While I work out of the New York office, my team is actually based in Atlanta. Our holiday dinner was held at a lovely trattoria in Virginia Highlands called “La Tavola.” I didn’t have high hopes that I would be able to find anything gluten free. Last year I had communicated in advance with the restaurant (not La Tavola), expressed all of my needs to a seemingly very understanding waiter, only to find a big crouton hidden at the bottom of my salad. It was not a pleasant experience by any means. It emphasized for me why the Delphi forums require the warning of “eating out is always risky” when discussing restaurants.
This year my strategy was to eat a late lunch, and plan on eating a late dinner after the party if I was unable to find anything gluten free. When I arrived at the restaurant the hostess provided me with the prix fixe menu choices. I asked to speak with someone about my gluten free dining needs and she led me right to the chef. Whenever they let you speak with the chef directly – do it. It’s much better than playing “telephone” with the waiter.
The chef was well-informed about celiac disease, potential for cross-contamination and preparation needs. He was able to give me exact ingredients of the dressings and marinades. I ended up with a delicious salad and entrée – though none of the desserts were gluten free friendly.
The beet salad was served with shaved fennel, Granny Smith apples, goat cheese and a red wine vinaigrette. It was a lovely salad though I don't think the apples actually added to the dish.
I was able to have the roast chicken entrée served atop red grapes and mushrooms. The risotto made to accompany the chicken was prepared with barley, but I had plenty to eat with just the chicken. I was surprised by how delicious the combination of grapes and mushrooms was.
While “La Tavola” is not part of the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program, I would be comfortable eating there again. The chef was quite accomodating and the food was delicious.
La Tavola is located at 992 Virginia Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 Phone: 404-873-5430