Navigating a new city and country is always tough when you’re Gluten-free. It’s outside your comfort zone, big time. Last week, I spent a few days exploring Montreal with my family. Saturday night we realized that Cavalia was showing Odyesso in near-by Laval. We decided to catch the show and grab dinner beforehand. So, how do you find a place that will handle your gluten-free needs?
I’ve increasingly had good luck with UrbanSpoon.com. A quick search of Montreal shows 243 gluten-free friendly restaurants. You can also view the results on a map to find places near you. I’ve found that restaurants rated with “$” are better for breakfast or lunch. Restaurants with “$$” or higher tend to have table service and a wider range of menu items. I also judge a restaurant based on user reviews. A place with 70% or higher seems like a decent place. Next, I also consider what types of food they offer and check out their menu online. From this, you can get a sense of what types of gluten-free foods you might be able to order. For me, I avoid seafood restaurants because I’m allergic to fish! Once you’ve picked a place, you might want to note a back-up place or two in case you get a bad vibe at the first one or its closed or such.
Another way to feel safer about eating gluten-free in a “foreign” place (even some US towns feel foreign to me!) is to take a card that explains your needs. My personal favorite has been CeliacTravel.com, which offers explanations regarding Celiac Disease to chefs and waiters in 54 languages! I kept a few of these in my purse when I was in Croatia and never had a problem! In hindsight, I wished I brought one with me to Montreal in French. I didn’t have any problems in Montreal but had a few uncertain interactions with wait staff.