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Restaurant review: Don Antonio by Starita's gluten-free pizza and much more

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Gluten-free menu at Don Antonio by Starita

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Located in Buckhead in the space formerly occupied by STG, Don Antonio by Starita has brought a slice of New York to Atlanta with its Neapolitan-style gluten-free pizza. They are the only (that I know of) restaurant in metro Atlanta making gluten-free pizza fresh to order with caputo flour from Italy. The news gets even better because they make all of their gluten-free items in a separate room with dedicated ingredients to prevent cross contact. They even have a dedicated fryer to make appetizers.

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Most pizzerias use frozen gluten-free crust, so deciding to try Don Antonio's pizza was easy. Their gluten-free offerings (marked on the menu with a 'g') are numerous and include hot appetizers, salads, five dressed pizzas, and dessert. The ingredients used to make their pizzas include housemade Buffalo mozzarella, their signature red sauce, and fresh vegetables and meats.

Their wheat-based pizzas are prepared in a wood-fired oven, but sadly our pizzas are not due to cross contact. The gluten-free pizzas are prepared in a dedicated commercial oven. The good news is the pizzas are huge (one size) and each of the four pieces could easily count as two. There also is no up charge, but they cost anywhere from $15 - $21, which is in line with the wheat-based costs.

Each time I have dined to Don Antonio's I ordered appetizers, pizza, and dessert and I ate until I was too full to move. I tried their Montanarine hot appetizer, fried puffed dough topped with Starita tomato sauce. The dough was light without being greasy with a great pillowy texture and a bright red sauce. I also tried the Rosette appetizer, an order of four pizza dough knots filled with roasted veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and peppers), which is almost too much if pizza has been ordered.

Now, let’s talk about the main attraction, the pizza. I ordered the Ortolana, which is topped with artichokes, mozzarella, basil, romano, and extra virgin olive oil. To me, the pizza could have used a couple more minutes in the oven because it was a little soggy in the middle. This was my first time trying Neapolitan-style pizza and it much chewier than I expected, but it wasn't heavy or weighed down by the generous toppings. The pizza's edges were nice and crispy and the mozzarella was lightly charred and delicious. The sauce is the perfect consistency (not to thick or thin) and the notes of spices/seasoning aren't muddled by the toppings.

Dessert should not be skipped at Don Antonio's because it offers reconstructed funnel cake. Dough is lightly fried and then topped with Nutella and sugar to create a gluten-free dessert to remember. It is very light and more than enough for three people to share. It does take a little extra time for this dessert to arrive at the table, but it is well worth the wait.

Don Antonio's offers a full bar including cocktails made with fresh juices and an impressive wine menu. The restaurant is a great meeting place for drinks and appetizers, or after an event for drinks and dessert. The lunch menu offers a significant price savings verses dinner. Our family of four spent $100 on lunch because we didn't order from the lunch menu, so don't repeat our mistake. We left stuffed and we had an armload of leftovers, so the trip to Buckhead was definitely worth the expense.

Have you tried the gluten-free pizza at Don Antonio by Starita? What was your experience?

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