Dietary Restrictions Have You Avoiding Seafood Restaurants? Bite Back With These Tips

12 May 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you want a great seafood meal, you can't find one any fresher than at an ocean-side restaurant. If you have dietary restrictions, however, the menu can hide potentially life-threatening foods.

Food Allergies

Research shows that approximately 20% of Canadians over the age of 12 suffer from allergies, including lethal food allergies. Seafood and shellfish are common food allergies, but a lot of confusion surrounds a diagnosis. If your doctor diagnosed you with a shellfish allergy, inquire as to whether you are allergic to crustaceans (lobster, crab, and shrimp) or mollusks (octopus, oysters, and squid). You are most likely allergic to only one type of shellfish, so you need not avoid all kinds.

A finned fish allergy will also impact your visit to a seafood restaurant. If your doctor diagnosed you with a finned fish allergy, you should avoid common seafood dishes like salmon, tuna, mahi mahi, trout, and tilapia. You should also avoid sneaky sources of fish, like Caesar salads and Worcestershire sauce.

Keep in mind that even if you do not actually eat the foods that trigger your allergies, cross-contamination of cooking utensils can unwittingly expose you to these foods. Alert the waitstaff to your allergies so that the restaurant staff can do all they can to keep you healthy. Even if all precautions are in place, you still run a slight risk of having an allergic reaction.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance will also impact your experience at a seafood restaurant. Even though this dietary restriction is not nearly as serious as a food allergy, it can cause a great deal of discomfort.

If you are lactose intolerant, then consuming milk products will give you gas and diarrhea. If you want to avoid these symptoms, stay away from menu items that contain cheese, milk, and cream-based soups. Dishes frequently found in seafood restaurants that contain dairy products include clam chowder, Caesar salad, and slaw.

Gluten Sensitivity

If your doctor diagnosed you with celiac disease, you have an autoimmune disorder that affects your daily eating habits. If you have celiac disease and eat wheat, barley, and rye products, the gluten in those foods will trigger your immune system to attack your small intestine. Celiac disease causes long-term serious medical problems, so avoid foods that contain gluten.

Gluten is a sneaky substance that can lurk in the most unsuspecting foods. At a seafood restaurant, this means passing on menu items like breads and pastas, and even beer. If you order oysters, skip the crackers; if you order fish, avoid fried and battered preparations. Many restaurants now offer gluten-free options, however, so ask if you can substitute these products with ones that will not trigger your immune system.

If you're looking for a good restaurant in your area, visit Riptide Marine Pub Grill & Catering.