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Possible Trip To London
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So, since the Polish doctors are rather stumped by my case of abdominal pain at the moment (actually they've been stumped for almost a year!) there is talk of sending me to London to see some specialists there (including getting a HIDA scan since it seems that "no one does those anymore in Krakow...we use MRIs" and I have a severe claustrophobia issue not to mention surgical staples that they weren't sure would be good for going in the machine.)

I'm wondering if it would be better to stay in a hotel (having to eat out) or a short-term apartment. How's the general awareness of gluten-free eating in London? Am I better off preparing my own meals? I know it would be cheaper, right?

Any opinions? Anyone living in London now? Visited recently?

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Hello,

I lived in London until recently. A short-term apartment might be good - alternatively, a breakfast only hotel might be ok too, if there is a fridge in your room for storing food.

For making food yourself, I would recommend Sainsbury's and M&S Food as supermarkets with good gluten labelling. There are lots of these around London.

For restaurants, I would recommend the following, which also have several locations in London:

- Leon (my favourite!)

- Wetherspoons

- La Tasca

- Cafe Rouge

I've also heard good things about an Italian place called Cotto (http://www.italiancotto.co.uk/) but I've not tried this myself.

If you're on Facebook, there are various UK coeliac groups who are very helpful, including Gluten Free Guerillas.

Hope your trip is useful and that your pain improves soon.

All the best,

India

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p.s. Preparing your own food would definitely be cheaper - London is horribly expensive, sadly. Also, if you join the Leon and La Tasca mailing lists just before your visit, they may send you discount vouchers :)

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Wow, India, thanks so much. This is very helpful!

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Wow, India, thanks so much. This is very helpful!

I'll add my 2 cents worth.....London is pretty good with gluten-free and I would highly recommend a flat rental because you'll also have more room for the same price as a hotel. There is a phenomenal Whole Foods Market in Kensington, a couple of blocks from the Kensington High St. tube station that has tons of gluten-free foods and about the best selection of veggies and meats in central London. I'm not saying it's cheap but you'll have no trouble finding whatever you need there.

For restaurants, I like Cafe Rouge because they have done a super job with me and I have eaten there at least 6 times on various trips to London. Good French peasant food done simply and well. It's a chain and there are a few sprinkled around the city. For a chain, they are excellent.

As for Cotto.....they are on South Bank side of the Thames and I feel kind of guilty saying this because they were super nice people but.....the food is overpriced and, quite frankly, not as good as what I have made at home. It's run by first generation Italians and yes, they have all the Italian foods everyone loves but I was not crazy about their red sauce and the pizza is very, very pricey. Not worth it in my opinion. We spent almost $100.00 on a meal there and we each got a dish (2 of us) and I ordered a take away pizza to take back to our flat. We also had 1 drink each. Between the price of the food and service charges and tips, it was too expensive.

London is very expensive anyway and it annoys me to pay all the service fees and taxes they are charged in the UK. I am sure rents are astronomical in London, which is reflected in their pricing also. We heard rave reviews about the place and the owners were sweethearts but for what we paid, the food was just not up to snuff. I hate dissing a gluten-free eatery but I am being truthful.

It would be better for you to rent because breakfast can be eaten in to save money. You can also cook dinner in and eat out as a treat. That's what I do. But as far as people looking at you like you have 3 heads when you mention Celiac, it didn't happen and I have traveled there 3 times since diagnosis. Never had a problem at the vast majority of places I walked into.

Good luck with any testing and I hope your issues are resolved soon! Try to enjoy yourself a bit in London because it is a fantastic city, rich in history. I love it there...I just wish it weren't so expensive!

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Hello,

I lived in London until recently. A short-term apartment might be good - alternatively, a breakfast only hotel might be ok too, if there is a fridge in your room for storing food.

For making food yourself, I would recommend Sainsbury's and M&S Food as supermarkets with good gluten labelling. There are lots of these around London.

For restaurants, I would recommend the following, which also have several locations in London:

- Leon (my favourite!)

- Wetherspoons

- La Tasca

- Cafe Rouge

I've also heard good things about an Italian place called Cotto (http://www.italiancotto.co.uk/) but I've not tried this myself.

If you're on Facebook, there are various UK coeliac groups who are very helpful, including Gluten Free Guerillas.

Hope your trip is useful and that your pain improves soon.

All the best,

India

I have never heard of Leon, India, but thank you for this tip! I'll add it to my list.

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