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Celiac in Orlando shares her top 5 gluten free friendly restaurants in Orlando area.

We are pleased to introduce to you Jennifer Christ with Celiac in Orlando.  Jennifer shares with Gluten Free Mama her top 5 Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants in Orlando, FL.

What is the first thing you do when preparing a business trip or vacation to a new city or town? For our family, at the top of the list is finding gluten free friendly restaurants. I don’t have time or money for that matter for trial and error. So needless to say, I was so excited when I met Jennifer and saw what she was doing in one of the biggest tourist cities in America, Orlando, FL.

Do you live in or near Orlando, or are you planning a vacation, or business trip to the area, or perhaps maybe a Disney Vacation? You will want to check out Jennifer’s gluten free friendly restaurant list. Each week Jennifer scouts out new restaurants in her area examining and taste testing the gluten free menu items. We are delighted to have Jennifer guest post with us this month. I hope you find her post helpful whether you live in Orlando, are traveling to Orlando, or just need encouragement for looking for gluten friendly restaurants in your area. Here’s Jennifer’s post below.

“When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in August of 2010, gluten free was on the rise. I guess you could say it was a good time to be diagnosed, as gluten free products were readily available, even lining the shelves of my local grocer. Eating at home gluten free was an easy transition. However, I found that dining out gluten free presented real challenges & created a lot of anxiety for me. I was afraid to branch out from the restaurants that I felt “safe” dining at; therefore, nights on the town were limited to a handful of venues.
Starting in 2013, I began to see gluten free menus more freely available throughout Orlando. Restaurants began to take gluten free requests seriously, and many started understanding the dangers of cross-contamination. I decided that it was time to stop fearing gluten and to break free of the small rotation of restaurants that I considered “safe”.

I resolved that once a week, I would try a new restaurant in Orlando; and to make it more fun, I would chronicle my gluten free dining travels. And thus my blog,, was born.

Over the past 10 months, I have had the wonderful privileges of exploring my hometown, and my love for food has been re-ignited, as I’ve found some fantastic restaurants that accommodate gluten free diners well!

Thinking about visiting Orlando in the near future? Then you are in for a real gluten free treat! On my site, you will find over 40 restaurants that I have reviewed in Oralndo. However, there are 5 that outshine them all!”

#5 Restaurant: Carmel Café & Wine Bar
Address: 140 N. Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

After a long day of shopping the upscale boutiques that line the streets of Park Avenue in Winter Park, FL, be sure to enjoy an intimate dinner with your loved ones at Carmel Café.

At Carmel Café, you will find modern Mediterranean inspired cuisine with an extensive list of global wines & fresh cocktails. The dishes are bold in flavor, using the freshest ingredients. The presentation alone is worth noting, as meticulous detail is paid to the arrangement of every dish being served & the ingredients are colorful & bright.

It isn’t hard to find something at Carmel Café to enjoy, as their gluten free menu contains a wide variety of entrées to choose from.

#4 Restaurant:  Qarma Crêpes
Location: Thornton Park, 12 North Summerlin Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Thought you kissed crepes goodbye after eliminating gluten? Think again!

Qarma Crepes is located in the heart of downtown Orlando in a section called Thornton Park. They offer gluten free crepe batter upon request. To help protect against cross contamination, they have reserved one of their three griddles strictly for gluten free orders.

Enjoy a crepe anytime of the day; breakfast, lunch or dinner! Just don’t forget to save room for one of their decadent sweet crepes!

My suggestion? The “Everyone’s Favorite”, sweet crepe, which comes filled with nutella, strawberries and bananas, topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream! Yumm!

#3 Restaurant: Toasted
Location: 1945 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL 32792 

If you are coming to Orlando, then you must get Toasted! I’m talking about the restaurant folks!

Toasted specializes in crafted grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and natural cut fries, served in an effortless, fast casual dining environment.

Any of the grilled cheese sandwiches can be made gluten free by substituting with their GF bread, except for the braised brisket grilled cheese, which contains gluten in the BBQ sauce. My favorite sandwich is the Fig & Goat Cheese with Bacon!

Also, they have a dedicated gluten free fryer, so their incredible rosemary truffle fries are fair game for us gluten challenged!

Toasted has perfected the art of grilled cheese sandwiches: and yes making a grilled cheese sandwich constitutes an art form in my book! The environment is quick and casual, and the kids will love it!

# 2 Restaurant: Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Address: 529 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32828 (Waterford Lakes)

Cooper’s Hawk offers and extensive gluten free menu, which includes salads, fish, beef, chicken, burgers, sandwiches and desserts. And of course you can’t forget about the award-winning selection of wines!

While I appreciate the extensive gluten free selection, I am more impressed by how Cooper’s Hawk has thoroughly thought out their gluten free procedures. From sending out a manager to discuss your allergy, to keeping gluten free orders on a yellow colored ticket, Cooper’s Hawk takes several precautions to prevent cross-contamination.

Located in the Waterford Lakes Town Center, which is stomping grounds for our local University of Central Florida Knights, there are plenty of stores to keep the whole family entertained for the day! Shop util your hearts content then indulge in the fine wines and quality tastes that Cooper’s Hawk provides!

#1 Restaurant: Kona Café
Location: Disney’s Polynesian Resort

When you think of Orlando, you probably think of Disney. And if you didn’t know, Disney does allergies best! No matter where you dine on Disney property, it is standard procedure to send a Chef out to speak with you about your menu options before ordering.

At Disney, the solution is not to simply remove ingredients to make a dish gluten free, but to provide you with an equivalent experience that any dining patron would have.

And if you can only pick one Disney restaurant to enjoy, I would highly recommend Kona Café, which is located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Kona provides a casual atmosphere for dining and is perfect for families with children.

The Chefs at Kona can accommodate pretty much anything on the menu, from the burgers to the pan asian sticky noodles. And for dessert, you can choose between the warm Kilauea Torte or the Banana Chocolate Crème Brûlée; or you can do as I did, and order them both!Now after reading all of Jennifer’s amazing reviews of her top 5 restaurants, I am hungry. How about you? Here is more info on Jennifer!

My name is Jennifer, I am 28 years old and was born and raised in Orlando, FL. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in August of 2010, 2 weeks before my 25th birthday.

In September of 2013, I launched my blog Whether you are one of the 2 million Orlando residents or a part of the 50+ million visitors that pass through each year, my hope is that through my gluten free dining travels, that you would be encouraged that there are places you can dine and enjoy a gluten free meal, just like any other dining patrol without dietary restrictions!

So come join me as I find the best gluten free spots in Orlando!

Connect with Jennifer and Celiac in Orlando on Social Media.


Twitter: @celiacinorlando

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