Are there such things as a gluten free restaurants? Wouldn't that be great?
At this time, they don't exist. At least not on a nation wide basis. There are, however, some national chain restaurants with a gluten free menu. If you are planning to dine out for a special occasion, or to meet some friends, these are probably the best alternative.
Dining out in restaurants can be a risky proposition. There is a high chance of getting "glutened" by mistake.
Even if you order something that does not naturally contain gluten, there is a significant chance of cross contamination from grills where marinaded items are cooked, from seasonings on meat, potatoes and vegetables, and just from flour floating in the air. They may bring your salad with croutons on it. It can be pretty daunting. Fast Food is even more difficult.
If you have a favorite restaurant that you would like to dine at, and you hope to have a safe meal there, there are some steps you should take to make it safer for you. First of all, you need to speak to the manager and ask if they can even accommodate you.
If the manager is willing, you will want to ask to speak to the chef. Be sure to call between the lunch and dinner rush so that they are not too busy. Plan to go during a slow time, when things are less hectic and the odds of a mistake are lower.
Shared fryers make french fries off limits. Unless they have a dedicated fryer and no breaded items are used in it, they will be cross contaminated and make you sick. Baked potatoes are a better choice most times, uncut if possible. These are the kinds of questions to ask on the phone before arriving. Can they steam the vegetables without seasoning? What is in their salad dressing? Are their meats pre-seasoned? Are they available plain, without seasoning?
What if you have a favorite restaurant that has Mexican food, or
Chinese food? You love their dishes, and the ambiance, but how
do you communicate the needs of your diet? It is hard enough
to explain it to someone who is a native english speaker. Is there any way to communicate all this information to the manager
of a restaurant that is not as fluent in english? How can you
make it work with the owner or manager of an Ethnic restaurants?