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Friendly restaurants for difficult eaters

By local-loner - 30 June 2010 82

Hi,

I know restaurant recommendations have been asked for in the past but I’m looking for something specific. I’m planning a birthday dinner for a group with a wide range of dietary requirements, including a few of my own. I’m after suggestions for restaurants that are good at catering to a wide range of dietary requirements. This doesn’t just meant ones that have vegetarian and gluten free options on the menu (although that is definitely important) but also restaurants that are flexible at adapting menu items for specific requests.

I’m particularly keen on finding places where the wait staff are knowledgable about what is in the food or willing to go and ask the chef. I’ve had some wait staff tell me something cannot be done in the past and when I’ve asked if they could perhaps ask the chef to suggest an alternative that meets requirements then they have come back and suggested exactly what I asked for in the first place. I got a yummy meal in the end but the attitude of the wait staff and the restaurant in general to be accommodating is what I’m really after.

Thank you for your help.

What’s Your opinion?


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82 Responses to
Friendly restaurants for difficult eaters
SolarPowered 5:40 pm 30 Jun 10

When did everyone get so darned fussy?

Pommy bastard 5:30 pm 30 Jun 10

“Good evening, my name’s Local-Loner, is that the Good Dinner Restaurant? I’m trying to book a dinner party for 17 people, or possibly 23 or maybe 7. What do you have on your menu?

Well we don’t want that we want something else. Oh, we have one vegetarian, one vegan, one breatharian, one person who eats fish but no meat, one who eats meat but no fish, one who doesn’t eat at all. We have one who is cheese intolerant, one allergic to lettuce, one who is allergic to china plates, and a person who can only boiled wheat while facing Mecca.

Which direction do the fans in your restaurant revolve? Can they be reversed?

We’d also like a plate of raw snails, not to eat, but to race.

Is your wait staff trained in Senegalese? We don’t have any Senegalese people in our party, I was just asking.

Do they know how to grovel on their bellies while serving, and can we have a complementary boot lick off the Maitre D?

We will have no children in our party, apart from the seven we’re not inviting who may turn up.

Did I tell you that none of the dishes should be cooked any more than medium rare, apart from the lobster which we want flambéed and the vindaloo goose which should be stuffed with fruitarian omelettes.

Can we agree on 10 bucks a head ?

Hello? Hello? Hello!!!”

johnny_the_knife 5:23 pm 30 Jun 10

forgoodnessake said :

having said that, if there are picky eaters they can get stuffed. They make it harder for people who enjoy eating out and have genuine allergies that can be fatal.

So your ‘special need’ should be catered for and mine shouldn’t just because mine is by choice?

johnny_the_knife 5:22 pm 30 Jun 10

Clown Killer said :

Any half-decent establishment will have gone to a bit of trouble to develop their menu. The last thing that a chef should have to deal with is customers with a self-inflated sense of entitlement coming in and telling them they want something taken out, or something else cooked differently or the ingredients fiddled with.

It would be helpful if you could update us on how you went with finding a place – I’d be particularly interested in knowing who told you to get stuffed – establishments like that need to be encouraged and deserve patronage.

And some people have dietry requirements/preferences that are outside the norm. In my experiance, most resteraunts have no problem modifying what goes on the plate to suit (I’m yet to come across one that isn’t).

niftydog 5:21 pm 30 Jun 10

sepi said :

The italian restaurant in Kaleen has the owner serving food also.

…and making oh-so-classy torn cardboard signs promoting his specials.

A Noisy Noise Annoys 5:16 pm 30 Jun 10

I would suggest you and your buddies stay home and not bother staff at eateries with your silly and annoying peccadilloes. People like you are an embuggerence resulting in higher prices and slower service for the rest of us. If you want to eat certain foods prepared in a particular way then I suggest you cook it yourself at home.

