Living in Kitsilano means being blessed with a myriad of choices for restaurants. From Greek to Japanese, traditional to fusionâ€¦Kitsilano is a haven of good eats. Having recently figured out that the majority of my weight gain was due to wheat, I decided to kick the wheat habit as much as I could and try and find alternatives. A friend suggested that I phone my favourite places in Kits and ask them if they offered alternatives to wheat on their menu or if I could bring in my own rice/egg pastas for them to prepare. At first I thought this was a silly idea but as I ran out of options for food (and discovered how tricky it is to cook with rice flour), I picked up the phone and called a few restaurants. Here’s what I foundâ€¦first of allâ€¦Kitsilano restaurant owners and managers are generally very open to just about anything. If it can be done, they’ll try to do it. A few places really stood out as pioneers in alternative eating. They include:
Panne Rizo Bakery CafÃ© – – Celiacs, gluten free and wheat free folks will know about Panne Rizo. This little bakery located at Cornwall and Walnut (between Maple and Cypress street) is a gold mine of baked goods, soups and other lovely things. My favouriteâ€¦try the oreo-like cookies made without wheat. I couldn’t tell they weren’t oreo’s!
Trattoria Italian Kitchen – – A relatively new addition to the Kits scene, the Trattoria (on W.4th avenue between Burrard and Cypress Street) was very open to making meals work for wheat free folks. David Kipis, the general manager responded promptly by saying “We have no problem cooking your rice pasta for you. If you could give us a heads up that would be great. Perhaps you could even bring it in earlier as I know some rice pastas take longer to cook.” His assistant Manager Gordon Fai also responded by email making it clear that they will do whatever they can to make any meal work as long as we give them a bit of notice. Now that’s what I call service.
The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company – – located on 1st Avenue between Burrard and Cypress is impressive in that they offer a gluten free pizza right on the regular menu! Here’s what Dominic Fielden had to say about it “We do indeed have a gluten free 10″ pizza which is so tasty – very thin crust and crispy if you like that…which I do. Full of flavour. We worked very hard at perfecting it as there are a gluten free crusts out there that aren’t that tasty. Sadly it comes at a higher price right now as the ingredients are premium. So we have to charge an extra $5.50. In time we will hopefully get better prices for the ingredients. It is dairy free too.”
Bistrot Bistro – – is a lovely French restaurant that offers many non-wheat foods on their regular menu. Their representative Laurent had this to say: “All our dishes are made in house so we know what [has] wheat and we serve all our side[s] separately so again, flexibility of choice.” The sides are literally served on separate plates on the side which means non-wheat items don’t even touch wheat related items. Very cool.
Other restaurants in Kitsilano that offer non-wheat items regularly are:
- The Smoking Dog – – 1889 W. 1st Avenue: offering many wheat free alternatives on their regular menu
- Atithi Indian Cuisine – – 2445 Burrard Street: excellent vegetarian and meat buffet much of which contains no wheat
- Kishu Star Japanese Restaurant – – 1935 W. 4th Avenue: offering wheat free items on their menu
- Las Margaritas – – 1999 W. 4th Avenue: traditional corn flour used in many items
- Win’s Chinese Restaurant – 1909 W. 4th Avenue: many dishes that include rice, rice noodles or egg noodles
Note: if you have wheat related allergies please speak to the restaurant manager directly to ensure there is absolutely no wheat in your food.
Last modified: July 15, 2010