Kayla Quock

Gluten-free Villanova: A #nimatested Dining Guide

gluten-free Villanova

Lizzie Kaczorowski is a veteran celiac studying Marketing, International Business, and Spanish at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Lizzie has worked passionately with her campus’s dining services to ensure a safe college eating experience and serves as a food allergy ambassador and point of contact for prospective and new students.

Villanova, PA is a vibrant college town in suburban Pennsylvania. The town is home to Villanova University, which boasts a legendary basketball program and a renowned business school. Students from all over the country flock to the university for prestigious academics, a dynamic social scene, and proximity to major U.S. cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C. Being located on the bustling “Main Line,” Villanova University has plenty of restaurants surrounding campus – many of which are frequented by students. Whether you’re craving Mexican, ice cream, or a late night munchie, Villanova has a celiac-safe option for you!

El Limon

gluten-free Villanova: Shrimp dish with smiling Nima

Location: 845 Lancaster Ave Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010

#nimatested Dish: Shrimp Alambre

Notes: El Limon is a casual, hole-in-the-wall taqueria serving the most authentic Mexican food on the Main Line. Because it’s pretty traditional, there are tons of gluten-free options on the menu (even though nothing is explicitly labeled). El Limon uses corn tortillas for most of their dishes and even has a dedicated chip frier! Although waitstaff can be hit or miss regarding knowledge of food allergies, I’ve never had an issue with cross-contamination here. Everything is reasonably priced and DELICIOUS, so it’s a go-to for gluten-free students.

Snap Custom Pizza

gluten-free Villanova: smiling Nima and pizza

Location: 1125 Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

#nimatested Dish: Farmers Market Pizza on Cauliflower Crust

Notes: Snap Custom Pizza is a casual spot frequented by students for quick custom pizzas, salads, and bowls. Snap boasts two gluten-free crust options (traditional gluten-free and cauliflower) and takes extra steps to prevent cross-contamination if you let them know that you have an allergy. While I always opt for the Farmers Market Pizza because of the fresh veggie toppings, my friends love to personalize their pies and load them up with all their favorite ingredients.

Azie on Main

gluten-free Villanova: Pad Thai with gluten found Nima result

Location: 789 Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085

#nimatested Dish: Pad Thai

Notes: Azie on Main is an upscale Asian-fusion restaurant that is notorious around Villanova for a great happy hour as well as its brunch buffet. Azie is also one of my favorite spots for date nights or friends’ birthdays! Between sushi, fried rice, and noodle dishes, there are so many options for gluten free diners. When I visited Azie with my Nima, however, I was surprised to find that my Pad Thai did not come out completely gluten-free. It must have been a cross-contamination issue because when I notified the server, they remade my dish and it was then safe.

Tip:  Unfortunately specified gluten-free dishes aren’t always gluten-free. This is why it’s helpful to carry your Nima and test each dish! Community member, Jenny Finke, wrote a great blog post about how to talk to the staff if your Nima Sensor finds gluten. You can read it here: What To Do When Your Nima Sensor Finds Gluten.

Ekta Indian Cuisine

gluten-free Villanova: Lizzie with Nima and curry

Location: 1003 1/2 W Lancaster Ave Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

#nimatested Dish: Korma Style Curry with Chicken

Notes: College is exhausting. This means that sometimes you just can’t dedicate the time or energy to go out to eat. My roommates and I love using the app Caviar to order food to our house! One of my favorite nearby restaurants to order from is Ekta Indian Cuisine, which has an extensive menu of traditional Indian favorites. Indian food is known for being (mostly) naturally gluten-free, and Ekta is no exception. My cashew-based sauce dish was delicious, and eating it on the floor with my roommate made it even better.

Hope’s Cookies

gluten-free Villanova: smiling Nima with chocolate chip cookies

Location: 1125 Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

#nimatested Dish: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Espresso Chip Ice Cream

Notes: There’s only one real go-to spot for Villanova students to satisfy their sweet tooths: Hope’s Cookies. Hope’s is a cookie and ice cream counter with a huge variety of desserts and lots of outdoor seating. The joint advertises a gluten-free cookie option, so I was anxious to see just how safe it was… I was not disappointed, and will definitely be going back! The cookies were perfectly chewy, and the servers were willing to scoop ice cream from a fresh tub if you let them know that you have an allergy.

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