Reading Restaurant Menus

Here are some practical tips about ordering in restaurants if you are blind or have low vision:

  • First, always ask the waiter to speak to you directly.
  • Ask about daily specials, and select one from the list that the waiter recites to you.
  • You may be overwhelmed by a large menu, but may have a general idea of what you want to eat, such as a fish or pasta dish. If this is the case, ask the waiter which fish or pasta dishes he or she would recommend.
  • Read the menu online before going to the restaurant-- most menus are available on menu and restaurant web sites, and you can use assistive technology and other techniques to read them, just the way you do any other web site. If you can bring the online menu with you to the restaurant by using a notetaker or other portable device, even better!
  • Start a menu collection. Many restaurants will give you a menu that you can study at home and use to pre-select dishes for your next visit.
  • If you have low vision, a magnifier with good lighting (such as a small, portable LED flashlight) may help you read the menu.
  • Ask if a menu is available in braille. If one isn't available, ask if the restaurant plans to provide braille menus in the future.

Personal Stories

  • Amy Bovaird: Mobility Matters
    As a person with retinitis pigmentosa, "Mobility matters. It allows me to join the rest of society, follow my interests and passion, and reconnect with my love for traveling. I don't have to stay at home fearing the dark anymore. I can live independently."

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