When I heard that Lungomare, an authentic Italian restaurant in Oakland, had a gluten free menu, I knew I needed to contact them. It has been many years since I have traveled through Italy, and equally as long since I had experienced those intense flavors. Lungomare is located on the Bay, with incredible views overlooking the water. As long as it isn’t raining, I highly recommend sitting outside. The views are incredible. (Just make sure you wear sunscreen. I ended up with a little sunburn 🙂 )
Lungomare opened a little over a year ago in Jack London Square. This area is in the middle of a revitalization and is considered a fun, hip, up and coming area in Oakland. I invited Kim Rice, our Bay Area Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) Leader, to join me for lunch and help me sample menu items.
I enjoyed getting to know Executive Chef Craig. His daughter recently became gluten free for medical reasons. Chef Craig wanted her to be able to eat all of those fun foods her friends can have, so he has been experimenting in the kitchen to create delicious recipes for not only for her, but his gluten free guests as well.
Chef Craig has always been drawn to cooking. His grandfather was a chef in Sicily and had a restaurant. Chef Craig worked in restaurants while attending college. He noticed he enjoyed working in the restaurants more than what he was learning in school. Chef Craig decided to commit to becoming a chef and has worked in restaurants ever since. He traveled a lot over the years and ended up in the Bay Area in the late 1990s.
Chef Craig became aware of the needs of gluten free diners while working in Chicago. He noticed the restaurant was losing customers because they had no gluten free offerings on their menu. He began to experiment with flavors and different brands of gluten free pastas. It was really important that a gluten free dish had the same flavors as a regular dish. He was able to convert almost 90% of his recipes to gluten free. The one thing that still alludes him is making a good gluten free focaccia bread. (He promised to keep working on this and to call me when he has it perfect.)
Lungomare’s main goal is to bring a taste of authentic Northern Coastal Italy to Oakland. Chef Craig cooks in true Amano style, everything is made by hand. Chef Craig sources every ingredient from local producers to represent the true taste of Italian cooking. He makes all of the salamis from scratch, rotating 11 to 12 recipes. On any given day, you will find a representation of four to five different house made salamis on the menu. And best yet, all of their salamis are gluten free. The restaurant even features two to three homemade sorbets each day. (And they squeeze their own fresh fruit juice for these sorbets, the blood orange sorbet was incredible.)
Pictured above is a delicious veal, pork, and beef bolognese featuring Baia’s gluten free pasta elbows. This was one of my favorite dishes that we sampled. The flavors melded together beautifully. I am a big fan of this gluten free pasta. It held up well and stayed al dente, even after sitting in the sauce for awhile. (I will also note, although the pasta is not made on dedicated equipment, neither Kim or myself had any reactions after eating at Lungomare.)
Gluten free pizza using Cup 4 Cup flour. This pizza has fontina cheese, caramelized onions, and chanterrelle mushrooms. Chef Craig’s recipe is delicious. To check out Chef Craig’s recipe, click here.
Gluten Free at Lungomare
- Waitstaff trained about gluten free.
- Separate work space for gluten free pizzas.
- Use Cup 4 Cup in all gluten free recipes, including pizza crusts.
- Gluten free pasta is made out of rice and corn, and comes from local Oakland pasta company, Baia. Baia pasta is not certified gluten free. They do clean their equipment and sterilize everything before they produce a run of gluten free pasta.
- Cooks wash hands before making gluten free orders.
- Clean pans and utensils used to make gluten free dishes.
- Amazing gluten free baked good available for dessert.