Safe restaurant, pub and café recommendations for people with nut allergies

By on September 29, 2013
Nut Free Restaurant Listing

UPDATE: I’ve now created a new section of the site: the Nutmums nut allergy friendly restaurant directory. Here you will find recommended restaurants, pubs and cafés for people with nut allergies, listed under the following areas:

(I hasten to add that other parts of the country will be added, as reviews are received!)

If you have found a restaurant, cafe or pub which inspires confidence in the way it caters for the nut allergic customer, please share your recommendation with other nut mums, by posting a review using this form.

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Where do you eat out with your nut allergic child?

Our success stories so far have included our local branches of Pizza Express and pubs selling home made food, such as:

(For full details, see the lists of the restaurants, pubs and cafés we have visited in Cheshire and Cornwall).

Even though I think my son must equate “eating out” with “eating pasta and tomato sauce”, I’m grateful to anywhere that’s willing to provide just one safe menu option for someone with a nut allergy.

I know there must be more “safe” restaurants out there, so I would love to hear your recommendations!

If you’ve eaten somewhere that has been able to cater for nut allergies, please do post a comment below.

It would be brilliant if reviews could include the following information:

  1. Restaurant/cafe/pub name and address (a link to their website would be fantastic).
  2. Month/year visited?

Look forward to hearing from you!

About Louise @ NutMums

City solicitor turned full time mum and food allergy blogger. Writes and tweets (@nutmums) about all things peanut and nut allergy, from a parent's perspective.

11 Comments

  1. Alison Hobson

    October 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Louise. We’re over in Huddersfield but have had successful experiences with our nut-allergic son(and our other legume-allergic son, for that matter!) at the following places:

    Bradley’s Restaurant, Hudderfield (last visited June 2013)
    http://www.bradleyshuddersfield.co.uk/
    They have a children’s menu, and whilst they don’t do specifically nut-free food, if you ring ahead (ask to speak to Andrew), he will go through which options on the menu are safe and which should be avoided.

    The Park cafe, Greenhead Park, Huddersfield (last visited August 2013)

    http://www.friendsofgreenheadpark.org.uk/our-park/park-information/

    We’ve never had a full meal here but often go for coffee and cake and the staff are very receptive to questions about nut-free foods. We have had “safe” bagels and even fruit muffins from there, which are pre-packaged so no risk of cross contamination on site.

    Blacker Hall Farm Restaurant (last visited August 2013)

    http://blackerhallfarmshop.co.uk/

    This place not only serves great food but has an amazing play area outside the back of the restaurant. Again, no specifically nut-free foods but we’ve always found the staff to be happy to answer questions and suggest suitable foods.

    And another Cheshire one for you:

    The Bollin Fee, Wilmslow (last visited September 2013)

    http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/pubs/the-bollin-fee

    I haven’t been with the boys but my husband regularly meets his parents here and says the staff are always happy to check menu items for nut advice.

    Finally, and I hate to lower the tone, I am fairly sure that every item McDonalds serves, including desserts, is nut free. There is a complete guide to the top 14 allergens on the back of the sheet of paper you get on your tray and last time I looked, nuts were negative for every single item. So if you’re really desperate, that’s always an option!

  2. A nutmum from Bolton

    October 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Hi – we had some good experiences during our recent holiday in Anglesey:

    – Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour, Beaumaris
    We found them to be extremely clued up about nut allergy; explained which ice creams were nut free, where/how the ice cream was made, used a new, clean scoop for son’s ice cream; generally very happy to help.

    – Oyster Catcher Restaurant, Rhosneigr
    Menu clearly states which items contain nuts. We informed them on booking and with our order that our son was nut allergic – had a lovely meal and found staff very helpful.

    – Tavern 1824, St David’s Bay
    Again, staff more than happy to check each time we ordered an item whether an item contained nuts. Lovely menu.

