Think back to the best meals of your life – chances are they weren’t the solitary meals eaten in front of the television, they were the meals enjoyed with others, filled with the sounds of laughter and the warmth of companionship. No matter your path in life, the dinner table can be a place of community, where you chat about life, love, and everything in between.
Unfortunately for some of us, eating out together can be like playing Russian roulette; you drop the ball on the table and watch the wheel spin, wondering where it will land and what it will mean for you at the end of the day. This is why walking into a restaurant where the staff are knowledgeable about your restrictions can take the stress out of eating out. And is there anything more exciting than scanning a menu and knowing you won’t need to have a 10-minute conversation with your server before ordering?
Ditch the stress and savour a meal at any of these 10 restaurants specializing in vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free (and sometimes all three!). You can enjoy a meal out with friends again (and again, and again).
27 Bobcaygeon Rd., Minden
As if the name wasn’t indicator enough, this is the place to go to fill your belly and your spirit at the same time. Enjoy gourmet meals that everyone can eat (yes, even you) that will nourish you from the inside out. Probiotic-rich beverages, locally obtained, nutrient dense, low sugar ingredients will make every meal a good-for-you adventure.
Known for: Vegan, gluten-free, organic, whole foods.
Go for: Their menu is always changing depending on what’s in season, but they tend to have a consistent menu items of soup, stew, or curry over rice, and noodle-based dishes.
128 Haliburton St., Haliburton
When you’re gluten free, you give up a lot of comfort foods, but the good ol’ fish and chips standby can be back on the menu at Baked and Battered. They make their fish and chips with a gluten-free breading (and with a dedicated fryer!), so everyone can enjoy this delicious comfort meal. Please note they are closed from October to March.
Known for: Gluten-free, sustainably sourced seafood.
Go for: Their fish and chips meals are a must, hand-battered in their own gluten-wise house batter. They use the term gluten-wise instead of gluten-free because they do have wheat on premises.
39280 Combermere Rd., Combermere
The motto for this restaurant says it all: “Where music is alive, food is fresh, and love is loud.” Who could ask for more than that? This is the place to go for local, non-GMO food options, and they have gluten-free and vegetarian options clearly identified on their menu. Celiacs should be aware there is no dedicated fryer.
Known for: Local, gluten-free, vegetarian.
Go for: It’s not often you find gluten free French fries or chicken wings on the menu, so load up! Otherwise try one of their hearty Buddha bowls, which are both gluten free and vegetarian.
110 Gore St. E., Perth
A meal here will fill you up with good, old-fashioned homestyle comfort food. They have plenty of gluten-free options, and vegetarians won’t go away hungry, either. This restaurant also has the ultimate of gluten-free designations – a dedicated fryer. This means Celiacs can enjoy French fries, too!
Known for: Gluten-free.
Go for: A must try is their loaded potato chips which are served like nachos, and are perfect for the gluten-free and corn intolerant.
223 Highland St, Haliburton
If you are always on the run and need vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, this can be your go-to for a light meal on the go. You won’t need to worry about cross contamination or picking through what to order – here, everything is vegan and gluten free! Their soup of the day is always changing, and worth the drive.
Known for: Vegan, gluten-free.
Go for: Try one of their hardy salads that are so filling you won’t necessarily need a baked good afterwards, but it will still hit the spot.
31 Bridge St., Carleton Place
This longstanding local favourite in downtown Carleton Place is focused on both natural and locally sourced ingredients. Gluten-free items are noted on the menu, and there are plenty of vegetarian selections, too. Get there early – the restaurant is only open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, and seating is limited.
Known for: Gluten-free, vegetarian, locally sourced.
Go for: Their pressed sandwiches are loaded with savoury goodness and pressed between a rich and yeasty sourdough bread.
23 Bridge St., Bancroft
Combine a love of art with a love of food in one fun spot at this cute café in Bancroft. The café also does pick-ups (call ahead to place your order) so this is the perfect spot for a breakfast or lunch on the go. Or you can sit down and breathe in the artistic ambiance instead.
Known for: Vegetarian, vegan.
Go for: Their daily soups are made from scratch, and so delicious! Try a protein smoothie to perk up your daily protein intake.
14153 Road 38, Sharbot Lake
Life is better #InFrontenac, and this is particularly true at Sharbot Lake’s cute Cardinal Café + Shop. Check out their beautifully renovated church location and enjoy a spiritual relationship with food and drink. The café features two gluten-free options daily, and vegetarians don’t need to feel left out – there’s something for everyone on the menu.
Known for: Gluten-free, vegetarian.
Go for: Their soup of the day is a must try. Vegans will rejoice in the option for almond or soy milk alternatives.
1865 Rogers Rd, Perth
You’ll love the funky, hipster vibe in this eatery that specializes in simple, wholesome, and fresh menu options. The café has a cafeteria-style, open-concept feel that you’ll love for eat-in, or pick up something for a lunch on the go. The café is open from Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Known for: Vegetarian, gluten free.
Go for: Their Chicken Satay Bowl, Golden Curry Bowl, or Mezze Bowl must be experienced to understand how awesome they are, packed full of deliciousness and hearty good-for-you ingredients.
23 Russell Street E, Smiths Falls
Savour flavours from around the world in Smiths Falls. Specializing in Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine, this is the place to go for vegetarian and gluten-free options. No matter your dietary sensitivity, Chef Ram is always willing to accommodate.
Known for: Vegetarian, gluten-free.
Go for: Their signature dish, butter chicken, is gluten-free and oh so delicious. Make it as spicy as you like with just a quick word to the serving staff.