Bistango at The Kimberly Hotel, an Italian Staycation

Opinion of the gluten free Italian restaurant Bistango in new york city

If after paying the rent of your dignified wardrobe you don’t have much of a budget to travel, don’t despair: Invest in staycation experiences and travel the world without the hassle of the airport controls.

Bistango at the Kimberly Hotel is an Italian-staycation-meets-culinary-experience that impressed me greatly. After a particularly stressful week, I was invited to taste their summer menu and it ended up feeling like a mini-break in Italy.

Summer in New York can feel oppressive. The heat, the MTA delays, the
smells, and even the unpredictable tropical showers can make anyone feel
like they want to escape New York. Lucky for all of us gothamists, the city offers some insanely good restaurants where the heat and the noise seem to disappear. Bistango at the Kimberly Hotel is one of those carefully curated establishments where after a couple of appetizers you completely forget you’re living in one of the most hectic places in the world.

Bistango is an Italian restaurant with a twist: They accommodate every single food intolerance under the sun. With a menu carefully crafted to include some of the best Italian dishes married to international flavors, they have something for everybody. 

review of Bistango at The Kimberly hotel

Do you have a gluten intolerance or a celiac disease? It’s not a problem, as Bistango‘s menu can be entirely created with gluten-free pasta. Is lactose or a particular spice your declared enemy? The servers will me most happy to accommodate your request, indicating the dishes best suited for you or eliminating any problematic ingredients. Actually, after being greeted, the first question your server asks is whether you have any known food allergies or intolerances. I really can’t say enough good things about this idea. As a long-time intolerance sufferer, I find it’s increasingly important to offer options for those of us who can’t eat certain ingredients, especially in a world where increasingly more people suffer from digestive ailments!

In order to get a taste of their summer menu, I decided to forget any preconceived notions about a diet and sample what I thought to be some of the best dishes in the menu. Thanks goodness I was wearing a very forgiving Uniqlo skirt, because I ate so much that my favorite pair of jeans would have declared war on me!

italian appetizers at Bistango

Appetizer: La Quercia Prosciutto Flatbread

Let me start by saying that I generally don’t like appetizers. As I’m quite petite and have some digestive issues, I tend to eat small quantities of food several times a day. Appetizers, especially if greasy or cooked in canola oil, tend to cut my appetite and put my stomach off. But who could resist ordering a flatbread, especially in a restaurant with a whole flatbread bar and a real wood-fired oven?

It was a good call. The flatbread was deliciously crunchy, the ingredients were ridiculously fresh (oh the mix of roasted garlic and herb ricotta with baby arugula!), and the La Quercia prosciutto was really tasty (believe me, this is a real compliment from a Spaniard from Spain. We don’t mess around with our Serrano ham. This prosciutto was excellent.)

review of Bistango at The Kimberly hotel

Main Courses: Lasagnette and Linguine

Let me tell you a dirty little trick: If you ever go to a new restaurant, and you have an experienced server taking care of you, ask him questions, especially about what he considers to be the specialties of the house. I usually never go wrong when I trust their knowledge.

close up of a ricotta lasagna at bistango

My lasagnette was no exception. An avid Italian food eater, I thought I had literally tasted everything pertaining to their cuisine in my travels and my previous dining experience. Boy, was I wrong! Bistango’s twist on the traditional lasagna consists of a loosely layered dose of goodness with classic Bolognese and ricotta for an airy, lighter feeling. Just a few high-quality ingredients that tricked me into devouring the whole thing while I usually go for smaller portions. I really can’t describe how incredible it was to eat a perfectly gooey and decadent lasagna that was so close to my Mediterranean roots made from scratch with high-quality ingredients. I swear I felt I was back in Italy in one of the many teeny tiny restaurants run by families with their nonnas’ recipes. After the first morsel, I was no longer in New York. I was traveling. That lasagnette was definitely made with love.

