While Marnina and I really enjoy cooking, we never turn down the opportunity to occasionally have someone else cook for us. We do not eat out very often, maybe once a week, often on Saturday nights. We relish these occasions because it represents one meal we do not have to plan, and we also enjoy trying new restaurants and cuisines. We have our pick of any cuisine (the Washington, D.C. area offers every cuisine you can imagine), and believe me, we do our research before we head out. There have been nights where we have debated for nearly an hour about which cuisine to eat, and then when we do finally choose a cuisine, we spend an additional 20-30 minutes looking online for restaurants that are well-reviewed, within our price range, within our driving range, and of course, that offer IBD-friendly food. Over time (after visiting hundreds of restaurants together over the course of 5+ years), certain cuisines have stood out as more IBD-friendly than others.
We have assembled this IBD restaurant guide partly because we have yet to find one online. The average American eats out several times a week, and those with IBD often have a more difficult time choosing IBD-safe foods at restaurants or even finding a restaurant that meets their dietary needs. In creating the guide, we wanted to provide the “average” IBDer with some practical knowledge of each cuisine, and to give tips on how to navigate a menu and order food when dining and exploring various cuisines. We hope the guide will become a tool for those with IBD to allow them to make smarter choices. We also hope to expand it to include additional information (by no means is this guide an exhaustive review of each cuisine!), and in the future we hope to add lesser-known cuisines, such as Korean, Afghan, and El Salvadorian. Feel free to add your own thoughts about the guide, which cuisine you prefer, IBD-friendly restaurants that you recommend, or even certain dishes that you always order because they are “safe” for you.
The guide includes a range of grades ranging from A+ to an F for each of the cuisines. We based our grading system on the following 5 factors:
1) The food itself
2) The variety of food offered that is generally IBD-friendly
3) The willingness of the chefs to modify dishes to meet certain needs
4) The knowledge of the serving staff
5) The nutritional benefits of the cuisine