If your first concern about being diagnosed as having celiac disease or a gluten intolerance is that you'll no longer be able to enjoy the glorious pasta dishes at your favorite Italian restaurant, this is only partly true. While you'll have to start skipping dishes that contain gluten, you can still plan on dining at the establishment — with a few changes. It's always a good idea to share your dietary concerns with your server, who can either help you make informed menu choices or ask questions in the kitchen on your behalf. Otherwise, here are some tips that you can use to enjoy your Italian dining experience.
Ask For A Wheat Pasta Alternative
Obviously, since wheat pasta is now prohibited on your gluten-free diet, you'll need to avoid all types of wheat pasta at the Italian restaurant. This doesn't, however, mean that you'll need to forgo pasta entirely. Ask your server if gluten-free pasta is available; many Italian eateries are offering this type of pasta, which can be made from a wide variety of other materials (rice, bean and other such gluten-free flours) for their customers who have dietary restrictions. If gluten-free pasta isn't available, ask about getting your favorite dish over rice or potatoes instead of over pasta.
Be Careful With Salad Dressings
As you get used to living a gluten-free lifestyle, you'll begin to learn the foods that can unexpectedly contain gluten. Salad dressing is often one of those products; while many commercially prepared salad dressings are labeled as being free of gluten, others are not. Ask your server if the dressing on the salad you plan to order is specifically labeled as free of gluten. If it doesn't have a gluten-free marking on the label, you should avoid it. Instead, ask for your salad to be prepared with a simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar with some fresh lemon juice. The kitchen staff will be able to make this dressing quickly and easily, and you'll know that it won't affect you negatively.
Certain Dessert Choices Are Best
It's hard to resist the decadent desserts at an Italian restaurant, but you'll need to make a few changes to what you commonly eat. Instead of cakes and tarts, opt for chocolate mousse-style dishes. In most cases, desserts of this nature will not contain gluten. You can also safely eat a wide range of flavors of Italian ice cream, provided that they're not decadent to the point of including cake or cookie pieces in them.
For pizza, contact a restaurant and ask them about their gluten-free options.