The first thing you notice when walking in to Bistango is Anthony: tall, handsome and smiling. He greets you, introduces himself, and basically beams at you until you can’t help but beam back. He makes it very easy to say, “Hi, I have food allergies.” The first time I went in to Bistango, and every successive visit, Anthony gave me his full and undivided attention and said, “Yes of course, tell me what you need.”
I thought, this can only go well.
Bistango is a NYC GF staple for my fellow NYC GF bloggers (Celiac Chicks, A Gluten-Free Guide, Gluten-Free NYC, Gluten-Free Fun and Gluten- Free Guidebook). From the Bistango website: The Gluten-Free Option. Recently, we've focused our attention on our customers' evolving healthy lifestyle and dietary requirements. Introduced five years ago, Bistango continues to offer its customers the option of tasty and quality-made gluten-free pastas, ravioli, pizza, bread, desserts and beer.
As I’ve written before GF doesn’t necessarily equal allergen-friendly. I wish it did, but you just can’t count on it. So I don’t run to
GFRAP approved or GF blogger approved spots. I may make my way there eventually but a GF-identified resto has to win me over like any other restaurant.
I’ve been to Bistango four times now, each time has been better than the last. The food is classic home-style Italian: antipasti, salads, pasta, meat, fish and sides. However, it’s so homey, I started ordering off menu after the first visit. It’s that kind of place. Also, I’m that kind of Allergic Girl, I order off the menu at a lot of places. Nothing crazy, but something I don’t see and that I’d like. And it's been yum every time.
The service at Bistango is attentive but unobtrusive. I’ve lingered there for way past my meal, never feeling rushed. Talk directly to Anthony about your dietary needs and if you ask for ingredients, ask Anthony. He knows every ingredient in every dish. For anything they don’t make, Anthony keeps the labels. Yes, he has them in the back and is happy to share. A BIG plus!
For example: Last week when I was there with Hilary of Gluten- Free Guidebook, Anthony asked us to try some cake that he had just purchased from a Kosher, GF/DF bakery, Heaven Mills. I asked him about ingredients and he brought out the label as well as the manufacturer's contact info. I called the manufacturer's cell from the table. We had a lovely chat about his ingredients and nut-free-ness. According to the owner of Heaven Mills makes only one GF item with walnuts and employs GMP: good manufacturing practices. I felt safe enough to try the delicious brownie cake at the table and was richly rewarded with dessert at a resto, a rarity as you all know.
Bistango is a delish neighborhood find and GF staple. I see why my bloggy colleagues love it so. Anthony makes everyone feel like a regular, which creates lots of regulars. Every patron is like Norm! Go in, you'll see what I mean.
415 Third Avenue
at 29th Street
Manhattan, NY 10016