| |

Gluten Free Victoria, BC: The Best Restaurants for Celiacs

When we started talking about places to go for our honeymoon, Vancouver Island came up as an option. Sure, I had been to Victoria and Vancouver growing up. But what I didn’t realize was how much there was to see and do outside of Victoria. We ended up planning a road trip from Victoria to Tofino and back again. On that trip, I explored the best gluten free Victoria eats, including vegetarian cauliflower “wings” and a gluten free pulled pork sandwich.

When we booked our flights and I started researching gluten free Victoria and Tofino restaurants, I was blown away by how many great gluten free restaurants there are on Vancouver Island and immediately added ALL of them to the itinerary.

vancouver island beaches

For example, I found two 100% gluten free options, a restaurant and cidery and a bakery on Salt Spring Island. So what did we do? We added a day trip to Salt Spring Island. And it was the highlight of the trip.

On the trip, I was pleasantly surprised at the levels of Celiac awareness in all of the restaurants on this list.

Sometimes here in San Francisco, it can be a little hit or miss whether the server knows what Celiac Disease is. In these gluten free restaurants in Victoria and beyond, every single one of them perked up when I said the word “Celiac,” and some jumped to talking about dedicated fryers before I even asked! What a treat.

I want to call out the Celiac Scene as a fantastic resource for planning a gluten free Vancouver Island adventure. You’ll find her recommendations for trustworthy restaurants, grocery stores, and other local gluten free Victoria and Vancouver Island businesses. She was instrumental in helping me plan my trip, and she probably will be for yours too.

Here are the best gluten free restaurants in Victoria and beyond on Vancouver Island.

RELATED: Don’t miss my guide to the best gluten free restaurants in Vancouver, BC.

The Best Gluten Free Restaurants in Victoria, BC

Victoria had a surprising number of gluten free restaurants that are safe for Celiacs. Whether you’re looking for baked goods, vegetarian fare, or fish and chips in a dedicated fryer, gluten free Victoria has you covered.

Origin Gluten Free Bakery: A 100% Gluten Free Victoria Bakery

We managed to stop by Origin’s Langford location just before the they closed for the evening on a Saturday. It was gluten free heaven.

They have a wide selection of breads, sandwiches, and sweet treats. They bake different breads each day of the week, so you know it’ll be fresh. Their cakes are to die for. I got the german chocolate, which was a decadent chocolate base topped with a dusting of coconut. YUM.

They even have a full list of ingredients on their website. Love the transparency.

They are closed on Sundays. Which was a bummer for me, because I wanted to stop by their second location in Victoria before we left on Sunday. It wasn’t meant to be.

Some of their products contain gluten free oats – they are purity protocol from Avena foods per this page. If you are sensitive to oats, consult the ingredient list and let the person helping you know.

gluten free Victoria BC bakery
gluten free bakery in victoria BC
gluten free cake from a gluten free victoria BC bakery

Be Love: 100% Gluten Free & Vegetarian Restaurant in Victoria

Be Love was our choice for dinner on our last night in Victoria, BC. It’s a 100% plant based and gluten and dairy free restaurant, and the food was delicious.

They also have a great wine list, make their own kombucha in house, and have Glutenberg gluten free beer!

We started with the cauliflower wings, which were outstanding. They were nice and crispy on the outside, and the side of ranch was delicious.

For our mains, we had the green curry and the mac & cheese. The mac & cheese was the star of the show. Coconut cashew cheese sauce over brown rice pasta topped with veggies and a walnut parmesan. I never thought of myself as someone who likes vegetarian or vegan food until this trip.

Don’t miss their desserts. The raw cashew cheesecake and a dairy free panna cotta caught my eye, but I was WAY too full from dinner.

I definitely recommend Be Love for your trip to gluten free Victoria. Maybe for both brunch and dinner.

vegetarian and gluten free restaurants in victoria bc
the best gluten free restaurant in victoria bc

Cafe Bliss: 100% Gluten Free and Vegetarian Cafe

Cafe Bliss is actually owned by the same people as Be Love, so a lot of the things I said about Be Love apply here. 100% gluten free, raw, dairy free, but more of a cafe vibe.

They have two gluten free Victoria restaurants – a location downtown, and one Uptown at Whole Foods.

