Friday, October 22, 2010

Iorio Restaurant Review

"I had given up on finding gluten-free Italian food in a restaurant," my dining companion said as we both perused the menu at Iorio's.  The server had just finished explaining the gluten-free options, which was practically everything on the menu.  They serve gluten-free pasta as well as gnocchi, and most of their battered dishes were GF as well.  (I apologize for not thinking to ask whether the frier is shared with gluten-containing foods).  It was difficult to choose from the menu.  I'm more accustomed to having only one option per restaurant!  We ended up splitting some dishes so we could try more things.

The calamari appetizer was excellent.  It was cooked just right - still tender inside - and the GF breading was nice and crispy.  I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan, which was also breaded with a different crispy breading.  While my pride will not let me say that it was better than my own recipe for the dish, I thought it was good.  My friend Deanna ordered the gnocchi, which was very tender and served in a tomato sauce.  Both dishes were a bit on the salty side for me, although Deanna told me later that she didn't notice, and she's used to salty foods.  I like salt, and with things that are deep fried I expect it. I don't mind salt to a point, but when it starts to interfere with tasting the tomato, I find that the dish loses balance.   On the other hand, I remember sauces being very salty in Italy, so I can't in good conscience dock them points for saltiness.  It's authentic!

I learned about Irio's gluten-free dining options while checking out the interactive map on glutenfreepdx.com.  I made a reservation even though it was a Wednesday, which I would recommend doing as they were busy.  They were very friendly on the phone and asked if there were any food allergies they would be accommodating for the meal.  Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and the ingredients of the dishes.  However, the service was a bit haphazard in other respects.  They lost my reservation, and it took them some awkward moments to recover from that.  It also took the server a long time to take our drink and meal orders.  I got the impression they may have been short-staffed that night.  In spite of these small hurdles, I would absolutely go there again.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and I felt confident in their knowledge and ability to prepare delicious gluten-free Italian food.

7 comments:

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I just ate at this restaurant a couple of weeks ago when I ran the Portland Marathon and thought it was great! I can't remember what pasta dish I had, though... It was a simple tomato based sauce that they served over GF noodles and it was so freaking good!

Rachel said...

I must admit... after you said "gf gnocchi" I lost consciousness, so I have to read the whole thing again.

Gina said...

Yep. the gnocchi was sort of a sucker punch.

Rebecca said...

This restaurant is good for vegetarians, too! We have been there a few different times and have always had something delicious. (Had you never accompanied us on those nights, Gina?!)

Gina said...

Rebecca, I had never been to Iorio! They do have lots of vegetarian items. We should all go there sometime.

WhatsForDinner said...

Sounds wonderful! I am on the hunt for more GF friendly restaurants here in San Diego. At least we have Sammy's as a "quick" option. Any one who knows of anything in SoCal near the Carlsbad area, hit me up.

Amy said...

thank you for telling us about this place. I would love to dine there when I am in Portland.