Noglu, Gluten-Free Restaurant in Paris

poulet fermier rôti

A long-lost acquaintance of mine got in touch with me a few months back. And I don’t know if there is a French name for phone-tag, or playing the game via e-mail, but we finally fixed a date once the long summer of vacations, closures, and hectic schedules of the rentrée (the annual September return to Paris) were all finally behind us.

Laurent, who runs Grom gelato in Paris, suggested we meet up at Noglu, a gluten-free restaurant that recently opened in the lovely Passage des Panoramas. As a performance cyclist, he avoids gluten for a variety of reasons. And as fans of food trucks, we invited Kristin, owner of the hugely popular Le Camion qui fume, the first hamburger truck in Paris, along for lunch as well. Like both of the places where they scoop and grill, respectively, the buzz at Noglu was obviously good because when we arrived, they were turning away a steady flow of walk-ins; the news had evidently traveled fast.

Noglu menu gluten-free bread at Noglu restaurant

I was recently talking to someone about gluten-free baking and they’d mentioned how limiting it must be, noting that it’s a challenge to bake without flour. However I love all the beautiful grains and flours that aren’t wheat-based, and I like their flavors, so the idea appeals to me very much. Sure, you’re not going to get a perfect baguette or croissant, and I don’t think you should try to (it’s like trying to make an egg-free soufflé or a cup of coffee without using coffee beans), but there’s almond flour, buckwheat, and cornmeal, all of which I happily bake with myself.

smoked haddock and potatoes

It’s kind of irksome when people complain about other people’s food intolerances. And while I have some funny stories from my past, working in professional kitchens concerning certain customer requests (and man, have I heard some doozies!), for the most part, modifying certain dishes and meals is a chance to be a bit creative. I wrote a few articles for a “healthy cooking” magazine a while back and it was fun to create desserts that didn’t rely on icky artificial sweeteners, and used butter, chocolate, and eggs, but in moderate quantities. And I wrote about how to pull flavors from those ingredients, maximizing their flavor. It wasn’t limiting at all.

People certainly come in all flavors as well, and my gluten-free friends are grateful for the effort that people put into making the food. And while it’s easy to push away squid (ick) and roasted red peppers (ick) if you don’t like them, gluten is hard to avoid if food is being prepared in a kitchen where there are loaves of bread, sausages, soy sauce, or bottles of salad dressings, which are just some of the places where gluten can lurk.

Noglu smoked haddock

I eat gluten, but am always interested in what’s cooking (and baking), no matter where I’m at. And shortly after the bread was brought out to us at Noglu, I started in on it. And it was quite good. I would not put it in the same category as a crusty loaf of pain au levain, but there was something compelling about the slightly dense bread with the soft mie (crumb), due to whatever the grain flour was used to make it. I think I had at least three slices of it – and if I wasn’t so bien élevé (well-raised), I probably would have hogged more of it.

Lunch started with haddock fumé “PDT” vitelottes, which were salty slices of smoked fish with round of blue potatoes and a few dollops of avocado sauce. (Because a lot of French words are long, things like pommes de terre, or PDT, often get shortened.) I like haddock, however it’s quite rich, so I was happy to share it with Kristin – while Laurent had the bread basket all to himself.

saint Pierre with lentils

Because I was having dinner at someone’s apartment that night who has written books on fat, bones, and offal, I decided it best to continue with fish. I like Saint-Pierre (John Dory), which took the place of the cabaillaud (cod) on the menu, which came out with braised endive, served on a bed of lentils (replacing the quinoa, a grain which is very trendy in Paris right now) and it was also a bit salé, but I think that was the fish itself.

steak with wild mushrooms passage des panoramas

The two guys at the counter next to use were as stunned as I was when their enormous giant entrecôte steaks came out, which came with generous piles of potatoes écrassés and topped with a sautéed heap of wild mushrooms. (The owners have the nearby Racines restaurant, so the quality of ingredients at Noglu is similarly as high.) I didn’t taste it (because I’m not mal élevé, and would never ask someone at a neighboring table for a bite of their food), but just like the rest of the menu at Noglu, if it didn’t say so on the menu, you would never know you were eating in a gluten-free restaurant.

