Friday, May 24, 2013

Restaurant Review - Maggiano's Little Italy

We don't eat out much in our family, mostly because it can be too complicated to find somewhere that I can eat at that everyone else is happy to go to. I'm perfectly fine eating the same thing all the time, so having limited options doesn't really bother me much, but the rest of my family prefers to go somewhere other than Chipotle occasionally =) Last night was my mom's birthday, and she really like Maggiano's. It's an Italian restaurant that is known for being really good with food allergies so we decided to give it a try.

It was great!!! I would highly recommend Maggiano's for anyone with food allergies; they were very attentive and incredibly accommodating. When I made the reservations, I was able to give them a heads up that I had multiple food allergies. While I was still on the phone, the hostess found a chef and let me talk with him about what options I would have and how they could work around all my issues. Since I can't have wheat, dairy, or fructose I'm pretty limited in terms of Italian cuisine =P Because of the fructose malabsorption, I cannot have onions (tried about a week ago and failed miserably) or and concentrated forms of tomato (i.e. tomato paste or sauces, fresh tomatoes are ok). I wasn't sure what I would be able to eat, especially after he said their tomato based sauces all have onions in them, but he sounded very knowledgeable and confident that they would be able to accommodate me so we gave them a try.

When we got there, I let our server know about my food allergies. He wrote down what I told him then went and brought a chef out to speak with me. Instead of listing off a limited gluten free menu, the chef asked what I wanted which was cool! I told him I heard they had corn pasta and I would like to try that. He said that their tomato based sauces all have onions in the base, but he could make an oil based sauce with fresh tomatoes and other vegetables. I'm not a huge fan of oil sauces (the fat is hard for me to digest) but I asked him to just go light on the oil and decided to try it.

If I had any complaint it was that my dish came out with the rest of my family's appetizers. So I ended up sitting around for most of the main course and dessert because I didn't want it to get cold. BUT it's a minor complaint because everything else was so positive. The past was good. Gluten free pasta can be hard to cook well, but they did a good job! I ended up having their GF corn pasta in a light oil sauce with sauteed spinach, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini. I'm happy to say that it tasted good, and it didn't make me sick!! Woohoo!!

AND Maggiano's has a deal with certain pasta dishes that if you order one, you get a second full order to take home. Our server (who was fantastic) entered my pasta on our bill in a way that let me take home another full sized order of my pasta! They didn't even charge extra for gluten free! So I got 2 full sized orders for the price of a normal pasta dish. The portions are so large, that I only ate about half of my order last night, so I was able to take home a lot of food =)

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I highly recommend Maggiano's for anyone with food allergies =) Even if you have different allergies than I do, the servers and chefs were very knowledgeable about their dishes and the ingredients as well as cross contamination issues. I had a great experience, and now have another restaurant to add to my list of safe places to eat if my parents and brother aren't up for another round of Chipotle!

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