Monday, September 20, 2010

Matzaluna Moves to Top Spot for Dining on Sanibel

One of the very nice things about Sanibel Island is the wide variety of choices in restaurants. Our trips to Sanibel Island to check on our vacation rental properties always have us looking forward to a new adventure in eating out.

Though the truly casual places such as Schnappers and the Island-elegant such as Thistle Lodge are on either end of the spectrum, the middle is crowded with contenders for best.

We love Grandma Dot's for the easy, breezy (no AC) marina feel and great view. We enjoy eating at Traders because of the large menu and comfortable seating. There are dozens more.
And we have eaten at and enjoyed our meals at Matzaluna on many occasions.

But in the past couple of weeks, we "discovered" an aspect to dining at Matzaluna that has propelled it into the number one spot on our preferences.

The seating in Matzaluna is comfortable, the decor is delightful and the service has always been good as has the food. Yet, because I have to be gluten free, I have not been able to eat much in the way of Italian selections and have stayed with the chicken or fish entrees. The world has opened up with the introduction of a gluten free menu.

The General Manager, Sal, whose charge it is to over see the preparation of food, came to our table when he heard I wanted a meal that was gluten free and was considering the eggplant parmigiana. He explained that he could prepare it in two ways, grilled or fried, and that both would be gluten free. Well, other than home made eggplant parmigiana that was made gluten free, I had never had this dish out and was contemplating my choices.

Recognizing my dilemma, Sal said because it was a light night for business, and he wanted my feed back, he would prepare it both ways and I could have and evaluate both.

The eggplant in both styles had the added ingredient of ricotta cheese (in addition to the mozzarella) and that made the difference. I had never tasted eggplant this good, not even before my diagnosis of having Celiac Disease. It was not just good or even great, it was extraordinary.

That first experience was two weeks ago and we returned 2 nights ago and I did make the selection of the fried style and was once again bowled over with delight. My only "complaint" was that the portion was too large, but that was easily remedied with a leftovers package that sits tauntingly in the refrigerator.

To all you gluten free eaters out there (a growing number to be sure), put Matzaluna on your musts for your next trip to Sanibel Island. You won't be sorry, I promise that!

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