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Mar 26, 2009 11:22 AM

Nut-free restaurants? [MSP]

Argghhhh! I just learned that we have a peanut allergy in the family - my beloved niece is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts. So far, she just gets stuffed up and "chokey", but the doctor gave her parents an Epi-pen and warned them that there's no prior warning for anaphylaxis.

I really want her to keep breathing, so no more Asian take-out for this princess. Any place that uses nuts in their food is out of bounds - her mom is really concerned about the potential for cross-contamination.

Are there any restaurants that don't use nuts in the kitchen? Especially independent and non-fast-food places?

I'd love some tips from parents of other allergy sufferers.


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  1. I don't think you will be able to find nut-free restaurants. If your niece only has a peanut allergy, a totally nut-free restaurant is probably a little extreme. I think the best bet is to chose places where they will be able to help your niece meet her needs.

    For example, the wonderful ethnic hole-in-the-wall places might be out. I'd stick to more Asian ''americanized'' restaurants. Or, you can just choose cuisines which don't use peanuts in the first place (ie: Italian, German, etc).

    I have the same allergy, but this has not stopped me from eating out at Asian resturants. I eat a Quang regularly, and have not had any problems with their soups. None of them have peanuts, and they are cooked separate from fried dishes. I do avoid the food which is cooked or fried, since some of their dishes do contain peanuts. I have also had really good luck at King and I, Chang Mai, and Pings. I would not recommend going to Thum Rup Thai, since it took sending the order back twice to get peanut-free food.

    Another precaution is some of the Mexican restaurants use peanuts in their moles, but most of their other foods are fine.

    Finally, even if she's going to get a burger and fries, you should probably call ahead and be sure that the fries are not made in peanut oil. If the fries are made in peanut oil, odds are the oil's all over the kitchen.

    Also, I'd avoid Hell's Kitchen. I've read so many wonderful posts on this board about their food, but their house-made peanut butter will keep me away. Since the peanut butter is served at every table, it's also probably all over.

    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: spunky_monkey

      Thanks for the tips, SM! It sounds like a completely nut-free environment is well nigh impossible. I'm hoping that her mom will ease up once we all get used to this new approach to life. My niece is only two, so we've got lots of time to adjust. But, unfortunately, she's allergic to all nuts, not just peanuts.

      Italian and German food are great suggestions! We all love the Midtown Global Market, so I'll give Jakeeno's a call to see what oils they use in their food. (I'll call our other favorites, too, like West Indies Soul and Holy Land and La Sirena Gorda.)


    2. Hi Anne-

      My daughter is 3 and also has a peanut allergy (she's ok with treenuts but we try to avoid those anyway). My hubby and I love Asian food but our consumption of it, especially Thai & Vietnamese, has gone down a lot since the allergy. I think we could work our way around it but we love going to the "hole in the walls" and we have our daughter with us, we don't want anything to get lost in translation.

      That being said, we also try not to limit ourselves completely. I think most restaurants will use some sort of nuts in their kitchen so we just try to take the appropriate precautions. Most places are pretty accommodating.

      We (including my daughter) love Japanese food. She'll chow down on california rolls, udon, & edamame. Korean is also a big favorite of ours and (as a Korean-American), I can say that there are virtually no nuts used in cooking. Just ask about peanut oil. They do use a lot of sesame oil though-- make sure she's ok with that since peanut and sesame allergies can be linked.

      Another "safe" Asian option is Big Bowl. No language issues and if you specify, they make sure that they cook the meal separately. Their lo mein are stored in peanut oil but if you tell them about the allergy, they will use rice stick noodles instead of lo mein.

      We still get Chinese take out but we just make sure to ask if they use peanut oil. USually, they don't and my daughter is happy to slurp away on veggie lo mein with no issues.

      Italian is alwasy safe as well, for us. Other places we frequent are Mexican places and kid friendly places like Edina Grill, Convention Grill, etc. Mostly, we are careful with bakeries and desserts, since they seem to use nuts pretty liberally. For instance, Patrick's uses almond extract in almost everything. I don't think it would be a big deal for my daughter b/c she's not allergic but just FYI.

      Good luck!!!

      1. For our Asian fix we go for Japaneses food, they seem to use very little for nuts overall, talk with the servers, lots of places do good job of watching allergies, so places don't. Brasa used to use peanut oil exclusively, due to the complaints they have reportedly switched to vegitable oil, sister in law ate there recently and she said it was very good and she was fine. The biggest thing we watch for in hidden nuts, like nut oils and lots of desserts (pretty much all desserts have nuts) have crust that include nuts "hidden" almonds are in lots and lots of foods.

        Generally speaking we're up front with the servers, and thus far no problems.

        Don't think I've found many mexican places that use nuts much either.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mnxd9

          Depending on the style i would be wary of mexican food that may contain peanuts or pepitos (not sure if seeds would be a concern to some)