As someone with very particular dietary restrictions, going out to eat can often times be really difficult and stressful. I always have to do a lot of homework before I go out just to figure out if I can eat there or not. This can be tiring and frustrating, and the criteria that I use for deciding if a restaurant is a good choice has a few different items than other people would deem important.
Here are my six criteria that I look for when I’m evaluating a restaurant:
- Physical Set Up: This is not much different than I would assume most people would consider. Is it clean? Easy to get to? Nice ambiance? Comfortable?
- Clear Communication of Food Ingredients: Does the website label the allergens in dishes? Does the menu? Does it have a phrase about “contact your server if you have an allergy”? Do they have something posted that staff have gone through training and are knowledgeable about cross-contamination and other food-handling issues?
- Knowledge Level of Staff: Do the staff know what gluten free means? Do they understand the issues with cross-contamination? Do they know it themselves, or do they have to “see my manager”? Do the waitstaff know what can be adjusted to make the meal safe? I was just at a place where the waitress said “but it has dairy in it” after I asked about flour and gluten (no, dairy is not gluten).
- Number of Options Available: While I’m happy if there’s anything to eat, it’s a great thing if there is more than one option, and if they can adjust items.
- Taste and Presentation: Why we go out to eat in the first place! Does the food taste good and delivered in a good way.
- Attentiveness of Waitstaff: Did we get to order, get water, get our meals and check in a timely fashion? Where they nice? Granted, waitstaff have a very difficult job with very difficult people to deal with, but do they have a good way of managing that? I am not one to get huffy about someone who is a little curt when they are in a difficult spot.
I hope to be doing some reviews of various restaurants that I have gone to in this blog. Hopefully I can share these posts with restaurants in the future and that might make a difference.