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.

A photo of the inside of a restaurant.

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.

A notebook with top tips written in it.

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.

  1. 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?
  2. Do they use separate cutting boards, utensils, knives, pots, pans, and dishes for gluten free orders?
  3. Do the cooks wash their hands and change to new gloves before preparing a gluten free order?
  4. 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.
  5. If the cook wipes a spill on your plate to make it look nice, do they use a fresh towel?
  6. Is there a separate fryer for gluten free foods?
  7. 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 one for gluten-free orders?

My Favorite Gluten Free Dining Resources:

I look forward to hearing what tips you have learned!

Fearless Dining

Your go-to haven for gluten-free living, where I share hundreds of delicious, family-friendly recipes, helpful gluten-free resources, and allergen-friendly options for everyone!

This post was updated from an old August 2013 post with more detailed and current information.