This is a long overdue post to rave about one of the best gluten free dining experiences we've had in a long time. I know...none of us did much in the way of dining out for way too long during the height of the pandemic. But still, I'd put Nebo Cucina & Enoteca up against any gluten free dining experience in any big city. It was that memorable.
Another reason it was memorable was because it was not just a meal, but rather a party to celebrate my mother-in-law's 80th Birthday. She didn't want to be involved in the planning, per se, preferring things to be a surprise, but she did request it be held in Boston, which is where she grew up. And, of course, we wanted to find a venue that was very "gluten free friendly," if not completely gluten free, as my mother-in-law (and my son and my sister-in-law) are all Celiac. We wanted my mother-in-law and the other GF folks to be able to eat everything we ordered, without having to "miss out" on anything served.
Ideally, we had hoped to avoid chain restaurants and to find a great Italian restaurant, because who doesn't love an Italian family-style meal?!
Doing a quick search for "gluten free restaurants Boston" turned up various lists, and I immediately recognized the name "Nebo." I remembered it had been very favorably reviewed when I published my GlutenFreeTravelSite website and app. So I visited Nebo's website to see what I could learn.
Saying I was both surprised and impressed with the number of choices for gluten free diners is an understatement -- their gluten free menu is huge! And they weren't just stripped-down versions of Italian specialties. No, this was the real thing. There was gluten free fried calamari, breaded veal cutlets, pizza, and a variety of different pastas. In fact, many of their specialties like the fried calamari and breaded veal are made with gluten free breading for everyone...there aren't two versions. And, of course, you'd never know from the taste that they are gluten free.
We made our selections from their Event Menu, selecting some appetizers to be served during cocktail hour at the very cool bar area and multiple courses to be served when seated. Each course wow'd the guests, most of whom had no idea that everything they were eating was gluten free! (Keep in mind, this is not a 100% gluten free restaurant...we just wanted all our selections for this event to be GF. And they are always VERY careful about the preparation of food for their gluten free guests.)
Adding to the charm of this restaurant were a couple other things:
1.) It is family owned and run. Sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta opened the restaurant in 2005 to honor their Italian roots and their mother's recipes. Not only were both ladies there for our event, they were the ones communicating with me...and actually working their magic in the kitchen. They could not have been more welcoming, and I learned that they initially started offering gluten free options many years ago when they learned a friend of theirs had Celiac.
2.) The space itself is awesome and even won an architectural award. Carla and Christine played in instrumental role in the initial design. The materials used lend the restaurant a hip, modern, and industrial vibe, but it's still quite elegant. The high ceilings lend a wonderful feeling of spaciousness, which I'm sure was enhanced by the fact that, because of the time of our luncheon, we had the place almost to ourselves for most of our event. There's also plenty of lovely outdoor seating (with heat lamps), and Fall is the perfect time for dining al fresco.
The bar area itself is a great place to hang out, and we began our celebration there, enjoying gluten free pizzas and friend calamari along with wine and cocktails.
Once seated, we started with the Rucola salad and platters of Grilled Vegetables. Next came the Pasta Bolognese (we wanted to choose something basic, even though they have 7 other GF pasta options!). Our "Secondi" course consisted of two other perennial favorites, done especially well by Nebo: the Pollo Al Limone (sautéed chicken, artichoke hearts, capers, lemon butter, and parsley) and the to-die-for Vitello Milanese (crispy veal cutlet, arugula, pachino tomato, aioli, and shaved parmesan).
Nebo even has a gluten free flourless chocolate cake with cappuccino gelato for dessert, but we instead opted to have a special gluten free ice cream cake made and brought in by one of my mother-in-law's cousins who is in the ice cream business.
I literally can't wait to go back to Nebo next time we are in Boston. This restaurant alone is actually worth scheduling a trip to Boston for, especially if you're gluten free and appreciate authentic Italian cooking. The toughest part will be deciding which of their many amazing specialties to order, so I recommend going with a big group and ordering plenty of dishes to share! They're located at 520 Atlantic Avenue between the Greenway and Harborwalk.
**All photos provided by Nebo Cucina & Enoteca. I was too wrapped up helping to host the event that I completely forgot to take photos!