Just because you have a food allergy does not mean you have to miss out on the little things in life, like going out to eat. There are plenty of restaurants in Las Vegas, Nevada that are more than willing to work with you to make your dining experience safe and enjoyable.
Choose the right restaurant
- Ask around. Your allergist or others in the food allergy community may have good recommendations.
- It is best to avoid buffets, bakeries and restaurants that serve pre-made foods or use your allergen in many dishes. Asian cuisine uses a lot of peanuts and tree nut and if you are allergic to shellfish, you should avoid a seafood restaurant.
- Review the menu beforehand to make sure there are dishes that you can eat before you contact them to make a reservation.
Contact the restaurant
- Call the restaurant during non-peak hours (2 p.m. to 4 p.m. is the ideal time) to speak with the manager.
- Explain your situation to the manager: you have a food allergy and would like to dine at their establishment on this specific date.
- With enough notice, the manager and chef should be able work with you to either create a dish specifically for you or ensure one of their preexisting dishes can be made allergen free.
- Make sure to confirm if the manager will be working the date and time of your reservation. If the manager will not be there, confirm who you should speak with when you arrive.
When you arrive at the restaurant:
- Inform your server of your food allergy and remind the manager of your previous phone conversation.
- Confirm the ingredients and cooking style of the meal you, the manager and the chef previously decided upon.
- Visually inspect the food when it arrives at the table, making sure only what you discussed is on the plate.
How do you pick the right meal?
- Keep it simple. Fewer ingredients means there is less chance of cross contamination.
- Avoid fried or grilled food, both the frying oil and the grill top can contain allergens.
- Be careful when ordering desserts, as a lot of restaurants don’t make these in house and therefore, cannot be 100 percent sure of the ingredients.
The most important tip is to be prepared. When in Las Vegas, always travel with your epinephrine auto-injector and any additional medications you use to treat an allergic reaction.
Call Nevada Ear + Sinus Institute at (702) 735-7668 for more information or to schedule an appointment.