Vientiane Cafe, A Gluten Free Delight

Vientiane Cafe in West Philadelphia is a secret little hiding spot for healthy, gluten free, vegan Lao- Thai cuisine. Seriously - I'm not sure why this place does not get more press. Perhaps, that is part of why the Vientiane Cafe experience was as wonderful as it was, because I knew that I was embarking on a hidden treasure. I felt like I could take claim to it and call it my own.

It was the boyfriend's birthday and I was trying to do something nice, yet low key (he specifically requested low key). My first attempt for dinner was Vietnam Philadelphia. I have walked around this restaurant a million times and the smell was always so alluring, but after a discussion with the staff, I did not feel comfortable enough that I would find something gluten free that was not cross-contaminated. I do appreciate the honestly of the staff and will still continue to encourage those that are not gluten free to visit their location.

 When I first walked into Vientiane, my impression was, it is an adorable cafe. The light hardwood floors are offset by the warm toned walls - making it a very welcoming place - which is exactly what I was hopping for. When eating out, the boyfriend and I like to take our time and not feel rushed. We like to sit next to or across from one another and truly enjoy the experience - conversing and just enjoying our time together.

I was a bit nervous, as I always am when trying a new place - so when the menu came I dove right in and started scanning every page. The menu clearly noted what was gluten free and what was not. There was a fair amount of gluten free options - I was actually a bit surprised. As for the vegetarian options - every entree is made plain and the customer gets to select a vegetarian, meat, or fish option! I love love love this customization! It is so appealing to the customer!

The boyfriend went with the Chicken Pad Thai - which is his absolute favorite dish and thus far, on our eating adventurous, he has been disappointed by the Pad Thai dishes in the Philadelphia area. Thus, making me a bit more nervous that he would not like his birthday dish! EK! However, it only took one bit and he was sucked in! He loved the Pad Thai and was even contemplating orders a second helping later that evening! Congratulations to Vientiane Cafe for being boyfriend approved.

After much contemplation - I must say, being gluten free, I am not sure I will ever get used to having options while eating out. It always seems to amaze me and then take me a year to order because I am just so overwhelmed and not use to having options. Anyhow, with help from our lovely server, I went with the King Soup. Perfect option! The King Soup was creamy, zesty, acidic, and spicy all in one dish! While a bit messy to eat, I did finish the entire helping!

You can be sure that I will return again to Vientiane Cafe to try something else. While exiting the restaurant, I did stare down all the other customers' dishes. I couldn't help myself, it all smelled and looked so appealing. It was like I was already stuffed from my meal, but walking past their dishes made me hungry all over again!


  1. I have learned it is easier than I originally thought to eat gluten-free, even when you dine out. More restaurants are offering tasty options such as this soup. I have also discovered some great recipes to make at home.


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