Great Gluten Free Dining Experiences | Rachel Begun, MS, RD

Most of us eat out more during the holiday season, whether that be office holiday parties, an annual celebratory dinner with friends or a weekend brunch with family traveling from afar.  Here are three great options to get you through the holidays gluten-free.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House -  I always feel safe eating at this chain of steak houses.  And the reliability of the quality of food and accommodating service is what makes me come back over and over again. The steaks and many of the fish options are prepared very simply, with not much more than herbs and butter. And, in all of my experiences here, the chef is qualified to answer my ingredient and preparation questions right on the spot.  While some of the sides and appetizers are off-limits, the raw bar options are fantastic and I have never felt deprived with the sides I can choose from.  Most of the desserts are not gluten-free, but I have never had a problem ordering a bowl of fruit or a scoop of ice cream or sorbet.  What I like best about Ruth’s Chris…there are locations in over 30 states and in foreign countries.  

Telepan. I wish I could say there were many locations of this restaurant.  However, if you find yourself in New York City and want a delightful upscale restaurant experience with a focus on local and sustainable food, Telepan is your place.  I met a friend to try their October Harvest Dinner, a five-course tasting menu featuring 13 local artisan cheeses from the tri-state area.  It was outstanding.  What made it over the top was their accommodation of my gluten-free needs.  When I called ahead of time to let them know of my gluten-free needs, they didn’t even hesitate to tell me how they could accommodate me.  When I arrived, the waiter was ready with a list of gluten-free alternatives that were available to me.    Check their website before making a reservation.  They often have special holiday and celebratory tasting menus that you may be interested in.

Le Pain Quotidien.  I never thought a bakery would make it to one of my Great Gluten Free Dining Experiences posts, but I am happy to say that I like the experiences I’ve had at the Rye, NY location.  Of course I can’t indulge in what they are known for–to die for breads and pastries–however, their omelets, fruit bowls, salads and a few dinner entrees have always been enjoyable and safe to eat.  Because bread and pastry is their thing, I do make sure to let my server know right away that I can’t have any gluten and no bread can be offered on my plate.  Le Pain Quotidien is one of my favorite brunch and lunch places, as their philosophy of quality food ingredients is clearly present in the food they offer.  I often choose their omelets made with organic eggs as you can taste the difference.

Do you have a favorite gluten-free restaurant to share?  I’d love to check it out!

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3 Responses to Great Gluten Free Dining Experiences

  1. This is such a great reminder that it’s o.k. to eat out gluten-free. Even in a bakery. ;-). Thanks!

    • glutenfreerd says:

      You’re welcome. I say it all the time, eating gluten-free at a restaurant isn’t about whether or not they have a gluten-free menu. It’s about asking lots of questions and feeling good about the level of service from and knowledge of the wait staff. You just know when the wait staff is truly listening to you and if they are knowledgable about how the food is prepared. You also know when they are giving you answers just to appease you!

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