Gluten-free desserts doesn’t mean you have to use odd sweeteners or that everything is going to be gummy. Considering the most famous dessert in the last twenty-five years is the flourless chocolate cake, which no one ever complained was lacking anything, there are plenty of things that can be made without a speck of wheat flour, and no one would know the difference.

polenta cake plum

We didn’t order the warm chocolate cake, but we did have an outstanding polenta cake, flavored with almonds and orange, served with warm roasted plums. It was great.

coffee machine

Because Laurent lived in Italy for a while, he got excited that they had good, Italian coffee, as the coffee is from Gianni Frasi in Verona. As a lover of a good espresso whenever I can get one, as well, I took his advice and they brought us three correctly extracted cups of espresso, some of the best I’ve had in Paris.

madeleines

We also had a few housemade madeleines alongside our coffee, which I noticed were disappearing fast from the glass showcase by the entrance. They were the perfect way to end a lunch before one of us sped off on his bicycle, another got ready to ride her truck, and I headed home on foot. Which was a good idea after polishing off perhaps more than my share of bread, cookies, and cakes, all gluten-free.

espresso at Noglu

Noglu
16, passage des Panoramas (2nd)
Tél: 01 40 26 41 24
Métro: Grands Boulevards



Related Posts and Links

Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe

Helmut Newcake: Gluten-Free Bakery in Paris

Gluten-Free Eating and Dining in Paris

Noglu (Le Fooding, in French)

Les bons spots gluten-free à Paris (Glamour, in French)

51 comments

  • The person who said it must be limiting to bake gluten free couldn’t be more wrong. In any art form, limitations force you to be more creative than 100% freedom. I’m vegan and that makes baking exciting; I mean, I’ve known for a pretty long time how to make a cake with the traditional ingredients, so why not go crazy and try to make something great without them (like a polenta cake…)?

    Thanks as always for the story and lovely photos-

  • I’ve made your gluten free brownies at least 6 times this year! Thanks for the dl on this gf restaurant in Paris!

  • I’ve been trying to come up with a gluten free baguette. All the recipes I find have milk or eggs and just don’t scratch the itch. It’s definitely a slog, but I haven’t given up.

  • jessica: I’m not a bread baker, but usually eggs (especially the yolks) or milk make baked goods softer. So I’d avoid using them if trying to make a crisp baguette. Perhaps try some rice flour?

    Sarah: Glad you like those brownies – I like them, too!

    Kirsten: I’ve never quite figured out why people like to find fault with those who are on certain diets (ie: vegetarians, etc.) People follow them for a variety of reasons, however I guess there are those who can be difficult in restaurants and so forth, about it. Living in France, where diners aren’t customers, but considered more like “guests”, people dining out aren’t used to calling the shots – so to speak. So It’s nice that there are places like Noglu, which take care of those that have an intolerance to gluten with any problems.

  • I agree about creative approaches to culinary challenges, and actually went GF for 15 months. Felt great. Must explore this passage next trip.

  • I’ve been wondering if Noglu is worth visiting–I’m glad to hear that it is! Though I can’t eat gluten in the US, here it doesn’t bother me as much. After years of g-f cooking, I’m excited to try their menu.

  • 45 years ago, when I was a teenager, the mother of one of my friends was “allergic to wheat flour”, which I suppose was the precourser to “gluten-free”. This woman was an amazing cook and back when rice flour, etc., was scarce, created many wonderful dishes that did not lack in taste with the substitution of traditional sweeteners and/or flour. When Mother Nature closes a door, she frequently opens a window. The food you picture from this restaurant looks very inviting!

