London has an abundance of chain restaurants and cafes; some are big international brands like Pizza Hut, Pret and Starbucks, whilst others are very UK specific, like Wahacca, Leon and Zizzi. Over the past couple of years, there has been a huge increase in the attention they’ve paid to their gluten-free customers, so now many of them have clearly marked items on their menus! Pretty much wherever you are, there will be one of these gluten-free restaurants in London. So just Google and see what’s in your area.
ASK Italian – the acronym stands for ‘Authentic Sicilian Kitchen’ and this Italian dining chain marks all items ‘senza gluten’ clearly on their menu. Currently, the options are limited to risotto, salad and baked sea bass but it’s still a worthwhile option.
Bella Italia – this ‘Pizza Pasta Grill chain’ has a number of gluten-free options available on their menu, including pizza, pasta, steak and salad.
Busaba Eathai – this Thai chain is one of my favourites in London! Their staff have always been very helpful, and now they have also updated their menu to indicate clearly which items are gluten-free! Not only is the food delicious but the interiors are gorgeous: all dark wood, large sharing tables and windows that open out onto the street for warm evenings. Lush!
Carluccio’s – this Italian chain has a separate gluten-free menu that includes both breakfast and dinner options. Pasta, mains, salads and a number of desserts make this a great ‘senza gluten’ option. Their Covent Garden branch on Garrick St is my favourite!
Costa – this coffee chain usually has a couple of gluten-free options available including Bakewell tarts and a chicken salad wrap. They also do a lovely Christmas cake when the season hits and have a full list of allergens for their drinks menu available on their website.
Crussh – this healthy takeaway chain has gluten-free options marked on the shelves and ingredients listed on the packaging, so you always know what you’re getting. They are the perfect option if you are looking for juices, salads or soups and their Zero Noodles are my favourite.
Domino’s – this iconic pizza chain started doing gluten-free bases a few years ago and now I have them on speed dial for when I’m hungover. The bases only come in a medium size and are fine for this type of chain pizza. They don’t cut it for you, which I assume is to avoid cross-contamination.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen – this burger chain have gluten-free buns available, transforming most of their burgers into something you can enjoy. But no fries with that! They currently aren’t an option on the gluten-free menu.
Leon – this is hands-down my favourite chain in London. Gluten-free food is built into the basis of their menu. They do natural fast-food, so you can grab breakfast, lunch or dinner to go or eat in. I work near their Carnaby St branch and every lunchtime the queue is running out the door, that’s how popular they are!
M&S Simply Food – I’m not a big fan of the Marks & Spencer’s brand (I’m much more of a John Lewis girl myself) but their food outlets have really been a reliable option for gluten-free food on the go over the last couple of years. They do great sandwiches, which are still hard to find!
Pho – this Vietnamese chain use rice papers for both their spring and summer rolls and rice noodles in all their pho soups, making it a very gluten-free friendly option. Check out their menu online.
Pizza Express – this big pizza chain has had a bit of a menu makeover in the last couple of years and now have a gluten-free range! It went from being somewhere I avoided to a choice option (much to my partner’s delight). The pizzas are lovely and there are starter and dessert options too.
Pizza Hut – the iconic pizza brand added gluten-free bases to their menu at the start of 2013, making most of their menu an easy option for gluten avoiders.
Pret – this sandwich and salad chain has only recently started getting into gluten-free lunch options, which is surprising considering how big they are in London. They now have a wrap and quinoa hot pots, plus gluten-free porridge in the mornings. They’re a great chain so hopefully, we’ll see more meal options from them soon.
Prezzo – this Italian chain is also another to have recently revamped their menu, so it now has clearly marked gluten-free options! There’s pizzas, pasta and grills but alas no desserts! Hopefully, they’ll have some sweet treats soon.
Pod – I’m a big fan of this London sandwich and salad chain. Not only do they have great grab-and-go options for breakfast and lunch, they also do healthy hot meals for you to enjoy, with all gluten-free options marked on their menu.
Wahacca – this Mexican chain has a separate gluten-free menu, so you don’t have to spend the whole time checking for those pesky flour tortillas! The food is delicious, the interiors are suitably colourful and the service is speedy, making it a great evening option for meeting friends.
Zizzi – when I first discovered the effect gluten was having on my body, this was the only chain I knew that had a gluten-free menu. So, of course, I ate here all the time! And I still love it, especially their risotto pesce. It’s a great Italian chain, with most restaurants having their own huge pizza oven, so you can enjoy fresh gluten-free pizza onsite!
So there you have it: my round-up of London’s big chain options! Make sure you check out my Gluten-Free London guide for all the lovely little independent places and smaller chains too.
If you have any suggestions or corrections, say hi below and let me know!