gluten free tapas at judas goat taberna

photo credit: judas goat tabernaHave you ever been to Vancouver's Blood Alley in the heart of Gastown? You may be wondering what one might do in an alley on the edge of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, but it's not what you think. The Gastown neighborhood of Vancouver is currently undergoing significant gentrification, expedited most recently by the socially progressive Woodward's District. Actually, this is where I currently live, and I LOVE IT! There are so many great shops, cafes, and restaurants in this neighborhood, many of them new, and I have so many to tell you about! 

The first one is called Judas Goat Taberna, a spanish-inspired tapas bar located in Vancouver's infamous Blood Alley. A few years ago, the Salt Tasting Room broke the mold by opening up in this notoriously gritty alley. The owners of the award-winning Salt, Sean Heather and Scott Hawthorn, opened Judas Goat in March of this year, with much anticipation and rave reviews. 

The restaurant is small with only 28 seats. The menu, which is actually an order list, stipulates that you only have one hour and a half before your turn is up, and you must move along to let the next eager customers in. The space, designed by architect Gair Williamson, has a long carrera marble counter over looking the alley. They are trying to get permission to also let patrons sit at the counter in the alley, a patio of sorts. The interior is clean, modern, and has a mural by artist Robert Chaplin that covers one entire wall above the banquette. for a translation the mural read here.

Chef Lee Humphries has created a menu with an interesting and creative selection of tapas inspired by Italian, Spanish, French, and West Coast cuisine. There is also a nice selection of sherry, wines by the glass and/ or bottle, and sangria which has white chocolate! I was so eager to try this, but we were told they had stopped serving it due to a shortage of appropriate fruits. I was at Judas Goat a few weeks ago, so it may have happily returned to the menu, if not...Judas Goat, please bring it back!

Now on to the good news... many of the tapas menu items are gluten free! When I went, I simply asked the staff (yes all of them, the place is so small, that it's one big conversation) what they have that is gluten free, and there were no eyes rolling, or silly questions, they simply took the order sheet, and checked off the appropriate items. Easy. Done. 

There were four of us, and to the best of my hazy (3 glasses of wine) memory, we shared the following dishes:

  • Manchego and fig bocadillo - manchego is a spanish cheese made from sheep's milk
  • Sablefish (minus the cous cous) - excellent
  • Warm lamb cheek - great if you like truffle oil
  • Crisp prosciutto salad
  • Sherry creme caramel with rhubarb compote - not as good as my mother-in-law's but a close 2nd

Please confirm which items are gluten free when you order. The kitchen is open, so you can easily see everything being prepared right in front of you, therefore cross contamination shouldn't be an issue. Buen provecho!  Andrea

Check out some of their reviews:

mia stainsby


the vancouver courier