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Dietary Restrictions Criteria for Reviewing Restaurants

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Taste and Presentation: Why we go out to eat in the first place!  Does the food taste good and delivered in a good way.
  6. 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.

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