Living in the Boston area, Canada has always been one of my favorite places to visit for a quick getaway. Boston is within relatively easy driving distance to Montreal, Quebec City, and our latest travel destination, Mont-Tremblant. I’ve visited all three cities at least once within the last year or two, so I decided to combine the three and do a more comprehensive QC Gluten Free post!
Montreal, QC, Canada
Ahhh, Montreal! There is beautiful architecture, amazing foliage, a chance to practice your high school French (didn’t work out so well for me…), and LOTS of delicious food options! We’ve been to Montreal both in the dead of winter (negative 25 degrees Fahrenheit!) and in early fall, and you really cannot go wrong any time of year. Two of my all-time favorite gluten free joints are in this wonderful city.
Cookie Stefanie is a fully gluten free bakery in the heart of Montreal. On one of our most recent trips to Montreal, we stayed in a hotel that was only a couple minutes’ walk to Cookie Stefanie. It’s very convenient to the Basilica and the Old Town area, so even if you’re here for only a day (as we were the last time we visited, on our way home from Tremblant), it’s very easy to get to and really walkable. They have a huge variety of gluten free baked goods (we’ve tried the brownie, the maple cookie, a chocolate cake, and carrot cake), and they are all delicious. If you go around lunch time, they also offer grilled cheese – this is the reason Cookie Stefanie is one of my favorite gluten free spots ever – they have a grilled cheese that is truly out of this world. They change the flavors somewhat frequently, so last time I went I had a duck confit and local cheese sandwich, but more recently it was caramelized onion, bacon, and cheese. Clearly, you can’t go wrong 😉
Ottavio is an Italian restaurant with a couple of locations in the Montreal area, and they do a really spectacular job with gluten free food. They are very aware of Celiac disease and take precautions to avoid cross contamination. I think in all of my years as a Celiac, this place did the best job with Celiac awareness – they had separate utensils that were only ever used for gluten free diners, separate water pitchers, and separate prep areas. They have a very extensive gluten free menu, including a number of appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta, and dessert.
For an appetizer, we got the Italian Poutine, which I unfortunately did not photograph (we were starving after the drive and dug in too quickly!). This was a delicious twist on Canadian Poutine – it was French fries in a delicious Bolognese sauce with tons of cheese. We devoured it! After our poutine, we split a pizza, which was covered in prosciutto and arugula and was delicious. The pizza also comes with a salad beforehand, which was nice.
Finally, we enjoyed a delicious gluten free dessert. Many of their desserts are available gluten free (cake pops, crème brulee, dessert shooters, a white chocolate brownie…), but we opted for the Ottavio Beignets. These were truly amazing – little strips of cinnamon sugar covered dough with a cream dipping sauce. Delicious! If you are in Montreal and have a car, you should definitely make the effort to try Ottavio’s. If you are Celiac, they will really take care of you!
Crêperie Du Marché
This little crepe joint in the heart of the Jean Talon market in Montreal is a must-visit if you are in Montreal. The market itself is so cool and full of treats, and since you MUST go there, you might as well treat yourselves to some tasty crepes while you are in the neighborhood! ALL of their crepes are gluten free, and they have lots of tasty varieties. My personal favorite was the mushroom, ham, bechamel, and cheese crepe, but Dan LOVES maple syrup, so he would argue that the breakfast crepe is the best. Either way, this place is definitely worth a try - the crepes are phenomenal and everything is gluten free, so you know it's Celiac-safe.
Le Point Sans G
Last time we visited Montreal, we’d heard of a fully gluten free food truck, but since it was the middle of February, it wasn’t open. Imagine our delight when this time around, we found that said food truck had actually opened up a brick and mortar location! The restaurant is a little out of the way (about a 10-15 minute drive from the Basilica), but we were able to find easy and free street parking. We messaged them on Facebook ahead of time to set a reservation, since we heard that the place was really small – and even though there was only one other couple there eating, we were still glad we had called ahead because there is really only one table (and a bar, where the others sat).
