On Thursday night I had my family and friends up to my apartment for a mid-week get together. We had a couple of drinks at my place and then walked over to Basil Leaf Cafe, in Lincoln Park. If you’re gluten-free (or just a pasta enthusiast) and in the mood for some home cooked Italian food, the is THE place to go! Wait till you see this food porn.
Basil Leaf Cafe isn’t limited in their gluten-free options, a concept I’ve become accustomed to when dining out at places typically focused on glutenous items (pizza, pasta). Once we sat down I mentioned my gluten-free restrictions, and the waiter quickly brought me my own gluten-free bread, and a separate olive oil for dipping. The fact that wait staff are aware of cross-contamination made the entire meal extremely enjoyable.
The bread was spongy and slightly sweet- a tad different than the crusty bread being served to my non-gf friends and family, but still tasty. I thoroughly enjoyed being included in the pre-app snacks.Another pleasant surprise, the fried calamari is gluten-free! In excitement we ordered two to share.A close up of this beauty…crispy and fresh, I ate way more than my fare share.For the first time in a long time I had trouble choosing my entrée! The entire menu is marked with a GF next to the dishes that can be safely made gluten-free. When I saw GF gnocchi I knew I had to try it, so I went for the gnocchi served with sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts in a creamy basil pesto sauce. I did ask to remove the sun dried tomatoes from my order… I’m not a fan. The biggest win of the night? My dad (who is not particularly fond of gluten-free anything) tasted my gnocchi and said it was so perfectly cooked that he made my mom try a bite as well! I think this here might be the biggest compliment any gluten-free pasta could ever receive.Even though we were stuffed, I asked my friend Taylor if he still had room for dessert…That look says it all- does it not? We split some sort of chocolaty gluten-free dessert… it was good but next time I think I’d order ice cream. My mom got the last tiramisu and said it was delicious (however, not gf). After we finished off the wine, we said our goodbyes and with bellies full of herbs and cheese, waddled all the way home.I had an amazing time sharing Basil Leaf Cafe with my friends and family! If you do end up wanting to try it out, I recommend booking ahead! Reserve a table here.