My mom started eating at Papa Razzi (an Italian chain) long before she brought me with her. In fact, one time she was out with a friend who follows a gluten free diet (but does not have celiac or worry about cross-contact) when the manager came out to speak with her.
From this visit, we learned two things. First, my mom was able to talk to the manager to see if she felt comfortable with me eating there. Second, they have a delicious gluten free bread if you can have dairy.
Now, there is a separate gluten free menu, which is double sided and filled with plenty of options. I still recommend asking how each dish is prepared to make sure you feel comfortable. I ask every time I go to a restaurant even if I’ve ordered the same dish before, or I’ll at least mention that it’s pan-seared and not on a grill.
Now, onto the food! There are many better dairy free appetizers on the menu, but I happen to be a huge fan of balsamic. The caprese is traditionally comprised of sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and aged balsamic. This dish was refreshing for a nice, light appetizer. And, it was exactly what I ordered, which I appreciated.
For my entrée, I ordered a steak. The gluten free filet balsamic traditionally consists of two 5 oz. pan-seared filets, roasted vegetables, and balsamic vinegar sauce. However, due to my additional food allergies the veggies were modified and they did not include the butter in the sauce or preparation of the beef. I loved this meal. Frequently restaurants have to leave off the sauce, but that wasn’t the case here. And, the sauce was still plenty rich without the butter. This is a dish worth the price of dining out.
Papa Razzi is a chain restaurant and we haven’t been to all the restaurants. At both the Concord and Wellesley locations our questions were thoroughly answered, my food was prepared separately, and brought out separately. And, I am yet to be glutened. Of course, there is gluten in the kitchen, so it’s less safe than a dedicated gluten free establishment, but I feel comfortable dining here. Finally, the Concord location tends to be a little more upfront with bringing the manager out immediately for any dietary request.
Have you been to Papa Razzi? How was your experience?! Are there any italian restaurants where you feel comfortable eating as a celiac?
* True as of August 2015