An Italian restaurant that really gets it!
La Riviera Trattoria (421 Piaget Avenue (Rt. 46E), Clifton, NJ) is one of the area's best Italian restaurants. I had just started eating there when I finally gave up gluten in 2006 and really never thought I'd be back. Needless to say, I was thrilled (for me, not her) when the head chef/owner's daughter, Maria, showed up at the Northern NJ Celiac Disease Meetup last year. I say not thrilled for her because she had just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I say thrilled for me, because she worked with her father to put together a fantastic gluten free menu. Oh, and I don't mean gluten friendly (you know, grilled chicken parmigiana, an entree without pasta, etc) they've got gluten free pasta (le veneziane), gluten free/dairy free bread crumbs, and gluten free flour. (At first glance it isn't obvious from their posted GF Menu but most items are/can be dairy free as well. They'll even do GF/DF Chicken, Veal or Eggplant Milanese!)
In the past year, Maria has hosted three Gluten Free dinners at the restaurant. They open special on a Monday night since the crowd fills the whole dining room. Not only that but the entire clientele these nights are on a gluten free diet (or there in support of someone who is) and we sit family style at large tables, so I got to meet and talk with a lot of new people.
|A platter of Chicken Milanese at La Riviera Trattoria in Clifton, NJ|
For those of us who could manage to squeeze in just a touch more, dessert was a raspberry sorbet, fresh fruit and melon, and imported Italian GF cookies. As always the entire meal was amazing (and with the exception of the antipasto, veal parmigiano and cookies) dairy free as well.
Sadly, the gluten free veal meatballs aren't on the regular menu, but I wasn't the only one pestering Maria to add them at the end of the evening!