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Top 15 places to eat gluten-free in the UK

Gone are the days of gazing painfully through restaurant windows and preparing every meal from home. After a push from the European Commission in 2012 to up food standards -- particularly with gluten content labelling on packaged goods/menus -- the availability of gluten-free produce has grown and continues to expand. Whether you're a coeliac, gluten and/or wheat intolerant or have cut out the grains out of choice, there's a whole lot more out there than up to just a few years ago. Yes folks. The UK is officially gluten and wheat-free friendly.

Pizza Hut (across UK)

A nationwide and state-side favourite, Pizza Hut was the first large pizza chain to add a coeliac-friendly based option to their menu as well as other gluten-free dishes, such as nachos and salads. The square, 9-inch thin-crust GF pizza option -- square-shaped to make it stand out from the rest -- made its culinary debut in October 2012 with the help of Coeliac UK. The option is available at any branch (there are over 600 in the UK) and with any toppings you like. Win.

Related: Gluten free products list

Baked to Taste (Devon)

Based in the West Country -- Baked to Taste -- sells all things gluten and wheat free. Specialising in savoury, but also serving sweets, the company has a range of traditional British pickings to choose from, such as pasties, pies, sausage rolls, breads and cakes. All of their food is made to order online or by phone. They deliver to any mainland UK address.

Related: Baked to Taste site

Harvester (across UK)

A classic British eat-out spot for many, Harvester now has a page dedicated to the GF clan. The gluten-free pub grub-filled menu is literally five pages long, catering for day-time and evening meals. From the meat to the sweet dishes, there is plenty to choose from, light and not so light.

Related: Harvester G free dishes

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (across UK)

Burgers are always a bit of a hit-and-miss when it comes to knowing what goes into them. Many chefs use bread of some description to give burgers a boost (be it by using flour or breadcrumbs), making it hard to know which are GF and which aren't. The GBK chain, however, states that all of their burger meat is made completely gluten-free. There are a couple of choices on the menu that aren't suitable for coeliacs due to the dressings used (particularly the mustard). The bread used is not GF, but burgers can be requested without.

Related: How to Make Wheat-Free Bread

My Old Dutch (London)

There were days in which gluten-free pancakes literally did not exist. Those days are gone. The popular Old Dutch pancake house in central London has now adopted a GF range for the majority of their products, including savoury and sweet options. All three London branches have the GF menu.

Related: My Old Dutch (London)

Wetherspoons (across UK)

Wetherspoons is a classic one-in-every-town kind of pub. In fact, many UK towns and cities have more than one. The chain is very popular and has a wide range of pub grub to choose from. Gluten-free options range from jacket potatoes to barbecue ribs with fries. Read the menu carefully, all GF dishes are marked.

Related: The truth about gluten-free living

Wag Free Cafe (London)

In the middle of South London, lies another gluten-free gem. Wag free is a great lunch spot stand offering a good range of breads, cakes, pies and tarts, to eat in or take away. There are a range of breads to choose from. Their products are also stocked in other cafes and shops across London, including famous department store -- Selfridges.

Related: Wag Free Cafe (London)

Karen Wong's Chinese Restaurant (Edinburgh)

Scotland also has range of gluten-free options on offer. Karen Wong's Chinese Restaurant in down-town Edinburgh prepares regular menu options with supplementary gluten-free ingredients for coeliac customers. Just let your waiter/waitress know.

Related: Karen Wong's Chinese Restaurant (Edinburgh)

Pizza Express (across UK)

Another hugely popular pizza chain has joined the gluten-free train. Pizza Express. A little higher up the the scale in restaurant speak, any pizza option on the menu can be made gluten-free. All salads in the restaurant are gluten-free too. GF Pilsner beer and a GF brownies are also on the menu, along with other surprises including risotto and salad-like starters. Delightful.

Related: How to make gluten-free pizza

Zizzi (across UK)

Italian-inspired restaurant chain Zizzi has also caught on to the allergy frenzy, offering nut-free and veggie options on their menu as well as a great range of gluten-free dishes. Using UK-based GF produce giant -- Doves Farm -- pasta, the GF menu is massive, with not only all kinds of pasta and sauces being safe for coeliacs, but the puddings as well. Not bad.

Related: The 17 strangest British recipes you have to try

Mestizo (London)

Mexican food lovers rejoice. Known as one of the top Mexican restaurants in London for authenticity, Mestizo has a quality menu with plenty of wheat-free options. Although the word gluten is not used anywhere on the menu, the wheat-free menu contains foods with corn maize flour; in fact, a gluten-free flour. The restaurant is a touch pricey, but the food is glorious and definitely worth a try -- new to Mexican or not.

Related: Mestizo (London)

Claridges Hotel for gluten-free afternoon tea (London)

Afternoon tea is a British institution. All would not be right with the world if coeliacs couldn't eat cucumber sandwiches accompanied by little pretty cakes and lashings of Earl Grey. Luckily enough though, not only Claridges, but many of the top UK hoteliers have adopted GF into their top tea menu. You basically get everything that's offered for the regular afternoon tea; but it's all gluten-free. Happy days.

Related: Claridges Hotel for gluten-free afternoon tea (London)

The Seine Rigger - GF fish and chips (Surrey)

This very lovely chippy based in Surrey prepares all fish and chip orders gluten-free by request. They have a restaurant and do take-away, offering a delicious range of products. See resources for website. They also do catering for events.

Related: The Seine Rigger - GF fish and chips (Surrey)

Starbucks (across UK)

The coffee giant from Seattle sells a few different coeliac-friendly options. They started with a wheat-free granola bar a few years ago, but recent GF sandwiches have been added to the menu. The GF tuna nicoise roll made with sunflower seeds, linseed, millet and poppy seeds is highly recommended. With other products they serve, just make sure you check the label to ensure it has a GF stamp on it. Other coffee shop chains such as Costa also offer one or two GF products on their menu.

Related: Video for gluten free apple pie

Roaches Tea Rooms -- full gluten-free menu (Staffordshire)

Three-and-a-half miles north of Leek lies a delightful tea room, serving a full gluten-free menu. The stop-over for walkers and hill climbers provides full English breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, main meals and desserts without a drop of gluten or wheat. Perfect place to visit, particularly if you're going for walks in the Peak district.

Related: Roaches Tea Rooms -- full gluten-free menu (Staffordshire)

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About the Author

Mel Henderson has been a culture and politics writer since 2009. She earned a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Portsmouth. She has contributed to a diverse set of publications both in English and Spanish, including the "Argentina Independent," "Buenos Aires Herald," Ambito.com, thebubble.com.ar, themusicstop.wordpress.com and various other newspapers and blogs.