Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankie's Ristorante in Uxbridge

This weekend we took a drive out to Uxbridge, Ontario to take our boys for a ride on the train.  While there, we decided to try out a restaurant that we had heard about when we grabbed their card at the Gluten Free Expo in Toronto. 

Frankie's Ristorante is a 100% gluten free restaurant serving traditional mediterranean food.  On top of that, they make all of their food in-house, and are able to customize your order, at no extra cost, to accommodate any allergy.  The restaurant is peanut and nut free.  They are a member of the Canadian Celiac Association.  This, to me, is pretty incredible.  In addition, they use ingredients sourced from local farms, and highlight which farms are featured wach week on a board in the restaurant.  I couldn't wait to visit and see what was on the menu.

The restaurant was easy to find, with parking readily available.  We arrived before noon on a rainy Saturday, and walked into a small but pretty restaurant.  The space has large windows, a beautiful wooden bar, and a cozy fireplace.

If you look closely, you can see the list of featured farms on the blackboard.

  I was beginning to worry about how kid-friendly it would be, but was relieved when our server brought a kids' menu to the table with a handful of crayons for my son. 

I was intrigued at the idea of a completely wheat and gluten free restaurant serving mainly traditionally gluten filled meals, like breads and pastas.  We decided to order an appetizer, a main and a dessert to really get an idea of the quality of their food.  We started with the lunch sampler platter, which came with bread, salsa, hummus, chutney and raw veggies.

The bread was what I was most interested in.  It was toasted and buttered, and was the perfect texture.  It wasn't dry or crumbly.  My son liked it so much that he was asking for more when we ran out.

For our son, we ordered the kids' combo.  For $10, he got a drink, a main course and a dessert.  My son has decided that he only wants to eat pasta "with green sauce," so we ordered him the pesto pasta.  My husband ordered the chipotle cream pasta and I ordered the pasta served in a mushroom cream sauce. 

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta

Pasta with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Goat Cheese
Again, we were pleasantly surprised.  The pasta was cooked perfectly, and the sauces were creamy and had good flavour.  My husband also ordered a gluten free beer from their drinks menu, which I'll cover in a separate post.  He chose La Messag√®re, a beer from a Quebec brewery.

For dessert, my son had gluten and dairy free gelato.  My husband and I ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding.  It was completely decadent and delicious. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I really, really liked this restaurant.  The service was friendly and the food was great.  It's a place that I would recommend to anyone who wants a good meal at a nice place.  That it caters to those with multiple food restrictions or allergies and still manages to offer great food options should serve as an example to other restaurants looking to expand their menu items. 
I was most surprised by the price.  The kids' meal was $10.  Pastas were $12.50.  The sampler platter was $8.95.  These are reasonable prices.  In fact, they're lower than what one would pay for lower quality food at some chain restaurants.  Lunch for three people, including appetizer, mains, dessert, a beer and a coffee ran us less than $80, taxes included.  We left the restaurant stuffed, but happy. 
The best part was watching my son eat ANYTHING he wanted, and not have to worry that he was going to be cross-contaiminated and get sick.  For those who don't deal with this everyday, it may not mean much, but to those of us who do, this is such a rare experience.  Unlike most kids who just grab food without thinking, our 3 year old now asks if what he wants to eat will hurt his tummy before touching it.  At this restaurant, we could happily tell him that he could eat whatever he wanted.  That was a great feeling!

Frankie's Ristorante
1 Main Street
Uxbridge, ON L9P 1P7

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