Recently there has been a movement to offer a gluten-free pizza crust in some gourmet pizza parlors. I’ve always been a little nervous about the idea of eating at a mainstream pizza restaurant, and would probably never consider it at a really casual, tiny place where flour can’t help but be everywhere… but I’ve recently realized that it IS possible (although difficult) for a carefully educated restaurant to offer safe gluten-free pizza made in a dedicated area. I first heard about Amicis Pizza offering gluten-free pizza in select California locations on the CeliacBayArea Yahoo message board. Posts started appearing describing extremely positive experiences at Amicis with their gluten-free pizza… and several people specifically mentioned that although they were very sensitive, they hadn’t had a reaction to the pizza. They also mentioned that Amici had been well informed by gluten-free educators and had very safe procedures for minimizing risk of cross contamination. I was scared but willing to give GF pizza in Mountain View a shot. The location made me a little sad, though- it was down the street from our old apartment- of course, I find it AFTER we’ve moved to Sunnyvale. Haha.
Speaking of locations, Amicis currently offers gluten-free pizza at four of their locations, but not at every location, so make sure you check their Amicis Web Site for the latest details. Currently, you can find gluten-free pizza in Dublin, Mountain View, San Jose, and Vacaville.
Gluten Free Pizza in Dublin, California
4640 Tassajara Road
Dublin, CA 94568
Phone #925-875-1600 (No Reservations)
Gluten Free Pizza in Mountain View, California
790 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
650-961-6666 (No Reservations)
Gluten Free Pizza in San Jose, California
225 W. Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
408-289-9000 (No Reservations)
Gluten Free Pizza in Vacaville, California
1679 E. Monte Vista Ave.
Vacaville, CA 95688
707-451-7777 (No Reservations)
But what you really want to hear about is the gluten-free pizza, right? Amicis serves a premade crust from Still Riding Pizza that is made with a dairy-free base of Bean Flour, Rice Flour, and Tapioca Flour Starch. You can order almost any topping for your pizza, with the exception of the Boston Pizza with Fried Eggplant and (possibly) the sausage. (Check on the sausage- since I don’t eat meat I didn’t really pay much attention when the server was explaining this part.) In the interest of science, we decided to order a classic New York Pizza topped with Mozzarella & Tomato Sauce so we could really taste the crust. When the pizza came out I was a little surprised at how burnt the edges were. It made a little more sense when I read on their web site that “our pies are baked directly on the super hot brick floor the crust comes out crisp and darker than the typical American pizza – often a bit black. If you’re a crust lover, you’ll find our crust distinctively delicious.” They suggest you ask for a light crust if you prefer not to have burnt edges. However, I couldn’t help but notice that the gluten pizzas didn’t look as black around the edge as ours did- so I really do think ours was overdone. My evaluation: the texture of the pizza crust was good but I noticed a really strong chemical taste. This might have been from the Calcium Propionate in the crust ingredients, but I think when we go again I will order really flavorful toppings to try and mask any funny taste in the crust. Our evaluation? DH was fairly lukewarm, and thought it was a bit expensive at around $24, not including tip. I couldn’t help but compare it to my own yummy homemade GF pizzas and concluded that purely on taste, I preferred my own pizza. However, the thrill factor of being able to go out with friends to a pizza joint where both they and I could order pizza is pretty significant. Another thrill factor is that you can apparently order the pizza to be DELIVERED TO YOUR HOUSE (if you live in the right location). I have NEVER in my whole life had pizza delivered to me, and I think this might actually make me cry big, fat, happy tears of joy. And, most importantly- this pizza did not seem to bother my very sensitive stomach, so I think they have a good handle on cross contamination issues. I feel comfortable recommending this restaurant to other gluten-free diners, and that is a great feeling. If you end up trying it, or have already tried it, I’d love to hear about your experience at Amicis- so please share in the comments!
Other Awesome Gluten-Free Pizza in the Bay Area:
As you probably know by now, I think Mariposa Bakery in Oakland has the best, most creative gourmet gluten-free pizza around. Patti rocks. Best of all, THIS PIZZA is made in a totally gluten-free environment.
If you don’t mind thinking a little outside the box, and enjoy fresh veggies on your “pizza” I highly recommend the yummy, yummy pizza at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley and San Francisco. Just don’t expect it to be like Dominos and have with an open mind. I love, love, love it- but then, I have a pretty strong vegetarian palate and enjoy many raw food dishes. This restaurant is a pretty safe place for Celiac folk as cross contamination issues are low here.
Farmer’s Kitchen in Davis, California has a gluten-free pizza made in their dedicated kitchen. I love Farmer’s Kitchen, but their pizza is not my favorite of their offerings. However, you have to love that they offer it, and I love their emphasis on local and fresh organic produce. I also love that the food is made in a safe environment- the only gluten option they have is that you can order a sandwich on gluten bread, but it is kept separate from the rest of the food.
Mangiamo in Windsor, California has reputedly changed ownership but still has gluten-free pizza as well as other gluten-free offerings on the menu. I would strongly recommend calling ahead of time to confirm that they have the pizza in stock and I would also probably quiz them about cross contamination issues to make sure that the environment is still safe. I had a good experience last year, but that was back when it was still owned by a family with Celiac, so proceed with caution.
Dying to try the Still Riding Gluten-Free Pizza crust in a real live Pizza Restaurant?
You can check out this list of restaurants offering it in California, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington. Please do check with each individual restaurant about cross contamination issues…
Other California pizza joints offer gluten-free pizza at their pizza restaurant. Please proceed at your own risk and DO ask lots of questions to make sure that cross contamination is well under control. I do not necessarily endorse these other restaurants as I have not had personal experience (either good OR bad) there, but I will share the information that I have.
Bobby G’s Pizzeria offers a gluten-free option where you can substitute a 100% gluten-free Still Riding Pizza crust for any small pizza for an extra $5. (This is the same crust offered at Amicis)
I really hesitate to recommend Rustica in Oakland, but according to board members they do have a gluten-free pizza option. However, I have read way too many posts saying that members got sick after eating there. It seems that staff may not be adequately trained at this time- but we’ll see about the future.
I hope this list has inspired you to find your own favorite gluten-free pizza joint in California! If you know of any other great pizza places with gluten-free options in California, please let me know. I’d also love to hear your take on any of these gluten-free pizza options, so please share in the comments. Here’s wishing you all a happy gluten-free pizza hunt!
*By the way, if you don’t live in California, I’d love to hear about options outside of California. The DH and I love nothing more than traveling around the US testing gluten-free pizza (or bakeries… )