9 Things to Ask Your Waiter If You’re Gluten Free
Avoiding gluten? You don't need to avoid restaurants! Here's how to eat the best—and safest—gluten-free meal possible.
What Do You Recommend That’s Gluten-Free?
If you’re not fussy, consider asking your waiter for a recommendation. The restaurant might have a few go-to gluten-free dinners they can make without substitutions. This is also a good way to tell how confident your waiter seems discussing allergens.
Does the Kitchen Follow Any Cross-Contamination Protocol?
If your gluten sensitivity is severe, it’s worth checking to see whether the kitchen follows any procedures to minimize gluten spread. Some are simple, like a cook putting on a fresh pair of gloves to prepare your dish. Others are more advanced, like having an entirely separate prep area for gluten-free foods.
Do You Have Gluten-Free Bread?
While salads and meat entrees are safe havens for the gluten-averse, don’t think you can never eat a sandwich again. Ask whether the restaurant has gluten free bread or buns, and suddenly burgers and sandwiches are back on the menu.
Do You Have a Dedicated Gluten-Free Fryer?
Sad news for fans of French fries and potato chips: though they might not contain gluten, they’re probably fried in oil that’s used to fry breaded foods, like chicken tenders or onion rings. That makes it unsafe for people with stronger gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease.
Does the Sauce/Dressing/Gravy Have Gluten?
A frequent hiding place for gluten? Any sauce, dressing or gravy, which can be thickened with flour or contain sneaky gluten, like bouillon cubes. Learn more about eating out with a food allergy.
Is This Food Item Breaded?
Naturally gluten-free ingredients like tofu, meat and potatoes are often tossed in gluten-containing ingredients, from flour to bread crumbs to seasonings like malt vinegar. P.S. Check out the polite habits waiters actually hate, too!
Do You Have an Ingredients List?
Many restaurants, especially large chains, actually have complete nutrition facts available, including allergen charts and ingredient lists. If your waiter isn’t knowledgeable or you have multiple allergies, this can be a very convenient resource. See which foods secretly contain gluten.
Is This Menu Item Gluten-Free?
Already know exactly what you want? Make sure to ask this essential question. Even if the dish seems safe, like a delicious flourless chocolate cake, it’s best to confirm when you order so you don’t eat a hidden ingredient.