It is extremely difficult to eat out when you have to avoid gluten. Not only do you have to ask a lot of questions of your server, you may want to talk to the chef to ensure that he/she understands exactly what you can and cannot have. I have found the restaurant card that Celiac Travel produces to be very helpful, especially in foreign countries: www.celiactravel.com. You bring it with you and hand it to your server who shares the info with the chef. It takes the pressure off. However, you still should be very careful about what you order. Do not order anything that is breaded, fried, or made with sauces, unless you can confirm exactly what is in the sauce.
Keep it simple. I always keep my kitchen stocked with our gluten free pancakes mixes and bring my own package with me to restaurants when we are going out to breakfast. I have never once been turned down by a chef when I requested that he/she make special pancakes for me. I just tell them I will pay the regular price and ask that they are cooked in a separate clean pan or griddle where gluten containing items are not cooked. Often the chef gets inspired and wants to try them him or herself! I always save one for the chef!
Here are some ideas of what to order to play it safe:
- Eggs dishes (order scrambled, poached or omelets; my daughter's favorite GF breakfast in restaurants, besides our pancakes, is Huevos Rancheros)
- Fruit plate with yogurt or cottage cheese
- Bring your own bag of pancake mix from The Pure Pantry!
- Salads with grilled chicken or fish (no pasta or Asian noodles) with olive oil and balsamic vinegar- be cautious of salad dressings!
- Soups – vegetable soups without pasta or flour (ask the chef if flour was used to thicken the soup or if there is any pasta in the soup)
- Tacos with corn tortillas (ask for soft tacos and for them to be prepared in a separate, clean pan)
- Baked potato stuffed with broccoli and cheese
- Order a protein without sauce (unless you can confirm the sauce is gluten free) served with rice or potatoes and a small salad
- Grilled chicken
- Grilled fish
- Lamb or veal
- Risotto – Italian rice usually prepared with vegetables and/or chicken, shellfish or meat
- Grilled veggie platter
- Bring your own gluten free pasta and ask for them to cook it in a separate pot and serve it with a gluten free marinara sauce – I do this often for my children since they do not love a lot of the other options.
- Crème brulee (confirm the recipe has no flour!)
- Ice cream – some ice creams have gluten so ask to read the label
- Frozen yogurt – check the label
- Fresh fruit
- Flourless chocolate cake – if you are lucky the restaurant will have some gluten free options!