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Gluten Free Banff: 6 Celiac-Friendly Restaurants for your Trip

A couple of summers ago, we did a road trip in the Canadian Rockies to Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. It was a memorable trip for me, both because of the spectacular hiking in Banff, and also the number of gluten free food options.

We stayed in Canmore, a 10 minute drive from downtown Banff, and there were several Celiac-safe restaurants within shouting distance of our Airbnb.

Here are the best gluten free Banff eats to enjoy on your trip. Unfortunately, I went on that trip before I started taking pictures of literally everything I eat, so I don’t have a whole lot of food pictures.

However, what I do have is hiking and landscape pictures galore. So that’s what you’re going to get!

Planning a trip to Banff? Don’t miss my guide to the 9 Best Hikes in Banff National Park.

Heading up to Canada? Here are some other posts you might like:


Gluten Free Banff Restaurants

Here are three Celiac-friendly gluten free restaurants in the town of Banff that I ate at on my trip.

Are there more restaurants that have gluten free menus in Banff? Absolutely.

Are those other restaurants that are not listed here suitable for Celiacs? Maybe. Maybe not. You’ll have to ask.

For example, take Tooloulous. They are highly rated on Findmeglutenfree, but they cook the gluten free waffles on the same waffle iron as regular ones, don’t have a dedicated fryer, and generally aren’t careful about cross-contamination. Would I eat there? Probably not, because they don’t have the protocols in place to manage cross contact with gluten.

As always, I recommend that you need to reach out to each of the restaurants you want to eat at. Tell them you have Celiac Disease, it’s a medical necessity not a lifestyle choice, and that you need to eat gluten free and avoid cross-contact with gluten. Ask if they have dedicated preparation areas for gluten free dishes, whether they have a shared fryer, and if they would be able to accommodate your needs.

Doing that work up front will make your life easier once you get to exploring gluten free Banff.

It’s exactly what I do before I travel, and it helps me feel confident about the gluten free options in a new and exciting place.

It takes a lot of the stress out of traveling gluten free when you KNOW you have safe restaurant options nearby.

Nourish Bistro

I don’t know what it is, but Canada has some of the best gluten free & vegetarian restaurants around (in Tofino and Victoria, I had some of the best veggie food I’ve ever had). Nourish Bistro is a vegetarian restaurant downtown Banff whose menu is ~95% gluten free.

The nachos are the highlight of the menu, if you ask me. Their staff was friendly and helpful. They quickly identified dishes that contained gluten, and explained what I could order to minimize the risk of cross-contact.

Eddie Burger Bar

IMPORTANT: They have a shared fryer. No fries, and make sure to ask them about anything else that might be fried (like the bacon).

Eddie Burger Bar is on the main drag in Banff, so the location couldn’t be better.

The burger was pretty good, but the bun did basically fall apart immediately (#celiaclife). I asked them to change gloves and omit any spreads that may be a risk of cross-contamination, and they happily helped me out.

Balkan

IMPORTANT: The menu is clearly marked with “gf” next to options that are gluten free. HOWEVER, they do not have a dedicated gluten free fryer, which means some of the dishes marked gf are not actually gf.

The staff at Balkan helped me identify what was Celiac-safe, but this annoyed me to no end. If it says gluten free, it needs to be gluten free.

This was the most upscale dining experience we had in Banff. It’s a Greek restaurant on the main drag.

The highlights were the Athenian Chicken and the warm halloumi salad. Both were confirmed to be gluten free and free of cross-contact. And both were delicious.


What to Eat in Lake Louise?

If you’re staying near Lake Louise, there aren’t too many options I’d recommend for Celiacs.

I’ve read good things about the Fairmont, and know that they can easily cater to people who need to eat 100% gluten free.

If you’re trying to travel on a budget, I’d highly recommend cooking for yourself if you can. There’s a grocery store in town with lots of gluten free options.


Gluten Free Restaurants in Canmore

Canmore was the highlight of the trip from a food perspective. We decided to stay in Canmore because it was WAY cheaper than staying in Banff itself, and we were not disappointed.

Here are three great gluten free restaurants in Canmore.

Communitea Cafe

While Communitea is not 100% gluten free, they have a solid understanding of cross-contact and allergens and were more than willing to change gloves and wipe down surfaces before preparing my breakfast.

As a result, we ended up eating there three times on our trip. It pays to have reliable gluten free options for Celiacs. We’re a loyal bunch.

For breakfast, there really aren’t too many gluten free options. But the coffee is good, and it’s in a nice location just off of Canmore’s main drag.

Lunch is where it shines. The bowls all looked fantastic, and I went with the Pad Thai and the Coconut Curry bowl. Both were phenomenal, and I’d totally eat at Communitea for every meal in Banff if I were you.

Communitea Cafe, a gluten free restaurant in Banff in Canmore

Wild Orchid (100% GF)

Wild Orchid is a 100% gluten free restaurant in Canmore, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Banff.

If there’s a must-eat gluten free Banff (ish) restaurant on this list, this is it.
There is NOTHING better than walking into a restaurant and knowing you can eat anything on the menu. It’s a magical feeling.

Sushi. Asian-style tapas. Some bigger options. Even gluten free beer! (NOTE: They have four beers on the menu – two from Glutenberg which are safe, and two gluten-reduced beers that you should avoid).

If you’re staying in Banff, it’s well worth the quick trip to Canmore to eat here. It’s a little bit expensive for what it is, but the peace of mind is worth it. At least to me.

Image Courtesy Wild Orchid
Image Courtesy Wild Orchid

Spice Hut

Spice Hut is an Indian restaurant in Canmore. Indian food is one of my go-to cuisines when I’m traveling. See the best Indian food I had in New Zealand in Wanaka. Or Christmas Dinner in Berlin.

I love Indian food. And Spice Hut was good. Most curries are gluten free, and the menu is clearly marked. Steer clear of the breads (duh).

Image Courtesy the Spice Hut
Image Courtesy the Spice Hut

Over the last few years, I have pretty much fallen head over heels in love with Canada. From Victoria’s gluten free food scene (and the rest of Vancouver Island), to Vancouver, to Banff’s world-class hiking, Canada is full of gems. I’m hoping to make it to the Eastern part of Canada soon to explore.

From the outdoors, to their understanding of Celiac Disease and what it means (compared to here in the US, at least), Canada is a great place for Celiac-friendly adventures.

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2 Comments

    1. We sure did! We cooked for ourselves often to save money while we were traveling. There’s a Safeway in Canmore which has a similar selection to the ones in the US (pretty good), and there’s an IGA in Downtown Banff that is also great. You’ll find bread, pasta, etc, along with the usual naturally gluten free things like rice, eggs, and cheese.

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