Monday, January 28, 2008

Elixir in Cambridge

This weekend I visited Elixir Restaurant in Cambridge. It's an Italian restaurant, so when my wife booked the reservation she asked the staff if they had options for Celiacs.

Indeed the said they had plenty of naturally gluten-free options, and all sauces and soups are made from scratch. In addition, if we ordered in advance, they would be able to provide some of their pastas gluten-free (using rice noodles).

I was impressed already, and we hadn't even stepped foot in the restaurant!

I ended up not pre-ordering any pasta, but when we got there and viewed the menu, indeed there were quite a few items that appeared gluten-free (meats, fish, etc.) The waitress seemed to know a little about Celiac disease, but seemed to be very careful and asked the kitchen staff about my whole meal.

In ended up ordering their famous lamb shank (served on mashed potatoes), with their red lentil soup to start. (It's almost a rule for me to order the soup if it's gluten-free, and especially if it's made from scratch. Most often Celiac's cannot have soup at restaurants due to the possibility of gluten in the stock or the use of wheat as a thickener.)

The soup was very tasty, and the lamb shank was very tender - the meat just fell of the bone.

The biggest disappointment of the meal was dessert. They only had two options, neither of which were gluten-free. I asked if they had ice cream or something simple, but no luck. Elixir is a small restaurant, and the main meal was quite good, so I suppose I shouldn't complain on this point. But it is nice to have a least some simple dessert option for Celiacs.

But overall if you don't have a big sweet tooth, as a Celiac you will probably enjoy Elixir.

34 Main Street, Cambridge


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Casa Greek (Cambridge)

Last night I visited Casa Greek on Hespeler Road in Cambridge. My wife and I were driving around the city hungry, looking for options, and ended up here by chance.

At first I was a little bit skeptical. The decor is a little cheesy, and this is a 'family-style' diner which didn't seem authentically Greek. But, we were very hungry and got a table immediately - for a Saturday night at 7 pm, this was our only real requirement!

The waiter didn't seem to know too much about Celiac disease, but he checked with the chef regarding my meal and I could eat everything. I had the chicken souvlaki meal, which comes with Greek salad, roasted potatoes and rice. The waiter thought the rice might be a problem, but turns out it was fine. I also asked about the salad dressing and chicken marinade, and both were made without gluten.

Overall, it was a really good meal, and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the fact that you get a *ton* of food - definitely make sure you prepare an appetite as the portions are huge.

The salad was amazing, and the rest of the meal was equally good. I don't know if I can say it is completely authentic, but it was definitely better than other Greek meals I've had recently (i.e. Mediterraneo's in Waterloo, not to mention most of their items have gluten).

And finally, the price for the amount of food is amazing. The chicken souvlaki meal was $11.99, and my wife's Gyro dinner (not gluten-free) was $9.99.

I would definitely recommend Casa Greek if you're a Celiac and are looking for a good-sized Greek meal.

Casa Greek
350 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, ON N1R 7N7

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hannah's Bella Bistro

I've written about Hannah's Tapas Lounge in the past, but the main dining room (Hannah's Bella Bistro) is a wonderful spot for an upscale lunch or dinner.

I was there last week for dinner and had a great experience. I've always been impressed with their food, but more importantly their knowledge and care for eating gluten-free is outstanding.

Example: I ordered one of the specials for the evening: a bison entree. It came with a glaze, so I asked about it to make sure it was gluten-free. The waitress came back and said that the chef put a little bit of soy sauce in the glaze, so it was not gluten-free. Instead they'd make me a special sauce for the bison.

Sometimes I can't believe how well people do their jobs. It may seem like a simple thing to Celiacs (most soy sauce has wheat in it), but as a chef running a busy restaurant, remembering a little detail like that is impressive. Kudos to the chef.

If you've never visited Hannah's, I'd highly recommend it:

Sole in Waterloo

A comment was left about Sole (off of Erb Street, near Caroline) a few weeks back, and I agree with the author: they seem to have a good knowledge about eating gluten-free. If I recall correctly, I think one of their staff has Celiac disease.

I've never had a problem finding something to eat at Sole, and I've always been treated well.

On a personal level though, I don't really find their food top notch. Don't get me wrong: their menu looks great, and the presentation is good, but I just usually don't find myself being "wowed" with the taste. I've talked to different people about this and some very much agree with me, and some don't.

I'd love to hear your comments!

In the end, Sole is a great restaurant for Celiacs and has a great atmosphere. I think for the money, you get a better meal at Hannah's or Charbries. Just my 2 cents...

Expanding my horizons

As it turns out, I'm moving to Cambridge next week and will hopefully be extending my restaurant adventures ever so slightly out of the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

So expect to see more reviews from restaurants in Kitchener, Waterloo and now Cambridge on

If you have any great tips of restaurants to visit (or not to), please leave a comment.

Gadino's Pizza (gluten-free pizza!)

Thanks to a comment, I found out about Gadino's Pizza in Kitchener. A couple weeks ago, I called them to order a pizza: yes indeed they make gluten-free pizzas and I got to taste one first hand.

I can't honestly say that the crust was the best pizza crust I've ever had (it was pretty tough at the edges), but overall it was a great pizza. And ordering in pizza is such a treat for Celiac's that I was pretty ecstatic. I'd definitely order it again!

I tried to ask a few questions about their toppings but unfortunately I don't have too many tips to share. The man I was talking to didn't know if the pepperoni or ham was gluten-free. I stayed away from both of those toppings, but he said other customers haven't complained of any problems. If you find out more details, feel free to leave a comment.

He was a very nice man though - I think he might have been the owner. He even called me back about 1 hour later to see how I liked the pizza.

Here's Gadino's phone number once again: 519-579 2901.