My husband and I went to Niagara on the Lake for our wedding anniversary. He surprised me with the trip, and had picked out a lunch place for us to try, partly because it specializes in gluten free offerings, and partly because he wanted to give Irish cuisine a try. My mom has Irish in her background, and there are some family recipes that have been handed down that we still eat, but there aren't many Irish restaurants around where we live.
The Tea Room is located at the back of an Irish store that sells clothing and other memorabilia. It has tables inside, as well as an outside patio. Take-out is also available. The place was pretty busy the day we were there, but we were seated quickly and our meals didn't take long to arrive.
The Irish Tea Room is not a strictly gluten free eatery, but they take the issue very seriously. The following is directly from their website regarding gluten free items:
"In The Irish Tea Room we are very strict about the preparation and storage of our gluten free dishes. In the kitchen we have separate equipment (including a separate oven) for use in cooking gluten free dishes only, which are stored in their own separate containers and cupboards.
Out front in the Tea Room, all of the display cabinets contain gluten free items only to avoid the chance of any cross contamination."
Separate oven, separate containers, dishes, cupboards & display case. Most restaurants don't take this kind of care when offering gluten free options. Our server was very knowledgeable, and was able to answer all of our questions. The menu clearly marks all gluten free items, and the entire front display case of pastries & desserts was gluten free.
My husband ordered the not-gluten free Guinness Pie. Each entrée comes with two salads of your choice.
I ordered the gluten free Boxty, which is a crepe stuffed with curry chicken. I ordered a mixed bean salad and a beet salad as the sides, and the whole meal was divine. So good that I am going to try and recreate it.
Service was friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed. There was a large selection of gluten free desserts, so we had to try them. My husband ordered the cheesecake, and I ordered the Banoffee pie. Banoffee pie is a banana and toffee pie with whipped cream and chocolate. Ridiculous in the best way possible.
Before leaving, we picked up a gluten free scone mix to take home with us. When I try it, I'll let you know how it tastes. I'm also dying to try a recipe found on their website for a Cranberry Almond, which is white chocolate and cranberries mixed with GF cornflakes. Looks and sounds divine.
I have to say, everything from the atmosphere to the service to the food was fantastic at the Irish Tea Room. The food was reasonably priced, and the small but diverse menu had offerings sure to please most eaters, from gluten free to vegetarian. The dishes are traditional Irish fare, which to me means good old fashioned comfort food. Highly recommended.