Eating Out

Living with coeliac disease does not have to mean an end to eating out! Many restaurants now have gluten free options available.

To assist the hospitality industry to provide gluten free options that are actually free from gluten; Coeliac Australia developed a Gluten Free Standard for food service providers. This standard outlines the best practice for gluten free food preparation. A Gluten Free Accreditation Program for food service providers has also been launched.

You can be confident when you see the Coeliac Australia gluten free symbol that these businesses prepare gluten free food using the best practice guidelines. All restaurants that are licenced to use our gluten free symbol have undergone an in-depth document review of all their practices, passed an onsite audit, provided laboratory testing results to show ‘no detectable’ gluten in their gluten free menu items and provided proof of staff training.   


Looking for the old Restaurant Directory? Due to the development of our new Gluten Free Accreditation Program the old Member Referred Restaurant Directory is now only available to our members, so it has been moved to the Members Area on each state website. Please log in to your state organisation website to access it on the Restaurant List page from the Members Area menu. Please note these restaurants have been referred to us by members. Coeliac Australia does not endorse or have any knowledge of the sites understanding of gluten free food preparation. Please ensure that if you intend to dine at a Member Referred restaurant, you should satisfy yourself that the business does have an understanding of providing gluten free meals.

Below are a few suggestions to help you when dining out:

Choosing a restaurant

  • Choose restaurants that are Accredited by Coeliac Australia.
     
  • Our members have access to the Member Referred Restaurant Directory in the Members Area of each state website that provides a list of restaurants shared by other members after having a great dining experience. These restaurants are not accredited or endorsed by Coeliac Australia, nor does Coeliac Australia guarantee that they have procedures in place to prevent cross contamination.
     
  • If you know which restaurant you will be going to, try to research ahead of time. Many have their menus listed on their website. If there are no gluten free options marked on the menu, it may be worthwhile giving the restaurant a call to see if they have a separate gluten free menu or whether they can alter some of their menu options to make them gluten free.
     
  • When phoning ahead, try to call at a time when staff are less likely to be busy (perhaps between lunch and dinner). You may even be able to speak to the chef directly and explain your requirements.
     
  • Always include your requirement for a ‘gluten free meal due to coeliac disease’ when making a booking. This not only alerts the kitchen staff but highlights your request as not being a lifestyle choice.

On arrival and when ordering

  • Politely explain to the waiter that you require a gluten free diet as you have coeliac disease and ask if they can explain the gluten free options to you.
     
  • Use the Catering Gluten Free card and leave one with the wait staff.
     
  • Be realistic with your expectations - it is highly unlikely that everything on the menu will be gluten free, particularly items that contain bread and pasta, or are crumbed or marinated. Although some restaurants now offer gluten free versions, so you may be pleasantly surprised.
     
  • Be the last person to place your order so your request is more likely to be remembered.

Different cuisines

Some cuisines offer a large selection of naturally gluten free dishes. Take the opportunity to explore different cultures! As always, the ingredients and processes differ from restaurant to restaurant, so always ask if the dishes are gluten free.

Try:

  • Thai
  • Mexican
  • Vietnamese
  • Indian

Remember

  • If you don’t feel confident about the responses you are receiving, try another restaurant.
     
  • Be prepared to sometimes have to pay more, as often it does cost more for restaurants to provide gluten free alternatives. This may be owing to purchasing separate equipment for gluten free food preparation or the increased cost of the gluten free ingredients from their supplier.
     
  • If something doesn’t seem right, don’t just assume it is gluten free, question it. For example, if you have ordered soup as a meal and it comes served with crusty bread on the side, double check that the bread is gluten free. Alternatively, if you have ordered a cake at a café and it is sprinkled with icing sugar, check that the icing sugar is gluten free.
     
  • If you had a great gluten free experience, take the time to thank the chef!
 
 
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