News flash: if you’re coeliac, gluten intolerant, or have a wheat allergy, eating out in Abu Dhabi can be a minefield. And it's never as simple as just feeling like going out and going out: everything needs to be planned and checked and quite often, GF'ers feel like 'the poor relation', being served dishes that don't look or taste nearly as appealing as their glutenous counterparts.

Within the UAE there are no specific laws covering allergens in food, and couple that with lack of knowledge in restaurant staff, it can turn into a very tricky (and potentially dangerous) situation.

Read on to find our go-to places that take being gluten free seriously, some top picks from people in the Best Bites community who are gluten intolerant, and our top tips for gluten free dining in Abu Dhabi! And find out what Abu Dhabi could do better!



The new Tawa Bakery in Al Zahiyah is a dedicated gluten free restaurant so is an amazing place to eat for coeliacs because there is 100% no cross contamination. The decor is minimalist and comfortable, adding to an already relaxed dining experience.

Tawa serves great breakfast options - the bread used for the avocado toast is noteworthy! The brownie is impressive and there are a ton of other sweet options to choose from that are both interesting and delicious! The main menu is good too with the burger actually looking completely GF doable - win!


Leoni is coeliac and suffers autoimmune responses when she is in contact with gluten, causing short term effects painful attacks of her digestive system and long term effects such as brain fog and ulcers.

One of the main issues she struggles with in Abu Dhabi is the confusion of gluten with other allergens, such as dairy, or being vegan, and finds she needs to remind every restaurant about what contains gluten and the dangers of cross contamination.

Some of Leoni’s go to places include:

  • Café 302 – Al Maha Arjaan. GF menu
  • Niri, Mamsha – GF menu
  • Sontaya, St Regis Saadiyat – GF menu
  • Texas Roadhouse - Yas Mall
  • Bentley Kitchen - The Galleria Al Maryah
  • Antonia - Mamsha al Saadiyat, Al Zeina, The Galleria al Maryah
  • Asia Asia - Yas Bay
  • Barbossa - Yas Bay
  • Leen’s - Yas Mall, WTC Mall


Brooke is coeliac and, on contact with gluten, can suffer severe short-term effects which can last for days. Everyone with coeliacs disease reacts differently, but for Brooke it can feel as bad as if she were having a heart attack. It's not surprising that prolonged or regular contact with gluten can damage the small intestine and increase chances of developing other chronic autoimmune diseases and certain cancers.

When she's planning a meal out, she always calls the restaurant first and if there is any confusion then they are ruled out. She asks for a prior conversation with the chef and if they are knowledgeable and can volunteer information on how they will deliver a safe meal then she will generally make the booking, speaking to the chef and waitstaff again on arrival.

Some of Brooke’s go to places include:

  • White Brunch – lots of dishes from the brunch with a personal tour of the brunch with a detailed explanation of their safety standards.
  • Asia Asia – will adapt many dishes, the red curry is extremely good
  • Hunter & Barrel – steaks are always spot on, and the chicken skewers are a dream. They ask about dietary requirements upon booking.
  • COYA – goes above and beyond to create dedicated meals which look as good as the non GF options

Also accommodating:

  • Paradiso - Yas Bay
  • Tashas - Al Bateen
  • Hunter & Barrel - Yas Bay


Tia is gluten intolerant and can suffer a range of different painful consequences if she eats gluten, including body aches and ulcers.

She finds the lack of knowledge and education the worst part of dining out in Abu Dhabi: restaurant staff often don't understand the consequences in the event they get it wrong. She prefers to speak directly to the chef and has to ask whether fryers, griddles and other cooking equipment is properly cleaned before being used to cook for gluten free.

Some of Tia’s go to places include

  • Sontaya - St Regis Saadiyat. GF menu
  • Trader Vic’s - Beach Rotana. GF menu
  • Si Ristorante - Saadiyat Rotana. GF pizza and pasta
  • White - Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island
  • Bentley Kitchen – The Galleria al Maryah. Is good at adjusting menu items and serves great steak!


  • Marco's Italian, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr has GF pizza and pasta
  • Black Tap, Mamsha al Saadiyat has GF buns
  • Toto, Mamsha al Saadiyat has GF pasta
  • Joe and the Juice, Yas Mall has GF paninis and is careful in preparation
  • Pizza Express, Reem Island has GF bases and is careful in preparation
  • Alkalime, Mamsha al Saadiyat has lots of GF options including the delectable wrap pictured
  • Loca brunch, the Galleria al Maryah is almost 100% GF and includes corn tacos
  • China Restaurant will adapt dishes for you and even get GF bread to make shrimp toast
  • The Lighthouse, Yas Bay
  • Penelope’s, Yas Marina
  • Mika, Yas Marina
  • Wagamama - Khalifa City A, Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall
  • The Coffee Club - all outlets
  • McCafferty's - Yas Bay
  • Asha’s - the Galleria al Maryah, Yas Mall
  • PF Chang’s - the Galleria al Maryah, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall
  • Circle Cafe - Saadiyat Island
  • Tean - Jumeirah Saadiyat Island
  • Nascondinho, Al Reef - GF pizza


  • Tawa Bakery
  • Biryani Pot
  • Taqado
  • Poke & Co
  • Circle Cafe
  • Nectar
  • KCal


In a nutshell, we need better education around gluten and the risks involved in cross contamination. Is the gluten free food you're serving garnished with products that contain gluten? That drop of errant soy could cause weeks of pain for someone who's gluten intolerant.

Restaurants must make sure menu items state if they contain gluten in any form - it's impossible to believe that at the moment, most don't! It would also be helpful if it was stated what items are or could be GF. Hats off to Antonia - your menu wins!

Receptionists, reservations staff and wait staff need better education about gluten and must be fully briefed as to what's on offer, what level of gluten accommodation exists in the outlet and what can be provided.

Above all, restaurants need to get a little more creative with gluten free items on the menu, offering better options and substitutes beyond salads, and ice cream or fruit salad for dessert!

Rachael Partington