I have started to eat out more and more in Italy these days. I guess you can say I have attained experience in having no fear to tell the waiter exactly what I want! Also, I am able to spot places that can accommodate me better than others, call it a 6th sense if you like! haha, I am sure most Celiacs find they develop this "sense" with time.
Therefore, this post is dedicated to those Celiacs living in Italy and those Celiacs traveling to Italy. I have a list of places that I highly reccommend, and places that are Celiac friendly, but may not be my favorite place to find an Italian meal. I also have some advice to those coming to eat your way around Italy. Firstly don't assume that everyone in Italy knows what Celiac Disease is. I have found that many people look at me like a three headed monster when I say to them "Sono Celiachia!!!" But there have been other times where they knowingly nod their head. I have yet to find that dream place where they just made fresh GF gnocchi for me or where there is homemade GF tiramisu waiting in the fridge for me. There are places out there like this, but you may not find it every time! So I have become content with eating risotto, polenta, salads, delicious meats, and of course the to die for prosciutto di San Daniele! Secondly, most people in Northern Italy, located in the smaller towns(this is not including the big cities like Verona, Treviso, Venice, etc.) speak very little to no English, so your job is to either know the words such as NO Farina di Frumento!!! or have them written down. I have found that if I carry a Celiac explanation in Italiano, it helps immensely. Then I do not have to point to things, throw out Italian words, and scream the words NO FARINA!!! Now you may think you have been practicing your Italian and are confident enough to converse with a lovely non English speaking Mama Mia, but a lot of things get lost in translation. The last couple of times we have gone out, I have almost not brought along the translation card, but my boyfriend insisted that saying NO FARINA is not the answer! And he has always been right so far. So in all honesty, just bring an Italian translation and then you won't be sweating in your chair wondering whether your Italian and most importantly, your hand gestures were understood! Thirdly, if you are in a bind and didn't prepare a place to go ahead of time, do not worry. Find a restaurant that offers risotto or polenta for the primi piatti or first course. Then you can usually eat most anything for your secondo piatti, as most of the items are grilled meat. If the item has a sauce, simply just ask them to leave it out! If you can't find a restaurant that offers polenta or risotto, it is no problem, just order a insalata misto(mixed salad) for your first course, followed by a deliciously grilled roast beef! Trust me you won't go hungry in Italy, even if you are Celiac. And if you are in between meals, just pop into a farmacia and grab a gluten free snack! They have a wide array of snacks, cookies, crackers, pastas, breads, beer, etc in most Italian pharmacies.
Restaurants I highly recommend
Alte Hutte~5 stars out of 5!
via Lussari, 1 Camporosso 33018 Tarvisio
A cozy restaurant located by the ski slopes of Tarvisio. They do not have GF pasta, but if you bring your own they will cook it and add some delicious ragu sauce to it! They have a great 3 course meal for around 20 euros.
Moby Dicks~5 stars out of 5!
VIA MICHELANGELO 30, MORENA DI TRICESIMO, UD 33019
-DS pizza point
-GF pasta, pizzas, and desserts!!!
-Fast and good service
Liston~4 stars out of 5
Via Dietro Listone 19 Verona
Wonderful restaurant serving lots of risottos and dishes with polenta. They have the best mixed salad I have had in Italy! And make sure to try the risotto with radicchio!
Gelateria Emmanuel 4 stars out of 5
Via Roma, across from arena, Verona
GF gelatos available here! Lots of choices!
They even use seperate scoops for every ice cream, so no CC worries!
Restaurants that can accommodate GF, but are not my favorite
Al Porto~ 2 out of 5 stars
This restaurant is located in the beautiful city of Muggia and has an incredible view. They offer GF pasta and pizza. Their pizza is sub par, but the view is worth it. If you really are looking for a good pizza place I recommend a DS pizza point, as this one tasted like a pizza made on soggy polenta!
Da Poggi~0 out of 5 stars
I have now tried to eat at Da Poggi, located on the famous street in Venice. The first time I made a reservation via email and did not receive a response until 3 am. I obviously did not check my email this late, nor in the morning at 6am before we left for Venice. I assumed there would be someone in the restaurant that I could talk to either during lunch hours or dinner hours. However, there was no one in this restaurant and absolutely no hours posted. I asked the shop next store if the restaurant would open later and they said "They open when they want". Obviously we did not want to wait for whatever time that would be, as we were starving. So we ate at another place and low and behold on our walk back, Da Poggi was open. The second time I tried to go with my parents. We sat outside the restaurant, as there was someone inside, for 1 hour. The man inside did not acknowledge us and proceeded to stock the fridge, wander around, turn on the outside lights, everything else possible but did not look at us. We finally knocked on the door, after 12 people had already tried the locked door in front of us. He then looked at me shrugged his shoulders and gave the signal for closed. I pointed to my imaginary watch implying what time they would open and he shrugged his shoulders and walked off. I absolutely do not recommend this restaurant, as they are very very rude in my opinion. Find somewhere else to eat in Venice, but not here!!!
~Also, you can visit the Italian website for more options
Just click on the AFC link with the Great Britain flag
~Or even the DS pizza points
This list will be continually updated!