Melbourne, VIC is home to a wide range of gluten-free restaurants in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese, Mexican, Italian cuisine, or anything in-between, the city can provide what you’re looking for.
For those with dietary restrictions, it truly is a golden age of dining as the prevalence of menu options and designated venues can accommodate everything from allergies to intolerances.
Gluten-Free, as much as a trend, is a serious issue for a lot of people and finding quality dining options can be a tricky feat. Lucky for those affected, Melbourne’s culinary scene has a range of top-notch options. Next time you’re at a loss to score something delicious and gluten-free, give the following spots a go.
The best gluten-free cafés and restaurants in Melbourne
If you are a person who cannot eat gluten, dining out can be difficult to navigate. So many foods use gluten as a binding and preserving agent, and for coeliacs, the risk of cross-contamination is also a problem.
That’s why we rounded up this list of gut-friendly restaurants and cafés where you and your gluten-free pals can dine in peace, safe from the spectre of surprise gluten.
The staff at Chocolate Buddha, a restaurant specialising in Japanese cuisine, are here to alleviate your concerns about gluten in your food. They have a gluten-free menu here, and all of the gluten-free food is prepared in a dedicated area using different ingredients and utensils so that there’s no crossover.
Better still, all of the soy sauce is gluten-free. They make noodles in a house without gluten and make dumplings with prawns, salmon and chestnuts. They’ve also teamed up with Melbourne-based Compassionate Kitchen to offer a range of gluten-free and vegan desserts.
The chefs at Mamasita work hard to ensure that at least 85 per cent of their menu is gluten-free or has a gluten-free option. They use gluten-free storage containers, pans and plates to help keep every speck of flour and wheat from ever reaching their GF food. Serving up delicious Mexican cuisine in the form of tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, fish tacos, winter veg and blue-eye tamal, you can tailor your eating experience from something light to an all-out banquet.
As co-owner Nick Peters says, “We are always looking for new ways to incorporate gluten-free options into our menu, whether through different flours or other ingredients.” And if you have any new and tasty Mexican gluten-free cooking ideas, they’re always open to hearing them.
- Pascoe Vale South
There's no denying Italian fare is a carb-heavy undertaking, and flour features prominently, so it's very good news for the coeliacs amongst us that Shop225 is serving all the classics in a gluten-free version. After co-owner Lorenzo Tron’s partner was advised to follow a gluten-free diet, he swiftly learned how difficult it was to scout suitable dining options.
This experience led him to create a menu that specialises in gluten-free wood-fired pizzas without compromising on taste. They are very serious about their service, too — their kitchen is divided into zones, the gluten-free pizza bases are placed on baking paper.
They are handled with a different pizza paddle and cutting tools to avoid contamination. What this means is that they are the first pizza shop in Australia accredited by Coeliac Australia.
They have 11 different types of risotto on the menu here for anyone craving Italian comfort food but can’t stomach the gluten involved in a cuisine dedicated to pasta and bread.
“All braises and ingredients for our risottos are prepared to be gluten-free, a perfect match for our organic vialone nano rice. Most restaurant braises or mains include flour for dusting proteins. We use rice flour if required,” says owner Tamara Volkoff.
At Foodies café, everything is duplicated. Every appliance and utensil has a partner, and half are kept in a dedicated gluten-free work, service and prep area to prevent cross-contamination. More so, staff are trained to minimise cross-contamination risks so that your food is always handled in the safest way possible.
“All of our gluten-free burgers are popular. We have a fried chicken burger, pulled beef burger, mac and cheese and a vegetarian option. We’ve also got bubble waffles and French toast available. But it’s hard to go past the gluten-free parmigiana,” says managing partner Luke Lucas. Foodies also cater to people on the FODMAP diet.
Saba’s offers authentic Ethiopian food using only 100 per cent teff flour in their gluten-free, coeliac safe kitchen.
