Dining out while trying to stick with your gluten free lifestyle can be difficult. Luckily, there are now a number of gluten free restaurants and restaurants with gluten free menu options (like SF Beach Street Grill).
Here are our top 5 tips to get you started when eating in a gluten friendly or gluten free restaurant.
- Tell the waitstaff. Make sure the waitstaff knows that you have a food allergy (even though Celiac disease in not really an allergy) and politely request exceptions as necessary. It may be helpful to call ahead to ensure that you have a safe dining experience.
- Ask what is in it. Be prepared before your server comes to take your order and select a few choices from the menu and ask the waitstaff, or better yet, the chef what the ingredients are. If any of the ingredients of the dish are suspect, skip it. You don’t want to regret your choice later. Remember to ask about garnishes, spices, dressing, sauces, etc.
- Avoid cross contamination. Ask if there is any possibility of cross contamination in the kitchen (separate cooking utensils, cookware, grill, etc) and politely request that those preparing and handling your food.
- Use a dining card. Illustrate your special requirements with a dining card. This can also help in situations where a language barrier may be a problem. Celiac Travel offers free gluten free dining cards in 54 different languages.
- Double check. When you are served your meal, examine your plate closely to ensure that something didn’t accidentally find its way onto your plate and confirm with your server that the dish you are being served was prepared gluten free.
You know more about the gluten-free diet than your waiter does, so it’s important that you be diligent and pro-active. Know what you can eat, and more importantly, what you can’t. Don’t rely on your server to guess the menu options that might be right for you. Following these few steps can help you have a safe and enjoyable meal.