If you are new to gluten free living, you probably know how hard it is to dine in a restaurant safely. Here are my best tips and tricks to navigate the menu, talk to your server, and evaluate whether a restaurant is safe.
When you go out to eat, you are taking the risk of whether the kitchen will use safe gluten-handling practices to prevent cross-contamination. Those on a gluten free diet love to dine in restaurants as much as anyone, but it is not easy!
I wanted to write up all of my tips and tricks for you because dining out has such a risk of getting glutened. I would love for you to comment below about how you evaluate restaurants.
If you are new to Fearless Dining, start here with this guide to gluten free has a ton of great information for those who are new to gluten free. It includes information on where gluten is hidden, where to buy gluten free foods, how to live gluten free, and some easy-to-make gluten-free recipes.
Safe Gluten Free Dining
When you look for a new restaurant to try, it is helpful to reach out to the restaurant during the day, before the dinner rush. Talking to the manager can give you a good idea of how familiar the staff is with gluten free and the safety precautions they take.
Read my Top 10 Scary Things Restaurants Have Told Me, and you will see what many restaurants do because they don't understand gluten free. Celiac.org also has great Gluten Free information.
It is important to alert both your waitperson and the manager to your gluten allergy. You need to advocate for yourself, and these safe gluten free dining tips will help you!
The biggest rule about dining out is to ask questions! There is no such thing as a stupid question!! If you do not speak up, the restaurant will not know you have a medical reason to avoid gluten.
Most Important Questions To Ask:
Please note these are standard questions. The answers you get will help you evaluate if the restaurant can keep your meal safe. Note that someone with Celiac disease may need a higher level of caution than someone with gluten intolerance.
- Where does the kitchen prepare gluten free meals? Do they have a separate section of their kitchen? If they do not have a separate area, do they put a liner under the prep area when they prepare your food?
- Do they use separate cutting boards, utensils, knives, pots, pans, and dishes for gluten free orders?
- Do the cooks wash their hands and change to new gloves before preparing a gluten free order?
- How does the kitchen keep your plate separate from the others if it ends up under a food heater? Cross-contamination can happen if your plate is below plates containing gluten.
- If the cook wipes a spill on your plate to make it look nice, do they use a fresh towel?
- Is there a separate fryer for gluten free foods?
- How about breakfast? Is there a separate toaster for gluten free bread? Do they use a separate grill for gluten free orders? Do they sterilize the waffle iron or have a dedicated waffle iron for gluten free orders?
My Favorite Gluten Free Dining Resources:
- Gluten in the Wine Making Process - Does wine have gluten? What you need to know if you drink wine.
- Top 7 Tips for Sushi Restaurants - We are big sushi lovers, so read this article to learn more. Some of these recommendations may surprise you!
- Top 6 Questions to Ask at a Pizza Restaurant - We all love pizza so learn what to look for so you can determine whether it is safe to eat at that pizza restaurant.
- This app, Find Me Gluten Free, is hands down the best app out there. It is worth springing for the paid version because it has no ads! (Plus, the developer is great, and his app is so easy to use)
I look forward to hearing what tips you have learned!
If you love the recipes you find on my blog, I would love for you to sign up for my newsletter (and get my free gluten free lemon dessert e-cookbook!)
This post was updated from an old August 2013 post with more detailed and current information.
Where do I find your data base for 650 Bay Area Restaurants? thanks, Debbie
Unfortunately, the database is no longer active. I didn't have the bandwidth to keep up with all of the openings and closings of local restaurants. Thank you so much for asking, I removed mention of it to avoid further confusion.