Okay, so I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a hassle and worry it is trying to eat out with allergies! There is much more awareness of gluten these days in the restaurant trade, but beware as there's still a long way to go, and sometimes waiting staff don't communicate your needs effectively with kitchen staff. And obviously with gluten it's hard to tell you've eaten it until you feel ill after- at least butter tastes/smells like butter!...

However, here's a list of Restaurants/Pubs where I  have had good experiences.  As a general rule I find the large chains that have a gluten-free menu very trusty-worthy (whether cheap or expensive). Most posh restaurants will be happy to prepare food specially for you, but it is best to scan the menu first and suggest dishes that staff can check with the Kitchen will be ok rather than ask them to think of something (Remember, you are the expert...!).

  • Carluccios (Italian food)  Ask for the GF menu - they have corn pasta and many of the sauces are suitable for coeliacs.  Great service and big selection of delicious GF food, although the pasta dishes are quite expensive.  
  • Bella Italia (Italian) Probably the best GF choice other than carluccios.  GF Pizza, Pasta, mezze, and sorbet. Nearly all items on kids menu are GF. If ordering Pizz, ask for it to be searved on a plate not a wooden chopping board.
  • Pizza Hut - Do great GF Pizzas and all toppings are fine. Nachos also GF and some of the salad bar.  You can ask for freshly prepared salad if you feel the salad bar may have CC. You can also get takeaway pizzas from Pizzahut. I think their GF kitchen procedures are more reliable than Dominos in my experience.
  • Las Iguanas (Latin American) Have GF food labelled on their menu.  Limited choice of carbs as their potato dishes and fries are not GF, but the peri chicken is tasty and the Quinoa, orange and beetroot salad sounds nice.  They now do a lovely filling chorizo and bean dish which I thoroughly recommend.
  • Yo Sushi! (Japanese)  Take a look at their nutritional guide for a comprehensive list of allergens - this is the easiest allergens menu to use that I've come across. You can ask for GF soy sauce and they will cook a GF firecracker rice dish with the special soy sauce on request (good for kids).
  • Spud-U-Like Good for a cheap Jacket potato and beans!  Avoid the grated cheese as it may contain flour.
  • Nandos (Portuguese) If you're veggie or don't like chicken this is not for you as it is mostly chicken!  You will need to ask to see their allergens lists before ordering - really easy to use though. Chicken,chips, and some of the sides  are gf and I think all the sauces.
  • J D Weatherspoons Pubs (English+Curries)  You can still get a lovely GF curry and poppadoms on a thursday and a Jacket+bean/steak/salmon, but the GF on the menu has been greatly reduced  - the chips are no longer GF and neither is the cooked breakfast.  When ordering curry make sure you say it needs to be GF otherwise it can come out with naan breads as well.  If it does come out with naans make sure they replace the rice and popadums if they've touched.
  • MacDonalds (American) Fries are GF. Salad no longer GF. You can also have some burgers and bacon if you order them without the bread (check the CoeliacUK food directory), although you may feel a little silly doing this.  As there's one in every town a good emergency food when stuck.
  • La Tasca (Spanish Tapas) Always trustworthy in terms of GF (printed on the menu) but the selection of GF dishes has been reduced.  N.B. Most Spanish Tapas restaurants are happy to cater GF and many have a separate GF menu if you ask.  There's more awareness of GF in Spain - are there more coeliacs there?!
  • Wagamama (Japanese)  Allergens menu is the most confusing I've come across (with a number to cross ref on the actual menu). Although the food is nice, there's not much GF choice anymore. You need to ask separately for the GF soy sauce. Kids menu doesn't have much GF, basically only plain rice and a bit of grilled fish with crappy sweetcorn.  Wont be eating here again with kids.
  • Cafe Rouge - I've deleted my review as they offer very little now and can no longer recommend!
  • Cote Brasserie (Clifton) Very reasonably priced, brilliant food (although slightly steep 12% tip isn't optional when paying by card). Lots of choice for GF, just ask.  Very impressive food!  Great value and lovely atmosphere. Best place (and poshest!) I've eaten in a long time.
  • Pizza Provencale (Clifton) Lovely atmosphere.  Home-made GF pizza bases and a range of GF toppings (although if you want low-lactose cheese like cheddar, you should ring in advance). Awesome BBQ chicken. Mmmmm.  They also do takeaway service.
  • Marhaba Morrocan Restaurant (Fishponds) Lovely little restaurant on Fishponds Road.  Friendly atmosphere and tasty authentic Moroccan food like tagines, fish and salads. Owner's mum is coeliac so they understand about cross contamination. Thoroughly recommend. Book ahead as it gets busy at the weekends.
  • Raymond Blanc Brasserie (Town) It goes without saying that the food is amazing, but during the day it is pretty reasonably priced too with 2 courses for £12 including wine and complementary baby food!  All gf items labelled on menu (lots of choice) and happy to do lactose free also. Their homemade sorbet is absolutely divine.
  • Severn Shed (harbour-side) A good selection of English/Mediterranean foods. Will make GF food on request. Glad to see more sea food back on the menu (considering harbour-side location).  New soft furnishings mean there's no longer a warehouse feel to the place.  Great cocktail bar.
  • Mezze at the Green Dragon (Downend) Ask for their GF menu.  It didn't fill me with confidence to see couscous on there even if it had been crossed out!! but they do have a great selection of GF mezze (now including meaty dishes) and they were delicious. The peri chicken, peppered beef and peppers are particularly good.
  • Thali Cafe (Clifton/Easton/Montpelier) Authentic healthy fresh indian food (i.e. not the greasy imposter you normally get in English Indian restaurants).  Dairy free Thali option.  Ask for GF. Got a great BBC review for their re-fillable Tiffin takeaway service.  Wonderful chutneys.  Great atmosphere. Thoroughly recommended. Been glutened twice at the Easton branch recently - no response to my emails!
  • Aqua (Bristol Welshback/Bath)  We've been to the bath restaurant (there are 2 in Bristol also) where I had a really tasty butternut risotto. They also do an early bird deal for around £12 for 2 courses, although if you are GF and DF you'll struggle to find a suitable starter/pud. 
  • The Watershed (Town) Ask to see GF options. I've had a lovely Chocolate truffle cake, vegan Mezze and amazing polenta balls. Menu changes regularly.
  • Say Pasta (Emerson's Green)  Made me a nice corn pasta dish on request. Lovely staff. A little expensive though.
  • The Thai Edge (Town)  Tasty, authentic Thai food and polite, prompt service.  Good selection on the menu including Thai salads, which you don't often see in Thai restaraunts.  They are happy to cater for dietry requirements.
  • Smith's Fish Bar (Kingsdown) Traditional chippy. Thick chips, battered fish and sausages - all gluten free on 3rd Saturday of each month between 5-9pm. Brilliant.
  • The Imperial (Thai and English)  Authentic Thai food is delicious.  Obviously you need to avoid dishes containing oyster sauce, soy sauce, noodles.  The curries are good and the fishcakes+ sweet sauce are great.
  • Woodruffs (Organic English cafe-restaurant) Fresh seasonal salads, homous, falafels.  Everything is Organic, Hippy and freshly prepared.  Wonderful.  The chef lady does cookery lessons sometimes too.
  • The Fat Dog (English) Seasonal, Local produce.  Great fish dishes. Loved the samphire. Friendly, helpful staff.
  • Memory of Beijing, Chippenham (Chinese).  Fantastic range of GF dishes which is most of menu.  Unfortunately they don't have a website, but you can ring ahead.  We had crispy beef, spare ribs, seaweed, kung po chicken, prawn crackers, pork in blackbean.  What  a treat, I have really missed this kind of food (I can never find GF blackbean sauce so will have to ask them where they get it from!  It would improve my home-made hoisin sauce somewhat...).
  • The Ebury (English)  Wonderful food, reasonably priced for the area (near Sloan Square).  Friendly, helpful staff.

