Whether you’re following a gluten-free (GF) diet for managing a celiac disease or have a gluten intolerance, you might find that it can be quite difficult to eat out. What is gluten anyway? Gluten is a group of proteins found in grains, and for those who have celiac disease, gluten can cause severe damage to the intestinal lining. Over time, this damage can interfere with nutrient absorption and increase one’s risk of cancer. In addition to making informed choices about what to order, people following a GF diet need to be conscientious about their dining environment. Cross-contact is a huge concern since even a crumb can cause intestinal damage. What’s even more concerning is that gluten is airborne for 24 hours. Some feel symptoms right away, while others don’t. Even if a person with celiac disease does not experience symptoms after eating foods containing gluten, it’s still causing damage.
You may think a dish or a food item is gluten-free, however, if something like French fries, which are gluten-free, share the same fryer as a non-GF food such as chicken fingers, the French fries can now carry gluten. We’ve rounded up gluten-free friendly restaurants in Montclair.
A Break Down
Gluten-free grains: teff, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, brown rice, certified oats, corn, potatoes, tapioca, and arrowroot.
Gluten-containing grains: farro, wheat, freekeh, wheat berries, rye, spelt, kamut, barley, bulgur, and couscous.
Tips When Dining
- – Always tell your waiter that you have celiac disease, don’t simply order something that is GF. The staff should understand that your dish needs to be cooked in an area that’s free of gluten-containing items and limit cross-contact as much as possible.
- – Try dining out before the rush, this way the chef and staff can avoid making any mistakes.
- – Don’t think you’re a burden. Always put your health first and speak up if you think there was a mistake, or your dish contains gluten.
- – Always ask questions. Hidden sources of gluten include soy sauce, spice blends, gravy, salad dressings, beer, processed deli meats/sausages, and soups, to name a few.
Leone’s Pizzeria | 19 S Park Street
(Photo credit: Leone’s Pizzeria)
Pizza night just became easier! All of Leone’s pizzas are available with gluten-free dough. Be sure to choose pies that also have GF toppings like sweet onion pie, spinach pie, funghi misti, vegetable, and quattro formaggio, to name a few.
Le Salbuen | 97 Walnut Street
(Photo credit: Le Salbuen)
From seafood to short ribs and tofu, Le Salbuen has tons of GF options and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be sure to communicate your gluten-free diet when ordering!
Le Souk | 51 Watchung Plaza
(Photo credit: Le Souk)
This middle eastern restaurant won’t disappoint. From dips like muhammara, labneh, hummus to appetizers like gluten-free falafel and grape leaves, Le Souk is a great way to get healthy gluten-free foods in your diet. The main plates are also all gluten-free.
Mesob | 515 Bloomfield Avenue
(Photo credit: Mesob)
This Ethiopian restaurant is a great way to change up your menu with tons of gluten-free options. Be sure to request the GF injera, which is made with teff, a naturally gluten-free grain. The restaurant does recommend you contact the staff at least four hours in advance to specify gluten-free orders.
Plum Bakery | 179 Glenridge Avenue
This is a dedicated bakery for finding gluten-free desserts and pastries. This bakery has a ton of options like sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, scones, crumb cake, chocolate babka, hand pies, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, cupcakes, tarts, brownies, eclairs, black and white cookies, cream puffs. It also has savory options like quiches, bagels, cheddar chive biscuits, and egg and cheese pockets.
Samba | 7 Park Street
Samba is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group and is the only restaurant in NJ that is exclusively 100% GF with a certification. After the restaurant owner himself was diagnosed with celiac disease, his mission changed to provide safe dishes for those who need them.
SLA Thai | 596 Valley Road
(Photo credit: SLA Thai)
Look for the GF symbol when ordering, however, just like any other restaurant that also processes gluten-containing ingredients, be sure to let the waiter and/or manager know of your dietary restrictions. Some gluten-free options include the pad thai, grilled octopus salad, steamed mussels (Hoi Obb), veggie dumplings, chicken sate, and Thai chicken wings (Gai Tod).
(Photo credit: Stuffed Grass Fed Burgers)
Build your own GF burger with a GF bun or over lettuce. Diners can choose from grass-fed beef, an all-natural turkey burger, grilled chicken, a Brussels burger, or a black bean burger and pair it with a ton of homemade GF sauces to choose from like bacon jam, chipotle aioli, bbq sauce, truffle honey mustard. Pair your burger with a gluten-free side salad, sweet potato fries, or bacon jam fries.
For help managing celiac disease, you can contact Christina Kamilaris, MS, RDN, CDN, CSSD, a local registered dietitian, to set up an appointment. Christina accepts Aetna, UHC, and Cigna health insurance. Visit veggiesnspice.com to learn more.