I went for dinner tonight at a really nice restaurant in Ottawa. As the only completely gluten-free restaurant in town, Caprese was number one on my list of places to try. I have to say, it was really nice not to even have to ask about cross-contamination! Everything they serve they make in house, including sauces, dressings, and desserts so there’s no fear of hidden gluten. In my experience, making everything from scratch is more important than organic or local foods, since you can control the ingredients. The menu was nice and varied, with many options that were naturally gluten-free and some with substitutes.
The owner, Luigi, also owns the wood-burning pizza restaurant across the street, Forno Antico. Over the past few years people have been coming in asking him for gluten-free pizza. However, they don’t make anything gluten-free there because it’s impossible to avoid cross-contamination. When Rasputin’s Cafe closed after a fire, Luigi opened Caprese in its place. A few of his friends’ wives had Celiac disease and asked if he would be offering any gluten-free dishes. He decided if there was going to be some gluten-free items, it might as well be 100% gluten-free. People still asking for pizza will have to wait, there is none available at Caprese since the kitchen is too small for making it.
I read glowing reviews about the bread they make and they were well-deserved. I haven’t actually tried gluten-free bread before, but after making muffins with almond and coconut flour I knew it would be tricky to get a good texture. This bread was delicious, perfectly moist and crumbly and I enjoyed my first piece of bread in over 3 years.
We chose the Melenzana rolls as an appetizer, eggplant with ricotta cheese in a tomato sauce. It was nicely spiced and very flavourful.
My mom ordered the Linguini Pescatore, a corn and rice blend pasta served with seafood.
I ordered Principessa, veal and asparagus in a cream mozzarella sauce, with roasted potatoes and vegetables. It was delicious. Again, just a perfect amount of spice and flavour.
I wasn’t going to get dessert, but when they said they had a flour-less, dairy-free chocolate cake I decided I had to try it. Surprisingly it was served without any globs of icing, and was nicely rich without being overly sweet.
For anyone in Ottawa I highly recommend going to this restaurant even if you don’t eat gluten-free. The dishes tasted wonderful, true home-cooking style. And if you are eating gluten-free or have food allergies that you need to be careful with, then you certainly have to eat here at least once. I really hope we get more restaurants like this in Ottawa. Tonight was such a normal dining experience, the first time I’ve had that in years!