    – Portmeirion
    We had a day trip to Portmeirion, which is well worth a visit – however I regretted promising my boys an ice cream each after seeing an open tub of chopped nuts on the counter of the ice cream shop. However, the lady at the counter was more than happy to use a clean scoop (washed before our eyes!) and open up a fresh tub of ice cream for my son, so he could have the first scoop from the new tub, free from any cross contamination. We avoided any sprinkles/toppings in case those chopped nuts had found their way across into them.

    Back at home, we’ve recently eaten out at Carluccio’s, Spinningfields, Manchester. I booked in advance and informed them of my son’s allergy whilst making the booking. The manager couldn’t have been more helpful; he suggested I ring ahead with my order the morning of our visit, and the staff would set aside bowls/food etc to minimise the risk of any cross contamination in the kitchen. The staff had clear allergy information about menu items and we felt very reassured by this. I would certainly return.

    Pizza Hut also has lots of information on line – and a recent visit for a friend’s birthday party tea went by without incident!

  3. allergy mama

    October 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    We visited Carluccio’s in Bloomsbury, Central London on 3 October 2013 – http://www.carluccios.com/

    It was our first family visit to a restaurant for our severely multiple-allergic child to eat out (we’ve gone out before but brought safe food for our child). The *main* allergens we must avoid are dairy, egg, peanut, all nuts, sesame and chickpeas/ beans. We carry epipens at all times. We have had a brilliant experience with a wonderful nursery cook who is able to meet our child’s dietary needs and trying a restaurant seemed like the logical next step. I was very conscious of advice from another allergy-parent who suggested braving a restaurant (and going regularly) whilst our child was young and before fear/ self consciousness etc became a problem in order to normalise explaining the allergies and associated dietary needs to restaurant staff.

    I had contacted Carluccio’s in advance to explain our dietary issue. I was given confidence to go ahead with a booking by a speedy response and a list of items which were considered suitable, along with an explanation of standard practice to avoid cross-contamination. We were advised to go early in the day which we did. On the day of the booking I went about an hour before we were to eat (without our child) to run through things with the manager just to be sure I was comfortable to go ahead. She was already briefed, had a list of our allergens sitting by the till and again went through the things she recommended as safe (with reference to a large lever arch file of allergy info for each dish on the menu) and advised spaghetti with tomato sauce as the item she was most confident as safe. She said this was because a fresh sauce could be prepared for our child under her watchful eye. I was then introduced to the chef who went through what he would do to prepare our meal. I was very reassured by the professionalism of the staff.

    We then returned with our child who took delight in looking at the menu and ordering a drink. When our order was placed the manager went into the kitchen and oversaw the preparation of our meal. She brought it to our table. The meal was lovely and the staff were attentive, checking everything was ok. The chef came out to speak with us to ensure all was in order. Our child loved the food and being allowed to participate fully in the social experience.

    At the end I asked the manager how I could go about arranging a second visit and what we could expect in terms of allergy provision. I couldn’t believe that they would go to such lengths for a “normal” visit from an allergy family (rather than a super-planned first trip). I was both amazed and delighted when she explained that our dietary needs were now in the restaurant booking system and that if we were to make a booking in future to explain this to the manager. A manager would then take responsibility for our order in the same way as for our first visit. She explained that ideally, some notice would help but they could meet our dietary needs with as little as 5 minutes notice. Apparently Carluccio’s takes pride in meeting all dietary needs and according to the manager the have a lot of experience providing food for celiacs and so are really aware of cross-contamination issues. In some ways the existence of a thought out procedure and routine “allergy-management” practice was what impressed me the most.

    When we first entered the bewildering world of multiple food allergy eating in a restaurant seemed like something we would never do as a family. Our trip to Carluccio’s was a huge step in terms of building our confidence and supporting our child with trying new things in a safe way. We could not be happier with our experience.

