Florida Guide > Dining
Orlando Dining for Celiacs
My best friend suffers from celiac disease and the daily challenges of eating a gluten free diet can be very inconvenient. It is particularly hard for her when she has to travel as is the case for anybody who has this disease or has to live with any other type of diet restrictions. Spending as much time with her as I do, I have become particularly sensitive to her particular diet restrictions and am always on the look-out for accommodating restaurants, shops and products. Just like me, she has visited the Orlando area many times, so she has passed on some valuable information.
Finding restaurants in the Orlando area can be tricky. Most won’t be able to accommodate a gluten free diet even if they say they can.
As you well know, you need to be very cautious because unfortunately, you will find that most restaurant staff will be uninformed about proper handling of gluten free food and there is a risk with foods that are normally considered to be gluten free selections because they could be contaminated in preparation by unknowing staff members.
However, she was very pleased to find that the sit down restaurants throughout the Walt Disney World parks are some of the very best she’s visited in terms of meeting her needs. Disney restaurants are outstanding in that they will cater to celiacs upon request not only with gluten-free dishes, but they will also cater to those with any other special dietary needs as well (i. e. sugar free, cholesterol free, lactose free).
Outside of Disney, there are fortunately still some options available. Of the chain restaurants, the Outback Steakhouse and Carrabbas Italian Grill are the preferred choices as they both offer a special gluten-free menu unlike many of the others.
The following is a list of local establishments that do offer gluten-free options:
Ethos Vegan Kitchen
P. F. Chang’s China Bistro
Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar
Thai Blossom Restaurant
Tijuana Flats Burrito
Though the restaurants listed are gluten-free friendly, most celiacs find it easier to just stay in and prepare their own meals (impossible to do if you’re not staying in a fabulous fully furnished Orlando villa of course)! There are gluten-free products available at the local grocery store chains, especially at Publix. My friend found Chamberlin’s Natural Foods to be a particularly good resource. They not only sell gluten-free foods (and other foods for those who suffer from food allergies or lactose intolerance) but also organic products, vitamins, beauty products and books.
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