Le Point Sans G offers three menu items each day – on the morning we visited, they were serving breakfast poutine, caramel apple pancakes, and a smoked salmon scone sandwich. While it was hard to nix one item, we decided to split two entrees, and we went with the breakfast poutine and the caramel apple pancakes. They make everything to order, so the wait was a little long, but let me tell you – it was worth it! This was one of the best meals we have ever had out, pre-celiac included.
The breakfast poutine consisted of delicious potatoes, gravy, cheese, pork confit, bacon, a fried egg, and what we were delighted to find out was basically tempura cheese. This combination was absolutely amazing – I would not change a single thing, and even writing this, I am thinking about it and my stomach is rumbling!
As if it couldn’t get any better, we were then brought our pancakes. It was a HUGE stack of apple pancakes, which were perfectly soft and warm with little apple shavings in them, sandwiched between two warm homemade gingerbread cookies. Apple slices were tossed throughout, and we got a little pitcher of warm caramel sauce to drizzle on top. You might think this sounds too sweet (can anything really be too sweet, though?), but the caramel sauce was surprisingly not that sweet – it was less sweet than maple syrup, and it was absolutely divine.
After devouring the poutine and pancakes, we were surprised by two chocolate orange beignets. They were absolutely delicious – rich and chocolatey and the perfect finish to the meal. While the meal was overall pretty pricey, it was well worth it – everything was made from scratch, everything was unbelievably delicious, and it included fresh fruit, coffee, AND the dessert! If you’re in Montreal, you seriously cannot miss this!
La Casa du Spaghetti
I haven't eaten here but the restaurant's owner, Mireille, is a long-time celiac who reached out to let us know that her restaurant has a gluten free menu. The restaurant is located about an hour outside of Montreal and has a lot of gluten free options, including pasta! Mireille noted that they are aware of and careful about cross contamination. Definitely seems like it would be worth checking out if you're in the area!
Mont Tremblant is a beautiful ski village about 90 miles past Montreal. We went in mid-October, so we were right at the end of the fall foliage, and we got some beautiful colors and some fabulous weather. While Mont-Tremblant is fairly small and has limited gluten free options, you certainly won’t go hungry – we found a number of delicious places to eat.
Alas, finally some traditional poutine that is GLUTEN FREE! Out of all of the times we have travelled to Canada (which is five times as a couple, and a number of times separately), we’ve never been able to find truly gluten free poutine. Either the gravy had flour, or if it didn’t, the fries were fried in a shared fryer. After extensive research on Gluten Free Mont-Tremblant (which was really pulling up nothing!), I came across a couple of rogue TripAdvisor reviews that mentioned that this place has gluten free poutine. Their website noted that the poutine is “sans gluten”, but didn’t have any information about whether it was safe for Celiac. I reached out to them via email, and they confirmed that the gravy was gluten free AND they are made in a separate fryer! SCORE!
After a long day of driving, we pulled into the parking lot of Patate Ben-Venue (which is about a 10 minute drive from the resort village of Tremblant), and ordered two large poutines. It was absolutely delicious and so needed after the drive – the cheese curds were to die for! I’m not sure if they have anything else gluten free, but if you have a hankering for some celiac-safe poutine, this place is well worth a visit. It’s important to note that they only accept cash, so make sure you have some Canadian dollars (we didn’t!).
Arome Bistro and Café
Arome was another TripAdvisor find – I saw a couple of reviews from travelers who noted that this place was celiac-safe and had a number of gluten free options. We made a reservation stating that we were gluten free, and hoped that the reviews were accurate (since we were unable to get an email response confirming that they still had gluten free options).
