Eating out on a low FODMAP diet in Portland, OR?
September 19, 2016 7:33 PM   Subscribe

My folks are in town this weekend and Mom is on a low FODMAP diet (the strict version). Looking for recommendations for restaurants (any area of Portland) that will have options for her to choose from, and that are good at helping out people with unusual food allergies.

Mom is pretty wary about eating out, as she's always scared that there will be some forbidden food "hidden" in a sauce or something. And being British, she doesn't like to make a fuss - so instead of asking her server for more details, or whether the dressing contains high fructose corn syrup, she'll play it safe and order a garden salad with no dressing. And that makes me sad.

The only other time she's visited with us, my folks ended up eating at the Elmers next to their hotel pretty much every night they weren't eating with us, because the server's sister was also on the FODMAP diet, so Mom trusted her.

Please help me find a restaurant (that isn't Elmers) that will allow Mom to experience the joys of the Portland food scene! I'm happy to call in advance, and to ask the server questions about the menu.

(Oh, and my folks are in their mid-seventies - anywhere that involves queueing for a table on a Saturday night is not an option.)

Thank you in advance...
posted by finding.perdita to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man. This is a tough one. I live in Portland and I usually eat low-FODMAP and I just... don't eat out if I'm not okay with not breaking it for that meal. It's really complicated and non-intuitive and I just don't trust restaurants with something that most people have never heard of.

That said, I think your best bet would be to do research on restaurants that say they're open to food allergies, gluten-free, etc. and contact them to see if they know what FODMAPs are and if they can prepare non-FODMAP dishes.
posted by Automocar at 7:43 PM on September 19, 2016

Cultured Caveman. With those serious restrictions, you will obviously want to talk to them, but it looks like they have experience with low FODMAP. Three food carts and one restaurant location.
posted by ainsley at 8:45 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

My sources have also recommended Brooklyn House Restaurant (looks like they are quite special diet friendly) and Dick's Kitchen.
posted by ainsley at 9:37 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I live in Portland and also have been put on the low FODMAP diet by my GI doctor. Overall I just wanted to say that every restaurant so far where I've asked about what's in the sauce has been very open with me and if the server doesn't know they've found out from the kitchen. I haven't had a bad experience with this yet and I eat out a lot here. She needs to learn to pipe up and ask or maybe you can ask for her when you are out? If she won't maybe just call a lot of the restaurants near where they will be staying and find out a few dishes that are acceptable to eat. If you are worried I agree that you should target restaurants that already cater to people with dietary needs like vegan/gluten free because they are more used to people asking questions in my experience.
posted by FireFountain at 8:27 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Groundbreaker Brewing Gastropub might be a good one. They have a sign on their door about tell us about your food allergies (AND the sign says not to bring any gluten in, which made my heart sing).

I have a lot of sympathy for your mom. She's probably not going to change with regards to asking questions, so do her a solid and call ahead and ask a bunch of questions for her. I'd even go so far as to pretend you have the same restrictions, ask all the questions of the server and then order the same thing as her, if you want to pave the way.

There's also nothing wrong with NOT eating out. When you're this stressed about what might be in your food, it starts to not matter that things are delicious or that it's a cool scene--meals are just a horrendously stressful event to prepare for, endure, and then hours of anxiety afterwards, hoping that whatever you just ate doesn't ruin the rest of your day/night. She might appreciate a home-cooked meal from you if your kitchen and knowledge is aligned with her diet.
posted by purple_bird at 9:18 AM on September 20, 2016

You can try Hawthorne / Corbett Fish House. Their restaurants are gluten-free and they're very happy to look at other ingredients for dietary restrictions.

Hawthorne Fish House
posted by Nerro at 10:55 AM on September 20, 2016

I live in Portland and was on a strict whacky diet for awhile. I was always nervous about talking to the server about it because I didn't want to come across as one of "those" people. The best experience I had was at Bamboo Sushi (the one on Alberta); they were always accommodating and would double check with me about ingredients.
posted by Packy_1962 at 3:09 PM on September 20, 2016

Cultured Caveman was a great pick (as soon as I mentioned FODMAP, the server seemed almost excited to be able to talk about options with her, which she wasn't expecting, but it made her feel special rather than feeling like a burden, which I think is how she usually feels when she's out and having to ask about onions and all the other stuff). Brooklyn House also (nice people, very supportive, good food, but a little, um, worthy?).

Offline chat with FireFountain helped too (thank you!) and gave us Thai, Japanese, and good old fashioned steakhouses as other options that ended up working really well too (with a little advocacy on my part).

My mom ate well and felt looked after while she was here, and had a great vacation. And that made me happy.

Thank you!
posted by finding.perdita at 12:16 AM on October 25, 2016

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