For people who can't digest gluten, an intolerance can play out as an allergic reaction to the ubiquitous protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. In extreme cases, gluten-intolerance leads to coeliac disease, which can cause abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea. Those with the ailment don't absorb nutrients well and can suffer weight loss, fatigue, rashes and other problems.
Whether you have coeliac or an uncomfortable intolerance to gluten, here are some restaurants in Abu Dhabi where you can dine fear and guilt-free.
The artisanal pizzeria from California opened in the capital in 2019, and has since become popular for baking its pies in a flaming open oven, as well as for its do-it-yourself concept. Gluten-free dough is part of this personalisation option and, while at Dh55 it’s Dh10 more than a regular crust, diners can add as many fresh toppings as they want for the same price.
Open daily; 10am-1am; The Galleria Al Maryah Island; 02 492 6842
Billing itself as a “fine-casual venue”, Mazi is the brainchild of Greek restaurateurs Christina Mouratoglou and Adrien Carre, and specialises in the country's cuisine. The restaurant offers sharing-style plates, plus a dedicated gluten-free menu that includes dishes such as chicken thigh souvlaki skewers (Dh135) and artichoke risotto a la polita (Dh115).
Open Wednesday-Monday, noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm (closed on Tuesdays); The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort; 02 498 8955
Jones the Grocer
Replacing the bread on its smashed avo toast with grilled sweet potato (Dh58) and offering white gluten-free toast, the Australian chain has a number of wheat-free options. These include salads with gluten-free dressing, paprika prawns with pineapple and saffron yoghurt (Dh52), and desserts such as macarons (Dh6), almond-orange slices (Dh31) and Valhrona chocolate pecan mousse with caramel (Dh28). Jones the Grocer also has numerous breakfast and main course options for gluten-intolerant diners.
Various locations; 800 56637
It’s rare to see a benny (the Canadian version of eggs Benedict) and quesadillas under the “gluten-free” list of a restaurant’s menu, but then Sanderson’s has formulated its dishes using a healthy "eating with intention" policy. Also ticking the GF box at this picturesque cafe are options such as a puffed rice and buckwheat bowl (Dh57) and cashew and coconut hotcakes (Dh59), plus a number of chicken, steak and seafood options.
Open daily; 8am-10pm; The Walk at Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus; 02 222 1142
“Eating gluten-free should never mean sacrificing taste or quality.” That is the founding principle upon which this 100 per cent gluten-free bakery and cafe in Abu Dhabi was established in 2016. The physical cafe has since shut down, but Tawa still offers a delivery service.
On the entirely gluten-free menu are burgers, musakhan rolls, pastas and wraps, plus desserts such as luqaimat, jalebi, waffles and pancakes.
Tawa also offers a box of ready-frozen products for Dh199, which includes a selection of three types of snacks (between 18 and 30 pieces), such as beef and veg samosas, mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, risotto balls, sesame cheese rolls, spinach fatayers and beef croquettes.
Orders can be made via WhatsApp on 800 8292 between 10am and 8pm.
Fine-dining Italian restaurant Villa Toscana has created a menu called Senza Glutine (Italian for "without gluten"), which boasts a variety of pasta. Choose from gnocchi with tomato sauce (Dh90), spaghetti with pesto (Dh110), porcini mushroom risotto (Dh95), puttanesca-style penne pasta (Dh115) and an aubergine casserole (Dh75).
Open daily, noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm; The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort; 02 694 4553