Imagine this – a Celiac-friendly, neighborhood Italian restaurant with gluten free cocktails, baguette, ravioli, tortellini, pizza, salmon, chicken, and the most wonderful desserts in NYC. Is it a dream? No, it’s Bistango.
I have been in love with Bistango for years. In fact, it was the very first gluten free restaurant that I visited when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Within a week I had dined there three times and struck up a conversation with the owner, Anthony. I told him of my diagnosis and thanked him for the care he shows for the Celiac/NCGS community, because being there feels easy and normal. He gazed at me earnestly and replied, “I’m glad you’re okay.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Bistango is and will always be my favorite restaurant.
Anthony is the perfect host – kind, charming, attentive, an absolute gentleman. Whether he’s greeting new guests at the door, chatting with regulars (I swear this man remembers every conversation he’s ever had), or personally serving a special birthday dessert, Anthony welcomes you into his restaurant as if it were his home.
This is where Kristopher and I celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, pretty much any Saturday night, NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group events, and it’s also our go-to spot to take family and friends from out of town. It simply makes everyone happy. Kristopher often recommends that his gluten-eating friends order gluten free for the night to prove to them how amazing gluten free dining can be.
(Strawberry Basil Martini)
I was thrilled to meet my friend Julie of Goodie Goodie Gluten Free for a blogger date to sample Bistango’s winter menu. Here a sneak peak at our evening….
Upon receiving our menus we were asked if we have any food intolerances. Of course, they are very knowledgeable about Celiac Disease. For guests with many food sensitivities, the staff is more than happy to accommodate with upmost precision. Substitutions and special requests are not a problem. Julie ordered wine and I a blood orange Arancia (a change from my normal Strawberry Basil Martini – our waitress always remembers that’s my favorite). We chatted away while munching on the best gluten free baguette in town.
(Arancia: tequila, blood orange, lime & Gluten Free Baguette, olive oil, and garlic)
Anthony sat down with us to chat, and our entrees arrived. The chefs cook fish and vegetables beautifully here. Stunning salmon, artichokes, and mushrooms cooked to perfection. I also highly recommend the Butternut Squash & Ricotta Ravioli with Brown Butter & Sage, Tortellini with Spicy Marinara (insider secret – ask for it if you don’t see it on the menu; they often have a secret stash in the back!), the pizza, and any pink snapper dish on the specials list. I’ve tried a dozen different dishes, and everything is incredible.
(Grilled Scottish Salmon, artichoke, shitake mushroom, cauliflower puree, lemon)
When you visit, ALWAYS save room for dessert. I’ve sampled the Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Lava, Black Raspberry Gelato, and various other seasonal desserts. As a dessert connoisseur, I will confirm that these are the best desserts in the city, beating out all the gluten-filled desserts from my pre-Celiac days, too.
Do I have to choose just one? An impossible decision, so I usually end up with my favorite – Flourless Chocolate Cake, a special of the evening (insider secret – ask for it if you don’t see it on the menu; it’s a favorite of many regulars!). Silky and rich, you won’t find a better flourless chocolate cake (trust me on this – Kristopher and I have scoured the city). I went a little chocolate crazy that night and also ordered a glass of Bicerin, an Italian gluten free chocolate liqueur – thick, rich, an incredibly elegant treat. Some diners pour the liqueur onto the cake! Where else would you find a gluten free dessert combo like this?
(Flourless Chocolate Cake with whipped cream and raspberry sauce & GF Bicerin, Italian chocolate liqueur)
If you are traveling to NYC, put Bistango at the top of your list. It will be a gluten free night that you will always remember. And New Yorkers – hop on the subway and head over. Tell Anthony I sent you. I’ll see you there.
Bistango is located on 29th St & 3rd Ave in NYC. It is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. For more information, menus, and reservations visit www.bistangonyc.com/29thstreet
Here’s a sneak peak at Bistango’s upcoming holiday menu highlights:
- Mussel Soup
- Rack of Lamb with Chianti Reduction
- Fillet of Sole, Artichoke Puree, Lemon Butter
New Year’s Eve
- Watercress Salad, Roasted Pear, Strawberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- Cream of Mushroom Soup, Oysters, Shiitake
- Roasted Black Cod, Sauteed Greens, Port Reduction
- Grilled Fillet Mignon with Lobster Tail
- Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
- An assortment of champagne & specialty cocktails
Disclaimer: I enjoyed a comped meal, but I was not paid to write this review. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend restaurants that I personally love, trust, and will return to.