  • @jessica: the problem with gluten free baking is that it usually relies on a flour mix rather than a single type of flour.
    I suggest you experiment baking with the recipes suggested by the manufacturer and soon you’ll discover the characteristics of each brand (e.g. one is better for the bread machine, another is better for pizza, and so on) Once you have found the specifics of each brand, surely you’ll be able to pick up the best suited for your purpose.
    One more thing: for gluten free baking I rely on manufacturer recipes or from good quality food blogs. The websites that contain thousand of recipes are usually not very good for allergen free baking, as it is not good to simply subsitute wheat flour with a random gf mix.
    I hope that this helps you.

  • I still feel mortified at restaurants, as a recently diagnosed diabetic. I was never the “picky eater” that gets made fun of in movies, etc. Now there is hardly anything I can eat in a restaurant the does not require modification (I have to stay sugar and grain-free to avoid using insulin). I can only encourage you to try baking with alternative flours and, why not, even grain free once in a while. I’ve had to adapt and it has been a huge challenge. But it is really healthy!

    • I had a annoying experience at a restaurant in Paris, Le Repaire de Cartouche where, because I was about to have a medical proceedure and I was not supposed to eat very much fat a few days before it. I was really polite – and apologetic – and explained it nicely to the waiter, and asked what could be prepared without too much fat. Of course, my food came out and it was exactly the same as everyone else’s plate. I ate around it but wish that he had simply steered me toward something more suitable if certain things couldn’t be modified. (But I wasn’t the only one having a bad night there; another table of French guests stood up and walked out because they didn’t like the way they were treated, either.) Some things can be modified, while others can’t. Some restaurants in Paris are notoriously inflexible so it’s nice to see and feature a place that offers an alternative for people intolerant to wheat, where they can eat happily and healthily (or healthy?)

  • Some of my most satisfying cooking experiences are meals I’ve made for friends with multiple food restrictions. It’s such an interesting challenge, and people are so delighted, especially when you can pull off a dish they’d resigned themselves to life without. Best was a decadent birthday dinner with gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free birthday cake and ice cream for a friend who’d had neither in many years.

  • It’s exciting to read about Noglu. We just got back from Paris a few weeks ago – I wish I’d known about it. I learned I have celiac disease earlier this year. Your open approach to food and understanding of food allergies and intolerances is inspiring. Eating gluten free in France was challenging — I ate a lot of seabass in the south of France and omelettes in Paris. Still it was a dream trip. Of course it would have helped if my French was a little better. Love your blog – how about writing a gluten free cookbook?

  • Hi David, Back in Tucson I am about to try a recipe for gluten free pasta for my son visiting forThanksgiving I am not convinced he is gluten intolerant but Iwill give it a try. I will let you know. Suzan

  • Quote:
    “It’s kind of irksome when people complain about other people’s food intolerances.”

    Indeed. I’m allergic to some foods, including tomatoes. People around me do seem to take more notice of how difficult it must be than I do.

  • My son and I are both gluten intolerant and basically find it almost impossible to eat out here in Dubai. In fact eating in Italy is easier believe it or not! We also adored Grom ice cream in Italy and rated it the best in Italy especially since they are so transparent and you know exactly what you are getting. It’s wonderful that there are restaurants that cater for those of us with genuine food intolerance. I’ll keep this one in mind for the next time I’m in Paris.

  • Edwine: Grom actually has a gluten-free program in place and everyone on their staff is trained about how to serve gluten-free customers. In fact, Laurent told me they are going completely gluten-free within the next year. (A lot of gelaterias in Italy are gluten-free since the intolerance is well-known in Italy, and has been for many years.)

    Jessika: I always find it odd when people are more concerned with what you don’t eat than you are (!) I supposed some people do make a big deal about it, but there are things I don’t eat (just because I don’t like them) and people are always trying to tell me how good they are, and that “…you don’t know what you’re missing!” I am sure there are things from other cultures that they wouldn’t eat, but never understand why it’s so important for them to tell me that I should like (or eat) something because they do.