All of their food is gluten-free, so that you can pick from the whole list. Their menu includes a range of traditional Ethiopian food such as their finish (potato, cabbage and carrots cooked in turmeric and other mild spices), ful (spiced, stewed fava beans with boiled egg and feta), burden (split red lentils cooked in a medley of Ethiopian spices), and tel (slow-cooked goat).
Over half the menu is vegetarian friendly, with loads of vegan options. The restaurant can also cater to fructose intolerances if you let them know 24 hours before booking.
They’re all here for the earthy pulses, rich stews and bubbly injera cooked by Saba Alemayoh’s mother, Tekebash Gebre, who puts in the hours on the pans while her daughter manages the floor. For the last five years, their homey restaurant has been a jolt of colour on this stretch of Brunswick Road, better known for its many pubs and late-stage gentrification.
For those not already plugged into Melbourne’s thriving Ethiopian scene, the cuisine is centred around injera, a bouncy flatbread made from ground teff seed that’s fermented until spongy and possessing of an unmistakable tang.
Saba’s is made from 100 per cent teff (many places use a flour blend), meaning the whole menu is also a coeliac or gluten-avoidant’s safe space. Injera acts as both carb and cutlery, used to scoop, swipe and mop every last bite.
A one-woman powerhouse, Saba socialises with regulars, handles orders and deftly guides confused newbies with wit and charm. It does mean that things here take time, with long stretches between entrees and courses not uncommon. So don’t come here if you’re in a rush. Do order some entrees post-haste, and by Jove, pace yourself on the Ethiopian lagers.
Consider crisp, poker-hot florets of teff-battered cauliflower but don’t hesitate on katana, an after-school snack constructed simply from triangles of steamy injera sandwiched with chilli butter. The slightly sour bread, dripping from each pore with bright red grease, is Flavortown with a capital F. Fairy bread. You should be ashamed of yourself.
When mains do arrive, it’s a spectacle. Every dish is upturned onto a colourful, injera-lined basket – veggies, stews and all, next to each other in a wheel of delicious fortune (so hark up early if there’s a strict dietary on board).
With the subtle, tart twang of injera the constant in every mouthful, it’s best played off against various textures. A winning vegetarian combination is found with split red lentils cooked down into a heavily-spiced paste followed by the bright crunch of garlicky Chinese broccoli and ending with creamy, cumin-y ful – a Sudanese dish of stewed fava beans fortified with chopped boiled egg and shavings of feta.
Beef fried in pepper butter and lamb tossed with slippery okra require a little extra jaw work, so next time order the show-stopping tel sebhi twice.
Here, diced goat is slowly cooked in a thick stew of tomato and onion dashed with berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix of chilli, garlic, ginger and a dozen or so other magic ingredients. Achingly tender, rust-red and richer than Croesus, it’s over so soon you’ll be fighting for that last bit of flavour-soaked injera beneath.
This Ivanhoe restaurant was Australia’s first Coeliac Australia accredited. They serve classic Indian fares, like house-made naan bread, curries and lentil cakes, plus some modern riffs like pancakes and naan pizza. Desserts are a strong suit.
“offer sticky date pudding, chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache, and rice and quinoa panna cotta, which can be served either with berry coulis, salted caramel or pomegranate coulis,” says the restaurant’s chef and owner, Raman Nakul.
All the ingredients have been lab tested for gluten, and the suppliers are hand-picked for their understanding and respect for Delicious Cuisine’s vision. That means that everything, even down to the transportation method, is scrutinised to ensure no cross-contamination is possible. Additionally, every team member must complete an online course by the Coeliac Society Australia before they start, so you know your food is in professional hands.
Café Henkel is your typical Brunswick café, but this one delivers on all of your coeliac needs. “There’s no gluten on the premises,” says Maria Stamalof, owner of the café. “We’re completely gluten-free.” Most of the food is made on the premises, and what’s brought in is double-checked for glutinous hitchhikers.