    • Amanda

      January 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Oh my word your post has filled me with hope! My 4year old is nut, peanut(legume) fish, egg,dairy..we never eat out because it is a terrifying experience most times!
      I will be contacting carluccios! Thank you x

  4. A nut mum

    October 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    We are in Chichester and have a daughter with a severe hazelnut allergy and one with a soya allergy, who is also nut free as she’s had several unexplained allergic reactions that required A&E, just waiting for testing for her. We have limited places that will ensure anything is safe and had an awful experience once in a Sainsbury’s café (hungry girls post swimming lessons I deludedly thought I could get away with popping in for a few bits of way home then thought lets just eat here!) where they told us we couldn’t have anything off the menu and were very rude, we all ended up in tears in the car park. However, The Harvester is great for allergies. It isn’t the best cuisine ever but they are excellent. They have a very comprehensive allergy booklet that lists every single item they sell, down to everything in their salad bar.
    They also have an allergy warning button they press in the kitchen to alert the kitchen staff to avoid cross contamination. When we went recently we had dessert (unheard of for us, we have never ever had dessert out with our daughters) and consulted their allergy book carefully. The waitress was lovely and came back to say they’d recently changed suppliers of their brownies but went and got the packaging for us to read. They could not have been more welcoming and accommodating. We actually felt that our daughters would be safe. That constant fear we all know of when we do brave eating out was really reduced.

  5. Louise

    November 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks everyone for the reviews! Please do keep them coming! … and once we have a few more parts of the country covered, I will start a “nut allergy friendly restaurant directory”, divided by area.

  6. A nutmum from Bolton

    December 1, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    We’ve ventured out to a couple more restaurants recently:
    – Chiquitos – a chain restaurant, we’ve been to the one at Middlebrook, Bolton: extensive and reassuring allergy information on the website, and very helpful staff inside.
    – Luciano’s at the Millstone, Adlington, Nr Bolton: Fab local Italian restaurant. Staff bent over backwards to help, head waiter came over to speak to us to confirm my son’s choices were nut-free, and we were reassured that the chef would be told about his allergy and he would take extra care to avoid any cross-contamination.

  7. Alison Hobson

    December 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Another success story! Took the boys to TGI Friday at Leeds Birstall yesterday:
    http://www.tgifridays.co.uk/leeds-birstall/the-grill

    We couldn’t have asked for more. I contacted them before we set off and the manager advised me to look at this link on their website:

    http://www.tgifridays.co.uk/site/static/files/pdfs/October_2013/Allergy_PDFs/TGI_Fridays_Mains_summary_Oct_2013_Allergy_v2.pdf

    That sorted out A, who has a nut allergy, but still left us with a query over what T, who has a legume allergy, could eat. However once we were there, the manager came over to us with the folder they have containing all the allergy information, checked what T wanted to eat then went to the kitchen and brought out the packaging for us to check ourselves to ensure it was safe.

    It makes such a difference when places are organised like this!

  8. Lara Traill

    December 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I live in London and have a 5 year old who’s severely allergic to nuts and mustard. We eat out often and have found almost all of the places we visit are happy to accommodate us. We usually phone in advance to double check and always make it clear we’d rather they said “no” than take a risk. However no restaurant will ever guarantee they are 100% nut free.

    For us, the absolute hands down winner is Wagamamas. Their allergy menu is very easy to navigate and the food is quick, plentiful and yummy. Jamie’s Italian is also very good and the branches we’ve visited have always been able to accommodate us confidently and discreetly. The larger chains such as Pizza Express, ZiZi, Giraffe have also been great as have our local independent pubs and restaurants.

    To be honest, I think a lot of it comes down to your attitude (and more often than not who you speak to on the day). Don’t get me wrong, I’d never deliberately expose my child to unnecessary risk however I refuse to let anaphylaxis control the whole family. For us, eating out is a big part of how we socialise and so far we’ve always had positive experiences. Whether this is down to luck rather than judgment remains to be seen…

  9. Louise

    January 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks everyone for the reviews!

    I’ve now separated these out by area of the country – see the “Nut allergy friendly restaurants” section of the site here: http://www.nutmums.com/nut-allergy-friendly-restaurants/.

    For those of you who have mentioned chains, there’s a page for recommended “national chains” coming soon!

    Please do post a review below if you discover a safe restaurant and I will add it to the directory. It would be great if, wherever you are in the country, we can always find somewhere with some nut free menu options!

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