You Are What You Eat
Food + Beverage

You Are What You Eat

A guide to finding food that fits your dietary preferences.

Written by JaimeKristal Lott


Choosing a restaurant can be a challenge. Not only is it a struggle when everyone feels like eating different things, but it can be even more difficult if someone in the family has particular dietary needs. In the past, finding a place with more than one vegetarian option was practically a miracle, but now there are many more choices available. If you need vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, or keto foods here are the places to go in Downtown Belleville!


Vegan and Vegetarian

One of the best places to go for a plant-based meal is Chilangos Mexican Restaurant. Nearly half of their menu items are vegetarian or vegan. Just be sure to mention your preferred level of spicy, because some of their options are hot! If you don’t feel like something south of the border, Smokin’ 116 Bistro is your next best bet with their BBQ. They have yuca fries, vegetable fritters, cauliflower wings, falafel, paneer burgers and more!

If you want a hearty meal, hit up the Export Grill for some vegetarianized burgers. Everything they serve on the menu can be swapped out for a veggie patty and no one will be any wiser for it. If you’re in the mood for some Italian food, you can go to either Paulo’s Trattoria or Bourbon Street Pizza for veggie-style pizza pies or pasta.

For those wanting a light bite to eat, Quinte Corner Café has you covered with vegan yogurts, wraps, and even sweet treats. Another option is Gourmet Diem for their veggie-friendly breakfast options as well as sandwiches and salads. Crepe Escape can go sweet or savory with completely customizable crepes made from a variety of fillings. Their veggie crepe is a tasty option with asparagus, spinach, tomato, and hummus but you can also go for something slightly sweeter and fruit-filled.


Gluten-free

If you want a filling gluten-free meal, try Chilangos or Paulo’s Trattoria for Mexican or Italian cuisine with plenty of options. You can get gluten free buns at Export Grill for your burgers, or try Smokin’ 116 Bistro for their celiac-friendly fajita platters, cauliflower steaks, and vegetable fritters. 

The owners of The Lark know how hard it can be to find food for someone with dietary restrictions since their own daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease that makes gluten a bad idea. Because of this, they not only have gluten-free but also sugar-free options on their menu.

The manager for L’Auberge de France has Celiac herself and planned out all their fresh Meals To Go to be gluten-free. If you’re interested in a sweeter option, try their  praline d’Acquoise, which is a cult favourite. Crepe Escape has a great gluten-free buckwheat batter for their crepes that celiac customers love. This eatery has a crepe spinner especially for this type of crepe to ensure there is no cross-contamination. You can then follow up your meal with some sweets from Sweet Retreat. Most of their gourmet marshmallows and meringues are gluten-free, not to mention their cotton candy…


Peanut-free

Nuts can be a nightmare to avoid when dining out, particularly if your allergy is air-born. While you should still take your EpiPen everywhere you go, these restaurants are a relatively safe option for nut-free diners. 

Try out french cuisine at L’Auberge de France which does not allow peanuts past their doors. Some of their menu items have walnuts and almonds, so if you have a different kind of nut allergy, be sure to double-check your order. This restaurant is well-known for having a very sterile kitchen, but feel free to talk to your server if you need to assuage some worries. 

Check out Chilangos Mexican Restaurant for some peanut-free Mexican food. They have many tasty options for all dietary needs (as previously mentioned) and their dessert menu will have you drooling. Bourbon Street Pizza is also a really good bet since the only nuts they have in-house are sliced almonds for one of their salads.

Paulo’s Trattoria does not use peanuts or peanut oil when making their meals however, they will still caution you that some dishes have pine nuts and they cannot guarantee their desserts do not contain any trace amounts of nuts. 

While Crepe Escape does use peanut butter and Nutella in some of their crepes, they ensure to clean off their work surfaces after every order. Though nut-free is not guaranteed, this place is really careful about minimizing the spread of allergens. As always, feel free to double check with a server if you have additional concerns about allergen safety in-house. 


Keto

Bourbon Street Pizza does not specifically have keto meals, but is completely willing to make something to suit! If you want a crustless pizza they can create one in a take-out container by filling it with sauce, cheese, and other desired toppings before popping it into their ovens. The same goes for their sandwiches, just order one without the bread! 

Paulo’s is surprisingly a good place to try despite being an Italian restaurant. The owner’s wife also follows a keto diet and there are a couple of things on the menu that would work. They have grilled chicken and salmon, and are willing to make their fresh mussels dish with lemon instead of wine. There are many salads to also choose from, Greek being the best bet as other dressings have some sugar.

Sweet Retreat created some keto desserts for those so inclined. They have a healthier version of the hello dolly bar called an OMG, which has 2 grams of net carbs per serving. An alternative option is their cinnamon “sugar” donut made with an almond-based batter rolled in a monk fruit sweetener that is absolutely delicious. Quinte Corner Café also has a couple of desserts on the menu, such as brownies and blondies. These are from their Sweets From The Earth line of products that will go quite well with your tea if you pop in for an afternoon treat.

If you still are not sure and prefer to make your own meals, Obi’s Kitchen has a variety of ingredients you can choose from. Almost every hot sauce and mustard you could ever need, as well as a few other keto-friendly products that have minimal to no carbs and sugars. You will be cooking tasty keto dinners in no time!