I was recently invited to have lunch at a local pizza place in order to try their new gluten free options and give them feedback on their new menu. Old Venice Pizza Co is one of the yummiest and well known pizza joints in my neighborhood, but what sets it a part is their specialty pizzas, creole twist, and new healthy menu.
I personally don’t have any allergies or intolerances to gluten, but after following a loose paleo diet for over a year, I have found many benefits in cutting out wheat. Of these, the main differences I’ve notices are:
- Faster recovery in my running
- No stomach discomfort before races or after meals
- No mid-afternoon energy crashes
Having healthy and gluten free options at restaurants opens up a whole new world of dining for those who either have health restrictions to certain foods or who really care about what they put into their body. The fact that more and more restaurants are taking this into account in regards to their menu is really quite exciting.
Memphis was recently voted as the fattest city in America, but is starting to turn over a new leaf and shift into the opposite direction. It’s evolving, but even more so is their healthy food scene. Even here, restaurants are shifting to include healthy menu options and are embracing the farm to table movement. Old Venice Pizza Co. is one of the only pizza places in Memphis to make available the abilty of making any one of their signature pizzas on their gluten free crust or their incredible pasta with gluten free noodles. If their customers are going for something lighter, they also have delicious, satisfying salads.
The first two courses that were presented were gorgeous, fresh, and very healthy salads. We had the Shrimp, Crab, & Avocado Salad and then one with shrimp, goat cheese, onion, and roasted red peppers. My favorite part about these was the addition of their creole flare. These salads were unlike anything I’ve had, especially at a predominately Italian restaurant. I was so pleasantly surprised by these for both the taste and presentation. They were packed with such high quality ingredients and cohesive flavors, easily making Old Venice my obvious go-to when I’m craving something light, yet satisfying.
Old Venice is mostly known for their delicious speciality pasta and pizzas. The best part of their addition of gluten free options is that they are able to take each staple dish and make it without wheat. Therefore anyone can enjoy everything on their menu without worrying about allergies or intolerances. If you are specifically allergic or have celiacs disease, they will make sure that your dough comes into zero contact with any surface that has been touched by dough with gluten.
I ordered the Pasta Maria, which was the best tasting gluten free pasta dish I’d ever tried. You would never know it was missing a traditional ingredient. My only complaint for the pastas is that I wish there had been lighter options of sauce that aren’t cheese and cream based.
As a group, we ordered three specialty pizzas to share and I got to try the Margherita, Mona Lisa, and the Roasted Vegetable Pesto. For someone who hasn’t had a bite of pizza in over a year, I thought it was a magical out of body experience. I hadn’t realized what I’d been missing until I took that first pillowy bite. The gluten free crust was definitely not as crispy as regular pizza, but I wouldn’t say the texture was unpleasant. It felt more like a flat bread, but one would expect that it would of course be a little different with the absence of gluten. All three pizzas were absolutely amazing and they had such a killer speciality menu that it was incredibly hard to even pick just three. My favorite was the Roasted Vegetable Pesto because it was such an interesting blend of flavors and textures and the balsamic reduction drizzled on top really sealed the deal.
Overall, I very highly recommend going out to try the new gluten free menu at Old Venice Pizza Co. in East Memphis especially for their mouthwatering salads and renowned specialty pizzas. Wether you are gluten intolerant or are just trying to make small healthy changes, you’re going to absolutely love this fine dining with quality ingredients.
I was given a free meal in exchange for this blog post (big girl’s gotta eat), but all opinions are my own! As always, thanks for supporting my blog and frequent eating habits.
Do you try to avoid any certain foods? If so, does it make it hard to go out to eat with friends and family who do not?
Have you ever tried or made gluten free pizza? What’s your favorite way to do it? I love putting mine on eggplants!
What’s your all-time favorite pizza place or healthy restaurant?