For gluten-free diners, this means it's free for all on pies, sausage rolls, and sandwiches. And if you’re looking for somewhere to get your hands on a coeliac friendly cake without making it yourself, Café Henkel bakes custom cakes.
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants & Cafes
If you take your chicken without a burger, pitta, or wrap, it is intended to be gluten-free. However, it's always important to remember that cross-contamination in the kitchen could be an issue, so if you want gluten-free chicken, you should inform the restaurant manager.
Except for teriyaki glazed chicken, meatballs and marinara, and seafood, Subway protein foods are gluten-free. Except for croutons, Subway condiments are gluten-free. All Subway desserts contain gluten. All Subway bread, wraps, and English muffins contain gluten.
Wheat sourdough bread may contain less gluten than regular yeast bread, but it's not gluten-free. If you're on a gluten-free diet for celiac disease, regular sourdough bread isn't safe. Instead, buy sourdough bread made with gluten-free grains or invest a few days and activate your gluten-free sourdough starter.
They are known for their customisable sandwiches, but they provide lettuce wraps that they call the Lettucewich® and bowls to enjoy their tasty ingredients, which they call the Bowlwich®. It works out great because most of their ingredients are naturally gluten-free.
The Turkish Bread is also gluten-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan. It does contain Soy and Sesame Seeds which may contain tree nuts. Other ingredients include maise, rice flour, linseed, potato flakes, iodised salt, nigella seed and both xanthan and guar gum.
We love the Seedling Cafe in Flinders Lane because it’s 100% gluten-free, making it a great spot to stop by and enjoy a delicious breakfast.
They have plenty of new options to choose from on the menu, including fruit toast, smashed avo, breakfast boards, açai bowls, salads, and heaps more. Head over to the Seedling Cafe website to browse the full menu or to plan your visit.
- Hours: Monday to Friday (7 am to 4 pm)
- Address: 275 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
The food at Bodega Underground is 100% gluten-free, with plenty of delicious Mexican dishes to satisfy everyone. They have a variety of taco flavours, such as black bean, green bean, sweet potato, pork, fish, and ox tongue – you can’t go wrong.
On the starters menu, there’s lamb riblets, roasted cauliflower, and duck chilaquiles. We suggest sticking around for dessert, with the choice between sweet corn cake and rice pudding with cinnamon crumble.
- Hours: Monday and Tuesday (4 pm to 3 am) Wednesday to Friday (12 pm to 3 am) Saturday and Sunday (11:30 am to 3 am)
- Address: 55 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Mediterraneo Charcoal Restaurant
The main menu items at the Mediterraneo Charcoal Restaurant are gluten-free, with plenty of options to satisfy everyone.
The menu includes fish, seafood kebabs, stuffed peppers, lamb cutlets, goulash, kangaroo tenderloin, and more. For more information or to see the full menu, head to the Mediterraneo Charcoal Restaurant website.
- Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday (6 pm to 10 pm) Sunday. Thursday and Friday (12 pm to 2:30 pm; 6 pm to 10 pm)
- Address: 116 Bridport St, Albert Park VIC 3206
The Spudbar is located on Lonsdale Street, serving up a gluten-free and low sugar menu. The menu includes poke and oven-baked potato in plenty of flavours.
We find it hard to choose between the bacon and cheese, Mexican chicken, meat-lovers, pulled pork, chilli bean and salsa, and Hawaiian – it’s all good. Head over to the website to see the full menu or to plan your visit.
- Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Saturday (10 am to 7 pm) Thursday and Friday (10 am to 9 pm) Sunday (10 am to 6 pm)
- Address: Level 3 Emporium Melbourne Shopping Centre, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hella Good dishes out plenty of souvlaki flavours, which can be made gluten-free upon request. Flavours include marinated lamb, chicken, vegan, and more. Otherwise, there are snack packs, naked souvlaki, and greek salad.
We think dessert is also a must, with homemade rice custard with cinnamon on offer. Head over to the Hella Good website for more information or to see the full menu.
