Handmade Corn Pasta at Ristorante a Mano!

Visited On: June 1, 2012
Gluten Free Menu: No
Server Knowledge:
Server Attitude:
Variety of Gluten-Free Options:
Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating: 1/2
Price Range: $15-$25 per person (plus drinks, tax, and tip)

I’ve walked by Ristorante a Mano many times and have always wanted to eat there. After seeing a tweet a few weeks ago that said they make their own corn pasta every morning, we finally made a reservation last Friday night.

Since Ristorante a Mano is run by the Bertossi group, who also own The Bicycle Thief (read our review here) and il Mercato (which is also gluten-friendly, but we haven’t reviewed), we were expecting an authentic Italian experience, and we weren’t disappointed. Italy is everywhere in this small restaurant in Bishop’s Landing. (It’s diagonally across the courtyard from the Bicycle Thief, but less upscale and more family-friendly.)

Before ordering, I asked the waitress what was gluten-free. She responded by asking me what I was interested in, which means I don’t have information on all the selections available. Out of the 18 appetizers, she recommended two: the antipasto or the polenta. The salads are made with the pizzas and are therefore highly contaminated with flour, which was disappointing. We ordered the polenta ($15) for the appetizer and I asked what pasta options were available. She had to go back to the kitchen and ask what type of pasta they made that day. It turned out to be the penne, which means that two of the 15 pasta options could be made gluten-free. I chose the penne in white sauce, baked, minus the breadcrumb topping ($15). Mike chose the cannelloni ($16). (I did not ask about the main dishes, but about half of them looked promising. Their pizza is not available gluten-free.)

The polenta arrived quite quickly and we dug in. I found it a bit doughier than I was expecting, but the mozzarella, tomato, and pesto topping was delicious. The only unfortunate thing was that a waiter came by and scooped away our dish before we were finished dipping! (He was so fast and efficient that we didn’t have time to say a word!)

Our main meals weren’t far behind the appetizer. Both were delicious, although Mike’s was slightly overcooked. The highly-anticipated corn pasta was excellent: it is definitely the closest thing to wheat pasta that I have tasted. Both portions were filling but not stuffing, so we opted for the dessert menu.

Of the 10 dessert items, two were gluten-free. (As of this writing, all of their flavors of gelato are gluten-free.) On our waitress’ recommendation, we ordered the Cuppa Irlandese: a sundae made of cappuccino and stracciatella (chocolate chip) gelato, Baileys, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. It was huge, and I was glad that we had shared one order! Mike declared it was the best part of the meal, and I agreed.

Despite the fact that gluten-free options are few and far between, the corn pasta was definitely worth the trip, and the atmosphere was fantastic. I’ll be heading back to Ristorante a Mano soon to try out some of their other kinds of pasta.

Ristorante a Mano
1477 Lower Water Street (Bishop’s Landing, Halifax)
Web Site:


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