I am beyond excited to write this post, although it might be a bit painful to remind myself of a pretty awesome place that is now 3,000 miles away…
One of my last nights in Portland my mom and I were going to dinner and I was trying to find the best place to take her. Through some searches I came up with Iorio Restaurant in SE Portland. I had seen it before and had wanted to visit. Before when I looked I got the impression though that their gluten-free options were only sometimes available or could be made with advance notice. Maybe that was a misinterpretation, but regardless earlier trips I wasn’t able to plan out a visit far enough in advance so I hadn’t gone. This time looking at the menu online it seemed that gluten-free options were available every night (although it said to mention dietary restrictions when making a reservation).
The big thing that made me obsessed with this place? GLUTEN-FREE GNOCCHI! Iorio has a handmade gnocchi of the day and they can make a gluten-free version. The daily gnocchi when we visited was a butter pesto gnocchi. It was a must so my mom and I got that for an appetizer (it’s listed as one). There is a small and large version. Our waitress recommended the small version in terms of portion size for two people, but I thought we could always take the leftovers home and ordered a large. We were charged for a small though, so I’m not sure what size we ended up with. Whatever size we got was a decent size, so if it was a small then it’s a good-sized one. I would say the size provided more than enough for us, although I could always have more (because it was that good!).
The gluten-free gnocchi is one of those things where you think “this is it. I made it.” Gnocchi is always something I’ve sort of craved (even without trying the real thing) and this was just awesome flavor (delicious pesto and butter) and texture (soft like legit pasta and gooey to seem extra “sinful”). It was so good and so not gluten-free like! On a return visit I will definitely want a large order just for myself to eat as my entree. I don’t think I can say enough to get across how much I loved it, so I’ll leave it at that and strongly strongly encourage you to check it out (whether for the regular version or the gluten-free version).
For our main meals my mom went for the lamb ragu (gluten-free) and I went with the fresine with pan roasted tomato sauce. The fresine is pasta made fresh daily and cooked al dente. It took a little while to cook so I am assuming the gluten-free pasta is also made fresh daily and possibly by hand (though maybe not after we ordered it). You could tell it was high-quality pasta/ingredients and very fresh. Not anything like something you’d get from a box. I tend to have a preference for more well-cooked pasta than al dente, but that was a minor thing.
My mom enjoyed her lamb ragu and said the lamb was very tender. She shared similar thoughts to me as to the quality of the pasta. She also really likes olives, which were sliced in her pasta. She was impressed with Iorio overall and glad that I took her there. I think she’ll probably be back with my dad, which makes me really jealous since I’ll be all the way back in Miami and not able to partake…
Iorio was an instant favorite. Writing this I want to go try and find some gluten-free gnocchi online to cook myself to compensate for some new cravings. Next time I’m in Portland you better believe I am getting some of that gluten-free gnocchi. I also really enjoyed the other fresh, gluten-free pasta I had, although I think next time a large order of gnocchi (for myself) will have my name written all over it. Iorio was ranked as one of the best Italian restaurants in Portland and given the quality of the gluten-free pasta it has to be a great option for regular gluten-eaters. It had a sort of fancy-ish, upscale Italian vibe, but not stuck-up at all. They even had life music for a while. Great place to go on a date or a nice meal. Can’t recommend this enough for a visit, especially for gluten-free eaters!
Iorio Restaurant- 912 SE Hawthorne St Portland, OR