If there’s one thing I hate to hear from people following a gluten free diet it's, “I can't eat that!”. If I want something to eat that I had before I was gluten free, I will research it until I can find a gluten free version, or I will make it myself! One thing that you can never ‘make yourself’ and that I get asked about a lot is good take away food. I’m sorry, but sometimes a quinoa salad just won’t cut it and you need a hit of something dirty and carbilicious. Gluten free people of Belfast, I am here to help you! I have tasted so many gluten free delights in Belfast and I am going to share my favourite take aways with you!
Macau (Ormeau Road, Belfast) - Chinese food
Macau Restaurant is the holy grail of gluten free Chinese food. It is not your typical Chinese – the food is very authentic and their specialty, in my opinion, is the beautifully fresh seafood dishes. In particular, the salt and chilli king prawns, the monkfish & picked veg hotpot and the slow cooked cod. The owner, Sue-Lynn, is incredible. All you have to do is ask if a dish can be made GF and she will make sure it is done for you! If you are eating in the restaurant, I would recommend booking ahead – Macau is always busy!
Available as a BYO restaurant, or as a takeaway (collection only).
Mandarin City (Ballyhackamore, Belfast) - Chinese food
When I have my girlfriends over, we order a Mandarin City. It brings me back to the days of being 16 and having a sleepover with your besties, because this Chinese serves typically ‘westernised’ Chinese food – it doesn’t taste like gluten free food, because it is bloody good and ticks all of the boxes for a dirty (and I mean that in the best possible way, like durrrty) takeaway night! Their menu is very GF friendly because they mark on the menu everything that is gluten free, which makes it hassle free dining because you get an idea straight away which of the dishes you can order. I always order a GF black bean chicken (not on the menu as a GF option, but they will make you one!) and the crispy chicken in a spicy & garlic Peking sauce. My friends are kind enough to order everything GF so I can share – we are never short of dishes, because there are so many options!
Available as a licensed restaurant, or as a takeaway (collection only)
John Dory’s (Ballygowan Road, Ballyhackamore, Dundonald, Carryduff and Lisburn) - Fish & Chips
On a winter’s evening there’s nothing quite like sitting down to fish and chips in front of the fire. This was never an option for me until John Dory’s introduced a gluten free menu (thank you!). With a fryer dedicated to gluten free food, it limits any worries about cross-contamination. After receiving a delivery, I have phoned up so many times to double check that the food I ordered was definitely gluten free – that is how good the batter is! The thing I love most is how dedicated the owner was to getting the gluten free batter ‘just right’. It has been developed consistently since they released their GF menu and they have really done so well. It is light, perfectly crisp and sticks to the food perfectly. John Dory’s fish & chips was our Valentine’s meal of choice this year. We picked up a takeaway and took it to the beach to eat in the freezing cold! I would recommend the battered haddock, cod bites, chicken goujons, battered mushrooms (with a huge tub of garlic mayo, of course!) and their onion rings! The best option for a cheap and cheerful meal!
Take away only - delivery available.
Boojum (Botanic Avenue, Victoria Square & Great Victoria Street) - Mexican Food
The first time I tried a Boojum, somebody got their herbs mixed up and put parsley in the guac instead of coriander. I didn’t visit Boojum again for perhaps another year because, “Why would a Mexican restaurant make a bad guacamole?!” . I feel like that is a year of my life that I have wasted and will never get back. Everybody makes mistakes – I have bought flat leaf parsley instead of coriander before too, it happens. The second time I was forced to order a Boojum, I realised that being stubborn isn’t a good trait and you should always give food another chance. The only way I can describe it is as a little fiesta in your mouth! I order a Burrito Bowl, which has all of the contents of a burrito, but without the wrap. The lime and cilantro rice (the only GF rice option) adds a delightful freshness to the smoky depth of the meats and spiciness of the salsa. This is my hangover option as a friendly Deliveroo cyclist brings it to the comfort of my own home. Each time the Deliveroo rider arrives at my front door, I have to remind myself that I have a husband!
Available as a licensed restaurant, delivery (through Deliveroo) and collection
Nandos (Boucher Cresent, Dublin Road & Victoria Square) - Portuguese
Nandos is one of the meals I used to get the most sick after eating. Anytime I had one, I would be crippled with pain (because I was eating pita bread and was an undiagnosed coeliac), so I always had a negative association with it. That all changed when I realised I was coeliac and that Nandos had GF options. I love the butterfly chicken, the whole chicken platter (to share, I'm not THAT bad), macho peas, spicy rice, peri peri fries and slaw. Oh, and platefuls of halloumi!!!
Available as a licensed restaurant or takeaway (collection only).
Green’s Pizza (Lisburn Road & Ballyhackamore) - Pizza
The pizza choices are SO fun! Fresh Fig & Basil, Chicken Fajita or Fennel Sausage & Tender Stem Broccoli? Pizza options like this are endless at Green's Pizza. The meatball pizza I had below was just outstanding. The only thing I need them to do is to invent a gluten free "Dragon Tongue Supreme" - it's a garlic bread with cheese, garlic and a sweet chilli sauce and it smells bloody increcible - then my life will be complete.
The Pizza Co. (Botanic Avenue, Finaghy) - Pizza
The gluten free pizza from The Pizza Co. is pretty damn good! The only problem is that we have nicknamed them 'The Forgetful Pizza Co.' because they always forget something from our order. Honestly though, they always deal with it so well that I forgive them (every. bloody. time) and after the first slice of pizza, all is forgotten! Another perk...they open late night, as in reeeally late, so this immediately puts them to top of the poll in my books for 'drunk snack' options. I never ever order Domino's because I feel uncomfortable every time I eat it and my stomach is a good gluten detector, so there must be some kind of cross contamination. So it's nice to have a pizza company that I can trust (even after a few drinks!).
Two words: Garlic. Doughballs. Yes, gluten free garlic doughballs with the most gorgeous little pesto dips, fantastic pizza and garlic bread options. Pizza Express continues to knock it out of the park with their gluten free options!
I hope this helps you in your search for the ultimate gluten free take away food! If you have any questions or would like any advice on where to eat or what to order, please leave me a comment!