Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Restaurant Review: La Riviera Trattoria (Clifton, NJ)

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
While meeting new people is always nice, the real draw is the food.  This past dinner we started with Cold Antipasto (a selection of fine Italian hams and cheeses), Mussels Marinara, a Bean Salad, and giant Veal Meatballs.  [Note: this was two weeks ago at this point and if I close my eyes, I can still taste the meatballs!]  We even had oven warmed GF/DF dinner rolls.  This was followed by a pasta course (penne in La Riviera's amazing sauce).  Up next was a small salad.  And then the main event: each table received platters of Chicken Milanese, Eggplant Marinara, Veal Parmigiana, and poached fish.

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!
La Riviera Trattoria on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting such an awesome review of La Riviera Trattoria, I had never heard about it before, and added it to our listings of Gluten Free in New Jersey


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