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Lebanese Taverna Cafe
1101 South Joyce Street
Arlington, VA 22202


1.0 Palms
1.0 Palms
Not a good GF experience at Pentagon Row in Arlington

Reviewer: Cgannon from Washington, DC
Reviewed on Dec 05, 2016

I've eaten at this location of Lebanese Taverna before safely, and I've also eaten at the location in Woodley Park safely, several times. The last time I ate at Pentagon City, the waiter was incredibly helpful and made sure to double check with the kitchen that everything was gluten free and not cross-contaminated. I also can't have dairy, soy, eggs, or corn, and the allergy list they have there is always very helpful to let me know what to order.

However, tonight when I arrived the manager at Pentagon City had no idea what was gluten free (or what celiac was), and told me that the allergy menu was incorrect. I ordered one item that was clearly marked gluten free (and that I've eaten several times at both locations safely), and he told me it wasn't "always" gluten free, that sometimes it was, and sometimes it wasn't. He also seemed to not be able to read the allergy menu and kept pointing to the things that were checked "gluten exposure" and telling me that those were the things that WERE gluten-free. I had to explain to him several times that he was reading the allergy list incorrectly.

When I asked to speak to someone in the kitchen, he got aggressive and said that he was the only person I could talk to in the entire restaurant because the people in the kitchen don't speak English. I told him that if the item was only "sometimes" gluten free, that meant it should NOT be listed on the allergy menu as gluten-free, and that if they were falsely listing things as gluten-free that were not gluten-free, it could make someone like me dangerously ill. Only once my husband stepped in and said that they should change the allergy menu and not list things as gluten-free if they were only "sometimes" gluten-free did the waiter agree that, yes, they probably should edit the menu.

In the end, I did not get sick because it seems that the dish was prepared as it always is, but it was a nerve-wracking experience, and I am not inclined to return because of how rude they were to me and others in the restaurant with celiac that night. When I walked in, a teenage girl with celiac had just had the same experience with them and was about to choose not to eat with her group, rather than risk it, because the manager was telling her also that he had no idea if he could accommodate her or what was gluten-free. It seems that the awareness at Lebanese Taverna is only as good as the staff assigned on duty the night you happen to choose to eat there.

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