Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Eating Out

Just a cautionary tale about eating out. Went to Carluccio's today and ordered gluten free pasta and sauce. After our meals arrived the waiter came back to the table with parmesan cheese. Having said I would like parmesan the waiter advised me that Carluccio's parmesan was not gluten free so I declined. I sometimes feel that my gluten-free radar isn't good enough, I hadn't remembered to ask about the suitability of the cheese. Perhaps if they grated the cheese using a block of parmesan and a grater at the table there wouldn't be a problem..............


7 Replies

they never told me that! What do they do, buy vast bags of pre-grated stuff with wheat flour to keep it loose? Fortunately, being lactose intolerant and about to go to a concert I skipped all dairy (parmesan has so little in that otherwise I might have had some).


The things that they put wheatflour in is unbelievable, we hadn't eaten out for ages but quite honestly I didn't feel very safe or confident doing so. My comment about grating the cheese at the table was probably stupid because the waiters hands may have been cross contaminated with gluten from other foods. I am finding living with coeliac disease an absolute nightmare at the moment you have to be constantly on the lookout and it seems to take most of the spontaneity out of your life



This is interesting. I go to Carluccio's quite often and the minestrone on their gf menu has flakes of parmesan in it when it comes to the table. I wonder what's going on there?


I totally agree, jan44, having special dietary needs of all kinds takes the spontaneity out of life. However, if you replace it with forsight and planning, you can eat out safely. I follow these simple rules: avoid fast food and most chain restaurants, see if the restaurant has an online site and read their menu, call the restaurant and ask questions about prep space, menu items and how they will meet my needs. (If they sound unsure or give inappropriate answers I don't go there), speak to the server upon arrival, check when the food is served, give management feedback the next day. They want your business and need to know how to make your experience a good one. A little education goes a long way. That seems like a lot of work, I know, but I only have to do it once. I now have a list of eleven restaurants, including one take away and 3 chain restaurants, where I can eat safely. When friends and family say let's eat out tonight - where do you want to go - I'm ready with lots of safe suggestions!


a reply form Carluccio's

Dear Lois,

Thank you for your email I can confirm our Parmesan IS gluten free, I am concerned that you have heard otherwise, but this is the case.



Sent from my iPad


Sarah Murray


Carluccio's Limited

35 Rose Street



T: 020 7580 3050

F: 020 7580 3070



Thanks Lois, I have emailed Sarah Murray and advised which branch it was, hopefully my pasta won't be so dry as I'll be able to have parmesan next time I go.



Thanks for updating Jan. I had a similar experience in which a restaurant I regularly eat at suddenly told me the garlic butter may have gluten in. What kind of world do we live in where the garlic butter contains gluten I thought? So when I was at another of their branches I mentioned it to the Mgr who then rang my local brand. Next time I visited the Mgr of my local branch apologised for the mis-information and confirmed the garlic butter was fine to eat.

The moral is - as you've demonstrated with this post - speak up and contact the Mgr/ head office. Staff are only human and in the desire to protect us from being glutened they can sometimes consider something GF actually contains gluten. It's always good to let the Head Office's know of such slip ups so they can improve staff training.

My next complaint email is to Carluccios ref why are they serving oat cakes (GF classified) with their anti-pasti when it's not listed on the menu and around 40% of coeliacs can't tolerate even GF oats. Often other items are classed as optional additions and it'd be great to see that instead of contaminating a good GF starter with oats.


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