My Gluten Free Venice Guide

My Gluten Free Venice Guide

My complete gluten free Venice guide!

Eating out with Coeliac Disease is definitely a love hate relationship. I’m sure most of you who can’t eat gluten for medical reasons will agree with me on this… and travelling only intensifies the situation! Who wants to be ill on holiday? Or worse… on a flight? NOT ME.

But eating out and tasting the local cuisine is also an integral part of travelling, which no one wants to miss out on. So it’s about striking that balance between fun and safety; doing research to find the safest restaurants and also accepting that sometimes grabbing random stuff from a supermarket is better than taking big risks.

Having said that, it may come as surprise to some to hear that Italy – the land of pizza and pasta – is actually one of the best gluten free destinations. I guess all that wheat consumption comes with a price – one of the highest percentage of diagnosed coeliacs in the world! And so while wheat is indeed everywhere, there’s also a huge amount of gluten awareness.

Italians seem much more knowledgeable about Coeliac Disease and gluten intolerance. Here in the UK, many see the gluten free diet as a fad and not a medical condition… So you never know whether the waiters fully understand the situation (and how you risk being ill if they don’t). But in my (admittedly limited) experience with Italy so far, most people seem pretty clued up on the whole thing.

And so without further ado, here’s my gluten free Venice guide. 🙂

1) GROM

Gluten free gelato from From - gluten free Venice guide

Gluten free gelato on cones from Grom in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

Location: 4 locations across Venice

Allergen info: 100% gluten free + dairy free options

Food: gelato, fruit sorbets, shakes, etc.

Price: about €3 for a medium ice cream cone (which is quite reasonable in my opinion)

If you’re gluten free and visiting Venice, Grom is without a doubt the ultimate must! Not only is this Italian ice cream parlour completely gluten free – yes, that includes waffle cones and toppings like biscuits! – but they also have multiple shops all over Venice. So there’s always one relatively close by no matter where you are.

I mean, how many times have you been on holiday, googled safe restaurants to eat at and found yourself having to hike across the entire city to get to them? Don’t get me wrong, this can turn into a blessing when your mission takes you into areas you would not otherwise have seen. It allows us to discover less touristic neighbourhoods and those are sometimes the best parts. Seeing where the local people live, shop and eat is all part of the experience after all! But let’s be honest, it’s not always ideal, especially when you have limited time.

So rest assured, thanks to Grom, you will fit right in with the gelato eating crowd in Venice! Seriously, I think people live on gelato over there. I swear everyone was holding an ice cream cone or bowl at all time. And of course, I approve wholeheartedly. 😉

Besides all that, their ice creams are delicious! We only spent 3 days in Venice and still managed to eat there quite a few times. haha Out of all the flavours we tried, hazelnut is by far our favourite, followed by the lemon sorbet.

To see the full menu (gelato, fruit sorbets, shakes, etc) {click here}

For a list of all locations + addresses {click here}

For more info {click here}

Note: judging by my research prior to visiting Venice, it looks like Grom becoming fully gluten free is a very recent change for the company. It didn’t use to be. In fact their website still shows the cones as containing wheat in the allergen section. I’m not sure if this is due to them not having updated the website yet or if it means that the shops vary across Italy? But all I can say is that the Grom gelaterias in Venice are definitely 100% gluten free. I asked many times to make sure (lol) and this sign is also plastered all over their shops:

Grom gluten free sign - gluten free Venice guide
Translation: at Grom gluten does not enter, all Grom ice creams are completely gluten free.
Grom gluten free cones - gluten free Venice guide
And here are the only cones on display, with “senza glutine” written at the bottom. 🙂

 

2) RISTOBAR SAN POLO

Gluten free pizzas from Ristobar San Polo - gluten free Venice guide

Gluten free tiramisu cake from Ristobar San Polo in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

Location: San Polo 202430125 Venice

Food: Italian / Mediterranean (pizza, lasagna, tortellini, tiramisu cake, etc.)

Allergens: gluten free options available

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 11am to 5pm

Price: €10-15 for a main + €6 for a dessert + €6 for a gluten free beer

This is actually the only restaurant we had the chance to try on our very short trip to Venice… And let me tell you, we were not disappointed! From the moment we booked our flights, I had one clear mission in mind: I wanted to eat a pizza. Of course, you can’t go to Italy and not eat pizza! But cross-contamination is a huge issue (here in the UK) when it comes to pizzerias offering a gluten free option… so we weren’t sure if it would be at all possible without taking a risk… and I don’t take risks when it comes to my health… so I was a bit apprehensive at first.

