Café Gratitude (Venice)

Best Restaurant for Allergic Diners, August 2011

For people with food allergies, ordering a meal can seem like an inquisition: “What’s the pizza crust made with?” “Is there shellfish/dairy/wheat/nuts in that?” You can’t blame your waiter for feeling embattled. At Café Gratitude the menu is vegan, organic, and extremely conscientious—no evildoers hide in the ingredients at this health-obsessed house. Wheatless and dairy-free options abound, while diners looking to avoid nuts can request, for example, the polenta puttanesca without the Brazil nut or cashew “cheese.” The names of the dishes are aphorisms, so you might feel goofy asking for the I Am Dazzling (Caesar salad with Brazil nut Parmesan), although even a cynic will register a moment of affirmation when the waitress returns and says, “You are dazzling!” as she presents the bowl.