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Eating Gluten Free at Olive Garden

July 10th, 2010

One of my husband’s favorite places to eat is the Olive Garden. Ever since I went gluten-free it has been really hard to face the prospects of dinning there again. I thought that it would be terrible to endure the rest of the family munching on the never-ending basket of breadsticks. I had also read that the gluten-free pasta dish was frozen and not any good. Why bother going back if I couldn’t eat good pasta?

While Olive Garden only has 7 items on their gluten-free menu, only one of which is a pasta dish, there are still a couple more that I would like to try. I chose to avoid the pasta dish tonight since I had read the bad review before. The waiter was very nice and brought me a separate salad bowl without croutons. The house salad dressing is gluten-free, but because of soybean oil and preservatives contained in the salad dressing I opted for oil and vinegar to top my salad. It was still very good. For my entree I chose the mixed grill, skewers with steak & chicken and a side of vegetables. The steak was a little too well done for my liking, but I will definitely go back to try out some of the other gluten-free items.

Upon leaving I asked the waiter how the pasta dish was prepared. I was curious if it was frozen, or if it was made fresh on site. He told me the gluten-free pasta dish is not frozen. The pasta is boiled in the morning and the sauce is made fresh as well. I think next time I will have the pasta, but here is their gluten-free menu. This definitely wasn’t my worst experience dinning out since my gluten sensitivity was diagnosed. If you are going there expecting to have lots of pasta and bread choices, Olive Garden just isn’t there yet. With pasta being their thing, you might expect a lot of options, but that is not the case. Expect to have a few good options and have an enjoyable experience with your family. I applaud Olive Garden for being one of the first restaurants to offer a gluten-free menu. I wouldn’t recommend going here if you are still in the anger stage and are experiencing a sense of loss because you cannot indulge in glutinous grains.

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