Choosing the right restaurant (Sources: Celiac.org, BeyondCeliac.org & Member Experience):
- Visit the restaurant's website, look for nutrition information and menu's
- Call ahead and ask if they have a gluten free menu
- Always identify yourself as someone needing a special diet for medical reasons
- Ask to speak to the manager or chef
- Bring along gluten-free foods (if needed). Bring safe crackers or rolls to munch on while waiting
- ASK QUESTIONS! See if seafood or meats have been marinated in soy sauce. Are items deep fried in the same oil used for chicken nuggets or other breaded items? (If so - this is NOT Gluten Free). French fries need to be made in a dedicated gluten free fryer. As an alternative - perhaps the restaurant would be kind enough to bake or pan fry French Fries for you. Will Gluten Free pasta be boiled in a fresh pot of clean water and drained in a GF dedicated colander? (GF Pasta cannot be boiled in the same water as regular gluten pasta - NO MATTER HOW HOT THE RESTAURANT TELLS YOU THEIR WATER IS!!! The same holds true for oil in the deep fryer!)
- Will the food be prepared in a separate preparation space?
- Is there airborne flour in the cooking space / kitchen?
- Are there dedicated kitchen tools / equipment? If no, what care is taken to ensure cooking ware is free of gluten / crumbs?
- Are there croutons, wontons or crispy noodles on the salad/entree?
- Does the salad dressing contain wheat, flour or soy sauce?
- Does the soup contain flour or barley?
- Has the food been marinated in any sauce? Does the sauce have flour, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce?
- Has the food been dusted with flour before being sautéed or fried?
- Is the fryer used to fry food a dedicated GF fryer? Is the oil used for the French fries also used to make the other breaded products? Is the oil "recycled" after frying other items with gluten? Are the French fries coated with flour?
- Is the GF pasta made in a clean fresh pot of water and drained in a clean dedicated GF colander?
- Are vegetables cooked in pasta water?
- Are artificial bacon bits or other meat substitutes used on potato skins and salads?
- Is pancake mix added to eggs to make fluffy omelettes / scrambled eggs?
- Are your mashed potatoes from a mix, or from real potatoes?
- Do you use imitation crabmeat or seafood?
- Does bread come with my dish?
- Is my dish garnished with fried onions?
- Will the ice cream come with a cookie
- Do you clean or is there a separate prep space for gluten-free food?
- Do you use clean or separate coookware and utensils for gluten-free food?
- Do you have a separate area to cook gluten free items on the grill (note - gluten is not just bread but also possibly in meat marinades)? If not, do you clean the grill before preparing gluten-free food ?
- Is there a dedicated fryer or do you change the oil for gluten-free food?
Read more at https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/lifestyle/social-eating/dining-out/#GxoGKkg7VIVPVGiF.99
- Make sure it is clear that you can become extremely ill if there is contamination.
- When in doubt order simple dishes, omit sauces & dressings. A clear phrase is "naked food".
- Ask for clean cooking surfaces (if a grill is used for toast/bread - there is a danger of gluten contamination) and with clean utensils.
- Do not hesitate to send food back if not correct - your health depends upon it!
- Be prepared to leave if you are not taken seriously
- Be a repeat customer to gluten free friendly restauranst as they will try hard to please a regular guest
- Expect to wait a little longer for your GF dishes or to pay a small surcharge for your dish. GF ingredients are often more expensive for the restaurant. (Don't complain for waiting a little longer or paying a couple of dollars more for a dish - the restaurant is trying to accommodate us!).
If things go wrong and you get glutened, please stay calm and tell the restaurant what happened. Please don't yell/scream at a restaurant.