To celebrate my 40th birthday I chose a trip to Edmonton. I really wanted a trip to Disneyland, but that wasn’t in the cards this year, so West Edmonton Mall had to do. The real attraction in Edmonton wasn’t West Edmonton Mall (though the space themed room we stayed in was pretty cool), it was all of the gluten free, celiac-safe venues there that I had been wanting to try! We drive through Edmonton occasionally, but we never have enough time to stop at more than one place, so this trip was dedicated to trying as many of the gluten free places in Edmonton as I could to spoil My Celiac Family.
Since being diagnosed with celiac disease we rarely eat out because of the risk of cross contamination, so I don’t often get a break from meal prep. A few days of not planning meals, grocery shopping, cooking and washing dishes was just what the doctor ordered for the start of my 40th year.
Here is a summary of the gluten free places in Edmonton that we visited during our trip:
Fusion Café – Red Deer
On our trip from Calgary to Edmonton we stopped at our favorite Chinese food restaurant, Fusion Café in Red Deer. They have yummiest gluten free ginger beef, honey garlic chicken and mixed veggies. Fusion Cafe isn’t 100% gluten free, but they are very careful and they understand cross contamination and they have separate fryers. I have had lots of good conversations with the owner about celiac food safety. They also come recommended by local celiacs and a member of the Red Deer Celiac Association worked with them years ago to educate them. My Celiac Family has eaten there 10 plus times without any issues and we absolutely love their food. We also stopped there on our way home to pick up Chinese food to take home. We called ahead and they had it packed and cooled for us to pop it into our cooler to take home. It rewarms very well and helped extend our vacation at home.
MyFries – Edmonton
We picked a crumby day to start our tour of gluten free places in Edmonton because almost all of the places that I wanted to visit were closed on Monday! Luckily we are good little celiacs and we came prepared with yogurt and gluten free granola in our cooler for breakfast.
The one place that was open on Monday was MyFries. They were recently received their certification under the Gluten Free Food Program so we knew we would be safe there for lunch. Well, not only were we safe, but we also loved the food! Since we were on vacation, we let the kids have floats and we had milkshakes, we could afford the extra calories because MyFries are baked not fried which meant less fat and calories. My husband tried the taco fries, I had chicken fajita fries and the kids had plain fries with vinegar or ketchup.
The best part of our lunch was meeting one of the owners Amy, she was very nice and so happy to be providing a safe place for us to eat. We begged her to come and open a MyFries in Calgary for us. We had such a positive experience there that we decided to eat at MyFries for lunch the next day as well.
Red Robin – Edmonton
Our first supper in Edmonton was the low point of our whole trip. We could not find a 100% gluten free restaurant for supper in Edmonton so we followed the recommendations of our fellow celiacs who I reached out to prior to our trip. We decided to go to Red Robin because they have a gluten free menu, a dedicated gluten free fryer and because they take cross contamination and allergy protocols seriously. I will start out by saying that we did not get sick from the food, so they took good care of us. I am grateful for that because not getting sick is our number one priority.
It had been awhile since we had been to a regular restaurant and I had kind of forgotten how much it can hurt to walk into the restaurant and see everyone eating all the wonderful gluten filled dishes that we can’t have. They handed us regular menus and my kids saw the pizza and pasta and got excited. Then we asked for the gluten free menu and they brought us an iPad where we had to enter our allergies to see what we could eat. While I appreciate that this is probably a great option, especially for people who may have more than one allergy, it felt like a painful process for us. The iPad just listed the menu items, it didn’t describe them so it was tedious going back and forth between the menu and the iPad trying to figure out what we could have while seeing all the things that we couldn’t have. When we finally figured out what we all wanted and what we could have I was a bit flustered. After we ordered I had a little cry in the bathroom. We have been spoiled lately eating at gluten free establishments and I had forgotten how much I miss the freedom of ordering anything off the menu in regular restaurants.
In the end, the food we got was delicious and we all left satisfied. Their bottomless fries were a hit with the kids (even though we had just had fries for lunch)! I would definitely go back to Red Robin and recommend them to other celiacs.
Celebrate Gluten Free – Edmonton
The next morning was Tuesday and I was excited to get out and about because the rest of the gluten free places in Edmonton that I wanted to visit were open. We started our morning at Celebrate Gluten Free where my husband and I had breakfast sandwiches – eggs and ham on a delicious cheese bun, what a treat! The kids had muffins and donuts and were very happy to have such yummy gluten free donuts. It was a pretty small café and since they had just opened after being closed for two days they were still stocking the shelves. I would recommend going an hour or two after they open, but it is worth the wait. We came back the next day because it was bagel day. We arrived shortly after opening again and the bagels were not ready yet so we decided to have cinnamon buns instead. Oh My Gosh! I have to start by saying that we had been walking by Cinnzeo in the mall for the last couple of days and the yummy smell had been driving me crazy. The cinnamon buns at Celebrate Gluten Free were AMAZING! They heated them up for us and added cream cheese icing, what an experience!
If you are anywhere near Edmonton, you have to go to Celebrate Gluten Free for cinnamon buns. On our way out of the door, the owner popped her head out of the kitchen with a fresh warm bagel for us to try, again it didn’t disappoint. I am so happy we got to eat at Celebrate Gluten Free twice during our stay in Edmonton. I can’t wait to go back!
