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Aug 20, 2013 06:58 PM

Italian without Garlic?

I know it sounds odd, but I'm looking for an Italian restaurant to take guests in October. Since they moved to Florida they haven't had good Italian in awhile and requested it. However I am running into some problems. I need place that can prepare dishes without garlic, takes reservations, and preferrably in Cambridge (but willing to go to North End). Entrees <$20. Is this possible? Would Gran Gusto work?

Thanks in advance

And going along with the no garlic, do you think that Oleana or the Helmand would work?

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  1. When I go to any Italian restaurant, I always ask if they can prepare the dish with no garlic or go very light on the garlic, and they can usually accomodate. I can't stand the stuff- traumatized tastebuds long ago, a story for another time. But my point is that the special request re: no garlic should not be a major problem if you are making reservations in advance. I would think most places, especially non-chains, would be able to make a pot of sauce sans garlic for your group if they want your business. Ditto, on the request that the bread not be "garlic bread." Keep it simple, but give them ample notice on the need. BTW, I have no complaints about the Italian restaurants I have sampled around Florida...
    And good luck!

      1. re: Taralli

        Looks good. I'll have to add to my list of possibilities. I have two sets of parents to entertain in Oct, both wanting Italian. Luckily only one with limitations.

      2. Mrs. Alcachofa is not a huge fan of garlic, and she loves Gran Gusto and Grotto.

        I think as long as you stay away from the cliche-ridden spots in the North End, you'll be fine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Alcachofa

          Thanks. I was leaning towards Gran Gusto. I have had a pleasant meal there. Just worried that since I'm dealing with a garlic allergy and not a dislike, that it might be difficult.

          1. re: viperlush

            i like Gran Gusto and would add La Morra as they seem flexible to me and likely to be attentive to an allergy, as would Erbaluce.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              Flexible is what I'm looking for. I really need to stop looking at these menus, I'm getting hungry.

        2. Americans do overdo the garlic. Marcella Hazan, the queen of Italian cooking, was interviewed on a visit to Boston a few years ago. Here's an excerpt:

          Q: What is the biggest mistake we [Americans] still make in cooking Italian food?
          A. Too much garlic! Too much ruins everything. We say in Italy that what you keep out is as important as what you put in.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BobB

            I would have thought the answer was overcooking pasta ...

          2. I wildly guess that Oleana will be tougher, since many purees and whatnot are made ahead of time. With good Italian, they'll have several dishes with ready-yet-unassembled core ingredients. On the other hand, I'd also imagine that Oleana would enthusiastically, accurately report about garlic in dishes.

            How about Olivio, in Arlington?