Great news for gluten-free roadtrippers and theatre lovers alike: Stratford is fantastic and has plenty of gluten-free options! The variety and safety of gluten-free restaurants in Stratford places it among the best destinations we’ve found in Southern Ontario. Whether you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or you just prefer a gluten-free diet, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find our picks for the best gluten-free restaurants in Stratford. We’ve also listed a few shops with great gluten-free products for you to explore.
The information listed below has been verified by us through in-person visits and is current as of January 2024. While we’re reporting based on our own experiences, we unfortunately can’t guarantee yours will be identical. Any locations that are not listed as being dedicated and/or certified gluten-free come with the standard warnings for cross-contamination risk. Be sure to independently verify that nothing has changed before ordering, particularly if you have celiac disease or an allergy.
Know of something that’s out of date, or have a suggestion to add? Let us know!
The top certified gluten-free and 100% gluten-free restaurants in Stratford
Annie’s Seafood Restaurant
Annie’s Seafood Restaurant is hands-down the best among gluten-free restaurants in Stratford. In fact, it’s entirely worth a road trip on its own! Annie’s is certified gluten-free, a rarity among restaurants in Southern Ontario. There’s an entirely separate gluten-free menu, a dedicated preparation area in the kitchen, and table and dish marking protocols to minimize mix-ups. The food is classic fish and chip shop fare, so you can fill your face with all the battered and fried seafood dishes you’ve missed. Arrive extra hungry if you’d like to take advantage of the extensive gluten-free dessert menu. And if you’d like to extend the experience, check their freezer for gluten-free items to take home.
Non-dedicated restaurants in Stratford with gluten-free options
El Cactus Taco Shop
El Cactus Taco Shop is a take-out counter serving authentic Mexican food. If you’re gluten-sensitive, you’ll have a ton of options and can go to town. If you have celiac disease, it would be a good idea to ask for help navigating the menu. The taco shells are made from corn and labeled gluten-free. When we visited, the nachos were identified as being gluten-free as well. However, this status may have changed under the new Canadian Celiac Association guidelines around corn meal and corn flour. If all else fails, a burrito bowl will do the trick! Whichever you choose, the inspired and authentic Mexican flavours are a delight.
The vibe at Mercer Kitchen is spot on, as is the Asian-fusion inspired menu. There aren’t a ton of gluten-free options, but the ones that are offered are clearly marked on the menu. We ordered the beetroot and carrot mochi. This dish combines tasty and chewy carrot dumplings made with rice flour, diced beets and a dusting of peanut dukkah. For a main, the yoshoku steak with rice and steamed greens comes as a delicious and generous portion. The great food and atmosphere makes this our favourite option among gluten-free restaurants in Stratford for an upscale night out.
Don’t sit this one out—you can join your friends for brunch at this classically styled French bistro! The buckwheat crepes at Café Bouffon can be prepared separately from the regular ones and are therefore safe, even for people with celiac disease. (Be sure to specify when ordering to be extra safe.)
We started with the Basque omelette on the server’s recommendation. It’s a delicious blend of eggs with potato and caramelized onion. The serving is on the small side, though, so when our fellow diners went to the dessert menu we reached for the buckwheat crepes. We’re so glad we did—they’re perfection! Do note there are lots of flaky and gluteny pastries offered here, so guard your plate closely if they show up at your table to minimize cross-contamination risk.
As you walk through the door of this cozy restaurant on Ontario Street, you’re greeted by a tiny styled bluebird in a gilded cage. The mood at Bluebird continues from there with warm tones and lush draperies. Some tables even have a view overlooking the Avon River. There’s no separate fryer here and the kitchen doesn’t typically have gluten-free bread on site, but the staff are very friendly and willing to accommodate as much as they can. You shouldn’t have much trouble navigating the menu to explore which items can be modified to be gluten-free. Because everyone here is so welcoming and happy to help, we’re happy to rank it among the best gluten-free restaurants in Stratford.
Boar’s Head Pub
We ended up at the Boar’s Head Pub to pick up their gluten-free flourless chocolate brownie with fudge sauce. This dish is part of the Stratford Chocolate Trail, which is a unique way to explore Stratford and the surrounding area through chocolatey discovery! The Stratford Chocolate Trail has plenty of gluten-free and safe options to explore. Learn more about the Stratford Chocolate Trail here.
While we haven’t sampled from the rest of the menu, there are plenty of items that can be made with gluten-free ingredients as marked by asterisks. We quickly grabbed the brownie as take-out, so we haven’t yet attempted to order or inquired about the status of the fryer. We’ll report back once we’ve done so on a future visit as we rank more gluten-free restaurants in Stratford.
Walking along Downie Street and looking for something quick? Fresh Burrito is a relatively new fast-food burrito place that opened up late in 2023, making it a new entry to the list of gluten-free restaurants in Stratford. Options for gluten-free toppings and other dietary restrictions are clearly marked on their allergen list, which is posted right where you place your order. The burrito wraps are out, but most other items are gluten-free, so order a bowl and the opportunities for cross-contamination are minimal. Try the butter chicken burrito bowl—it’s affordable and delicious!
Black Swan Brewing offers gluten-sensitive options
We were very pleasantly surprised to find that Black Swan Brewing, one of Stratford’s top microbreweries, has multiple options for those who are gluten-sensitive! An enzyme is added during the brewing process that breaks down the gluten protein and reduces the beer’s gluten content to 25 parts per million. (Note that the Canadian Celiac Association requires products to be below 20 ppm to consider them safe for those with celiac disease.)
During our visit, two gluten-reduced brews were available: Road Trip, a blonde ale that’s available year-round, and Smooth Jazz, a limited-edition beer that comes and goes, made with jasmine rice and malted barley. If, like us, you have celiac disease and are joining friends but are not comfortable with the gluten-reduced options, there’s usually an Ontario cider on tap as well. The East Street Cider we sampled tasted just like a cherry freezie. Yum!
Shops in Stratford with gluten-free goods
Angela’s Gelato is located directly across from the Avon Theatre on Downie Street. It therefore makes sense that it operates seasonally and roughly follows the Stratford Festival’s summer schedule. If you get a chance to stop in, most of the gelatos are gluten-free, and you’ll also find some dairy-free and vegan options.
Poppin Kettle Corn
Stop into Poppin Kettle Corn on Downie Street for some freshly made, hand-popped kettle corn. Most of the flavours are gluten-free, and there are plenty of dairy-free/vegan options as well.
If you miss a good cookie experience, head down to York Street. Kandy Cakes is a cute and colourful bakery that will greet you with a huge display full of meringue cookies and mini pavlovas! This isn’t a gluten-free bakery, but these cookies are made without gluten and are prepared, stored, and packaged with care.
Rheo Thompson Candies
Stratford’s legendary chocolatier, Rheo Thompson Candies, has been an institution since 1969. This one is up to the chocolate lover’s discretion and comfort level. The staff will tell you they can’t fully guarantee that any product in the store is gluten-free. But if you kindly tell them you understand, they can direct you to the options that are least likely to be a risk.
Other retailer options
Stratford has plenty more shops with gluten-free items that are great fun to explore. Check out Olive Your Favourites for oils and vinegars, Distinctly Tea for a variety of teas from around the world, Corner Store Candy Co. for a variety of sweets, and retro treats at Small-Mart General Mercantile.