GF Friendly Restaurants

PortaVia Italian Kitchen: Best Gluten-Free Pizza?

15 Comments 03 May 2012

PortaVia Italian Kitchen:  Best Gluten-Free Pizza?

I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to try PortaVia Italian Kitchen since hearing for the past year that they have amazing gluten-free pizza.  But I’ve been leaning towards a high raw/vegan diet, so I’ve been less attracted to restaurants claiming to have the next best gf crust.  Yawn…

Having guests in town gave us the perfect opportunity to try PortaVia Italian Kitchen.  I was astounded that they not only had gluten-free pizza, but gluten-free pasta as well.

That definitely perked up my cat ears and started me happily purring, but then the waiter brought bread.  Gluteny bread.

“Oh, no thank you,” I said quickly.  I like to refuse bread before it actually hits the table, so it isn’t wasted.  I don’t want it, but I know someone else will.  I’d rather not even have glutenous crumbs on my table, and the Husband sweet enough not to eat gluten in front of me.  ”I’m gluten intolerant,” I explained.  What happened next sent me on a catnip-induced trip!  The waiter said that he would bring me gluten-free rolls.

What???  That seriously only happens for me in New York City, not in Nashville.  The waiter brought these rolls.

With olive oil.

And they were incredible.  I dare say they were the best gluten-free rolls that I’ve ever had outside of my kitchen.   They were piping hot from the oven, steamy, tender, and perfect. These were not rolls kept in the freezer saved for the occasional gluten-free diner who pops in.  These rolls were freshly made.  With such attention to the quality of the delicious free bread, I knew that the upcoming meal would have to be amazing.  (I would have paid money for these rolls.)

With not just two gluten-free options, but two entire gluten-free categories to choose from, I knew we had to order both pizza and pasta.  Thankfully, the Husband always splits meals with me, so I could have the best of both worlds.  Before ordering, I had to ask about the pizza crust.  If it was just another restaurant that put their toppings on a frozen gf crust from a restaurant supplier, I was going to calm down a little.  I’m thankful for those restaurants, but the homemade rolls set my hopes pretty high.  The waiter’s response confirmed my prediction that this was not just an average pizza place.  PortaVia makes their own pizza crust.  I haven’t found that outside of NYC.

The Fettuccinie al Pesto was delicious.  The pasta was tender, yet substantial, not mushy as many gluten-free pastas tend to be.  But the pesto sauce was ridiculous.  Memories of last summer’s perfect pesto made from freshly picked basil leaves flitted through my mind.

This photo does not do the dish justice (explanation below).  One bite and I knew that I wouldn’t be sharing this pasta with the Husband.

We also ordered the Margherita D.O.C.  And when a gluten-free pizza, or any pizza for that matter, looks like this, any thoughts of not splitting meals with the Husband are tossed aside.

The Margherita D.O.C with tomato sauce, fresh mozzerella di bufala, cherry tomatoes, and basil was worth sharing my pasta.

The poor Husband…I tortured him by snapping photo after photo.

And then he had enough.

The photo session was over.

Almost.

The Husband and I tried to figure out if PortaVia’s pizza had become second to Pala Pizza in NYC or if they had replaced our number one pizza choice.  Was it possible?  Had PortaVia climbed to the top of the gluten-free pizza list?  It was hard to decide since both restaurants bake their pizzas in a wood-fired oven.  But PortaVia has been certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) organization, which has specific regulations for how Neapolitan pizza must be made.  The sauce and the dough must not contain sugar, but must consist of all natural ingredients imported from Naples and surrounding areas.  The dough must be hand kneaded and shaped and cooked for approximately 90 seconds in an Italian-made wood-fired dome oven at roughly 900˚ F.  The pizza cannot be larger than 12” with a raised edge crust and thin center, and it is served whole so that you can eat it folded over or with a fork and knife, but PortaVia will cut your pizza into slices upon request.  With that kind of Italian authenticity behind every pie, it’s no wonder we were on the fence.

