Fragola entered the market in 2014 with its innovative and health-conscious desserts. Since then, the brand has charmed its way into everyone’s hearts and its shops have become successful go-to gelato spots around the city. After conquering Budapest’s ice-cream scene, Fragola introduced its own range of premium pizzas. Now customers with food allergies can also enjoy delicious Italian dishes as Fragola has opened its very first dedicated gluten-free trattoria in Buda’s District II.
The sweetness of no flour – Fragola opens Dolce Farina Niente, its first allergy-friendly restaurant
Fragola is best known for its delightful ice-cream shops whose mission is to serve top-quality cones of deliciousness full of natural flavour. The brand’s plans for growth have always been bold: venturing into the realm of pizza, Fragola launched an exciting new Italian restaurant in District XII this spring. Despite its growing popularity, customers were still missing one thing from the menu: gluten-free.
The Fragola team were keen to give people what they wanted but weren’t satisfied with the idea of simply expanding their menu. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say – and this is how the idea of a dedicated gluten-free restaurant on Csévi utca was born.
All above board
According to Fragola co-founder Eszter Tihanyi: “It’s one thing for a restaurant to offer a few gluten-free dishes, and it’s another for them to understand the serious consequences of gluten cross-contamination in their kitchen”.
Safety first, last and always: the kitchen at Fragola’s new restaurant is 100% gluten-free. The owners wished to create a safe place where gluten-intolerant customers needn’t worry about accidentally consuming the allergen.
Italians are the masters of dolce far niente, ‘the sweetness of doing nothing’. Fragola has taken this famous Italian saying and given it a twist. The new restaurant is dolce farina niente, ‘the sweetness of no flour’.
This small place has a charming café-like atmosphere with – for the time being – only six tables to sit at and enjoy the divine gluten-free dishes. More seats
will be available in two months after expansion is completed.
The interior design employs a sense of stylishness mixed with bold elements: the lush palm print wallpaper, the denim-blue upholstered back cushions, and the natural light coming in from the flat glass rooflight all create a serene atmosphere. Pizza chef Ferenc Balogh is delighted to engage in conversation with customers while he prepares their dishes right in front of them on his counter.
Dolce Farina Niente excels in
authentic pizzas, but the extensive menu offers divine salads and desserts,
too. Besides soups and appetisers, the menu also features a delicious meat and vegetable lasagnes which deliver classic Italian flavours. The owners wanted
to stick to recipes that are easy to convert from gluten-y to gluten free – or
Eating out with any food intolerance is made easier thanks to staff ready to offer allergen-free or diet-friendly substitutes. Five diverse salads with ever-versatile ingredients are easy to swap, change or simply leave out. Customers should feel free to have dishes altered to suit their own needs.
On our visit, we embarked on our culinary journey with an exciting starter: honey-roasted figs on a bed of rocket with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts (2,790 HUF). The rich figs were stuffed with goats’ brie cheese and wrapped in San Daniele prosciutto ham.
This appetiser was filling in itself, especially if paired with the gluten-free cheese focaccia bread. This
is also a great accompaniment for the salads on the menu: we
would definitely recommend the dolce
vita (1,990 HUF), a sweet salad that comes with grilled
pears, rocket, romaine lettuce and grilled cherry tomatoes.
The smoked trout salad with quinoa (2,490 HUF) is also excellent, ingredients including sweet fennel, tomatoes, roast peppers, romaine lettuce and red onion. Everything is made from scratch when it comes to the filling varieties, so no pre-washed salad bags enter the kitchen here.
The most important part of pizza-making is getting the dough right: this
is why the restaurant decided to ditch pre-made pizza crust mixtures and –
after months of experimenting in the kitchen – they came up with their very own
gluten-free flour mixture.
A certain ratio
Eszter again: “Finding the perfect ratios and ingredients was a difficult task since we wanted our gluten-free pizzas to be as premium-quality as any regular ones”.
Prices here are 15-20% higher on average than in other Fragola
shops due to the costliness of using alternative flours. The menu lists 16
pizza options in total, each prepared with ingredients and toppings straight
Of these, lactose-free alternatives are available for ten of them. We tried three: the spicy Vesuvio (3,090 HUF), the new ricotta-and-aubergine variety named Melanzané (2,490 HUF), and the simple yet magnificent Caprese (3,390 HUF).
Despite the impeccable quality of the ingredients and the perfectly thin and crispy crust, avid pizza fans might still sense an elephant in the room: the gluten-free flour mix. Do note, however, that the gluten-free pizzas here easily outclass their fellow allergy-friendly – and sometimes even regular – counterparts.
If you still have a little room left, the gluten-free pistachio tiramisu
has become the signature dessert here, with gluten-free and vegan sundaes also
Those who have a sweet tooth may also opt for the tapioca pudding with mango and pomegranate (1,190 HUF) and those in favour of tart flavours can try the chia pudding with mango and passion fruit (1,190 HUF). You can’t go wrong with the deliciously simple house cheesecake (1,290 HUF), gluten-free of course.
Eating out as a gluten-intolerant diner can be a stressful experience. Dolce Farina Niente puts the customer first, staff eager to alter the toppings on your pizza or prepare your dish with lactose-free cheese instead of regular. As for drinks, well, they’re certified gluten-free only, too.
Dolce Farina Niente
District II. Csévi utca 7
Open: Mon-Thur, Sun 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm