Last week Brian and I got the chance to visit Daytona for a few days and… of course… we went hunting for new restaurants. We turned to our favorite app, Find Me Gluten Free, to help us find something tasty that wouldn’t kill us and immediately noticed one restaurant that had received 30+ positive reviews. Thirty GF people ate there, liked it, survived AND wrote a review?! Decision made!
I’m gonna admit, I was a little surprised by the restaurant itself. From the reviews I’d been expecting a fancy Italian restaurant. Instead, we pulled up to a somewhat rundown strip of stores far off the main roads. The shop next door advertised ‘Cremation & Urns’. Awesome. I supposed that if the restaurant wasn’t gluten friendly that Brian could just drag me next door and leave me for them to package up in a nice urn. I suppose this just proves that you should never judge a book by its cover (except, that you totally judge a book by its cover, that’s why there’s all that cover art and the description and recommendations by other authors… but whatever… you know what I mean.)
The Hawk’s Nest Grill looked like your regular bar and grill on the inside. Vintage signs decorated the walls and the color scheme ran towards browns and black. Still not the fancy Italian eatery I’d been expecting, but it was clean and looked nice. The waitress hurried over, smiling and I started in straightaway that I had a gluten intolerance and I’d read about them online, then paused for her reaction. I like to start out with the fact that I’m trouble and give us both the chance to give up before the drinks are even served. She never even batted an eye. Apparently several of the owner’s family have celiac so they know the drill. Our waitress was super helpful… to the point where we ordered way too much, but everything she described sounded so good.
We started out with the fried mozzarella triangles. I haven’t had fried mozzarella since I went GF 6+ years ago. And yes… yes those melty, gooey triangles of cheese were just as delicious as I remembered. The marinara sauce was rich and flavorful too.
The four triangles disappeared entirely too fast and were followed by a plate of salad. I shouldn’t have ordered the salad, even though it was included with the meal. Why waste valuable tummy space on rabbit food, right?
Unfortunately, the salad was pretty tasty too and even though I’d planned to just pick out the olives I ended up eating most of it before I realized.
I really should have skipped the salad, even though it was tasty, because I was already starting to feel a bit full when our entrees arrived.
I ordered the Lobster Ravioli. Oh. My. Gods. Seriously. I had ravioli once since I went GF and it was nothing compared to this ravioli…. I’m not even sure pre-GF ravioli compares to this ravioli. The pasta was so tender and perfect and the lobster was sweet and plentiful. Absolute heaven.
Brian ordered the Chicken Carbonara with Basil/Parsley Fettuccini. Did I mention that all the pasta is house made? Yeah….. fresh, delicious, gluten free pasta. Heaven!
You can order the pasta from Amazon… dried, of course, but still…. You should absolutely try it!
There was bread too, because you can’t have all that amazing pasta sauce without bread to soak up every last bit. It was just a toasted hamburger bun, but it was still buttery, garlicky and tasty.
And, as if we hadn’t had quite enough food to last us the next week…. the chef’s wife makes homemade GF cheesecake. Yes, we ordered a slice of that too. We did at least have some sense left and managed to box up some of our pasta and bread before we stuffed ourselves too silly to drive home. We ordered the cheesecake to go too….. with blueberry sauce.
Considering that the location was rather unassuming, the bill, was not. I’m not complaining. Just offering you a warning not to be shocked when your $75 bill arrives.
The food was house-made fresh, gluten free and absolutely delicious. Our waitress was friendly and super knowledgeable and the chef checked in on us from the open kitchen. If you are even in the Daytona area, I would strongly suggest that you hunt down the Hawk’s Nest Grill.
5251 South Nova Rd. Port Orange, Florida 32127
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