  • Mad Hatters Cafe, Launceston.  A quirky little cafe that sells a good selection of GF cakes and more importantly lovely GF Cornish Pasties!  If you want to order a few pasties (to last you for the rest of the week) you'll need to ring ahead and give them a couple of days notice otherwise the owner will be quite grumpy!  I get the feeling the couple running it are rather overwhelmed by how successful the GF range has become, how far GF people are willing to travel and what quantities of treats they want to buy when they find them!!...
  • Charlie's Deli/Cafe/Restaurant, Tintagel.  I had a GF burger in GF bap.  Lovely family run place and it has a little toddler play area inside.  The sandwhich board outside advertised GF.  Well worth a visit.
  • Eden Project.  Having looked online and rung ahead, they couldn't confirm what would be GF but that there would be something suitable.  Needless to say, I took a packed lunch anyway and I was very glad that I did!...I only tried one of the cafes but it was quite a GF nightmare, with tiny chopping boards instead of plates and big hunks of gluten-containing bread and cake being served the whole place was covered in crumbs.  Also, whose idea it was to hang the cups from pillars no where near the drinks machines should have their head checked!  You pay when you leave and no-one checks what you have which makes for a very disorganised experience.  I had to wipe down our table before we ate.

If you can't eat gluten or lactose, you'll find yourself only being able to eat crisps or fruit when you're out and about quite often which is frustrating as fruit isn't filling and crisps aren't healthy! Here are some other ideas:

Starbucks  sell expensive but nice boxed salads and fruit pots. Now doing a tuna genius bread roll. You can download allergens info from their website.

Costa sell packaged GF DF bakewell tarts and fruit cake by the till.  Apparently some also sell GF brownies but these contain codex wheat starch.

M+S sell a range on GF foods (see Food list).  They do nice boxed salads, like Nicoise Salad in generously sized portions.  Some stores now sell GF sandwiches but unfortunately all of them contain dairy!

Pret a Manger  Have some suitable soups and salads. Ask to see the allergens list at the till before ordering.

Caffe Nero do a tuscan bean soup that is GF and DF but their crisps are not GF.

********Updated Jan 2014**********