With certain diets like paleo, vegetarianism and gluten-free becoming more popular by the minute, many restaurants are making leaps and strides to make their menu more diet-friendly. While it can be difficult to go out to eat with certain dietary restrictions, we’ve found several good picks that won’t make ordering complicated. Here are eight great restaurants no matter what your diet!
With four locations on the west coast, Stacked, which serves everything from nachos and pizzas to delicious salads, is an extremely diet-friendly restaurant that can cater to all your needs. You order by choosing ingredients via the iPad menu, allowing you to customize your meal to your diet. “I am gluten-free and they have a wide range of amazing gluten-free dishes (hamburgers, mac and cheese, cookies, pizza, [etc.]),” says Dani, a freshman at California Lutheran University, “It is a must go to!”
Not only does Stacked offer over 159 gluten-free ingredients, but it also makes eating paleo and vegetarian easy with its customizable menu. If you’re paleo, opt for something like the wings or one of Stacked’s many burgers (without a bun). If you’re vegetarian, try a salad (or make your own) or even one of the famous Stacked Macs—the many combinations of gourmet mac and cheese options they offer.
Just because you’re following a diet doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the restaurants everyone else goes to! Chipotle is one of the many chains that offers great gluten-free and vegetarian options. Lee, a sophomore at Christopher Newport University, says that Chipotle is great at catering to her dietary needs. “It’s awesome because I can eat everything in a bowl,” she says. “The only thing I’m missing is the flour tortilla!”
If you don’t eat meat, opt for their Sofritas, tofu that’s vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. Check out their special diet information online, which lets you know the types of ingredients in all their food!
3. Red Robin
Red Robin, known for their gourmet burgers, has some great options for a gluten-free diet! They offer a complete Wheat/Gluten Allergen Menu for those following a gluten-free or paleo diet, and they always have gluten-free buns and lettuce wraps. Lee says that “they make sure to ask if the customer ordering a gluten-free bun has an allergy in order to make sure there is no cross contamination,” so even if you have a severe allergy, you’re in the clear!
If you’re looking for vegan or vegetarian options, you’ll also be able to find them at Red Robin, even though it’s a burger joint. They offer garden burgers as well as meatless options for any burger or sandwich at no additional charge. In addition, they carry a wide range of other entrees and salads, which they can customize to meet your dietary needs.
To see what you can eat at Red Robin, go online and use their Interactive Allergen Menu, which you can customize to your personal diet.
4. Outback Steakhouse
If you follow a gluten-free or paleo diet, you’re probably getting tired of those measly excuses for a “gluten-free menu” that usually just contain a few salad options. If you’re sick of salads and other sad substitutes, visit Outback Steakhouse. They have a huge gluten-free menu that will help guide you through the regular menu and tell you what to avoid for your diet.
Outback’s gluten-free menu offers options under all categories of the menu—not just salads! Opt for the burgers, sandwiches or their signature favorites like lamb, chicken and baby back ribs.
5. Olive Garden
No matter what your dietary preferences are, Olive Garden is a must-see. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve got salads, soups and endless pasta options. If you’re avoiding gluten, take a look at their separate Gluten-Sensitive Menu. You’ll find salads, a few pasta options as well as regular entrees.
Not only is it possible (and relatively easy) to eat paleo, vegetarian or gluten-free at Olive Garden, but it’s even possible to follow a vegan diet too! Olive Garden offers seven types of eggless pastas from angel hair to capellini, and there’s always the house salad and a side of steamed veggies!
6. P.F. Chang’s
No matter whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, we all crave Chinese food from time to time! P.F. Chang’s has an extensive menu with awesome options for different diets. There are multiple options on each menu for vegetarians (we recommend the stir-fried eggplant and veggie fried rice), and there’s a separate gluten-free menu.
The gluten-free menu offers tons of options, from noodles and rice to soups and entrees. Many items, like Buddha’s Feast, the Coconut-Curry Vegetables and Shanghai Cucumbers overlap, so they’re both gluten-free and vegetarian!
7. The Cheesecake Factory
With the word “cheese” in the name, one might think that the Cheesecake Factory wouldn’t be the best option for vegans, but the case is quite the contrary. With such a huge menu, the Cheesecake Factory can cater to almost any diet!
If you’re sticking to a vegan diet, you’ll have multiple options under every menu subheading (appetizers, salads, sides, pastas, etc.). You can order almost any salad without cheese or meat—and nine of the dressings available are vegan, You can choose from six pasta types and four sauces, and there are a number of healthy sides as well, like fresh broccoli or hummus and celery sticks. If you’re a vegetarian, your range of options is even bigger!
If you’re gluten-free, the Cheesecake Factory has an abundance of options. There are tons of salad options for a side, appetizer or meal, including the Fresh Kale Salad, Warm Asparagus Salad, Modern “Waldorf” Salad and many more. There are great lunch specials you can try like the Shepard’s pie and grilled salmon, tons of burgers and even gluten-free pasta. Not to mention the steak dishes, breakfast options and of course the desserts!
When you think Domino’s, you probably don’t think “diet.” But despite how unhealthy pizza can be (not to mention those delicious cinnamon sticks), there are some alternatives that might fit your dietary preferences; plus we all need a little junk food delivered to our door every now and then.
Domino’s offers gluten-free crust for those who are looking to reduce their gluten intake. Their Gluten Free Crust contains no wheat, rye, or barley and has a gluten content of less than 20ppm (the FDA’s standard for what can be considered gluten-free). If you suffer from celiac disease, you should probably steer clear though, as all the dough is made in the same place so there’s likely cross-contamination.
Just because you don’t follow a “normal” diet doesn’t mean you should be deprived of going out for a great meal with your friends! While it may seem impossible to enjoy a meal out when you’re dealing with complicated dietary preferences, there are actually tons of restaurant options for different diets… so you don’t have to be that girl with the dietary restrictions anymore!