March 13, 2014

A Night Out at Fiorentino's Cucina Italiana

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining a handful of social media influencers for a special dinner at Fiorentino's Cucina Italiana, a cozy little Italian restaurant found along Ashland Avenue in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.

Earlier this year I found out they offer a large selection of homemade gluten free dishes, including fresh gluten free gnocchi and ravioli. When I was invited to join the group of other Chicago foodies to sample their offerings, naturally I jumped at the chance.

The meal started out with two appetizers I've never had before, carpaccio. The paper thin slices of beef and tuna plated with fennel and arugula were mouth watering. Something I probably would have never thought to order in the past.

The Carpaccio di Tonna was thinly sliced seared ahi tuna with arugula, capers, and shaved fennel tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. So fresh and flavorful.

The Carpaccio di Manzo was just as tasty. Thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin with mixed arugula, and capers, topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

Two savory salads followed. One with beets, one with figs. Both fresh and light.

Our Red & Golden Beet Salad was combined with arugula, shaved fennel and goat cheese in a tangy citrus vinaigrette. I was never a super big fan of beets, but this salad convinced me otherwise.

The Mission Fig, Apple, and Blue Cheese Salad was my favorite. Served with mixed baby greens and caramelized walnuts, I just loved this one.

The pasta came out next. Gluten free gnocchi and ravioli! It's a total treat to have a gluten free pasta other than spaghetti or mostaccioli and these dishes really delivered.

The Gluten Free Stuffed Gnocchi were little pockets of goodness filled with ricotta cheese and covered in a creamy tomato sauce.  Eve over at Gluten Free Nosh and I were talking about how hard it is to make a good gluten free gnocchi that isn't gummy or chewy. Fiorentino's were so perfect, they practically melted in your mouth.

The Gluten Free Portabella Mushroom Ravioli was served in porcini mushroom sauce with a touch of brandy cream. Divine.

Dessert followed. The gluten eaters had a deconstructed cannoli, us gluten free eaters had pistachio and spumoni gelato. The cannoli looked so good, we asked Katie, our server, if we could just have the filling with some berries. It might just be my new favorite dessert.

Photo credit: Eve Becker

It was a great evening and I can't wait to go back with my gluten free friends or family. Gluten free Chicagoans, if you haven't checked out Fiorentino's amazing gluten free cuisine, go eat up! You will not be disappointed.

What's your favorite gluten free Italian dish?

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