One of the top 10 gluten free eating cities in the world, Auckland has many fantastic options for travelers with gluten intolerance. Are you travelling to Auckland soon? Lucky you! Auckland is a beautiful city and has plenty of options for enjoying great food on your holiday.
The most important tip when eating out in Auckland is that GLUTEN FREE DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN GLUTEN FREE. The local Auckland population has gotten on the “gluten free trend” bandwagon. This means that many cafes and restaurants are catering for this group and labelling menu items as gluten free when they are often prepared in a way that contaminates them. If you are coeliac (celiac) or are highly sensitive to traces of gluten, I absolutely recommend that you talk to your server and make sure they understand your requirements.
Typical items labelled gluten free in Auckland that often aren’t suitable for coeliacs:
- fries/“hot chips” or wedges (ask if these are cooked in a separate fryer)
- cafe cabinet food (ask if they use GF tongs and check if they are touching non-GF items)
Eating on the run (takeaways) from food chains in Auckland
Gluten free burgers – BurgerFuel
BurgerFuel is a fast food gourmet burger chain all around New Zealand offering gluten free burgers. Almost every burger on the menu can be made gluten free, so at the counter, let them know you have coeliac disease and make sure they use the “allergy” stamp on your order. BurgerFuel also cater to vegetarians and vegans, so is a great choice if you, or your companions, have other dietary limitations. A gluten free burger won’t cost you more than NZD $15.
Gluten free sushi – St Pierre’s Sushi
St Pierre’s Sushi is one of the few options for gluten free Japanese food in Auckland. Most of their sushi flavours are gluten free, including teriyaki chicken and salmon flavours, as is the soy sauce included in all sushi packs. You can have the miso soup but you can’t have the inari. You can ask them to make a sushi roll exactly to your preferences (even if there appears to be an identical one already on display).
Is there a cross contamination risk? Like most fast food chains, yes there is, because everything is made onsite. To be safe, you can ask the team to make you a fresh sushi roll and explain that you need a clean knife, fresh gloves etc. However, I eat St Pierre’s sushi (usually the teriyaki chicken double avocado or the vegetarian double avocado) about once a week and select the pack from the pre-made area and have never had a reaction. To me it is the safest fast food chain in Auckland.
St Pierre’s Sushi packs start at around NZD $6 for a flavour-of-the-day pack to NZD $12 for a jumbo pack. With shops scattered around Auckland streets and shopping malls, this option is great for a quick and easy meal on the run.
Gluten free pizza – Hell Pizza
Hell Pizza is a semi-gourmet pizza chain across New Zealand. This chain was the first fast food chain to be certified by the Coeliac New Zealand’s Dining Out Programme. The stores undergo annual re-certification testing and education so you can be confident ordering here. Again, make sure to note in your order (online or in person) that you need the food to made suitable for a coeliac.
Is there a cross contamination risk? Every store and pizza-maker is different, and I have had one unfortunate experience at the Whangaeri Hell Pizza (two hours north of Auckland). The key is to have a chat with the person taking your order to ensure they understand your needs. All Hell Pizza shops have a special knife and special trays for the gluten free pizzas, and they work very hard to keep the chain’s standards high.
Hell Pizza stores are all over Auckland and also have a delivery option if your accommodation isn’t near one. A double pizza will cost around NZD $21 (or more depending on how gourmet the flavour you order is, and whether you add vegan cheese) and will feed two people. Add a vegan and gluten free garlic bread for $6.50 to bulk the meal up for two people.
Other gluten free fast food chains
Other chains like Pita Pit and Tank are worth checking out (and I have enjoyed eating at them with no reaction) but they do not have the same level of contamination controls as the three chains above. If you are dining here, talk through your requirements with your server in detail before they start making your order. This is especially important since these stores touch bread/wraps with their gloves then grab salads/toppings with those same gloves.
General tips for eating out in Auckland
- Remember to always talk to your server about how the food you are ordering is prepared, even if it is labelled gluten free on the menu.
- Consider joining the Coeliac Disease New Zealand Facebook group. This group is mostly made up of NZ residents and you can search through the plethora of posts for useful restaurant tips around New Zealand.
- Download the Find Me Gluten Free app. You can search for user-reviewed gluten free establishments based on your current location, which is helpful when you find yourself unable to find an option easily.
- To see the list of all establishments certified by Coeliac New Zealand, check out their Dining Out Guide.
Location-specific posts for great gluten free dining recommendations in Auckland
Or check out all of our gluten free guides for cities around the world!
Please share with us! Have you visited Auckland? What’s your favourite place for gluten free eating in Auckland? What do you find easy or difficult about eating gluten free in Auckland?