- Hours: Sunday and Monday (11 am to 1 am) Tuesday (11 am to 3 am) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (11 am to 5 am) Saturday (11 am to 12 am)
- Address: 7 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Sweet Salt is located in Northcote, with heaps of gluten-free options scattered throughout their menu. We love the gluten-free battered/ grilled fresh fish – with the choice of salmon, flathead, snapper, whiting, barramundi, grenadier, or local gummy.
Gluten-free small sides like dim sims, potato cakes, onion rings, and chicken nuggets are also on offer. For dessert, there’s a banana cake, pineapple fritter, or fried snickers bars. Head over to the Sweet Salt website to browse the full selection or to plan your visit.
- Hours: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday (11:30 am to 9 pm) Friday and Saturday (11:30 am to 10 pm)
- Address: 296 High St, Northcote VIC 3070
For those in the mood for delicious Italian cuisine, Ciao Mamma in Brunswick serves up plenty of gluten-free favourites to choose from. We enjoy gluten-free bread, olives, arancini balls, calamari, and more.
There’s also Italian coleslaw, Caprese salad, garden salad, Napoletana, bolognese, pesto, mushroom Maria, carbonara, and more. Dessert is also covered with panna cotta, cafe creme, vanilla ice cream, gelato, almond and coconut cake, and doughnuts with Nutella.
- Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday (5:30 pm to 9 pm) Thursday (5:30 pm to 10 pm) Friday and Saturday (12 pm to 3 pm; 5:30 pm to 10 pm) Sunday (12 pm to 3 pm; 5:30 pm to 9 pm)
- Address: 3 Union St, Brunswick VIC 3056
When looking for a gluten-free brunch spot in St Kilda, we swing by the Hemp Kitchen. We love that their menu is Coeliac Australia accredited and includes a variety of mouthwatering dishes to satisfy everyone.
They have hemp toast, granola, pancakes, porridge, smashed avo, and heaps more. To drink, there’s fresh juice, hemp kombucha, tea, soft drinks, and coffee. Otherwise, stop by for lunch or dinner for plenty of modern Italian dishes.
- Hours: Monday to Thursday (5 pm to 9:30 pm) Friday (5 pm to 10 pm) Saturday (10 am to 10 pm) Sunday (10 am to 9:30 pm)
- Address: 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Cafe Strada in Ivanhoe has an extensive gluten-free bread selection to suit everyone. The lineup includes Turkish, white, seed loaf, buckwheat and chia loaf, oregano flatbread, quinoa loaf, pizza bases, hot cross buns, and more. Head to the Cafe Strada website to see the full selection or to plan your visit.
- Hours: Monday to Sunday (8 am to 4 pm)
- Address: 197 Upper Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe VIC 3079
If you’re looking for a gluten-free Mexican feed, we suggest heading over to La Tortilleria in Kensington to enjoy their extensive menu.
The menu includes many delicious dishes, such as quesadillas, tostadas, ceviches, and plenty more. See the La Tortilleria website for more information or to plan your visit.
- Hours: Monday to Thursday (5:30 pm to 9 pm) Friday and Saturday (12 pm to 9:30 pm) Sunday (12 pm to 9 pm)
- Address: 72 Stubbs St, Kensington VIC 3031
Fox In The Box
Brighton’s Fox In The Box is a great spot to enjoy a gluten-free meal, with no gluten contained in any of their food. Please sit back and enjoy their delicious dishes, such as scallops, chicken schnitzel, salmon, pork belly, roasted lamb, scotch fillet, and more.
There’s even a kid’s menu with heaps of gluten-free options, including pasta, fish and chips, salt and pepper calamari, and chicken schnitzel strips. Head to the website for more information or to plan your visit.
- Hours: Tuesday to Thursday (10:30 am to 3 pm) Thursday to Saturday (10:30 am to 3 pm; 6 pm to 10 pm)
- Address: 169 Martin St, Brighton VIC 3186