See also the gluten free Southbourne map.
We have Andrew’s parents with us this week and his mum is a celiac too so have been seeking out places to have lunch or dinner that will readily do gluten free food and are geared up with smiles for our kind, plus have something for Andrew who is celiac and vegetarian. As ever it’s been hard work (2 days of web research and ringing places, especially in my quest to find an Italian close to as good as I ate in Florence so called everywhere well rated on Trip Advisor even if they had no mention of gluten free – sadly there are no great Italians to rival Florence down here) but can’t wait to try some new places found in the extensive Google trawl and will be doing some drives out too as nice to have a day out along the way in search of gluten free food places. Note many places require you to book in advance by at least a day and specifiy how many are gluten free. A lot of cafes do GF cake but we don’t bother listing those as interested only in places that will give you a proper meal. Reviews will be posted in short this blog post but also see my more in-depth Bournemouth restaurants gluten free post and Poole gluten free post. Please visit the websites for locations and up-to-date info.
Bournemouth restaurants with gluten free options
Coriander’s Mexican have plenty of GF options and is very central. Be ware though as they don’t really do mild apart from the boring sweet potato filling. The refried beans nearly killed some of us but Andrew loved them. Friendly staff and Mexican hats on bar upstairs for you to wear :-). Tried and recommended if you like it hot.
Crepe Farm NOW CLOSED SADLY in Westbourne.
Valentino’s Italian at back of gardens behind hot air balloon, through car parks and you will see it – will do gluten free pizza from scratch with advance notice and also buy in GF pasta. Pizza very hard to cut so abandon knife and fork. in order to tear with hands. Tried and recommended for their GF effort.
Langtrys will do gluten free afternoon tea with prior notice. Not tried yet.
La Gondola will do GF pasta. Friendly old school place near Landsdowne. Nothing to write home about. Perfectly adequate. Still trying to find an Italian in Dorset that is as good as the ones in Tuscany for delicious food. Tried and recommended for their GF effort.
Little Pickle Deli Cafe in Boscombe has flashes of gluten free brilliance amongst consistent veggie glory. In fact you need to go there to give them a kick in the proverbial (by creating demand) to make every day a Gluten Free Tuesday with GF cake and GF bread. They do sometimes have GF sandwich options, on other days so may be worth calling first not to be disappointed. Cute decor and tea served in lovely vintage china. Loved the milk in a mini milk bottle. Really friendly staff. They are trying new GF options – exciting stuff! We’ll be back to try the food if we can get in as this place gets really busy. UPDATE: they now have ‘Baked To Taste’ gluten free cake every day :-).
Another cafe further along in the pedestrianised centre of Boscombe with more interesting food options is Boscanova – very groovy menu if you enjoy being a bit more adventurous i.e. are bored with sandwiches or pies for lunch etc.
Urban Reef on the sea front by Boscombe Pier offer fabulous views whatever the weather, gorgeous interior and gluten free cakes. The kitchen is happy to accommodate special diets although Andrew is not too inspired by their vegetarian choices. The rest of us like the food choices but we can eat meat and fish too so easier to please us. Bit hectic on weekends during day though I must warn you and service not as good then.
Tomlin’s Fish n Chips in centre of Southbourne (186 Seabourne Road, Bournemouth BH5 2JB, tel. 01202 426129) have a secret. Yes they can do gluten free fish and chips. And it is really good too – not greasy. Lovely fish and crunchy. Best to call so they can warm up the dedicated fryer.
Pinnochio always have GF pasta in. We’re yet to try here.
Gilbey’s Restaurant is highly recommended on Trip Advisor so looking forward to trying it and can walk from our house too. With notice they will prepare something to suit your needs.
Natural Bourne Grillers also near the Landsdowne is very coeliac friendly with GF options for everything including lovely puddings. Don’t be put off by the decor and lack of kerb appeal as the food is very good. Best for meat eating celiacs with its locally sourced excellent cuts. Vegetarians are now better served (than when they first opened) with lovely grilled vegetable burger options topped with Dorset’s Blue Vinny cheese. Tried and recommended.
The Whitehall Hotel backing onto the pleasure gardens by prior arrangement will do gluten free. Not tried yet.
Zoukinis in Westbourne is a vegetarian cafe / restaurant which offers GF options. The options are not always very inspiring when you read their menu but the food is good. Tried and recommended if looking for something simple during day. Not open every evening.
The Edge in Westbourne by Alum Chine beach end is a super and swanky and is perched up high so you can enjoy amazing coastal views. They will adapt to be GF. We’re poor so only go lunchtimes when much more affordable than dinner. Tried and recommended highly.
L’Assiette in Southbourne on way to Hengistbury Head is one of the top restaurants in Bournemouth. Swanky black and chrome interior. Food is amazing and exceptionally good value for the quality. Book with notice. Tried and highly recommended.
Larder House in Southbourne offer gluten free pizza and had gluten free cakes too if you want to stop by mid afternoon. Base is good but toppings in our opinion could be improved. One day we’ll find somewhere in Bournemouth we hope which marries a good base with good toppings.
