10 Great Allergy Friendly Restaurants in Orlando
9. Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar (Milk district of Orlando)
Drunken Monkey is an eclectic local coffee shop which offers a full coffee bar, a large selections of treats, soups, and sandwiches. There is a little something for everyone as there are an assortment of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Every day there are several soups to choose amongst: if you get a chance try the Broccoli Cheeze soup. This delicious vegan/gluten-free soup is so amazing: it’s so thick and creamy that it is truly hard to believe it is dairy free! Who knew a dairy free broccoli cheese soup could taste so delicious?! Vegan or not – you must try this soup!
As you order your coffee, it will be difficult not to be tempted by the full display of treats – brownies, breads, cookies, etc. There are vegan and gluten-free options, including a delicious GF/vegan brownie and a quinoa bar.
Drunken Money is a great neighborhood coffeehouse whether you want to read a book, enjoy a hot drink while checking your email, socialize with friends, or enjoy a light lunch.
10. Sanaa (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Almost all Disney resort properties are fantastic when it comes to accommodating guests with allergies. In fact, Walt Disney World is regarded as one of the best places for guests with strict allergies. The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers some of the best restaurant choices as most of the cuisine offered (African and Indian) naturally contains many vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Sanaa is one of the great options that gluten-free and vegetarian guests must check out. Separate allergen menus are available by request. Additionally, the chef will personally come out to your table to discuss options, ensure that your meal will be prepared allergen free, and take your order.
There are plenty of wonderful appetizers and entrees to choose amongst particularly the Indian Bread Service which includes Naan Bread and Falafel Chips (chips are gluten-free and vegan, a special GF bread is available) and a selection of mild to spicy sauces. The Chana Tikki (spiced chickpea cakes with tomato chutney) is a must try as well. In terms of entrees, the Sanaa Vegetarian Platter (includes 2 sides and basmati rice) works well for both a vegan and gluten-free diet.
Beyond the food, the atmosphere is simply amazing. Be sure to request a window seat so you can enjoy watching the zebras and giraffes roam around before your very eyes.
Other options in town…
Infusion Tea (College Park neighborhood of Orlando)
Infusion Tea is your best bet for a relaxing tea experience in the Orlando area. The large loose leaf tea menu features a wide assortment of black, green, white, red, and herbal tea options, many of which are organic. Tea can be served in a single size serving mug or large tea pot to split amongst several tea drinkers.
A variety of snacks and meals to suit a gluten or dairy free diet are offered. A few great vegan options include Tempeh Chili, Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos, and a Hummus and Veggie Wrap. Sandwiches can be made gluten-free by substituting the bread. In addition, a varied assortment of vegan pastries (such as cupcakes) are available to compliment your tea experience.
Toasted (Winter Park)
Toasted is a very popular Winter Park restaurant serving regular grilled cheese, in addition to vegan and gluten-free varieties. I have to say I was a bit dissapointed in the bland quality of the vegan cheese and the hefty prices ($7 for a small grilled cheese, served with nothing), however, if you are a fan of simple grilled cheese and french fries (a dedicated GF fryer ensures no cross contamination) and do not have the time for a fancy sit down, you may like to try it out.
Whole Foods – If all else fails, Whole Foods offers a decent salad bar, plenty of vegan/GF soups, and a number of items on their hot food bar and deli lines. Everything is marked according to allergen, so you should have no problem finding at least a few things you can eat. If you are looking for a quick, simple meal and don’t mind the noisy grocery store atmosphere, it’s always there as a back up option.
Sweet Tomatoes – Home to the 55 foot unlimited salad bar, Sweet Tomatoes is the ideal choice for vegans and vegetarians. The extensive salad bar features every topping you can imagine. The restaurant also offers a rotating selections of soups with at least one vegetarian and vegan option per period. In addition, a make your own potato bar, fruit, breads, and pre-made deli treats are available. Most of the dressings are dairy free as well (check with the staff or website for nutrition details). Gluten-free options are abundant as well with at least one gluten-free soup, potatoes, and occasionally gluten-free coconut muffins on the line. This is a great place when you just want to eat a lot of food, making it perfect after a long day walking around Disney or Universal.
Jason’s Deli – Jason’s Deli is similar to Sweet Tomatoes in that they offer an unlimited salad bar, the only difference being that their salad bar is a bit smaller with more organic produce. Aside from the salad bar, they offer a full menu of soups, sandwiches, and pastas. The soup and salad bar combo is a perfect choice for those avoiding gluten and/or dairy. The Organic Vegetarian Vegetable soup is a great compliment to the veggie based salad bar. Vegetarian options include baked potatoes, pastas (request no meat), and a variety of sandwiches and wraps.
Gluten free bread is available for the sandwiches. The salad bar is the best bang for your buck, however, if you prefer to order a customized salad, you can choose from a variety of options including a Quinoa Shrimp and Mango Salad and a Black Bean Taco salad. Most dressings are also dairy and gluten-free. You can request an allergy menu to review your options.
PF Changs – The popular Chinese chain restaurant offers a full page of Vegetarian and Gluten-free dishes. PF Chang’s uses a special gluten-free soy sauce so guests with allergies can enjoy traditionally off limit foods like fried rice, which typically use a wheat based soy sauce. A few great gluten-free options to consider include Fried Rice, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Egg Drop soup, Coconut Curry Vegetables, and even a Flourless chocolate cake!
Vegan options include Vegetarian Fried Rice, Vegetarian Egg Rolls, and Tofu based Lettuce Wraps. There are plenty of loose leaf teas to choose amongst to accompany your delicious Chinese meal. The atmosphere is also a bit more elegant and modern than most chains, making it the perfect date night destination.
Always let your server know about your allergies before ordering. They will likely take extra measures to ensure no cross contamination if you let them know beforehand.
Research the restaurant’s menu in advance so you can plan out your meal ahead of time.
Take digestive enzymes. It always helps in case of slight cross contamination.
Avoid foods with the risk of cross contamination like anything fried (unless there is a dedicated fryer).
Sign up for restaurant email lists. You may receive valuable coupons, especially for the chains listed above.
Sign up to receive Orlando Groupon deals. Some of these restaurants have been on the site before. It never hurts to check!
Have you visited any of the restaurants listed above? What other allergy friendly restaurants would you recommend to Orlando visitors?