Santé Delivers Healthy Options

“I’m just so happy you’re here!”, I overheard one grateful customer exclaim as she headed to her table, coffee mug in hand. The sentiment is shared, to be sure. As Victoria’s first gluten-free café, Santé, which opened in the Quadra village in March, offers not only a refuge for celiacs and others with gluten intolerance, but an impressive selection of tempting foods for any food enthusiasts. In this café, flavour has not been compromised for the sake of diet. Only tried and true recipes are used, developed by the owners, Hanna and Boris Kofman, who both follow a gluten-free diet for health reasons. Their first-hand knowledge and obvious love of food translates into delicious offerings that anyone can appreciate.

The couple’s vision has been to provide a place where those with dietary restrictions can enjoy a meal out, in full confidence that there is no chance of any cross contamination in their food. Boasting brand new kitchen equipment and the absence of any gluten products in their kitchen, Santé truly offers a respite from concern for those avoiding wheat and other gluten-rich grains. The array at the counter demonstrates how such a diet need not be restricting, and those who have been missing certain ‘off-limits’ foods will be pleased to find mouthwatering baked goods, including pizzas, chocolate doughnuts, squares and cookies. I was particularly impressed with a tender, flaky pastry on the spinach and feta quiche I had for lunch. “I won’t lie to you,” Hanna said laughing, “it’s still got a lot of butter in it!” But the combination of alternative flours – rice and tapioca, among others – meet the challenge beautifully. Crusty house-made mini baguettes were on offer in a basket on the counter, and were also used to make fresh sandwiches that were selling out quickly.

The Kofmans recently applied for a liquor license, with plans to extend the café’s hours during the summer season, and offer a small selection of good wines to pair with small plates. Whether or not you have a gluten intolerance, Santé is definitely worth a visit.

Santé Gluten-Free Café

2630A Quadra Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4E4 ·

Phone: 250-590-7174

Hours: Mon – Sat:9:00 am-6:00 pm

Written By:

Rebecca Baugniet is a freelance food writer and editor living on Canada’s West Coast with her husband and their four children. The author of three published cookbooks, Rebecca has also written for EAT Magazine and for Montréal ...

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