Gluten Free Italian Food at Bistango


Since 1988, Bistango has been one of the best kept secrets on Manhattan’s East Side. No longer a secret, Bistango’s reputation for providing appetizing gluten free Italian fare in a casual atmosphere has made it a reliable neighborhood staple.

As soon as we sat down the waiter asked if anyone at the table had any food allergies or intolerances. When I told her I was gluten free, he explained that (whether it explicitly stated so or not), every single dish on the menu could be prepared gluten free, including pizza, pasta and more. OMG. I’m in heaven. I started the meal with two pieces of complimentary gluten free and dairy free bread, with garlic and oil to dip.


We shared the calamari appetizer. Sautéed calamari in a light tomato sauce topped with crispy rings; this was one of the best calamari I’ve had in a long time. 


The most exciting thing about Bistango’s menu: stuffed pasta! I can’t tell you the last time I had stuffed pasta. Bistango has a number of gluten-free ravioli options, including a dairy free eggplant ravioli as well. With your choice of sauce – marinara, pink sauce, spicy marinara, cream, or pesto – you can have just about anything you want here. 


All pasta dishes can be made with gluten free penne for an extra $2.  Jeremy had gluten free penne in a short rib, tomato ragu sauce and we both really enjoyed it. 


If you’re not in the mood for pasta or pizza, the menu also includes dishes such as chicken, grilled skirt steak, salmon, etc. 

Pan-seared sockeye salmon with eggplant ragu.
Pan-seared sockeye salmon with eggplant ragu.

Dessert was the real star of the show. With 9 gluten free desserts to choose from (only one of the 10 dessert items is not gluten free), how is one to decide?! A few of the options are also dairy free; I love all the GF & DF options Bistango has!

Key Lime Pie and Mousse

Gluten Free Desserts include:

Torta Di Formaggi – homemade cheesecake, almond crust

Torta Di Cioccolato – single layer, flourless chocolate cake

Crème Brulee – custard, brown sugar

Torta Di Carota – carrot cake with buttermilk crème frosting

Key Lime Pie – Florida key lime, almond crust

Gelato – black raspberry, coffee, chocolate, vanilla

Sorbetti – (also DF) lemon, chocolate, mango

Trisome – (also DF) organic mixed nuts, cashew cream, mixed berries

Mousse – (also DF) almonds, cacao, cashew-cream, dates, espresso, coconut


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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.