Gluten Free at Romano’s Macaroni Grill!

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I don’t know about you, but the massive welcoming of so many popular restaurant chains here in LA (The Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle, Maggiano’s, even Panda Express is everywhere…) is definitely awesome, but can feel intimidating. Which are worth trying? Which are just a glorified fast food place?  If you’re in, or even familiar, with the Los Angeles area, you understand that there are countless malls, plazas, mini marts, offering an array of selections for everybody (ahem, gluten-free pescatarians 😉 ). It’s a huge plus for me that when you find a good local chain, you can pretty much guarantee you know what you’re getting & can count on quality dishes.

One restaurant that I had seen a bit more frequently is Romano’s Macaroni Grill. While my very first trip there was anything but perfect as we had the absolute worst luck with service & a decent wait staff, I was not completely turned off as their food was just so dang good. Fast forward to over a year later…..

I was craving pasta, & the thought of heading home to see if we had any gluten-free pasta & a sauce that was hopefully not in the fridge, opened, from a month (or maybe two….), was NOT sounding appealing. Mike & I were both getting hangry. Enter Romano’s Macaroni Grill. We were driving by & visions of their Gluten Free Shrimp Alfredo I enjoyed long ago, went through my mind. Should we see if the service had improved? In the name of pasta: YES!

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We were seated right away, despite it being a busy Saturday night. Instead of a separate allergen menu, you simply alert your server what your situation is, & they’re extremely patient & helpful at accommodating you. As soon as I said ‘gluten-free’, our waitress let me know there are 2 gluten-free pastas (a penne & a long noodle; one is rice while the other rice/corn blend, perfect as I know friends with a corn allergy). I decided on the Shrimp Portofino which boasts jumbo shrimp, capellini, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, pine nuts & lemon butter. It was just what I needed, & had Mike nor I known this dish was made with gluten free pasta, neither of us would have known. Absolutely delicious, despite sounding very rich, everything is blended & crafted so well, that it is not an extra ‘creamy’ tasting dish.

While there for dinner, we noticed a sign promoting their weekend brunch. Brunch, did you say? We were intrigued & decided to return this past weekend as we celebrated the new year. After a great hike on Topanga Canyon, we headed on over for The Macaroni Grill’s brunch (Sat & Sun 11a-4p) which has such amazing items like Nutella French Toast & baked skillets, I love that they go beyond the traditional bagels & lox, frittatas & ham ‘n eggs.

Bruschetta Skillet
Bruschetta Skillet

And, once again, our waitress could not have been kinder at helping me out when I muttered the dreaded words: ‘Gluten Free’. I was planning on the Bruschetta Skillet & while it was discovered that the ‘crispy romano’ potatoes were NOT safe for me, she even inquired if they could make me plain potatoes, & they could! But, alas, it would take an hour. I chose to pass.

Instead, I still was able to get The Bruschetta Skillet, sans the potatoes & side toast. It had: 3 eggs, mozzarella, fonduta, parmesan & tomatoes, as well a side of steamed spinach. This meal was protein powerhouse & hit the spot.

Chicken Eggs Benedict.
Chicken Eggs Benedict.

Oh, yeah: $2 Bloody Mary’s & Mimosa’s, too!

We go to the Northridge Mall location, & luckily for me, there is one in Seal Beach near my Mom! 😉 Check out their web-site here & let me know what you think! xo

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