Going out to eat when you’re gluten-free or have other dietary restriction is difficult. However, eating out gluten-free IS possible, it just takes more intentional planning and asking key questions. Here are my 5 top tips for eating out gluten-free at restaurants.
Tip #1: Do Your Research!
The internet is your friend—at first! Do a google search for restaurants offering gluten-free menus or use the find glutenfree app/website. Look through the options available and use it as a starting point when you want to eat out gluten-free. Never completely rely on the restaurant’s website or someone’s review of a restaurant to see if it’s safe for your dietary needs.
Note: You all know I LOVE to review restaurants! You can even look through my reviews here. I write those to be the first step for you—not as a means to skip these next 4 tips!
Tip #2: Contact the Restaurant Ahead of Time
As I mention above, when eating out gluten-free never simply rely on an online menu. Always call the restaurant ahead of time to ask questions and ensure they are capable of accommodating your individual dietary needs. I personally find open-ended questions (ones not resulting in a yes/no answer) to be the most helpful here. Some questions I like to as are:
What kinds of accommodations are you able to make for individuals with food allergies?
How do you prevent cross-contamination?
Do you have any dedicated prep stations/fryers/ovens for gluten-free dishes? (While this is not an open-ended question, this can help you see how much they really are able to protect against cross-contamination)
Based on these questions you can often tell if it’s worth eating out gluten-free at this specific restaurant. I’ve often called a restaurant and it became clear within a couple of seconds of the phone conversation whether they could truly accommodate allergies/intolerances, or just food “preferences.”