I like to eat out as much as the next person, and it's not too hard to find something gluten-free on almost any menu (especially if you like dinner salads, which I don't much care for). From my experience, your best bet will be to stay away from American and Italian restaurants, as both of these types are likely to rely heavily on wheat-based items on their menu (breads, sandwiches, pastas, and soups made with flour). I'm sure there are some really great restaurants out there of these types that have GF menus, but I haven't found many of them yet.
The one burger (American food) place I've found that's good at accommodating gluten-free dietary restrictions is Red Robin. They have a lettuce wrap option for any of their burgers, and they're happy to make the burgers without the grill seasoning, which isn't GF (though, if you're not truly allergic to wheat, the grill seasoning may not be a problem for you). I've never had any trouble with itching after eating there, so I think they make a pretty good effort to keep GF items away from wheat items on the grill, although they cannot guarantee there will not be cross-contamination of grill items.
special diet information page.) Before the experiment, I was already in the habit of getting a burrito bowl, because the burritos are giant, and the tortillas add an extra 290 calories (from white flour), 44 grams of carbs, and 670mg of sodium. (Whoa!) So leaving off the tortilla hasn't been a change for me at all, and I still very much enjoy eating at Chipotle.
One of the other reasons I like Chipotle, is that the chain is committed to using sustainably-raised food that is local and organic when possible. The dairy products they use are all from cows that were not treated with synthetic hormones, and whenever possible, the meat they use is also from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or synthetic hormones. I think it's important to patronize restaurants that make these kinds of commitments about the food they sell, because money talks. (You know?)
Onto other types of foods: I've found that non-American food joints are the best places to find GF menu items. Since I like a wide variety of types of food, it's been great to know that I don't have to sacrifice selection when eating out.
Thai food, similarly, is usually gluten-free. You'll have to stay away from fried egg rolls and check on the soy sauce situation. If you're after a tasty plate of pad Thai, pineapple fried rice, drunken noodles, or curry, you're probably safe.
Sushi is a pretty safe bet, too, provided you stay away from anything made with tempura batter and you read the label on the soy sauce bottle at your table. It's been my experience that if you dine-in at a sushi place, the soy sauce on the table is actually made of soy. However, if you get take-out, the little packets they give you might be wheat-based. I had some trouble once after having sushi with soy sauce, and I figured out later that it was because of the to-go packets. I remedied this by buying my own bottle of real soy sauce to have at home when we get sushi. It's easier than worrying about possibly exposing myself to wheat over a condiment.
I'd like to highlight a couple local Portland restaurants that have made a great effort to cater to the needs of the gluten-free dining population:
We found a great restaurant here called Old Wives Tales, which boasts a 90% gluten-free menu. (It's where we went on our first date.) They also have many vegan selections, and the menu changes daily. The restaurant is totally kid-friendly, with a play room and helpful and knowledgeable staff. The thing I like most about this restaurant is that for almost every item (including carrot cake and bread pudding) they have both a regular and gluten-free version of the food. So if Jaymz wants to get bread pudding, I don't have to be jealous of him—I can have some, too!
gluten-free pizza dough. They have a dedicated oven for gluten-free pizzas, and the staff has all been specially trained in the handling of GF pizzas to prevent cross-contamination from the wheat flour pizzas. (They also make a vegan pizza, if you're into that.) I love this restaurant, and even though the pizzas are pricey, they're worth it for an occasional GF treat. We bought these when each my mom and sister visited after Daniel was born, and they both agreed that it was nice to have a good take-out pizza again.
If you're lucky enough to live in a city that is more aware of dietary restrictions (like where I live) many restaurants will have gluten-free menu items clearly marked. There might even be a gluten-free bakery or two that you could visit. I still haven't been to the GF bakery that everyone keeps recommending to me here (New Cascadia), but I have plans to go soon!
What is your favorite place to eat out gluten-free?
Linked up at Friday Food at Momtrends, Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker, Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and Food and Health Carnival at Lisa's Gluten-Free Advice and Healthy Living.