Saturday, May 21, 2016

Don Antonio by Starita Review

I've been to New York City two other times before this visit, but had so far failed to eat pizza in this city known for it's distinctive style. On this third visit, I decided to make it a mission to seek out gluten and dairy-free pizza, and all roads pointed to Don Antonio by Starita in the theater district, a block or two from Times Square.

Don Antonio is a joint venture between two world-renowned pizza chefs, one in New York and one in Naples. With a goal of crafting Neapolitan pizzas that are indulgent and authentic, the quest for quality cuisine starts from the ingredients up, as mozzarella, prosciutto, and other ingredients are curated from Italy itself.

Arriving around 6pm, the restaurant was crowded, but not overly so. As the night went on, the wait time grew, but we got a table in fifteen minutes or so. The restaurant is narrow, but cozy, with a nice atmosphere for enjoying good eats with friends or family. The staff are really friendly and helpful, never rushing us along despite the high demand. 

Naturally, a pizza restaurant is an inherently risky choice for someone both gluten and dairy-free, but Don Antonio is the rare breed that gets everything right to minimize cross contamination. While the kitchen is shared, the pizzas are prepared in a separate, dedicated area and fired in a dedicated oven.

The menu itself is easy to navigate. Vegetarian and vegan items are marked, and the gluten-free menu is a dedicated page where each offering is more tantalizing than the next. For those who are interested, gluten-free beers are on hand. 





The only gluten and dairy-free pizzas (without requesting to removing cheese) are the marinara and vegana pizzas. 



I debated between the two vegan pizzas ultimately deciding on the vegana because it was laden with vegetables- which were lacking from my diet that day. It arrived and the wait staff announced it was gluten-free before setting it down. I was impressed by the massive scale and beautiful presentation of the pizza. If you didn't know otherwise, it'd be hard to pick this pizza out of a lineup of gluten-full pizzas! 

I was in love with my pizza after only one bite. The crust, charred on the bottom thanks to the wood oven was chewy and crust-y, the epitome of what Neapolitan pizza should be. It had nice air pockets and was supportive of the toppings, and earned two solid thumbs up from me, a notoriously picky pizza eater. The tomato sauce was simple but allowed the simpleness of fresh tomatoes and aromatic olive oil shine through. The veggies were all sautéed and were all fresh and flavorful. The pizza was pure, unadulterated perfection, and easily nabs a spot as one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten- gluten-free or not. 




The truly amazing thing about Don Antonio is that the pizza game is strong, the gluten-free expertise is high, and the location and atmosphere combine for one truly unforgettable New York pizza experience (even though it's not traditional New York pizza). Although not dedicated gluten-free, I would eat here in a heartbeat again and again (they also have delivery service too!). Whether local or tourist, this is worth a maddening trip near Times Square, because you'll leave with a stomach full and smile on your face.

The pizza is pricy, but it's worth it for a splurge, a celebration of food, friends and family. I know I will be dreaming of my pizza for months to come, and will make Don Antonio one of my first stops on a future trip to the City.


The Basics

Address: 309 W 50th Street, New York, New York 10019
Cuisine: Pizza
Ideal For: Lunch, Dinner
Price: See prices on menu above
Special Features: Reservations not accepted. Order online here.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible, restaurant seating is tight.

Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

Don Antonio By Starita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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