One of the benefits of having PortaVia right around the corner is that we could continue this conversation over another pizza pie the very next night.  Yes, we went back to PortaVia the next evening after our guests left.  That’s how incredible this pizza is.  It keeps you coming back for more!

We tried another pasta too, the gluten-free Bucatini al Pomodoro, which had an authentic Italian tomato sauce.

(The sauce was truly a deep red, and not pink, but I’ve been forbidden from bringing the “big food blogger camera” on dates.  Sorry, but quick snap of the iPhone was all I could sneak in!)

We finished off the evening with a generous scoop of gelato.

Raw or vegan?  Not tonight.

But gluten-free happiness?  One hundred and ten percent.

PortaVia has two locations in the Nashville area.  I highly recommend that you try one if you’re anywhere close.  And if you’re not, hey, I go to NYC for good pizza.  Maybe you should come to Nashville!  I’ll meet you at one of these locations.

Porta Via Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Cool Springs:

3301 Aspen Grove
Franklin, TN 37067
615.771.7747

Nashville:

21 White Bridge Road
Nashville, TN 37205
615.356.0001

Thank you, PortaVia, for making world-class gluten-free meals and Vera Pizza Napoletana-Certified pizza for even the gluten intolerant.

Has PortaVia risen to #1?

Yes.

This is really going to save on airfare to NYC.

Readers, dish!

  • What is your favorite gluten-free pizza place?
  • Where have you found gluten-free rolls offered?
  • How far would you travel to find the perfect gluten-free pizza?

Your Comments

15 Comments so far

  1. Allison says:

    Love it — I had the same experience the first time I tried their GF pizza (White Bridge location). I kept asking them, are you sure it’s gluten-free?? It was just too good to be true! :)

    • Heather says:

      I have yet to make it to the White Bridge location, but I need to check it out soon. Glad you had a good experience too. I’d love to share their pizza with gluten lovers, because I’m convinced that they’d never know the difference!

  2. This makes me desperate to get back to Nashville. Yum. Just yum!

  3. Mom says:

    Put this at the top of the to-do list next time I visit!

    • Heather says:

      Do you remember driving up to the restaurant on a Monday night and finding out that they were closed on Mondays? That was PortaVia! We’ll go on a Tuesday next time you’re here! <3

  4. I love the ending! It all looks fabulous, Heather. I can totally see why you kept snapping photos! :-)

    xo,
    Shirley

  5. Which one did you go to? You had such a great experience that I want to go there first. I’d eaten at the one on White Bridge before my diagnosis and the regular pizza was great – and the gelato too.

    P.S. I’m the Nashvillian you met at Nourished.

    • Heather says:

      Hi Shannon! So good to meet you in person! We went to the Cool Springs location, but everyone who raved to me about PortaVia’s gf pizza went to White Bridge before the Cool Springs restaurant opened. I’m sure you can’t go wrong with either. I love the attention to detail from the waiters. We’ve been many times now and get incredible service every time.

  6. Kalinda says:

    We’re very very jealous. All the gluten-free crusts at the places around here are cracker like. :-/ It’s nice to be able to eat out once in a while, but we both would really love a thicker crust like that.

    • Heather says:

      I completely understand! I’ve gotten used to cracker crusts out of necessity, but to sink your teeth into a doughy crust again is heavenly! (Sorry)

  7. Its so great when you find a gem of a restaurant. great review.

  8. Kendall says:

    Amazing!! We were in Nashville, from Louisville, for the weekend…it’s worth the 3 hour drive just for the pizza! So glad I saw your recommendation while trying to decide on dinner!


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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, friend, fitness fanatic, foodie, high raw vegan, child of the King, and Mama Cat. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. And now I have another challenge ahead...I'm moving to New York City! I look forward to Living Raw Vegan in the City and sharing my experience with you.

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