But after reading through countless blog posts and reviews on Trip Advisor, we came to the conclusion that this restaurant seemed pretty clued up and safe. In fact, there’s a completely gluten free supermarket in Venice (called Mea Libera Tutti – I talk about them further down in this list!) which is run by a Coeliac lady and she herself recommends this place. 🙂

The staff were very friendly, helpful and made us feel safe from the moment we sat down. I got the feeling that they’re very used to catering for the Coeliac crowd! The food was absolutely delicious too.

The tortellini was so tempting seeing as that’s such a rarity back home, but we both went for a pizza. I chose the salame pizza and my boyfriend went for the capricciosa, both of which were amazing, but the salame one was the best in my opinion! The pizza dough was great and homemade (not a frozen pre-made base like some other restaurants do) and look at the size! It’s huge. I hate it when restaurants make the gluten free pizzas smaller (and more expensive!), but Ristobar made us feel just like regular people.

Last but not least, we shared a tiramisu cake for dessert and oh my god! It was so good. No matter how stuffed you are (and god knows we were), you just have to have one for dessert or you’ll forever miss out. 😉

All in all, I really recommend this place. It’s a little out of the way, but worth the trek. The walk there is beautiful, the location is relaxing, less touritistic and you can always take a taxi boat back to the centre afterwards. With Venice being so incredibly expensive as well, I found Ristobar to be quite reasonably priced compared to many other restaurants!

{click here} to check them out on trip advisor

3) MCDONALD’S

McDonald's gluten free cheese burger - gluten free Venice guide

McDonald's gluten free cheese burger - gluten free Venice guide

Location: Strada Nuova, 3885/3922/3923, 30121 Cannareggio, Venezia

Food: gluten free cheese burger + fries

Opening hours: 7am to 12am

Price: €3 for a burger

Next on the list is McDonald’s! I was never the kind of traveller who eats at McDonald’s or any other big international fast food chain like that before. I’ve always enjoyed eating the local cuisine and felt like it’s an integral part of travelling. But then Coeliac Disease happened. lol And with all the limitations it comes with, having the option to grab a gluten free burger from McDonald’s is suddenly pretty amazing! haha

If I’m honest, out of all the countries where McDonald’s has gluten free burgers, this one isn’t the best. You can get a proper big mac in Spain and Portugal (for example) while this one is just a plain cheeseburger without any of the gherkins, salad or sauces. BUT, the good news is that it’s prepared in a gluten free facility and comes wrapped up so there’s no chance of cross contamination. In that sense it’s excellent; no worrying at all! And the bread is actually incredibly soft.

All in all, it’s a great on-the-go option and a potential life saver when you need something to eat and can’t find a trustworthy restaurant around.

Note: the fries are also gluten free, cooked in a dedicated fryer.

 

4) MEA LIBERA TUTTI

Mea Libera Tutti gluten free shop front - gluten free Venice guide

Location: Sestiere Cannaregio, 3763, 30121 Venezia

Food: completely gluten free supermarket

Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 9:30am to 12:30pm + 3:30pm to 7pm, Wednesday – 9:30am to 12:30pm, Saturday – 10am to 12:30pm + 4pm to 7pm, Sunday – closed

Price: a bit pricy, but that’s the norm with gluten free food (and Venice in general!)

All through my online research for gluten free in Venice, one thing kept consistently coming up and it’s this wonderful little supermarket. It’s completely gluten free and a must if you’re visiting Venice. To be honest, as I previously mentioned in this post, I recommend for all of you to not only go there, but to make it the first port of call of your holiday!

Whether you need to buy anything or not, this shop is run by a Coeliac lady who is so incredibly friendly and helpful. Being Coeliac herself and knowing the ins and outs of being gluten free in Venice, she’s not only in a perfect position to recommend the best gluten free places to eat at, but she’s very happy to do so. We talked for a while and honestly she deserves a prize for best customer service ever! 😀

So definitely stop by during your holiday, preferably at the start, and I promise you won’t struggle to eat while you’re in Venice! And besides, the shop is so full of gluten free goodies that I doubt you’ll be leaving with your hands free.