Kinnikinnick Fresh – Edmonton
Edmonton is home to Kinnikinnick Foods. We eat their bread all of the time and their graham style crumbs are amazing in cheesecake. I have used their cake mixes and my daughter loves their cookies. When I found out that they were based in Edmonton I was really proud to have such a major gluten free vendor in our province (they ship their products anywhere in Canada or the US). We decided to check out their bakery Kinnikinnick Fresh while we were there. We walked in and I wanted one of everything! They had lemon poppy seed angel food cake, donuts, cupcakes, dinner buns, fresh bread and much, much more. It was nice to see their bread fresh and soft, since we buy it from the freezer in Calgary. They also had a cooler labeled “The Cooler of Awesome” that had a number of yummy treats. I bought a bag full of gluten free goodness in a reusable shopping bag with the Kinnikinnick logo on it as a souvenir of our trip.
Ben’s Meats – Edmonton
The other place that our fellow celiacs recommended was Ben’s Meats and Deli. While we were there we met Dave who I believe is one of the owners, he has celiac disease and gave us a nice little tour of what was safe. I ended up with some yummy black licorice, chocolates, chicken nuggets and some gluten free spring rolls to take home in the cooler. Dave was amazing and everyone who worked there was so warm and welcoming. They had freezers full of gluten free goodness including frozen pizzas, perogies and much more from lots of gluten free vendors around the province. Thank you Ben’s Meats for supporting so many other local gluten free businesses!
Rio Vida Gluten Free Bakery – Edmonton
Rio Vida also came highly recommended from our celiac group. They are a small bakery that specializes in gluten free frozen items. They have a few coolers stocked with things like perogies, puff pastry dough, calzones, cookie dough, cupcakes and more. The flavour of cookie dough I wanted was sold out, but they assured me that if I called ahead next time they would try their best to have the item I wanted in stock. We purchased a frozen calzone and donair that will make convenient lunches in the near future. The person in front of me in line recommended the coconut cookies too, so definitely lots of treasures in this little shop.
The Old Spaghetti Factory – Edmonton
We had supper on our last night in West Edmonton Mall at The Old Spaghetti Factory. If we were at home we would not usually eat somewhere like this where there is gluten filled pasta and bread at every table. However, The Old Spaghetti Factory came highly recommended by the celiac community in Edmonton and with no 100% gluten free restaurants available in Edmonton we decided to take a calculated risk. We immediately saw why it came highly recommended. Our waitress was very knowledgeable about celiac disease and cross contamination. They had gluten free menus with lots of awesome choices. The manager came out to speak to us to assure us that our food had been flagged in the kitchen and that they would do their best to keep us safe. I had a baked seafood alfredo pasta that was the definition of comfort food. Everyone enjoyed their meals, it was so good that at one point I asked my husband if he thought they accidentally gave us gluten pasta instead of gluten free. Even though the food was really good, as I looked around at all the other tables eating regular bread and pasta I kept thinking “please don’t let this risk make us sick”.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if The Old Spaghetti Factory made a spin-off restaurant that was 100% gluten free so that we could fully enjoy the experience without having to worry that someone in the kitchen made a small mistake that would make us sick! Good news though, we didn’t get sick! They did a great job of keeping us safe.
Lacombe Totally Gluten Free Bakery – Lacombe
Although we didn’t get a chance to stop at the Lacombe Totally Gluten Free Bakery on this trip, almost every trip we make between Calgary and Edmonton includes a stop there so I thought I would mention them. The Lacombe Totally Gluten Free Bakery has freezers full of gluten free pizzas, soups, meals, cupcakes, breads, bagels, pies, squares, muffins and more. They always have some fresh bread and other items on the shelves as well. On road trips, we often call when we are about an hour away and get them to cook a couple of frozen pizzas for us to pick up when we stop. Our favourite treats from there are lemon poppy seed muffins, cream puffs and Nanaimo bars. If you are on the highway between Edmonton and Calgary do yourself a favor and stop there!
Other Recommendations – Edmonton
There are other gluten free places in Edmonton that were recommended to us that we didn’t get to try. I thought I would give those places a quick shout out so that this can be a more comprehensive list of gluten friendly places to eat in Edmonton. None of the places listed below are 100% gluten free, but they are all gluten friendly and were recommended by celiacs.
I am pretty bummed that the timing of our trip did not allow us to check out the gluten free buffet at Chateau Louis that is on Saturday nights. This is definitely on our to do list for a future trip!
Apparently Brits is a bit of a gluten free deep fried heaven including onion rings, calamari, mushroom caps and pickles in addition to delicious fish and chips. Might need to keep this one on the list for our next trip!
Delux Burger Bar came highly recommended. In addition to gluten free buns, they have a dedicated fryer and use Chapman’s ice cream so the banana splits are gluten free!
Sweet Convenience is candy store that has some fun gluten free items like Pilsbury Funfetti cake mix that you can’t usually get in Canada. It is definitely one of the gluten free places in Edmonton that you should check out and it is right beside one of our favorite new places, MyFries!
The High Level Diner have great gluten free menus right on their website. It looks like they have a great selection of gluten free items for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
An Indian restaurant with lots of gluten free items. One of the owners of Zaika is gluten free, so they are very knowledgeable. Apparently, they will make gluten free roti for you if you ask instead of the naan bread.
I hope this list will help someone else navigate all of the gluten free places in Edmonton. We had fun exploring and can’t wait to come back to some of our favorite places. Let me know if I missed any restaurants or other gluten free places in Edmonton that should be added to the list.