One of the types of cuisine every celiac firsts mourns after their diagnosis is Italian, as it is typically dominated by wheat flour-based foods like pizza and pasta. However, in recent years, Italian chefs are figuring out new ways to create old favorites, and 500 Cucina has done exactly that!
If you have never been to this neighborhood gem in Inglewood, you should really check it out. And, with the weather we’ve been having lately, you might even snag a spot on the street level patio so you can enjoy your meal al fresco while the sun goes down.
While many restaurants offer GF options, not all of them that I have found actually do it right, and make celiac diners feel completely safe. 500 Cucina does. They take great care in educating their servers and kitchen staff, and the chef himself will often come out to the table to chat with you about options and the measures he takes to ensure no cross contamination will occur.
The other thing to love about 500 Cucina is that almost the entire menu can be made or modified to be gluten free. This is SUCH a treat, since a lot of Italian restaurants claim to have GF options, and then really, it is just a caprese salad, and a meat/fish option. All of the pastas, pizzas, and mains can be made GF, as well as most of the appetizers at 500 Cucina!
My most recent experience here was on a warm August Friday night, so we requested a spot on the patio. We were seated almost immediately after arriving (we had made a reservation in advance) and started to look over the menu.
We decided to share a couple of appetizers amongst the table, and then order our mains separately. We settled on the prawns, and the funghi tortufo dish. While we waited for the apps to come out, we sipped on prosecco and wine.
I had let the server know that I was celiac, and she reassured me that she would immediately let the kitchen know. As I had dined here many times before, I was confident that I didn’t have to worry, and I was right. When our apps were brought out (by a different server as ours was busy with another table), that individual also already knew I was celiac and made mention of the GF preparation of the apps when he dropped them off.
Both of the apps we ordered were GF, and the only thing that had to be modified was what the mushrooms were served with, as they typically come with crostini. I had mentioned that I was happy to have the mushrooms on their own, but the server dropped off an entire basket of GF pita slices that the chef had made fresh for me using his GF pizza dough, which I thought was very considerate! The mushrooms themselves were delicious – and if you like truffle cream sauce, this would be a dish I would highly recommend! It sounds overly indulgent, and while the taste is incredible, it isn’t too rich, and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.
The prawn appetizer was delicious as well! The prawns were sautéed in Sambuca, fennel and chilies and the flavors are mouthwatering. We all agreed that they had some bite, so if you do not like spicy, you might want to stay away from this one. For us, it had just the right amount of heat, and also tasted great with the GF pita we had left over from the mushrooms.
For my main course, I ordered one of the two gnocchi options on the menu – the one that was done with smoked bacon and arugula in a white wine sauce, finished with truffle oil. I obviously was NOT counting calories that day, haha! I mean, it’s not often I get to enjoy gnocchi while dining out, so I was going for it. It was incredible. I mean, if I had a choice for my last meal on earth I might order this exact thing, kind of incredible. The other two people in our party also had pasta dishes, but I did not taste them as they both ordered regular, rather than GF. Note that either of them could have been made GF as well, so I’ve included photos of them too.
We decided to forgo dessert for specialty coffees instead, which were a nice way to cap off the evening. Overall the service was great, food was delicious, and I am always impressed when the staff are educated about celiac disease & safe food handling to avoid cross contamination, and when I am somewhere that I can order just about everything off the menu. I have been here many times, and will continue to frequent this lovely spot. A few extra pluses in my book – they have live music every Saturday night, a $25 corkage fee so you can bring your own wine, and, if you purchase wine or bring it in yourself, you can take the bottle home at the end of the meal if you don’t finish it (does that ever happen?!) Finally yet importantly (especially for those winter months), you can order for delivery via SkiptheDishes!
I highly recommend 500 Cucina for all of my fellow celiac friends, and those that are gluten eaters – it is equally as amazing for all!
www.opentable.com (for reservations)
www.skipthedishes.com (for delivery)