Dazzled By daMaurizio

Visited On: February 14, 2012
Gluten Free Menu: No
Server Knowledge:
Server Attitude:
Variety of Gluten-Free Options: 1/2
Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating:
Price Range: $20-$35 per person (plus tax, tip, and drinks)

Years ago, I visited daMaurizio in the Brewery Market and the experience has stayed with me. I remember feeling like I was stepping into Italy, into an older time where things moved slower and dinner was an experience. That, however, was the pre-Celiac days, so Mike and I decided to see how they handled special food requests.

We made reservations for Valentine’s Day, and as soon as we walked in, that feeling of being swept away was there. Rose petals decorated the floor, small flower arrangements were on each table, and even the walls featured Valentine’s decorations. We were quickly seated and given menus; although there were a number of specials available, the regular menu was also available.

We ordered a bottle of wine and I asked what the server would recommend for me. Her answer floored me: “You pick what you like and we’ll make it work.” With gluten-free pasta on hand, and everything being made from scratch, my options were limitless. This made it hard to pick from their massive, delicious menu!

Eventually, Mike settled on the cappasante alla pancetta ($14.95) for an appetizer, and the arista di maiale con fegato grasso ($29.95) as a main meal. (In English, that’s sautéed scallops with glazed pork belly and prosciutto-wrapped tenderloin.) I chose a radicchio salad ($11.95) for the appetizer and an appetizer-sized linguine all’ aragosta (pasta with a lobster tail). We requested that both of our appetizers and meals be made gluten-free.

While we were waiting for our meal, the standard bread basket arrived. Although they did not have gluten-free bread, she did check with us before placing it on the table, which was nice. Our appetizers weren’t long arriving, and they set the bar high. After Mike took his first bite of his scallops, he announced that everything on the plate was delicious. “I could eat this for my entire meal,” he announced. “Just piles and piles of these scallops!” This from someone who barely likes scallops! My salad was equally excellent and very Italian: warmed radicchio with Parmesan, olive oil, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar. There were a lot of tastes going on, and the temperature of the salad was different than we are used to in North America, but both things combined for a real taste treat. Even better was that Mike and I could share our dishes without worrying.

We made short work of our appetizers and soon after, our main meals arrived. I was really glad that I had ordered the appetizer-sized portion of pasta as it was huge! Mike’s tenderloin and accompanying sides were also a good size. We both dug in and found that the main course was just as delicious as the appetizer. As a bonus, my pasta had chunks of lobster in addition to the lobster tail. We enjoyed chatting over wine and sharing our meals – something that many people take for granted, but that we are often unable to do when eating out.

After the main course, it was time to decide on dessert. Unfortunately, their dessert options are limited to a trio of crème brulée, a poached pear (ew), or a selection of their Italian ices. (Sadly, their flourless chocolate cake has a small amount of flour in it.) Mike opted for a strawberry dessert that was on special while I ordered the crème brulée (both $9.95). Mike didn’t enjoy his as much as I enjoyed mine, likely because of the balsamic vinegar. However, the crème brulée was absolutely fantastic. The chocolate was very different, as was the caramel sprinkled with sea salt. This time around, I was the one who didn’t want to share!

Dinner was pretty pricey, but it was absolutely worth it for Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for a place to sweep that someone special off their feet (especially if they have food allergies), daMaurizio is the place to go.

1496 Lower Water Street (Brewery Market, Halifax)
Web Site: http://www.damaurizio.ca/


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