I spent 4 nights in Las Vegas this June. My favourite thing about Vegas is that they give you free drinks if you are gambling. In some awesome casinos this is the case even if you are only gambling 50 cents a time!!
For those who want to eat as well as drink there are hundreds of places to eat on the Las Vegas strip, most of
which are popular US chains like Outback Steakhouse, Hard Rock Cafe, Applebees and Denny’s. I’m not the biggest fan of these types of restaurants but as this is pretty much what Vegas is all about, I thought it would be a good idea to discover what these places have to offer in the way of gluten free options. My research of eateries was limited on this trip as during our stay we tended to buy food at a local supermarket to prepare our own meals but when I popped in to discuss gluten free options with a few different restaurants my findings were very varied. Overall I was not greatly impressed.
Hard Rock Cafe brought me their gluten free product list. This wasn’t a menu of gluten free dishes but rather a short list of menu items. Of the 22 items on the list, 8 were dressings, 4 were sides and 3 were ice cream. The only decent food items were steak, salmon, wings and nachos. I wasn’t too excited about the prospect of eating here but at least they do have a few gluten free choices. I’ve eaten at various Hard Rock Cafe’s in the past (and I actually remember enjoying a really tasty meal at the one in Minneapolis) but I’ve always found their food to be ridiculously overpriced food which is difficult to justify these days unless there are a lot of tasty gluten free options to choose from!
Outback Steakhouse was better. They had an actual gluten free menu with lots of variety including meat dishes, burgers, salads and seafood. I was impressed by the choice but it was the preparation of the food I was concerned about here. I asked the woman at the welcoming station whether they had a separate area in the kitchen for preparing gluten free dishes and she said she didn’t think so. She also said that if my intolerance to wheat was serious then I shouldn’t order anything fried as it would be cooked in the same place as gluten containing foods. In my opinion, eating somewhere like this probably isn’t the best for those of us who really need things to be completely gluten free….their gluten free menu seemed to be catering for the gluten or wheat intolerant rather than for coeliacs. Have you eaten gluten free at an Outback Steakhouse? What were your experiences?
One place that had a gluten free menu and whose staff appeared to know a little about the importance of
preparing gluten free meals was PF Chang’s in the Planet Hollywood Casino. They had a full gluten free menu with lots of tasty sounding meals and when I spoke to the restaurant manager she said that the gluten free meals were cooked in a separate pan to avoid contamination. I would have felt much better eating here than at either Hard Rock or Outback. I’ve since eaten at PF Changs and I really enjoyed my gluten free meal there!
As we walked the miles up and down the strip, I would take a look at the literally hundreds of menus we passed, to see if I could catch a glimpse of any that even mentioned ‘gluten free’ but this was a rare thing to find. I would have expected that a city visited by over 30 million people annually would be far more gluten free friendly and I was disappointed that this wasn’t the case. I’m sure that in a large number of the restaurants on the strip, if you ask, many of them will have either a gluten free menu or gluten free advice on ordering but be sure to check how things are prepared as my experience of Vegas was that this crazy town doesn’t cater as well as it should for coeliacs. This being said there are options to be found and I would be interested, and very happy, to hear from any gluten free travellers to Vegas who have had a more positive experience of eating out gluten free.
Since my trip to Vegas I’ve heard about a couple of other restaurants with gluten free options. Lazy Joes Fish and Chips ( on S Rainbow Blvd) is one of them. They use a breading which is gluten free. Double check if eating here that all fish is breaded in gluten free breading and that there are no cross contamination issues. Mint Indian Bistro (on E Flamingo Rd) is another place with a gluten free menu in Las Vegas. They do various gluten free curries as well as a buckwheat flatbread which is gluten free!
In a city which is so insanely hot, something sweet and cold is the perfect afternoon delight. I did manage to find some tasty frozen yoghurt, marked as gluten free, which fit this bill perfectly…..mmmmmm! The ** on the sign was to state that 2 varieties (both obvious cookie ones) were not gluten free but this store only sold vanilla and chocolate so no chance of evil cookie contamination there. Success!