Gluten Free at La Polenteria, London

As soon as I walked into this friendly restaurant on a sunny day, I just knew I was in for a treat. I was dining alone so I took a seat facing out on Old Compton Street for a people watching lunch. The middle aged man – also dining solo on the table behind me – was tapping away on his laptop as he ate while swaying gently to the Italian pop playing.

The entire menu at La Polenteria is gluten free. When I asked about gluten free options, the waiter proudly bounced over to the window and pointed to the Coeliac UK gluten free accreditation sticker in the window.

La Polenteria Menu

La Polenteria offer a great lunchtime specials deal. 2 courses for £9.75.

I was intrigued by the bruschetta so chose that for a starter. It smelt so deliciously fresh I couldn’t wait to try it.

Bruschetta made with polenta

I wasn’t able to resist the Italian sausage and barlotti bean with polenta for my main course. This dish arrived pipingly hot. The ratio of polenta to sauce was just right. The polenta was deliciously creamy and I sat wondering why I didn’t cook polenta like this at home instead of potato mash.

Deliciously hot and creamy polenta

I’ve thought about going to La Polenteria a few times recently when I’ve been in the West End but each time decided against it because I thought polenta for lunch might be too heavy. In fact it was not the case at all and I felt plenty of energy after lunch to do what turned out to be a lot of walking that afternoon.

If I have one piece of feedback, I’d ask they make it more clear on the menu that everything on the menu is gluten free, even the lasagna and even tiramisu as I didn’t realise this until the waiter told me. Maybe it was just me (probably!) but I think the menu stating they had gluten free tagliatelle underneath the other pasta dishes made me think the dishes above contained gluten. This is how menus offering gluten free pasta in addition to the regular pasta often look like this. So it would be good to be clearer on the menu on this point.

Cost: Lunch deal: £9.75 for 2 courses
Location: 64 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UQ
Would I go back?: Definitely! Great value, super friendly and delicious gluten free food.


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  1. Vikki Cook
    June 8, 2015 / 2:28 pm

    I’ve actually only begun eating polenta recently but so far I’ve found that it makes a great alternative to potatoes and rice when you don’t want something that’s starchy. I must admit this place sounds rather like my idea of heaven right now! It looks as though there are also good vegetarian options (most places I come across seem to be able to do gluten free OR vegetarian; rarely both), and those options look bloody amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Vikki Cook