I have heard great things about the 100% coeliac friendly restaurant Manifesto in Rathmines. However, great things was not my experience.
The first time I visited Manifesto I was very excited. It ended in tears, quite literally. We received our starter which was a shared antipasta dish. We had stressed gluten free on order so we thought everything would be great. Just to preface, it typically takes 20-30 minutes for me to have a reaction to anything. We ate our starter and waited for our mains. By the time we received them the pain in my stomach was getting pretty bad. I was hiding it because I thought it couldn't be the food. Needless to say I didn't eat a lot of my main course. We waited quite a long time to catch someone's attention for the bill and left. I was so disappointed and we had bought cinema tickets already. Not only was I having a reaction but we lost money as I simply had to go home because I felt so bad .
I tend not to revisit restaurants I have a reaction in, like most gluten free dieters, but I decided to give Manifesto another shot a few months later. Mistake number two.
We went back and this time they told us they had gluten free bread so I ordered bruschetta. It arrived without a knife. I asked for a knife and had to ask for a sharper one. I was literally stabbing my bread with the knife and trying to pull it apart with my fork. After I managed to get a morsel to my mouth I thought my teeth were going to shatter from chewing it. It was too much work for a meal I was paying for. When asked why I had left so much of my starter I informed the server that the bread was rock hard. She shrugged and said, "Well it's gluten free." This gives the impression that she didn't care and that it was normal. On top of this my main course was bland and we were again left waiting on the bill for a long period.
They're motto is: "From pasta to pizza we are 100% coeliac friendly." They are definitely not friendly. Overall staff were rude and the food was terrible.
It is not often that I give a restaurant a hard time but this one frustrates me. Particularly as I reacted there and it comes so highly recommended. I would have been convinced to try again if it wasn't for a twitter interaction I had with Manifesto. It just showed that there customer service levels need major work. They followed the @dubglutenfree twitter account and I made a statement in relation to them that displayed my discontent with their restaurant but demonstrated that I'd try them again despite this. As any responsible restaurant using social media, they responded but stopped and unfollowed the account instead of moving to DM or asking for my email to fully address the grievances raised. They did not respond to the last question at all. The still have not.
UPDATE 18th FEBRUARY 2014: We spoke to Manifesto's owner Lucio, a lovely charming Italian man, who discussed our issues in full and invited us to Manifesto over the coming weeks to try again. He has advised he will have his Italian gluten free flour in stock and will definitely change our minds!
Fingers crossed guys!
Manifesto are available on twitter and Facebook.