review of Bistango at The Kimberly hotel

My dining companion decided to taste a bit of le mare (or sea) and go for the linguine, one of the most delicate dishes in the Italian cuisine. What a perfectly decadent dish! The littleneck clams sautéed with lemon, white wine, garlic and bottarga were the perfect companion to a satisfying dish of pasta that could have been made gluten-free if need be. Plus, the chef put his personal twist by adding some hints of cayenne, making an interesting combination between the sting of the spices and the delicate and nearly buttery flavor of the seafood. Plus, the pasta was perfectly cooked to perfection; not too hard, not too mushy. I just had to eat a bit of that dish too. It was simply packed with flavor.

Dessert: Death by Chocolate and Tiramisu

What happens when you have a heated discussion with your dining companion trying to figure out whether you want to die by chocolate or tiramisu? That you end up dying by both.

review of Bistango at The Kimberly hotel with a close up of a tiramisu

A staple piece of the Italian cuisine, I’m a sucker for anything that resembles a tiramisu. However, I’m an extremely picky eater, and not any tiramisu will do. I’d rather cook one from scratch than eat an industrial or low-quality tiramisu. So dessert is usually my ultimate test when I go into full Italian mode.

Bistango’s tiramisu was a morsel of pure heaven that regaled our tasting buds with mild, tasty and sweet perfection. It has been a while since I’ve tasted such a high-quality tiramisu, and for some reason it was as airy and as irresistible as I expected it to be. See pic above. Words don’t do it justice.

review of Bistango at The Kimberly hotel at New york For beginners

The chocolate lava cake with ice cream is not exactly a traditional Italian dish (I’d say it has more of a French tradition), but it makes the perfect companion for a hearty meal. Bistango‘s take on the traditional sweet was also excellent, with a firm cake that exploded into a gooey middle complimented by the refreshing taste of the ice cream.

See? I already told you that comfortable (and expandable) clothes are the best investment, especially for a staycation to Italy.

My Verdict

Bistango at the Kimberly Hotel is simply one of the best Italian restaurants that I’ve visited since I moved to New York three years ago. With its carefully crafted menu based on market ingredients, the chef has managed to create an Italian experience with a modern twist in the heart of one of the most hectic cities in the world. A foodie’s dream.

Bistango is one of those special places where you don’t just go for the food; you go for a whole experience. With an impressive menu of wines to pair your menu with and a beautiful, crisp and clean decor, it made me feel completely relaxed, despite the fact that I was soaked to the bone by one of those wonderful tropical storms that New York gets in the summer.

Milan, our server, was extremely helpful in deciding which dishes we should try, and he helped us have a wonderful experience. Plus, he answered our gazillion questions about ingredients (ahem: intolerances) with a smile, something that’s not very usual in this city. It was only later that I realized I had stumbled upon one of those rare places where people with food intolerances and allergies are not looked down, but accommodated. I can’t stress how important that is to me; I felt welcome, despite the fact that I have some digestive health issues. That alone is priceless.

So, if you have friends with food intolerances or celiac disease, Bistango is a great place to have a wonderful night out and make everyone feel at ease. Plus, if you’re looking to escape New York, I swear that you’ll get in the Italian mood right away.

{New York For Beginners Tip}: If your schedule and budget allows, you can also consider extending your staycation and spending the night at the Kimberly Hotel for a full stress-free weekend. 

The Deets 

Bistango at the Kimberly Hotel is located at 145 East 50th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue, Manhattan, New York City.

Pricing: $$ (appetizers starting at $8 and main courses starting at $18)

Full dinner menu available here: 

Disclosure level 1: The author received NO compensation to write this article. The author was invited to taste the summer menu of the restaurant for editorial consideration, with no expectations of coverage attached. This invitation didn’t influence the decision to feature the restaurant, nor the personal opinions expressed here about the brand. Links are provided for information only and are not part of an affiliate marketing program.


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