Enjoying Fine Dining with Dietary Restrictions

With the resurgence in dining out, you might want to try some new restaurants. A lot can happen in two years, and you might not eat the same way you did in early 2020. Perhaps you received a diagnosis of diabetes or gluten allergy. Maybe you discovered an allergy to nuts, milk, or you stopped drinking alcohol. You can still enjoy dining out and all of the delicious food that comes with it, even though you experience a dietary challenge.


From start to finish, you can eat a delicious meal, dining on all courses, without breaking your diet. You just need to know how to order at a fine dining restaurant.


First, call the day before your meal or the morning of the meal. Make sure to get the name of the person you speak with, so you can contact them if needed at the restaurant. Nicely explain your dietary restrictions and ask if the restaurant can accommodate you. If you have stopped drinking alcohol, ask about their alcohol-free wines or flavored sparkling waters. Either can provide a suitable alternative when the rest of the table drinks its pre-dinner wine.


It helps if you have already perused the menu online, but some restaurants do not offer this. Read their reviews on any of the major dining websites since these mention the most popular dishes. You can get an idea of what they serve and perhaps find a dish or two to ask about having altered for your needs.


If you go on a date and your date surprises you with the restaurant of choice, mention your dietary needs to your server as soon as you are seated. One advantage to fine dining is that the kitchen makes nothing ahead of time. This means that if you ask nicely, the chef will typically alter the dish for you. They can easily leave out the milk or substitute soy milk. The same is true of leaving out or substituting the butter, meat, fish, salt, or sugar in a dish. Ask if they will make your dessert with a faux sugar like Splenda or choose one that doesn’t contain refined sugar, such as a fruit cup or fresh fruit.


Often, you may find it simpler to bring an appropriate substitute with you, such as Splenda or a salt substitute. If you dine at a kosher restaurant, you should not do that. A kosher restaurant requires adherence to kashrut, the Jewish law regarding food. Bringing any food in shows disrespect for their religious values and the chef might ask you to leave. Because everything in a kosher restaurant undergoes rabbinical supervision, you should phone ahead as far in advance as possible. Explain your problem or allergy and ask the rabbi to provide to the rabbi, in advance, the necessary information. They will know how to address the situation and can have the chef use an alternative ingredient that provides a kosher option.


From eating vegan to cutting out alcohol, you can still eat out and dine on your favorites. You need to plan ahead and practice good manners. Chefs love to cook and most enjoy creating delicious food for those who thought they could no longer have delicious food.


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