Especially if you’re new to living gluten-free, you might dread going out to eat. Whether your dinner date is with your friends or your significant other, it’s natural to fear getting “glutened” while dining out. Luckily, there are some great eateries out there that do a thorough job of catering to those with gluten sensitivities, helping you worry less while you’re trying to enjoy a fun night out.
For gluten-free date nights with my boyfriend, we often head to PF Chang’s for Chinese food. Out of all the gluten-friendly chain restaurants I’ve visited, PF Chang’s has been the absolute best. I have eaten in and gotten takeout at PF Chang’s in Pennsylvania and New York, and each time the service and food have been exceptional. Generally, as soon as the server brings the menus to the table, they’ve asked if anyone at the table has any food allergies or sensitivities, so right away I let them know I’m gluten-free. They then point out the sizable gluten-free section on their menu, bring special gluten-free dipping sauces to the table, and tell me about how all the gluten-free food is plated on plates with the PF Chang’s logo on the rim (if you order GF food and it comes out on an unlogoed plate, speak to your server before eating it!). There are tons of great meal options—I typically order some type of fried rice, and the portion is big enough for me to also take leftovers home for the next day’s lunch. The Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a tasty starter to any meal, and the gluten-free version can be enjoyed by gluten-free and glutenous eaters alike. Want dessert? The Flourless Chocolate Dome is rich, satisfying, and deliciously gluten-free. My boyfriend is not gluten-free, but when we split a gluten-free dessert or appetizer at PF Chang’s, he enjoys the food just as much as I do.
Doing take-out instead of eating in? When you call in your order, tell them you’re ordering a gluten-free meal. When you arrive at PF Chang’s to pick it up, the staff will confirm with you that your food is gluten-free—and your takeout containers will be labeled with bright stickers that announce your food is gluten-free, just so you don’t mix it up with any glutenous food in the takeout bag.
Not only is PF Chang’s a fun and delicious place to have a meal, but the staff is always so thorough and well-trained when it comes to cooking and handling gluten-free food. I always feel confident that I’m eating safely when I’m eating at PF Chang’s, and every experience eating there has been a good one for me. Don’t have a PF Chang’s near you? Visit the Gluten Free Registry (glutenfreeregistry.com) to find other gluten-free restaurants in your town.
Remember, always mention your gluten-free status to your server when you order your food. Since ingredients and recipes can sometimes change, each time you visit an eatery, confirm with these staff members that what you’re ordering is definitely gluten-free.