Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maggiano's Little Italy

Yesterday, my husband decided that we should go out to dinner, because it was our anniversary.  We had our date night on Saturday at California Grill, but it was a nice idea to take the kids out to celebrate on our actual anniversary.  We talked about going to Winter Park, but then I remembered that Maggiano's had sent us a coupon for $10 off our next visit as an anniversary present.  

We first dined at a Maggiano's in Charlotte when we lived in North Carolina, before I was diagnosed with celiac.  In Orlando, Maggiano's is located at Pointe Orlando on International Drive, right next to the parking garage.  Take your ticket in, because they do validate parking.  

I love that when our server came to our table, she mentioned right away that Maggiano's can accommodate food allergies and special dietary needs.  When I told her that I had celiac, she brought out a chef for me to speak to.  I was told that all of the salad dressings and pasta sauces are gluten free, and they have gluten free corn pasta.  The chef mentioned that they could also make me any of the chicken or veal dishes, without the breading.

After getting some recommendations from my blog readers on my Facebook page, I knew that I had to try the lobster carbonara and Maggiano's famous Rigatoni 'D'.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband agreed to split two gluten free pasta dishes with me.  When our meal came out, I was shocked by how large the portions of pasta were.  The gluten free corn penne was al dente, and the taste and texture were just like the wheat-filled pasta I remember from my gluten eating days.  Both sauces were amazingly flavorful, and we didn't have to add any extra Parmesan, like I often have to do at restaurants.  I couldn't resist digging in to the lobster carbonara first, because carbonara is one of my favorite pasta dishes, and I am a huge fan of lobster.  I was impressed by how much lobster was actually in our carbonara, and I loved the addition of the crisp snap peas.  With the garlic cream sauce and smoked bacon, this dish gets an A+ from me.  

Maggiano's Famous Rigatoni 'D' contains herb-roasted chicken, mushrooms and caramelized onions, tossed in a Marsala cream sauce.  This dish was just as delicious as the lobster carbonara.  The cream sauce was slightly sweet, and perfectly complemented the vegetables and chicken, which was nice and tender.  

My daughters, who eat gluten, split an adult portion of lasagna, which disappeared quickly.  I know I will have no problem getting them to go back to Maggiano's again.  They loved the bread, their lasagne, and the lemon cookies they had for dessert.  

Currently, the only gluten free dessert item is the creme brulee, which is described as a rich and creamy vanilla custard with a hint of citrus, caramelized sugar crust, topped with fresh strawberries.  As far as creme brulees go, this one was really good, and I enjoyed the addition of fresh berries.    We ordered the large portion, which was plenty for my husband and I, plus I was able to share some with our girls.  The chef I spoke to mentioned that they might be adding other gluten free desserts in the the next year.  

Maggiano's in Orlando has beautiful banquet rooms, that would be great for a business event, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, or other special occasion.

We have dined at Maggiano's in Orlando before, and always had a great experience.  A couple of years ago, I remember ordering and enjoying their gluten free pasta with the vodka cream sauce that is on their gnocchi.  Besides the lobster carbonara and the Famous Rigatoni 'D', other dishes recommended by my blog readers include the Alfredo sauce, meat sauce, beef tenderloin medallions, and the filet mignon.  One blog reader mentioned that some locations have gluten free garlic toast, but the Orlando restaurant does not currently offer gluten free bread.  Another mentioned that they make everything from scratch, and love to make something special for celiacs if you call ahead.

I forgot to ask what brand of pasta they use, but Maggiano's just messaged me on Twitter that they use Barilla.

December 1, 2014 

A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner at Maggiano's with my daughters.  They ordered gluten free penne with Alfredo sauce, and I chose the beef tenderloin medallions with portabella, balsamic cream sauce, and garlic mashed potatoes.

My girls loved their pasta, and I was happy that they were willing to order the gluten free version so I could try it.  If you are a fan of Alfredo, you will definitely enjoy this dish.

My beef tenderloin was so tender and flavorful with the balsamic cream sauce.  I was also really impressed with the garlic mashed potatoes.  I loved everything about this dish, and would order it again. 

For dessert, the chef I spoke to said I could have creme brulee, or spumoni made up of cherry, chocolate, and pistachio ice cream.  Wanting to try something different, I went with the spumoni, which was one of the best I have ever had.  I especially enjoyed the chunks of cherry and chocolate in my ice cream.  The portion was huge, but I managed to eat every last bite.  

You can read more about Maggiano's Little Italy, and view their restaurant locator and menus on their website here.

Because the service and food were so amazing at Maggiano's, I will definitely be adding it to my list of Best Restaurants for Gluten Free Dining in Orlando.

April 25, 2015

Maggiano's Little Italy will unveil a gluten free menu on April 30th!  The menu will feature new items, like cheese ravioli and a flourless chocolate cake.  You can read more about this new menu, and the precautions taken by Maggiano's to avoid cross contamination here.

Update - the Maggiano's in Orlando does not have the new gluten free menu.

January 28, 2017 Update

You can read my food reviews from the Maggiano's in San Jose, California here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Maggiano's Little Italy?


  1. Thank you for taking the time to do this review. Have you heard anything about the gluten free menu? I can't find anything online.

    1. I have not been back since they adopted it. Hope to eat there soon.