Pandanus77 5:09 pm 30 Jun 10

Clown Killer, totally agree

I’d also hope that the restaurant would charge extra for any changes that they make as it is a distraction from their set menu, especially so where most food these days is at the least in part prepared before hand.

I guess that it is a bit like someone ordering a skinny decafe latte, WTF!!

Buzz2600 4:51 pm 30 Jun 10

It also depends on your preferences – what type of restaurant you’re looking for? Casual or classy? What type of food eg Thai, Indian, Modern Australian, Vegetarian etc…?

My partner has some very specific dietary requirements, so often we will call a restaurant beforehand and talked directly to the chef before making a booking. More often than not, chefs can be pleasant enough and obliging. I’ve done this at Aubergine in Griffith on occasion.

Bottom line is, if you choose a decent restaurant early enough and advise them of your requirements, you should be able to find someone willing to create a menu to suit the fussiest people.

Potato 4:16 pm 30 Jun 10

Clown Killer said :

It would be helpful if you could update us on how you went with finding a place – I’d be particularly interested in knowing who told you to get stuffed – establishments like that need to be encouraged and deserve patronage.

+1 totally agree!

forgoodnessake 3:58 pm 30 Jun 10

I have annoying food allergies and have never had a problem with any restaurant I have been to, even asian ones that always have things I can’t eat. Just ask and be polite about it, and always call in advance to make sure it won’t be a problem. Especially with a bunch of people who have issues.

No restaurant wants people keeling over from allergies. having said that, if there are picky eaters they can get stuffed. They make it harder for people who enjoy eating out and have genuine allergies that can be fatal.

And Dvay – why the hell shouldn’t people be allowed to enjoy an nice night out being catered for? Just because you have allergies doesn’t mean you should not be able to enjoy an night out.

grundy 3:56 pm 30 Jun 10

dvaey said :

I remember in the old days, when if you wanted to have a party, especially a birthday party, youd find out what people liked, grabbed some recipes and put some effort in to cooking up something that everyone liked. Why does everyone have to go out to restaurants these days, is home-made food really that far gone in the ‘old days’?

If you want to know whats in the food, or want to make sure some item isnt in the food, then youre better off asking the chef, or as mentioned above (heaven forbid), cook foods yourself and dont add the unwanted ingredients.

+1

We’ve often done the Gluten free pizas and dairy free options with salads and suitable deserts.
Easy to prepare ahead of time, cook and plate up!

Clown Killer 3:49 pm 30 Jun 10

Any half-decent establishment will have gone to a bit of trouble to develop their menu. The last thing that a chef should have to deal with is customers with a self-inflated sense of entitlement coming in and telling them they want something taken out, or something else cooked differently or the ingredients fiddled with.

It would be helpful if you could update us on how you went with finding a place – I’d be particularly interested in knowing who told you to get stuffed – establishments like that need to be encouraged and deserve patronage.

sepi 3:38 pm 30 Jun 10

I guess a restaurant run by a family will be your best bet. Mee Sing in Lyneham used to have the owner serving the food, but that may have changed since she had a baby or two.

The italian restaurant in Kaleen has the owner serving food also.

Somewhere like that will be more likely to know the menu back to front than a bigger place where the teenage waiter is struggling to learn the menu, and wont’ deal with changes and additions.

Postalgeek 3:21 pm 30 Jun 10

I’m guessing if you want to mess with a kitchen’s menu, timing is everything. Disrupting their established work flow at peak periods probably won’t get you a good attitude anywhere.

dvaey 3:12 pm 30 Jun 10

I remember in the old days, when if you wanted to have a party, especially a birthday party, youd find out what people liked, grabbed some recipes and put some effort in to cooking up something that everyone liked. Why does everyone have to go out to restaurants these days, is home-made food really that far gone in the ‘old days’?

If you want to know whats in the food, or want to make sure some item isnt in the food, then youre better off asking the chef, or as mentioned above (heaven forbid), cook foods yourself and dont add the unwanted ingredients.

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