Around the world & gluten free: Montreal (bonus: Philly)
I visited Montreal in what was described by the locals as the “ugly time of year” but I found the city to be enchanting (though colder than I would have liked). I was visiting Montreal for work but I managed to add a day at the end for sightseeing and Jesse-and-Celine-style walkabouts, sadly without my “Jesse” in tow.
As usual, I spent a good amount of time preparing for the trip by looking up gluten free food options near my hotel and along my walkabout routes. I try to use the Find Me Gluten Free app when I am already in the city to help find nearby food sources, but before the trip, I look at blogs and Yelp for help. No one source is perfect, but a combination of sources usually does the trick. I smartly (read: my husband reminded me) packed a bunch of gluten free protein bars and pretzels and those sustained me in between meals.
Here are the places where I found good gluten free options:
Fino Restaurant (1616, rue Sherbrooke Ouest) – The food here was fabulous and the open modern ambiance made this a lovely dining experience. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about gluten allergies and made helpful recommendations throughout the night. I tried to visit again before I left but they were closed (caution—weird hours!).
Cookie Stephanie (Old Montreal) – On my walkabout in Old Montreal, I came across this adorable gluten free bakery. I resisted the VERY strong urge to go in and buy everything because I was between meals (they do serve sandwiches) and because I’m on a sugar diet this year. But believe me, if either of those two conditions was not satisfied, I would have stuffed my face there.
La Crepe 2 Go – This place came highly recommended on Find Me Gluten Free and Trip Advisor, so I decided to check it out. The owner, a quiet but friendly man, talked with me about my gluten free options and, after much deliberation, I settled on an apple & cheese crepe. It was super tasty. I will go back (now that we’ll be living so close) and try one of his savory crepes, made with chickpea flour. Yum!
Arepara du Plateau – I walked miles just to eat lunch at this place. Reviews were spectacular and I loved that everything on the menu was gluten free. It’s a tiny place and it’s clearly very popular, so look to go at off-times. I got there right after it opened (less than five minutes after) and it was very nearly full. The arepas were out-of-this-world delicious. Seriously, don’t miss this place if you’re ever in Montreal.
On my way to Montreal, I stopped in Philadelphia for meetings and enjoyed delicious gluten free food while I was there. I’m going back this summer for a week and I plan to explore more options while I’m there. In the meantime, my recommendations from my short time in Philly are the White Dog Cafe (lots of gf options & gluten free bread at the table, by request) and Hummus Grill (cheap food, delicious, very knowledgeable staff, accidentally gave me the wrong food but it was still delicious and gf).
Stay tuned—my guy and I are headed to Italy next week. Bring on the gluten free pasta!