Italy… land of pizza, pasta and bread. When my mum wanted to treat my sister to pre-wedding celebrations for a long weekend in Venice I was beyond excited but a little nervous about eating gluten free and getting around any language barriers in restaurants.
True to its reputation Venice was simply stunning. After arriving at the airport we jumped into a private water taxi to our hotel; just around the corner from St Marks Square. The canals, piazzas, art and cathedrals are exquisite. The islands of Murano and Burano are not to be missed for their glass blowing and windy streets with multi-coloured houses.
But I’ll be honest we found it pretty difficult to find gluten free dining in Venice, a lot of restaurants we tried just said no when we asked about gluten free options. However with a bit of googling, some trial and error and a lot of saying the words ‘senza glutine’ (gluten free) and ‘Io sono celiaco’ (I am Coeliac), we found some great restaurants.
In fact Italy is pretty clued up when it comes to Coeliac disease. Children are routinely screened for coeliac disease and subsidies are available to compensate people with coeliac disease for the higher cost of gluten free food. Italian law even requires gluten free food be available in schools, hospitals and public places. The Associazione Italiana Celiachia publishes a restaurant guide and provides annual reports for the Italian Parliament.
If you are looking for gluten free alternatives to cook your own food, go to a Pharmacy, they are considered medicine for Coeliacs. Supermarkets tend to stock some gluten free pastas and things too.
Here are the restaurants we ate at which had great gluten free options:
- Kori Restaurant – This was the best restaurant we visited in Venice hands down. We were strolling past when one of the waiters approached us, we asked about gluten free options and they assured us they could provide pretty much anything on the menu gluten free. We had the most amazing night our waiters were excellent (and handsome) especially Stefano. Nothing was too much trouble and they were very aware of dietary requirements.
We had a gorgeous platter of Lobster, Prawns and Langoustines which they prepared and served for us. Finished of course with some delicious Limoncello.
Calle Larga S.Marco, 280
- Restaurant Galuppi – Great seafood restaurant, very accommodating and understanding of gluten allergies, in beautiful Burano. Lots of fresh grilled seafood to choose from, risotto and even gluten free spaghetti. They gave us rice cakes in place of the bread before the meal.
Via B. Galuppi, 468 (Burano)
- La Zucca – Famous for its Venetian delicacies, fish, meat, and vegetarian recipes. The waiter was able to tell us exactly what was gluten free on the menu and the food was great.
Santa Croce, 1762
- Pizzerie AeOche – Great pizza and sports bar, the only Italian gluten free pizza we managed to find in Venice! Huge range of pizza toppings to choose from.
Santa Croce, 1552/A
- Grom – Amazing gelato and gluten free (except for flavours noted on a sign which is in clear display). The staff were clued up about which flavours were gluten free and took precautions with cross-contamination.
– Salizada S. Giovanni Grisostomo, 5803
– Campo San Barnaba, 2761
– Cannaregio, 3844
– Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, Fondamenta Santa Lucia, 30100
Translations to help you out:
Gluten free: senza glutine
I am Coeliac: lo sono celiaco
May contain: possono contenere
Have you been to Venice? Do you have any recommendations for great gluten free eats?