  • you are so right david i guess you have been asked too many times to try again ratatouille and finally change your mind… ; ) i’m a nutritionist and i’m in love with cooking and baking. i’m gluten free and grain free and i’m adapting your awesome recipes for this lifestyle. your almond tahini cookies-gluten free version turned out pretty spectacular (after the 10th experiment). thank you for another great post david!

  • Thanks so much for this review David! I have celiac disease, and the last time I was in Paris I ate at Des si et des mets, another GF restaurant, and also had an amazing GF meal at Le Timbre on your recommendation. I will definitely be visiting Noglu on my next trip – it sounds fantastic.

  • This post was a steep learning curve for me. I can eat (but won’t) anything, I’m allergic to other things but food (certain wines with too much sulfites …) but although I have personal friends with food allergies, I never had to fiddle too much with my cooking to find something to please them and that was healthy and acceptable to their condition.
    Now, reading the comments, I’m astonished – mostly at the fine way everybody adapted and how positive the comments are with all their experiences. It’s very important that someone like you David is putting word out so that everybody realises how life, cooking, food & drinks still can be utterly wonderful even if there are certain limits.
    Thank you for those great news – I’m a v. thankful reader and find your posts always so inspiring.
    PS: The SOMEONE’S link is private… and can’t be followed up.

    • I had a relative that was deathly allergic to sulfides and he was at a restaurant that washed their lettuce in an anti-oxidant powder (ie: sulfides) that even the waiter didn’t know about, and he was rushed to the hospital from it. But it’s often hard for waiters, and kitchen people, to know where things are lurking – so it’s hard if you have, say, a peanut allergy – was something fried in peanut oil earlier in the day? It’s hard to know, even for the staff.

      (And thanks, I fixed that link. It was a coding error on my part..)

  • David,
    Will add Noglu to my must visit when in Paris list!
    I was diagnosed with Celiac’s 4 years ago and chronicle my adventures in the kitchen at http://www.Pamelastable.com.

  • Absolutely great blog post David. My blog focuses on gluten free cooking and i really like to focus on the naturally gluten free ingredients- so much variety and interesting ingredients out there. I’m so thankful that restaurants are now picking up on it and long may it continue for us with Coeliac disease or gluten intolerances. There’s really no excuse any more ;)

    Sarah

  • Thank you for this! And thank you for your comment about approaching the food limitations of others as a chance to be creative. It is so awkward for folks with food limitations to not only have to deal with the food limitation itself, but with the judgment of the people around them. I am an expert gluten-free baker and cook, but eating in restaurants or at other public food events is overwhelming and often not worth the stress that goes along with it. And I have been reluctant to visit Paris because of my gluten intolerance and wheat allergy. This post gives me hope that it might be doable! Thanks again!

  • Huh.
    We just ate at Noglu today. Then googled the place. Glad to tell you, your post was the first on Google.
    And the Espresso was very good indeed.

  • I have a child that was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Thanks for the post–and maybe some upcoming glutten free desserts? :)

  • I really Love everything you said about Gluten Free, THANK YOU! As a person who HAS to eat gluten free, I am continually amazed by the ignorance and narrow minded behavior I normally encounter. I really wish I could pack up and come to Paris to eat at this restaurant. The gluten free diet has given me the health and freedom to explore food in a way I never would have, and there are so many amazing gluten free grains that I had never heard of!

    As I gluten free baker myself, I love the challenge of tackling someone’s limitations, and serving them a food they haven’t had in years. And I know that all things are possible. I have even converted some of your yummy recipes!

  • I find it curious that banana bread is listed in English on the black board menu. Am I seeing things?

  • Dear David, here in California tomorrow we will vote on Proposition 37 to label GMO food and i hope you will have a post regarding GMO food labeling in France. Thank you for all the delicious and hilarious writings :-)

  • I’ve bee hearing more and more about how Paris restaurants and supermarkets are making more concessions to those with Celiac’s, gluten allergies/intolerances and even those who simply want to eat less gluten.

