Urbana is yet another stellar restaurant addition to the Kimpton Hotels Group. We’re lucky that DC has so many Kimpton establishments, because they really prioritize their food & drink just as much as their hotel accommodations. Urbana, located in Dupont Circle, is a rustic Italian restaurant with a surprising amount of gluten-free options. It’s one of those restaurants where you can eat pizza and pasta and fit in with the rest of your friends, and you know how much we love places like that…
Urbana went above and beyond to cater to my dietary restrictions throughout the entire meal. They were even vigilant when it came to the cocktail menu – if they weren’t completely sure the liquor or ingredient in the cocktail was 100% gluten-free, they literally wouldn’t let me order it. That is some serious dedication. I ended up getting the Brunswick Sour, made with rum, sugar, and a red wine float, that was incredibly delicious, and completely gluten-free.
For the appetizer round, I ended up with a roasted pumpkin soup, Italian sausage pizza, and roasted octopus. The pumpkin soup was extremely flavorful and creamy, and was perfect for the season. The pizza really blew me away. While the gluten-free crust was fairly thin, it was able to hold the sausage, pesto, radish, and arugula that came on the pie just fine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered a gluten-free pizza with a tame amount of toppings (especially for me) and it just flops under the pressure. This was not the case at Urbana. The octopus was extremely tender, and the perfectly roasted potatoes were a great addition. Not to mention the whole thing comes smothered in the most delicious lemon aioli that seriously made the dish. If you know me, you know I order octopus at any and every restaurant, so I’m a tough critic.
Next came the pasta round, which I had been anticipating the entire day. Being gluten-free, I go a little crazy when I’m able to order pasta from a restaurant. I’m pretty sure it’s craziness via carb deprivation, but whatever it is, Urbana’s pasta scratched the itch. I tasted the tagliatelle, which was served with a rich Bolognese and Porcini mushrooms, and the strozzapreti, with braised lamb, turnips, chilies, mint, sheep’s milk ricotta. Both were incredible, but the braised lamb in the strozzapreti was unlike any pasta dish I had ever eaten so if I had to choose one over the other, that’d be it.
Lastly, I opted for the beef short rib and charred Brussels sprouts. The short rib was divine and tender, and escalated by the same rich porcini sauce as the tagliatelle. The Brussels sprouts were cooked with pancetta just like a lot of other restaurants, but these were in a league of their own, the pieces of pancetta were so big. The fact that each morsel of pancetta was so meaty and substantial is just one testament to Urbana’s attentiveness to even the tiniest of details.
Even with all of this goodness, I still think the best part about Urbana is their dessert. They serve a delectable chocolate torta with walnuts served with vanilla ice cream that is completely gluten-free and absolutely to die for. They also have a good variety of sorbets for your eating pleasure if you’re like me and also can’t enjoy dairy.
Urbana is a solid restaurant. The food is great, the cocktails are innovative, and the service is exponentially better than one is usually stuck with at a restaurant in general, nonetheless a restaurant inside a hotel. The fact they are so gluten-free friendly is just the icing on the cake. If you’re looking for a place to eat in Dupont Circle, Urbana is without a doubt your best bet.