Bar Bites: Italian

 

When my mind just can't be settled by anything besides pasta, pizza, and more. 

Nebo Cucina and Enoteca

Location: Boston, MA

Eat: Not only does this fun and lively Italian spot offer an entire GF menu, but everything I've had is delicious, every time I visit! Partial to the calamari as it's hard to find safe fried food in general, but I also love their pizzas with wonderful toppings as well as their standard pasta dishes. The menu is big and full of variety! A great location for a date night or a group, I've had fun at both bar seats and a table near the window (people watching!). This restaurant is welcoming and extremely knowledgeable about gluten free dining which is quite a treat and puts them into the "worry free" category when selecting a location for dinner.

Il Casale

Location: Lexington, MA

Eat: A local favorite for my own family, as well as everyone I've told to go once realizing their GF menu is amazing!! So many options from appetizers to entrees and even a couple desserts, I can barely contain myself when ordering, and yet always go for the same dishes: mixed olives, burrata, grilled zucchini, and a dish of the shrimp risotto. But let's be honest: everything offered on the GF menu is great and their GF pasta can easily be subbed in for any pasta dish on the main menu. Get yourself to the burbs and enjoy! Great cocktails, too. :)

La Morra

Location: Brookline, MA

Eat: It has been said that Tom Brady loves the pasta bolognese here more than anywhere else. This must have been before his diet changed and is now claiming he's never eaten a tomato (or won't eat them). Too bad for him - the food here is incredible!! Many GF options, including pasta, and an atmosphere that's warm and cozy no matter the time of year. The friendly staff and owners are often available to chat, and I've had a joyful experience each time we visit. I tend to bring friends as it's a fun spot for a couples date night with the wine list being unreal. That being said, my husband and I have also dropped in for bar seats to enjoy beautiful food and a glass (or two) of wine for an impromptu delicious evening.

Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse

Location: Chestnut Hill, MA (and others)

Eat:  While they boast about steak, I must admit I've never had it! A chain restaurant needs to be pretty awesome for me to go more than once or twice, and have several appealing qualities besides a few good menu items, which thankfully is the case with this restaurant. Davio's boasts a large GF menu which looks close to identical to the main menu and I really love their GF rolls - scrumptious!! My "problem" is that once again, there are so many great options that I have a hard time choosing and end up ordering many ( too many?) dishes. Most recently, we sat at the bar (our go-to for Davio's) and shared an awesome GF mushroom pizza and then I had a small GF pasta with shrimp. Yum! Incredibly difficult to hold back from the fun dessert cart as they offer one of those seriously good mini chocolate cakes that's soft and warm in the middle. And it's gluten free! Love this restaurant for the vast GF menu, fun atmosphere, friendly staff, and close attention they pay to food allergies. Thumbs up!

Oath Pizza

Location: Brookline, MA (and others)

Eat: This is a relatively new fast-casual pizza chain that prides itself on super fresh ingredients and quick food. Love it. And while I was very wary of trying it for awhile due to the shared prep space for the regular and GF pizzas, I finally decided to try it on a very not-busy weeknight. Man, I am thrilled! The staff swap their gloves, and make the GF pizzas on separate pans and use a separate cutter to slice up the pie. The pizzas are truly delicious, sized for an individual, and really, you can't go wrong! I would advise to go during a not too busy time of day, since the risk of cross-contamination is there, but I have had no issue the several times I've eaten there. What I find most fun about this spot is the variety of pizzas - we love the Walley (pesto!) and the Muffled Trushroom (truffles and mushrooms, oh my!). And it's notable to mention that literally everything on the menu is gluten free except for the pizza crust itself - all sections of the menu are labeled GF as applicable. I'd recommend this place for a quick dinner before a road trip (done), an easy place to bring friends with kids (ideas!), or even a snazzy little place to duck into for a late night bite (late being around 9pm or 10. I'm not 22 anymore!). 

Teatro

Location:  Boston, MA

Eat:  One of the wonderful restaurants that is part of Columbus Hospitality Group, this restaurant features rustic Italian fare in a fabulous location. Right near the theater district as well as Boston Common, Teatro is situated nicely for wherever your evening takes you after dinner. I love this place for the seriously delicious food, fun atmosphere, great staff, and varied menu that has a lot to offer on the “gluten free required” side of things.

My husband and I have been several times for cozy seats at the bar as well as (shock!!) tables in the lovely dining room. One of the few places I’ll happily choose a table over the bar, the dining room scene is just as fun as the front bar section perhaps due to the excellent waiters and lively nature of the guests surrounding you. Fear not for a stuffy, quiet atmosphere; Teatro offers incredible food in a setting that lends itself to elegance, but has a happy, upbeat vibe that allows you to have a lot of fun while enjoying so many scrumptious plates and terrific wine and cocktails. 

Wondering what to order? I have a few favorites that I almost always order, but I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. We love the antipasto, mussels, carpaccio, and crudo to begin the evening ( a couple of them, not all - but live it up!). The mushroom risotto is heavenly delicious and my husband has tried several of the homemade pasta dishes which he said are all excellent (as I watched him eat in awe and slight jealousy). In regard to the main course, I have loved the swordfish and scallops equally, and I have stolen bites of the ribeye, cooked perfectly as well. At one point in time, their truffle fries were incredible; however, one of the more recent times I went I was told that cross-contamination would be an issue so I wept (briefly) and ordered a different side dish. I do appreciate the knowledgeable staff! For dessert, I must admit we have rarely ordered it having consumed everything else I’ve mentioned, but there seem to be a couple GF options and always ask your server if additional ones can be made to be gluten free. 

Teatro is a great spot for a date night, a drop-in for a weeknight dinner, or even a couples-night-out for the vibrant atmosphere and varied menu that’s sure to please everyone at the table. Great place, great staff, and so many delicious gluten free options - a winning combination!