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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Restaurant Review: Dantessa Italian Restaurant and Bar - 86%

The German and I took a week’s vacation at the beginning of July, and were in Ottawa for Canada Day. As the gentleman at the front desk of our hotel said “It’s something every Canadian should do in their life time.”

We were very fortunate to be right downtown, only a 10 minute walk away from the Parliament Buildings. I had attempted to scope out some gluten free eats close to where we would be sightseeing (as we were not renting a car) and only succeeding in finding one place with purposefully gluten free dishes. Coincidentally, it was located directly across from our hotel!

Both the German and I were so impressed by Dantessa, we opted to eat their twice during our two day stay (and it had nothing to do with the proximity to our hotel, as being downtown there were numerous other restaurants in close proximity).

The restaurant interior

We stopped by for a late lunch on Day 1, and we both ended up ordering pasta. Nearly all their pasta can be made gluten free (stuffed pastas are the exception) and are corn based, which I prefer as I find the texture is much closer to traditional pasta. I chose the Spazia pasta; fettuccine in a cream sauce with shrimp, chicken, pancetta, asparagus, and asiago cheese. It was the first dish in a long time that had everything I loved in it, and I settled on it pretty much right away (which entertained the German, as I usually take a fairly long time to decide). He decided on the Gorgonzola; angel hair pasta with gorgonzola cheese, green onion, and sundried tomatoes.

The Spazia

The Gorgonzola

The server was very knowledgeable about Celiac disease and its gluten free requirements; he also mentioned that their thin crust pizza can also be made gluten free. He assured us he had personally tried most of their gluten free food himself, and with the degree of accuracy he was explaining things, I would have been inclined to believe him.

The sauce was wonderfully cheesy and creamy, and the chicken had a nice smoky taste and clear marks from being char-broiled. There were four large shrimps in the dish, cooked to a perfect firmness, and they didn’t skimp on the pancetta at all. I personally would have liked more asparagus in the dish (it’s one of my favorites!), but I know to a lot of people it can be overpowering, so I think they left it at a reasonable amount. The German seemed to enjoy his pasta equally, and I would have loved to try it, except he didn’t order his gluten free.

The second time we ate here, it was for dinner the next day. I was very intent on trying the pizza, but the pasta special seemed to call my name. It was a special, so not found on the menu; Fettuccine again with a cheesy cream sauce (I can’t remember the cheese they used, but it didn’t have the bite of the asiago, it was pretty mellow) with sun dried tomatoes, green onions, shrimp, scallops, and squid. This time, since it was dinner, we were provided bread (although, alas, it was not gluten free, so the German was more than happy to eat my portion).

After we received our pasta, ate a bit and noticed that they had forgotten the squid! It was quite busy that night, and there seemed to be only one waiter, so I wasn’t able to flag him down, resulting to have to go physically get him. He was very apologetic, and took my pasta, and with no time at all it came back with a double portion of squid, on the house! It was a wonderfully nice gesture, although that amount of squid was a little much for my taste. The shrimp and scallops were wonderful, sweet and tender as they should be. The squid itself was a little gummy and tough, but I think that was just the speed it was cooked and sent out of the kitchen. The pasta itself was perfect, and I would definitely order the dish again.

If you are sightseeing in Ottawa, and are anywhere near the downtown area, I would highly recommend this little gem for delicious quality Italian cuisine and good service. Celiac or not, this is well worth 100% of the 10 minute walk from Parliament Hill.

Atmosphere 7.5/10
Service 9 /10
Presentation 8/10
Taste 9/10
Variety of Gluten Free Dishes 9.5/10
Value 8.5/10

Dantessa Italian Reataurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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