Paleo Diet Primal Restaurant Options Choices Best Worst-min

The Best (and Worst) Paleo Restaurants

It’s nice to eat out at a restaurant occasionally. Sticking to your Paleo Diet shouldn’t be a reason to avoid eating out!

If you’re going out with a group of friends, try to have some influence over the restaurant you go to. Some restaurants offer so many more Paleo friendly options than others.

The Menu

It’s also a good idea to check out the menu in advance – most restaurants will have this on their website. If you’re unsure, call ahead to check on specific ingredients. It’s definitely worth making the restaurant aware that you need something gluten, dairy and legume free before you arrive. Most places seem to be extremely accommodating with this, often to the extent of suggesting dishes that aren’t even on the menu!

Mix & Match Paleo Options

When looking through the menu be prepared to mix and match. There’s almost always no problem with asking for the meat from one dish to go with the vegetable side from another dish. Dishes often come with a side of fries, some other type of potato, rice or pasta – ask to swap this for more vegetables or a salad.

Paleo Diet Primal Restaurant Options Choices Best Worst-min

Un-Paleo Sauces

Sauces, gravy and dressings are often places where gluten, soy and all sorts of undesirables are hiding. It’s best to ask for no sauce, or ask for it on the side, rather than take the risk that your beef will arrive swimming in gluten!

Ask, Ask and Ask Again!

Don’t be afraid to ask exactly what is in your dish – it’s your health – it’s important. It’s also worth asking if the meat is grass-fed. Perhaps it isn’t, but hopefully the more people who ask, the sooner restaurants will start stocking it.

Which Types of Restaurant Are The Best For a Paleo Diet?

Some restaurants types are a lot more Paleo than others – but of course, you may find lots of local exceptions to this. Look at the menu and ask about the ingredients!

Korean BBQ/ Mongolian BBQ/ Brazilian BBQ

It doesn’t get much more Paleo than cooking a pile of meat at your table barbecue. Sides are usually salads and vegetables and it’s often a great chance to try cuts of meat you don’t usually have.

Steakhouses

Steak and vegetables – even better if they offer grass-fed meat.

Indian

Whilst there are a lot of dishes to avoid, there are also dishes cooked in coconut milk, or dry cooked (like tandoori) in herbs which represent great Paleo choices. Check they cook with ghee or coconut oil rather than vegetable oil

Burgers

Lots of “real food” burger restaurants seem to be appearing – good news as these can be a good Paleo option if you order without the bun!

Thai

Thai can be a great Paleo dining solution when coconut oil and milk are used.

Mexican

Most options like tacos or fajitas work well within a Paleo Diet – just order without the tortilla

Japanese

A wide variety of fish makes dishes like sashimi a great choice

Seafood Restaurants

If there are any wild or line caught options, these are likely to be a good bet

And the Worst Restaurant Type For Paleo Options?

Sadly, some restaurants are a lot harder to navigate for Paleo choices. If you’re going somewhere that you know will be challenging, consider eating before you leave, so you won’t be tempted.

Chinese

With a few notable exceptions, Chinese restaurants are often associated with their use of MSG and soy. Finding a Paleo option can be very difficult.

Do you agree with the best and worst types of restaurants? I’d love to see which restaurants you’ve found good Paleo options in – and which ones you’ve found difficult too. Please let me know in the comments, below.

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15 replies
  1. Dave
    Dave says:

    Thanks Suz. This is great. I must try Korean! Grill’d Burger Restaurants allow you the choice of bun-less burgers – great presentation of the insides of the burger on a plate. This way you get more of the contents and none of the bun! I get a “Mighty Melbourne” (being in VIC) with beef, cheese, egg, bacon and beetroot with salad. Ditch the herb mayo though…

    Reply
    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Grill’d are great – and Moo burgers seems to be similar!

      I bet you have some great Korean places in Melbourne. We went to one last week for the Sydney Paleo meet-up and it was a great feed!

      Reply
  2. Genevieve
    Genevieve says:

    Oh YES! Chinese is the worse for paleo. Even if you ask for vegetables, they drench them in vegetable oils.

    My favourite paleo place is the Suveran at Bondi Junction. No sugar, no grains, no gluten, no dairy, no soy and 100% deliciousness. I recommend the lamb shank!

    Some of the menu at Sadhana Kitchen at Newtown is also paleo. Look out for the lasagne, which uses zuchinni as lasagne sheets. Very creative!

    Reply
  3. Stevie
    Stevie says:

    Wouldn’t it be great to have all the meal ingredients.
    (like in a recipe) in the Menu.
    I always take ages choosing mentally ticking off any possible pitfalls.

    Reply
  4. Gaby
    Gaby says:

    I try to avoid Thai because of the sugar… Vietnamese is better IMO. I’d add Greek and (proper) Italian to your list, lots of great dishes (specially lamb & seafood).

    Reply
  5. Amanda Lindsay
    Amanda Lindsay says:

    A word of warning about some restaurants calling themselves ‘Paleo-friendly’. In Melbourne, at least, I am not hearing great reports (or having great experiences) about the quality of the food or value-for-money…. One of the challenges is the cost of cooking oils – I’m not sure restaurants can stay viable using coconut oil or organic ghee in the quantities they use veg oils… Sometimes it’s just better to bastardise the meal by saying ‘no bread/potatoes’ etc than trying to reinvent the wheel!

    Reply
    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Isn’t it frustrating. I guess a lot I places don’t give much thought to the oil and other ingredients we can’t see. I also worry about the quality of the meat they use.

      Reply
  6. Janice Ann
    Janice Ann says:

    The trouble with restaurants is so much is on trust, would be so much better if you felt like you could really trust the meat was really grass fed & the cooking oils exacty what they were saying.
    It’s something that is so difficult to check up on.

    Reply
  7. Rose
    Rose says:

    Hi guys, you have paleo options??? really???? WOW! I have to explain paleo a million times and then still explain it again to ppl. I think unaccommodating restaurants should be on the list as I seem to find them like a homing pigeon. wont serve burger without the bun …wont leave the dressing off the salad I could go on and on…
    That said some are brillantly helpful and bend over backwards to help so ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK. yet I’m lucky enough to have a mum in law who runs a cafe here in QLD so I go there…ALOT. Coffee club is a good choice

    Reply

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