• Kathleen Barr

Diet Friendly Dining In The Ottawa Valley

Do you have a special diet, food allergy, or sensitivity? Have you been struggling to find restaurants and stores with food you can actually eat?

It seems these days more and more people are becoming gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or vegetarian. (Or gluten-free, dairy-free, fun-free as my dad calls it). Earlier this year I found out I had sensitivities to a lot of the foods I had been putting in my body since I was a kid. I have been feeling so much better after cutting out these foods and honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. However, ordering food or going out to eat with friends and family can be challenging to say the least. “Can I get this with no cheese, no mayonnaise, and no bun please?” I didn’t think it would be possible to still go out or order in with my new diet, but after some searching, I found some incredible local restaurants, bakeries, and stores that are so accommodating to people like me. Below are some of my favorite places to get food (that I can actually eat) in the Ottawa Valley.

The Whitewater Brewery

The Whitewater Brewery is hands down my favorite restaurant in the Valley. The amazing thing about this local brewery is that all of the foods and products they use are either handmade or purchased locally. Talk about supporting local businesses. My favourite thing about their menu is that they have an entire section with vegan and gluten-free options. My favourite is their seasonal bowl and chickpea fritters. There is literally something for everyone here and you won’t be disappointed.

The Whitewater Brewing Company owns two locations in the Valley, one in Cobden and one in Forester's Fall's. The location in Forester's Falls is closed for the season so make sure you book your reservation in Cobden.

The Bonnechere Bakery

The Bonnechere Bakery is my favorite place to get lunch in the Valley. They have amazing gluten-free desserts as well as gluten-free, vegan soups and salads. Their gluten-free bread is homemade and tastes just as good as the real stuff. You can also grab a coffee with dairy-free milk.

Blendz Smoothie Shop

Blendz Smoothie Shop and healthy eatery is located in downtown Pembroke. They have an amazing menu filled with dairy-free and plant-based options. From bowls to wraps, to coffee and of course smoothies, there are diet-friendly options for everyone.

Pura Vida

Pura Vida is an incredible nutrition store located in Renfrew. They have a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan, and keto snack options. In their freezer section, they have frozen meals and ready-to-make desserts. When following a restrictive diet, you need to make sure you are getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and protein you need. Pura Vida has an amazing selection of vitamins, supplements, and protein powders. The staff is so sweet, helpful, and knowledgeable. I always leave this place with a big smile on my face.

Farmstead Cheesehouse & Gelateria

This family-owned gelateria is located in Pembroke. Don’t let all that dairy in their name fool you, they have some really delicious dairy-free gelato options. My favorite is their strawberry mint, but they always have new flavors to try. All of the gelato is locally made and their shop offers a variety of unique foods sourced from family farms in Ontario and Quebec.

I Like Chocolate

I Like Chocolate is a new chocolate shop located on Mainstreet Cobden. I Like Chocolate makes handmade chocolate bars in dozens of flavours. They use fine Belgian Chocolate and quality ingredients. I like chocolate makes a variety of dairy-free dark chocolate bars that are so delicious. I’m actually enjoying a dark chocolate vanilla bean and orange bar right now. I would definitely recommend this chocolate shop to satisfy your sweet tooth.

So I hope you have some options to choose from the next time you’re looking for a diet-friendly meal, or even if you’re just looking to try something new. We are so lucky to live in an area with such amazing dining options.

Did I miss anything? If there is a location in the Ottawa Valley that I didn’t mention here, please feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram. I am always looking for new places to try and local businesses to support.

Thanks so much for reading everyone. See you next time,


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