The Fish Store: Gluten Free Fish and Chips in a Dedicated Fryer

In Victoria, you’ll find Fisherman’s Wharf. In Fisherman’s Wharf you’ll find a floating shack. In this floating shack, you’ll find gluten free fish and chips.
That makes the Fish Store worth a visit on your trip exploring gluten free Victoria.

They have a dedicated fryer for gluten free fish and chips. MAKE SURE TO TELL THEM YOU ARE A CELIAC and double check with the staff while you’re there.

I chuckled at their “cut out the middle man” story that sounds like every podcast ad I’ve heard in the past five years. But then I thought about it, and it’s cool to know that you’re getting the freshest fish.

The Fish Store is a seafood restaurant and fish seller at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria BC. We have an advantage over other seafood retailers because we are not just a store, we are also a licensed processing plant. As a plant we have the ability to legally purchase fish and shellfish directly from the fisherman and process it right at our floating store.  We skip the middle man, pass the savings on and you get the freshest fish in season.

– The Fish Store (website)
gluten free restaurant in Victoria BC with Fish and chips
Image Courtesy the Fish Store (Facebook)

Other Gluten Free Victoria Restaurants

  • Bin 4 Burger Lounge: Celiac-friendly burgers in a lovely atmosphere. Dedicated fryer at both locations, so you can also have the fries. Let them know you are a Celiac and ask them to change gloves and wipe down prep areas.
  • J&J Wonton Noodle House: If you’re missing Chinese food since your Celiac diagnosis, I have some great news for you. This Chinese restaurant in Victoria does Chinese food that is safe for Celiacs with a separate menu, prep area, and precautions to minimize cross-contamination.

Gluten Free Vancouver Island: The Rest of the Island

Little did I know, there are several Celiac-friendly gluten free Vancouver Island restaurants outside of Victoria. Here are the best of the ones that I came across.

Celiac-Safe Restaurants on Salt Spring Island

After every trip, I like to do a “best of” exercise with Alysha where we talk about the best meal, the best experience, and more.

Salt Spring Island came up more than once on that list. It’s an easy ferry ride over from Victoria (use the Swartz Bay terminal) and is well worth a day trip if you have some extra time.

Salt Spring Wild Cider: 100% Gluten Free Restaurant and Cidery

Salt Spring Wild Cider was the food highlight of the trip for both of us.

Not only do they make fantastic gluten free cider, their food menu is also 100% gluten free. And also 100% delicious. This wasn’t a “oh, it’s pub food and it’s alright” situation. The food was ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD.
You’ll find everything from smaller bites like cheese plates and mezze platters up to full meals. We got the cider-braised chorizo and a baked chicken special, and were blown away.

Definitely worth a trip to Salt Spring Island JUST to go here.

All of their ciders are also gluten free, and you can get a flight of 5 classic, 5 experimental, or all 10 to try. Naturally, we went with all 10.

Laughing Daughters: A 100% Gluten Free Bakery

A 100% gluten free bakery on Salt Spring Island. Go early, as they tend to sell out. You can also find a selection of their baked goods at grocery stores around the island.

Eating Gluten Free in Tofino

Tofino, land of beaches, storms, and surfers, also happens to have several Celiac-safe gluten free restaurants. Here are the best of the bunch that I have eaten at.

Pssst: If you’re heading to Tofino, head over to read my guide to 10 Spectacular Places to Stay in Tofino.

Bravocados: Vegan Restaurant with Celiac-Safe Options

This was the gluten free highlight of Tofino. Bravocados is a vegan restaurant in downtown Tofino with tons of gluten free options on the menu that are clearly marked.

As soon as I said the word “Celiac” the server’s ears perked up and he explained to me their protocols and the fact that their fryers are all gluten free.

The cauliflower wings were outstanding. “Do we even need to eat meat?” I wondered aloud the next day on a hike with Alysha. That’s how good they were.

We also got some loaded nacho fries and a thai curry dish that were both good. The whole menu isn’t gluten free, but there are a solid number of options to choose from, and the staff is knowledgable, helpful, and took all the steps I asked for to serve safe, gluten free food.

All that being said, double check with them to make sure their kitchen protocols haven’t changed since then.

