – yum!
- Da Vincis: Great gluten-free pizzas without cheese.
- Knead: Try their Banting bread, it’s to die for! I love going to Knead for the first-class coffee and the poached eggs with smashed avo on Banting bread.
- Masala Dosa: One of the best Indian restaurant EVER. Plus, they offer gluten-free options.
- Nu: Go for the delish gluten-free protein pancakes.
- Orchard on Long: Known for their juices but also feature fresh lunch salads.
- Reverie Social Table: I recently indulged in a five-course dinner and wine pairing at this very elite restaurant. The chef is flexible, the food innovative, and I was able to enjoy five gluten-free meals.
- Wellness Café: Health food galore. This is a no-brainer.
- Woodlands Eatery: This place guarantees you a lovely evening out with friends and family with lots of gluten-free options.
Remember, it’s up to you to let the chef or manager know that you do not eat gluten. Without making a fuss of it, quietly inform the chef, manager or waiter that you cannot eat gluten and request that they ensure all your food is safe for eating.
But even if you’re familiar with what to skip if you’re eating gluten-free, be aware of some of the places gluten may hide …
Watch Out For These Items
After some time, you’ll start to become familiar with where you’ll find gluten and simply avoid those dishes. But, even then something can still trip you up. Watch out for these items where gluten may hide:
- Alcohol, like vodka
- Certain chocolate bars (always look under allergens before buying)
- Coffee (some instant coffee brands)
- Crisps (sometimes the flavouring contains gluten)
- Curry (often thickened/bulked up with flour)
- Grilled fish (often dusted with flour before cooking)
- Oyster sauce
- Pasta sauces
- Roasted potatoes (often dusted with flour before roasting)
- Sauces and gravies
- Soy sauce
- Spice mixes (flour and breadcrumbs can be used as a bulking agent)
- Spreads such as Marmite and Bovril
- Pasta sauces
Definitely watch out for these and always make sure you read the allergens list on any food product & double-check your restaurant order. Even though it may seem challenging at first, you’ll undoubtedly quickly get the hang of your new gluten-free diet.
Cook With These Gluten-Free Recipes
And if you don’t feel like eating out every day? Cooking gluten-free meals at home is simple as well, and certainly doesn’t need to be boring.
Try these original gluten-free recipes:
- Espresso chocolate chip muffins
- Homemade granola
- Muffin frittata
- Moroccan beef burger
- Beetroot wild rice
- Linseed bread
Have Fun & Stay Healthy
In summary, this is actually a super easy diet to follow once you know your way around the streets. Cape Town offers superb restaurants, most of which are very understanding when it comes to foodie requests and can accommodate a gluten-free diet.
Let’s face it, our culture is food-focused & we love a good family meal or a dinner with friends. Go out and have fun while being mindful of what you are ordering and eating.
You rule your diet, so get clued up and make good choices to a healthier lifestyle!
Written by Drue Birch