NEW YORK, Restaurants

Mario Batali Goes Gluten-Free!

9 Comments 23 July 2007

OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Ave.
NYC 10003

How is that for an attention getting headline?! Well, Mario himself isn't necessarily gluten-free, but he evidently wants there to be gluten-free options for his sensitive diners. I had the pleasure of dining at OTTO with Sloane of Allergic Girl, and Jennifer of Jennifer Ate. Otto is one of those Italian restaurants you would normally walk by, look at the menu, and after seeing mostly pizza and pasta options decide to skip it. Well, Allergic Girl got the scoop that they had gluten-free pasta and will even carefully cook a pizza for  you if you bring in your own gluten-free dough! After some trial and error, which is always the case due to the learning curve involved at the beginning of these gracious efforts of trying to accommodate the gluten-free, we all ended up enjoying a deliciously safe dinner!

Chris, the general manager, told us that, "Mario sent out the word to all of his establishments that they are to have gluten-free pasta on hand." I think I can speak for the entire gluten-free community when I say:


I just want him to know that with his fame and  this gesture he is setting a standard for the rest of the hospitality industry to follow and we really, really  appreciate it. Of course, with an empire as big as the Batali Restaurant Empire, this will take time for everyone involved in your dining experience to completely grasp.* So, let's remember our good manners and the virtue of patience when we are guests at some of the most notable restaurants in NYC. We want them to welcome us with open arms instead of perceiving us as impossible critics. They don't have to  accommodate us, but it's so very nice that they want to   accommodate us.

*Fortunately, even if you find that some of the other restaurants don't yet have the gf pasta available, being that the nature of a lot of Spanish tapas and Italian dishes (such as risotto) are naturally gluten-free you will not be disappointed. Call ahead and ask questions (preferably with a manager) and the more they hear from us as customers requesting these options then the more they will be able to fine tune their system for delivering them.

My cucumber and fennel salad was excellent!

We all voted the Pasta alla Carbonara (foreground) with cream, bacon, egg and cheese along with, off the menu, La Capricciosa (background) which consists of proscuitto, pancetta, caramelized red onions in a tomato sauce as the best plates on the table. My nectarine sorbet (not pictured ) was delicious and the olive oil gelato was suprisingly tasty! It tasted like caramel.

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9 Comments so far

  1. 1
    Dan Ruth says:

    I found your site today by reading an article ( in today’s NY Times and doing a few click-throughs and I’m SO glad I did. This site is a wealth of information for me, Keep up the good work. I’ll keep coming back for more!

  2. 2
    Phil Steckley says:

    Hey – great site guys with a lot of useful GF info. I am a celiac living in Rochester, NY (originally from Canada), so this has been very helpful! Does anyone know what is up with Sterk’s bakery? I have been purchasing their bread at Abundance coop in Rochester for the past three years and over about the last month or so they have had none in stock. The store manager has tried to contact them via phone and email, but they have not responded. I miss their bread 🙁 Any help on this would be great. Thanks again for the great site!

    Rochester, NY

  3. 3

    Hi Celiac Chicks 🙂
    I’m celiac and have been Gluten Free seven years but follow The Specific Carbohydrate Diet which also excludes rice, starch and sugar. I know GF is more liberal. Still I have links to some great sources of GF baked goods and cookbooks and recipes that we use. I was not able to sign up for receiving messages and just got a page of code. Your website is awesome!

    Please would one of the chicks contact me if you want the links?

  4. 4
    Ellen A. says:

    That is terrific news! My daughter just moved to NYC and we’ve visited once thus far – we ate at Risoterria and it was fantastic. Now, to think of eating GF pasta in a restaurant – well, that is just fabulous! Can’t wait to try it on our next visit to my daughter. Thanks for the post about it.

  5. 5
    Kelly says:

    Hi Dan! Nice blog. You should post a description of it in the CeliacChicks Around the World blog with a link.

    Phil- Sorry, I don’t know anything about Sterk’s. Let us know if you find out.

    Carol- I’ve heard about the SCD and find it fascinating. Please email me the links. Thx. I’ll try to add you manually to our mailing list.

  6. 6
    Kelly says:

    Ellen- Love your blog! You know you are listed in our side bar, baby! You’ll have to let us know next time you’re in town. We’ll have to meet up. 😉

  7. 7

    Dear Chicks, this is great news. Now can you (we?) get Mario to do a cooking show that features gluten-free pasta? And risotto? And …? I’m waiting for an Iron Chef challenge where the secret ingredient is “no gluten from wheat, rye, and barley”. A challenge where the chefs need to prepare gluten-free treats. Do you have the connections to do this? [I think I’m going to blog this comment myself.]

  8. 8


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Kelly Courson


Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.

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