Friday, November 4, 2011

La Riveria Trattoria (Clifton, NJ) featured on Schär's "Better Without" Video Series

La Riviera Trattoria (421-27 Piaget Avenue [Rt 46E], Clifton, NJ 07011) was featured in the latest episode of Schär's Video Series "Better Without".  The episode details advice for eating out both at restaurants with and without a gluten free menu.  It covers the questions to ask to make sure you'll be safe.  It contains some really good advice but there are two tips I'd add to it:

1) Call or Email ahead rather than waiting until you are in the restaurant if possible - if you get there and they don't get it, you then have to get up and leave and find somewhere else to eat!  Of course, you should still talk with your server when you get to the restaurant to double check everything.

2) I'd place more emphasis on dining in restaurants that really get gluten free.  You'll be safer and you're helping to support those who are stepping up and providing us a place to eat.  I'd rather spend my money in a restaurant that is already doing the work needed to attract me as a customer, rather than somewhere that views me as an annoyance or an afterthought.  (You can check my list of NJ Restaurants with a gluten free menu but keep in mind I haven't yet tried a lot of these restaurants so I can't speak to their level of understanding.)

But speaking of restaurants that really get it . . . the episode includes details of the steps La Riviera takes and even tours their kitchen to show the separate gf prep areas, special gf plates, separate gf pots, and overall precautions for cooking and serving gluten free food.  I've eaten there a number of times but had no idea how stringent they were!  [When not in use they cover their pans with plastic wrap and keep their GF bread crumbs in sealed containers - all to reduce the chance of cross contamination.]

Their waitstaff really gets it as well.  The last time I ate there was with two friends with Celiac Disease.  We mentioned to our waiter when we were seated that we were all gluten free but that I was also dairy free.  Later on, when we were ready to order, I accidentally ordered a gf pasta dish with cheese on it.  The waiter remembered I was dairy free and pointed out that he'd have them make it without cheese instead!

If you need more convincing, you can check out my previous review here: Restaurant Review: La Riviera Trattoria (Clifton, NJ).  If you've never been, I highly recommend you give La Riviera a try!  The food is amazing and as you can see from the video they really go above and beyond to make sure we are safe. 

La Riviera Trattoria on Urbanspoon

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