The restaurant is in Saint Jovite (about a 10 minute’s drive from the resort village) and there is ample street parking. The interior was very cute and they serve free coffee in the mornings (before 11 am). When we asked our waitress about gluten free options, we were disappointed to hear that they no longer offered gluten free crepes. However, they did still offer gluten free bread and she listed a few other things that were gluten free. One thing that we found highly concerning was that our waitress told us that their house made ham was gluten free, but we later noticed that it said it was marinated in beer – we were glad we hadn’t ordered it, but felt concerned that they may not be as well-versed in Celiac disease as we thought.
That being said, we ordered a mushroom omelet with fresh fruit and gluten free toast and a brie and apple grilled cheese with fresh fruit and roasted potatoes. The meal was fabulous – the roasted potatoes were amazing, the omelet was full of flavor, and there really is nothing like brie and apples (one of my favorite combos!). The best part of the meal was a vanilla peach marmalade that came on the side – we slathered it on our toast and even on our grilled cheese, and it was unbelievably delicious.
Despite the waitress misspeaking about the ham, I had no reaction at all after eating here, which leads me to believe the kitchen really was aware of cross-contamination issues.
On our full day in Mont-Tremblant, we visited the Scandinave Spa for a day of Scandinavian Heat Therapy (hot and cold baths) and a couples’ massage. In their bistro, they offered a decent selection of individually wrapped baked goods from Cookie Stefanie! We had a maple cookie and a brownie – both were delicious, and it was nice to have a little snack that we knew was completely safe. I don’t have any pictures, since phones were not allowed, but if you find yourself needing a snack on your spa day, you’ll be taken care of here!
We did not end up eating here, but Creperie Catherine came up a number of times while I was researching gluten free options in Mont-Tremblant. Based on my research, it seems that while they do not have gluten free crepes, they do offer gluten free waffles and French onion soup. I did read that their béchamel sauce has gluten in it, which is on the majority of their meals, so we ultimately did not end up going, but they have a number of great reviews, so it might be worth a shot.
La Diable Microbrasserie
La Diable is the only gluten free option we were able to find in the resort village itself. While we did not end up eating here, they had a number of menu items marked gluten free on their menu (including poutine). Since we did not dine here ourselves, I cannot vouch to whether the options are celiac safe, but if you are gluten intolerant they definitely have a number of made-without-gluten items on their menu (and it’s in a great location)!
Quebec, QC, Canada
Quebec City is like stepping back in time and across the ocean at the same time. I truly feel like I'm in Europe when I'm in Quebec, and it's so stunningly beautiful. I've been both in the dead of winter (dog sledding, maple syrup, and ice slides!) and in the early summer (beautiful views, warm walks along the old city streets, and coffees on the patio!), and you really cannot go wrong.
To date, Chez Victor remains one of my all-time favorite burger places. They have a couple of locations, and the one we visited (twice during one weekend…) was about a ten-minute walk from Old Quebec, where we were staying. They have incredible gluten free buns, amazing burger varieties (I had the pork and brie burger!), gluten free beer, and their fries are gluten free (made in a separate fryer!). My personal favorite part of Chez Victor is their dipping sauces – they have a ton of mayonnaise-based sauces for your fries, and they are all AMAZING. My favorite was the curry dipping sauce, and Dan’s was the maple dipping sauce. We often talk about making the drive to Quebec just for Chez Victor’s 😉
We searched high and low to find a gluten-free creperie for our trip to Quebec, and unfortunately, finding anything on the internet proved impossible. I saw one review written about this restaurant that mentioned that the savory crepes were gluten-free because they used buckwheat flour, so we decided to give it a shot and take the 20-ish minute walk down to Le Billig. The waitress told us that they were in fact gluten free, and even though I still felt a little doubtful I decided to risk it and ordered the Beard crepe (goat cheese, duck, spinach, and onion marmalade) -- it was delicious! I didn't get sick at all, but perhaps use caution since they definitely do make wheat crepes as well.
That is just a brief overview of our favorite spots in Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, and Quebec City. There are (surely) countless other spots in both Montreal and Quebec City, so feel free to comment below or point me in the direction of your favorite spots (if history is any indicator, we will be back to Canada very soon and looking for more places to try!).