There’s a large selection of things like pasta (including sorely missed shapes that we don’t have here in the UK, like farfalle!), flours, pizza base mixes, cookies, cakes, etc. You name it, they have it. Whether you’re staying in an apartment and need food to cook with, need snacks on the go or just want to fill your suitcase with yummy things to bring back home, Mea Libera Tutti is the place to go. They even have a fridge section with ready made food to grab on the go and a freezer with awesome things like tiramisu, profiteroles, tortellini, etc! 🙂

Mea Libera Tutti gluten free food - gluten free Venice guide

 

5) SPAR (Despar Teatro Italia)

Venice Spar - gluten free Venice guide

Location: Calle Lombardo, 1944A, 30121 Venezia

Food: a massive gluten free section (shelves, fridge and freezer) + a tonne of naturally gluten free stuff

Opening hours: 8am to 9pm

First of all, can we take a moment to note how different Spar looks in Venice? Like, seriously… this is quite far from our little shabby looking Spars in the UK. lol That alone makes it worth the visit.

Wether you need snacks, quick meals on the go or ingredients to cook with (if staying in an apartment), basically you’ll find everything you need at Spar (and COOP, which I talk about below). They have a huge selection of gluten free products and on top of the shelf items seen below, there is also a big frozen section with all kinds of goodies like pizza, tortellini, lasagna, fish fingers, panzerottini, etc. Even cornettos!

Spar gluten free section in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

Also some items in the fridge section like free gnocchi. 🙂

Gluten free gnocchi from Spar in venice - gluten free Venice guide

There’s of course a tonne of naturally gluten free options and with a bit of creativity, you can easily put a decent meal or picnic together. Our hotel didn’t do gluten free so we stocked up on breakfast things and had our own buffet: boiled eggs, banana yoghurt, fruits, ham slices, etc.

Gluten free Spar breakfast - gluten free Venice guide

They even have pre-made sandwiches which can be a life saver!

Gluten free sandwiches from Spar in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

 

6) COOP (supermarket)

Gluten free at Coop in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

Location: multiple locations across Venice

Food: tonnes of gluten free food

Opening hours: 8am to 10pm

Much like Spar, Coop has a good amount of gluten free things on offer. In particular a great frozen section that even includes ice cream sandwiches!

Gluten free Shar ice cream sandwiches at Coop in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

They also have gluten free beer.

Gluten free Estrella Daura beer in Coop in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

And just like Spar, it’s a great place to grab a naturally gluten free snack on the go. 🙂

Gluten free prociutto from Coop in Venice - gluten free Venice guide

 

7) CORNERSHOPS

As it goes with supermarkets, you’ll find that most cornershops in Venice carry many bits and bobs with clear gluten free labels. Perfect for a snack on the go.

 

8) MARCO POLO AIRPORT

Gluten free food at Marco Polo airport - gluten free Venice guide

Next up on the list is Marco Polo airport. While not exactly a place to eat out in Venice per se, flying gluten free is all part of a holiday after all. And finding gluten free food at airports can be yet another challenge!

I didn’t personally spend long enough there to need anything, but I went around the shops and cafes out of curiosity. I found that there was a good amount of options. The main one is L’Orto, a restaurant with plenty of gluten free items on their menu (as you can see on the pictures above). I’m not entirely sure how this place is cross-contamination wise, but there are definitely some safe options in there. Just be aware that it’s located before the security barriers… So don’t rush to cross over to the other side too soon if you’re planning to have a meal.

Other than that, there were plenty of shops with clearly labelled snacks and drinks passed the security gates. Crisps, chocolate, cookies, etc. even gluten free beer. But nothing that would constitute a meal, however.

Restaurants I didn’t have the time to try, but that were recommended quite a bit online:

9) Trattoria Al Gazzetino

10) Osteria Antico Dolo

11) La Vecia Cavana

12) Da Romano (located on Burano island)

13) Ostaria All’Ombra

And finally here is a list of other restaurants with gluten free menus that I stumbled upon. I have no idea how safe they are so make sure you do some research beforehand, but I thought I’d mention them anyway so you guys know what’s out there. 🙂

14) Ristorante a Beccafico Arte

15) Hotel Malibran

16) Riva del Vin

17) Ai Scalzi

For simple healthy meal ideas and general food inspiration, you can find me on:

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2 Comments

  1. Wow what an amazing trip. I went to Rome last year and was very impressed with the gluten free ice cream cones and restaurants. I found it more difficult during lunch if you just wanted to grab a snack. Hope Schar bring some of those frozen ice creams to the UK.

    • Ooh I went to Rome once, but it was many years ago before I was gluten free. I heard that it’s even better than Venice for gluten free food so it’s definitely on my travel wish list. 🙂 Quick lunches on the go are definitely harder so we were glad to stumble on some GF sandwiches. And I agree, I wish Shar would release ice cream sandwiches and cornettos here too!

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