Sobo: Fresh, Local & Seasonal Ingredients with Celiac-Friendly Gluten Free Options

Our first meal of the trip was at Sobo. After a long day of driving from Victoria to Tofino, we strolled up the street to Sobo, got a table, and sat down.

I immediately put our server through my gluten free knowledge test. I asked about the gluten free options on the menu, asked about their fryer (they do not have a dedicated fryer), and asked him to ask the kitchen to change gloves and equipment.

“No problem at all” he said.

The salmon chowder was the highlight of the meal – it was so good, we ordered a second bowl.

They have a seasonal menu of dishes crafted with local ingredients. It rotates, but features some staples like chicken, halibut, and steak alongside seasonal accompaniments.

Not everything is gluten free, but the menu is clearly marked. Because the menu changes with the seasons, make sure to double check with the server what is safe for you to eat.

Chocolate Tofino: Gluten Free Chocolates? Count me in!

As soon as I walked into Chocolate Tofino, they were super attentive and knowledgeable about allergens and their processes.

Their gelato is all gluten free, but they make waffle cones in house. If you ask nicely, they will gladly wash the scoop and make a trip to the back to open up a new tub to avoid cross-contamination.

Their chocolates, like earl grey truffles and blackberry buttercream, are all gluten free (but make sure to double check). Not only that, they’re made in a separate part of the kitchen. They even wiped down the scale they use to weigh the orders for me when I asked.

Highlights: Blackberry buttercream, wildflower honey truffle, chai truffle.

Gluten Free Vancouver Island – the Rest

There are two other gluten free Vancouver Island restaurants that I wanted to highlight. They are outside of Victoria and Tofino, but they were both OUTSTANDING. So I had to include them on this list.

Fish on Fifth (Sidney): Gluten Free Fish and Chips with TWO Dedicated GF Fryers

Sidney is right near the airport, which makes it a perfect stop when you arrive, or on your way out. Fish on Fifth has the best gluten free fish and chips on the island, and I don’t think it was close.

They have two dedicated fryers, a separate gluten free menu, and TONS of Celiac-safe options.

Any of their fish and chips can be made gluten free. Get the haddock for an authentically British fish and chips experience. The yam fries are also outstanding, and the coleslaw is among the best I’ve had to date.

They also have Glutenberg in cans, which is a huge plus in my book.

gluten free restaurant on Vancouver Island
Gluten free Vancouver Island restaurant fish and chips outside victoria

Wild Poppy Bistro (Ladysmith): 100% Gluten Free (and Delicious) Cafe and Bakery

If you’re a Celiac making the drive up to Tofino from Victoria, this place should be on your list. Twice. That’s what I did, anyway. On the way up, and again on the way back.

Wild Poppy is a gluten free Vancouver Island restaurant north of Victoria BC that is 100% gluten free and bakes a bunch of different gluten free treats in house.

Their breakfast and lunch offerings are great, but the lunch is what really shined for me. I had the pulled pork grilled cheese and the burger, and both were fantastic. Even the side salad and the creamy dill dressing was a tasty surprise.

We were stuffed from a big lunch, so we grabbed some treats to go and the raspberry white chocolate scone was the winner.

“Do you think all of the people in here even know that this place is 100% gluten free?” Alysha asked me after we had scarfed down our meals.

I know that, one bite into my pulled pork grilled cheese, I had to double check the sign above the register that declares everything is gluten free. It’s that good.

Where to Shop for Gluten Free Groceries on Vancouver Island

While all three major grocery store chains in Victoria have gluten free options, there is a clear winner in terms of selection.

And it’s Country Grocer.

They have tons of gluten free options, and it is certainly a more upscale shopping experience. You’ll find them spread throughout Victoria and the southern end of the island. Well worth a stop when you get into town to grab some supplies for breakfast or snacks.

Other shops on Vancouver Island with gluten free groceries:

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with both the number of gluten free restaurants in Victoria and beyond on Vancouver Island.

Other Canada posts you might like:

Sometimes when I travel, as soon as I get outside of the big cities, the number of gluten free restaurants drops. Like in New Zealand, where outside of Queenstown and Wanaka, I spent most of the trip cooking for myself.

Check out my post of 84 gluten free travel tips where I share my top tips, tools, and tricks for traveling anywhere in the world 100% gluten free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.