Gluten Free Athens

Eating gluten-free in Greece was a little more tricky than some other countries, partly because the Greek alphabet is intimidating and makes navigating generally harder, and partly because there is still not that strong of knowledge about celiac disease. Often people do not know what gluten is or what it is found in or there is just not a large enough market to offer gluten free food.

I had my restaurant cards in Greek ready, which definitely came in handy sometimes and I also knew more or less which foods to avoid and to always ask for no bread AND no pita even with salads.

Kay really wanted authentic Greek food, which is always one of our problems with gluten free food abroad. Usually global, non-local restaurants come up in my searches rather than authentic, local gluten free options. It’s easy to make GF Mexican or Thai food anywhere, but it is not easy to make all local cuisines gluten free. The same was true for Greece. I didn’t find any “traditional Greek gluten-free restaurants” and mostly I want to go to establishments that have knowledge of celiacs and gluten, even if it is backwards to go for often non-authentic global food.

The first night we ate at Pure Bliss:

Pure Bliss was more asian fusion, but Kay agreed to go here because most of the nearby restaurants to our place were closed for labor day on the Friday we arrived.

My meal was fine and filling and they even had some dessert options for me as well, which I always take as a bonus in the celiac department. I was also ecstatic to be eating outside in the evening after the horrible weather in Zurich lately.

Had we not booked a food tour for Saturday morning, I would have tried to stop at a local market to bring things back to the flat. There were limited openings on Friday, but it would have been possible. Because we were on the food tour though, I did not have to worry about the hardest meal of the day on Saturday.

After our gianormous food tour was over, which I will write about in a separate post, we stopped for some iced coffee on the way to the Acropolis.

We had eaten sooo much the entire day of the food tour that we were not actually that hungry at dinner time. We ended up going to Makalo and I ordered a salad. There they made sure to check with me about what they put in the salad dressing. My order called for soy sauce in the dressing and I am glad that they knew to ask me about it, because I don’t usually expect soy sauce in salad dressing.

After dinner that night we stopped for some gelato because it was warm and summery and… why not? 🙂

The last morning on Sunday was where we ran into problems. None of the restaurants on my list were open for breakfast and so we walked around looking for a place while we were both hangry. This is never, ever a good time on the trip.

Kay was frustrated because all the places we passed that were open were only offering toast or eggs. Normally I would stick to eggs, but lately they have been giving me terrible stomach pains, which I don’t really want to give myself on a trip abroad, so I was out of luck. As usual, it’s frustrating for Kay because he could eat anywhere that’s serving food.

We finally found a place with the help of my Greek restaurant card that had the kitchen open already and offered things like salads. Surprisingly I ended up choosing a filling mushroom risotto. You end up eating strange things for breakfast with food intolerance!

Kay didn’t feel like going to any more of my non-Greek gluten-free restaurants for dinner, but after our food tour we were feeling a little more confident about what I could find to eat.

We settled on a place for dinner that served us steak, fries and a few sides. Wine too! 😉

The chef also asked here about everything that was OK for me to eat including spices and oil. Below was our decadent Greek salad.

Tzatziki. You can bet we ate that up!

The fries and steak were not totally amazing, but they hit the spot and filled us up plenty. If there is one thing I love about Athens, it is how friendly the people are. They just want to fill you up. It’s a great change compared to the unfriendly waiters in Zurich who make you feel like a burden for dining in their restaurants.

After dinner we went for a frozen Greek yogurt with fresh fruit on top from an ice cream place.

I could eat this all day as well.

So, if you are planning on going to Greece as a celiac, make sure you prepare those restaurant cards, bring some snacks and come prepared to eat lots of delicious dairy and meat!

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