Don’t bother with Enzee by Bournemouth gardens/cinemas as food is hit and miss. The service was not very friendly to special dietary requirements and you felt as if you were causing them problems whereas most places are lovely about it. Vegetarians will struggle to find something to eat – even their risotto of the day had seafood. We called ahead to ensure they had GF pasta and they said yes but when we ordered we were told wrongly they didn’t have any. Was bit of a farce. Some dishes were very nice and others worse than mediocre. It’s one we will not revisit.
Finally if you want a cheap eat on the go or non-fancy eat in, then in central Southbourne round the corner from Barclays in Grand Avenue, is Hungry Husky Cafe with a chap who does delightful gluten free sandwiches, rising to the demand from celiacs.
Poole restaurants with gluten free options
The Bear Cross in Bearwood outside Poole has a big GF menu. Also does small meal options which are excellent value. Tried and recommended as great pub grub.
The Guildhall Tavern in old part of Poole near quay and has lovely food. Tried and recommended highly.
Karma is a mediterranean restaurant with lovely food and plenty of GF options. My grilled lamb kebab was amazing. Chickpea veggie dish a little dull. Falafels were good. Prawns met the mark too. Tried and recommended heartily.
South Deep Cafe, right by the water at Parkstone Bay Marina, sounds so amazing according to Trip Advisor and is my friend’s favourite weekend lunch place so can’t wait to go try it myself. No GF menu as such but the chef is willing to adapt to be GF. Watch this space unless you beat me to it.
North and West of Poole
Red Lion in Sturminster Marshall outside Wimborne has a celiac menu. They do £5 ordinary lunches and food is very nice. Tried and recommended.
True Lovers Knot between Wimborne and Blandford has GF options too. Not tried yet.
The Isle of Purbeck restaurants with gluten free options (Swanage, Lulworth, Corfe, Wareham, etc)
Corfe Castle Model Village Cafe is free to enter without going into the model village. Has a gluten free menu and in addition you can have jacket potatoes, veggie breakfast or soup. But check to make sure. Leek and potato soup was absolutely delicious and veggie breakfast with gluten free toast was just the brunch I was dreaming of on a Sunday. Lovely courtyard to sit and just off the main square. Good value and good option when you don’t want an expensive restaurant lunch. Tried and recommended for simple good value lunch.
The Blue Pool Teahouse near Wareham has GF sandwiches and cakes which a friend has tried and recommends. You may need to pay entrance fee though so bring a blanket, flask and make a few hours of it – better still find a 2-4-1 deal on the internet as it is not really worth the entrance fee.
The Greyhound pub in centre of Corfe square also has GF options. Not tried yet.
The Scott Arms in Kingston has fab views down to Corfe Castle. Not tried but can do GF. Not tried yet.
The Sandford in Sandford just before Wareham is a sister restaurant to the True Lovers Knot and also has GF options. Not tried yet.
La Trattoria in Swanage has a cafe during day and restaurant at night. Not yet tried. Need advance notice.
The Black Swan in Swanage High St away from main beach can do GF. Not tried yet.
Christchurch (Dorset) restaurants with gluten free options
Captains Club “also caters for GF diet and offers GF bread but again not an actual GF menu”. Not yet tried by us.
Just outside Christchurch in Hinton (near Hinton Admiral train station) on the way to Lyndhurst / New Forest is The Old Vicarage Hotel & Restaurant which is becoming famous for its gluten free afternoon teas 3-6pm. Book ahead (need 24hr notice to be gluten free) as they get booked out. A lady who avoids gluten when she can, reported the home made gluten free scones were to die for. The chef has training in dealing for special diets and can alter any lunch or dinner to suit generally. He also always has some gluten free pasta.
New Forest restaurants with gluten free options
La Vina in Lymington High Street has lovely decor and amazing food. Plenty of GF and veggie options. Tapas can work out expensive but if you are not GF the churros are to die for and worth the visit alone. Tried and recommended heartily although not super value.
The Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst is a rather special place. Gracey says “It doesn’t have an actual GF menu but if you call up in advance and let the chef know he will prepare you something GF. They will also serve you GF bread ahead of the meal. All the produce is grown in its garden and I have found the veggie options to be delicious (although I do usually have fish there).” Can’t wait to try this and looking forward to enjoying a hammock in their garden too.
The Good Food Cafe in Lyndhurst. Not tried yet.
High Corner Inn are a friendly helpful bunch who will with notice rustle up something, even on a busy Sunday lunchtime. They made a special of leek & wild mushroom gratin with salad for Andrew. I had a burger with no bap and they even checked the relish for me and decided I could not have it. Food was nice. The company and beautiful setting including walk to get there were the real highlights of this day.
The Queens Head in Burley provide allergen info. Not tried yet as GF but on previous occasion staff were so helpful manager even got garlic from his own accommodation so I could have garlic butter on my steak as their kitchen had run out! Average pub grub.
Southampton restaurants with gluten free options
Don’t go to Indian Melody as you will be in for a Fawlty Towers type experience. Far too chaotic to have any idea what you are eating too. It is all vegetarian though with grumpy over bearing owners. Food is hit and miss.
Fuchi Chinese in Totton (Bournemouth side of Soton) has a GF menu with 70 dishes. Not tried yet.
La Equina Tapas in Southampton have gluten free menu and many veggie options.