    Thanks again for another great find, David!

  • I just wanted to say that I recently read the book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn from your “Stuff I’m Liking” column on this blog. I truly loved the book, so helpful, such basic tips. I want to give it to a few people I know and I want to buy a copy myself (it was a library book), as I think it is a great reference book. My daughter (3 yrs old) and I have really enjoyed watching the few videos you have on this site. You have a great up and personal approach and you’re enjoyable to watch.

    Best wishes!

  • Noglu? Brilliant name! I wish we had some enlightened restaurant options here in Monaco or a food truck. Anything! Please! The nearest we come to food enlightenment here is a juice bar. I’ve got to drag myself up to Paris soon and bring my fork. Lucky you!

  • I agree that cooking and baking gluten free is a wonderful chance to explore new ingredients and techniques-my sister is gluten intolerant and I’ve really enjoyed coming up with good things for her to eat. I have to make a pan of your gf brownies whenever she comes to visit, and no, she doesn’t share…
    I so enjoy your writing David, thank you!

  • Thanks David for highlighting this restaurant. We travelled to Paris about 4 years ago with my daughter who is coeliac and I vowed never to go to Paris again after that trip. Most restaurants went out of their way to be unhelpful and the arrogance of waiters nearly caused me to comit an act of violence. So I am delighted to hear that there are now a few places in Paris which acknowledge that gluten free is not just someone wanting to be awkward. We love it when someone embraces cooking gluten free as a challenge and nothing makes my daughter happier then being in an environment where people understand and want to go out of their way to make delicious food. You are absolutely right that having to avoid a certain ingredient should be seen as a creative challenge for the chef.

    • Sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience. Waiters & restaurants, in general, in Paris aren’t used to food intolerances & allergies, so you always have to “win them over” (I gave some tips on how to do that in my post about Dining Gluten-free in Paris) because it’s something out-of-the-norm for them. And most don’t think “outside of the box.”

      I think as a gluten-free person, there are lots more choices and possibilities than a few years ago, especially if you rent an apartment and not rely on restaurants for all of your meals.

  • Hi, Appreciate the info on this rest. What is the average price for lunch and dinner? Thanks Milt Gersh.

    • You can see the current prices on the blackboard in the photos in the post. Those should give some guidelines how much a meal would cost at the restaurant.

  • It’s just really sad that many of those who have genuine and serious sensitivities aren’t taken seriously – one of my coeliac friends has to enquire about everything from packaging to cooking processes when out to eat, even things labelled “gluten-free” on menus often aren’t. I feel that many people also hold the idea that refusing to eat a particular food just makes you troublesome, unless your life or your health is seriously threatened by it. I’ve been vegetarian since birth; my “normal” or default diet has always been meat-free, I think it’s fairly insensitive of people, both personally and culturally, to expect me to start eating it just to be less annoying. I could go on, this topic really bugs me.

    I completely agree that learning to cook without certain “traditional” ingredients can be an eye-opening experience, though. During my vegan days, I found I really needed to push past my conceptions of traditional baking and start viewing the baking process in a totally new light. Rather than substituting things, one-for-one, it was liberating to be able to deconstruct recipes and build them afresh with wildly different ingredients. I definitely learned a lot of lessons which I continued to apply even after I began to eat eggs and dairy again.

  • Thanks for this thoughtful and sensitive post.

  • Many of my favorite desserts just happen to be gluten free. I feel that the key is not always attempting to recreate a gluten needed food, rather finding delicious recipes that just include different ingredients.

    Butterscotch pudding, caramel, chocolate, meringue, MACARON…. Need I say more?

  • I’m really glad I don’t have to be totally gluten free ,as is it’s very very hard!
    However I eat very little gluten and flour, because it just makes me feel a lot better.
    I had a period of going for the specialised gluten free cookbooks, but now I mostly just bake things that are traditionally and naturally gluten free…. and there are so many things you can make. For instance in Ginette Mathiot’s rather conservative The Art of French Baking I counted about 50 naturally gluten free recipes..wthout being labelled so. No xanthan gum or complex and expensive grain mixes in sight…

  • Oooohh I want to go there just for the coffee….

