Zio’s Italian Kitchen in Georgetown, Texas

I love writing about it when restaurants advertise and produce amazing gluten-free food. And how hard is it when most food is naturally gluten-free? And I really am bummed out when they advertise gluten-free but fail the reality test.

Zio’s Italian Kitchen recently opened here in Georgetown and the newspaper advertised gluten-free options. Here is their ‘gluten-free’ menu on their Texas website –> GLUTEN FREE MENU. The menu begins with a single appetizer option, baked formaggio, a blend of five cheeses – topped off with grilled Italian bread; more about that later. The salads look OK as do the entrees. No desserts are listed. If you click on the dessert menu you see that all of the desserts are based on baked goods, cake, lady fingers, cheesecake with crust and standard cheesecake recipes often contain a tablespoon or two of flour.

The menus we were handed at Zio’s did not have gluten-free options listed. The waiter assured me that we could make it work. We had a newspaper coupon for a free appetizer so we thought to give it a try. I pulled out my gluten-free menu printed from the internet and before I could say a word the waiter recommended the bruschetta – “you just don’t eat the bread”. Mental alarm bells went off like crazy. I tried to ask a question about the formaggio but could never get a word in edgewise. How much confidence can you have in ordering from someone who doesn’t know formaggio from bruschetta? Isn’t ordering bruschetta and ‘not eating the bread’ sort of like ordering birthday cake and not eating the cake? We decided to skip that little drama as well as the appetizer.

There is no gluten-free pasta or bread available never mind dessert. For a salad you can request that they hold the croutons. For an entrée you can have your food piled on top of your choice of vegetables. I’ve been doing that for years and do not consider it a special gluten-free menu. My entrée choice served on spinach came in a huge bowl plainly meant to contain a generous serving of pasta. It looked pathetically small although it was enough food that I was no longer hungry.

I didn’t get sick – is that a recommendation?




  1. Barb said

    Did you check out the amount of sodium and fat that their food contains? That would be another thing to consider. Their “gluten-free” menu looked good, though.

  2. Mija said

    I tried out Zio’s for the first time last weekend. Very yummy gluten free menu BUT I agree with Barb the sodium in their food is unbelievable. A few of their dishes have over 12,000 mg of sodium. 😦

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