  • Thank you for your kind words about people with food allergies/sensitivities. It must be difficult to eat gluten free; it is so prevalent. I, unfortunately, have to eat dairy free. I have learned to adjust and substitute in my home cooking. But dining out is difficult. I did not have this problem when I visited Paris in the past. Sadly, I think it would be almost impossible for me to dine out in Paris now. But that won’t stop me from visiting again; just need to get an apartment and eat in. But I drool over all your posts David…living vicariously through you.

  • I am looking for some US election day relief! Maybe I will try baking the GF brownies and not turn a TV on all night!?

  • Thanks for the great post. Not sure if you know this or not, but Noglu also serves lactose free pastries and food. If it is not indicated on the menu, you can ask and they can tell you which items contain milk/butter.

  • haha..i get it..”noglu” no glue…

  • isnt there a gluten free flour?cup4cup?it tastes like the same thing..

  • Its great for people with a gluten intolerance to have a whole restaurant where they don’t have to worry about what they order. Thanks for sharing.

  • I cannot tell you how overjoyed this post made me. The last time I was in Paris was 2008, and I indulged in more croissant, baguette, and other delectable pastry then was healthy, and I couldn’t quite figure out why I was so sick every single day..which didn’t change my adoration for the food and the city. Fast forward a few months, and the years of gastro distress turns out to be celiac. Luckily, my French husband is an amazing cook who looked at the illness as an opportunity, and we’ve been gluten free – as “foodies” – since then… However, with a Christmas trip to Paris on the horizon, I’ve been growing nervous that I’d be the irritating guest in restaurants. While I might not be able to eat everywhere, this post, along with the Helmut Newcake post, has only ratcheted the enthusiasm to return. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

  • Rice flour?
    Chapatis and made with rice flour?

    Perhaps a rice bread like this one:

    Rice Bread

    1 cup water
    1/3 cup milk (I use plain rice milk)
    2 eggs (I use 3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 TB water)
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    4 TB oil
    2 TB sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cup white rice flour
    2/3 cup brown rice flour
    1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (you can also use guar gum instead)
    2 tsp quick rise yeast

    Rice flour is a little finicky, so it’s important that you place all of the ingredients in the exact order that is listed in the bread machine pan. Then when you put in the flour, try to spread it around so that it covers all of the liquids underneath. I have no idea why this makes a difference, but it does. Then start the bread machine on the “grain setting”. It cooks it a little longer than the regular setting.

    Keep the bread in a plastic bag and refrigerate after about a day, then slice and freeze after about 3 or 4 days (it can last for a long time in the freezer).

  • Seems like this restaurant is doing it right: focusing on meals that are naturally gf and using good-quality, fresh ingredients (if you go back, you should try the banana bread I noticed on their board – quick breads or cake with “mush” -applesauce, youghurt, banana, zucchini, etc… – turn out beautifully in gf baking, which usually suffers from being too dry). I sometimes wish I lived in a big city where the population can support such specialty restaurants – since I’ve worked in restaurants for over a decade, I understand exactly what the situation is in the average kitchen and it generally comes down to Russian roulette for those of us with allergies. I don’t mean this to imply that the cooks are not being diligent in their cleaning/attention to detail when it comes to the food they prepare, just that the odds are stacked unfairly against them when there’s so much of a particular allergen already on the grill or, in the case of wheat flour, maybe even in the air. You can only do so much, especially when the supper rush hits.

    In any case, thank you for pointing out this lovely restaurant – they are being added to my list of “safe” places to eat for when I am able to revisit Paris.

  • These pictures make everything look so good! Have been meaning to pop in to Noglu for a while. I’m a big fan of their pastry chef, Jenni, and am excited to try the full range of their no glu plates!