After an excellent trip to the Boordy Vineyards for some wine tasting, my friend and I headed back to her apartment to relax for a little bit. On the agenda for that evening was dinner at a restaurant I had scoped out, Verde, and then hanging out with more Baltimore friends. I came across Verde in my search for gluten-free restaurants and it got reviews as being the best gluten-free pizza in Baltimore. That was quite an endorsement, so it made the list of must-dos. Even better was that it wasn’t that far of a walk from my friend’s apartment in Canton. It was right on the border of Fells and Canton, which from my visit are two of my favorite Baltimore neighborhoods.
Verde is one of many restaurants and businesses I saw interspersed between row houses. I liked how much this set-up added to the neighborhood feel. We grabbed a table outside on the street since it was a beautiful night. We scoped out the menu of their Neapolitan pizzas and I read that their gluten-free flour is imported all the way from Italy. I’ve read a lot of articles recently about the wide availability of gluten-free foods in Italy these days (my mom backed that up on a recent trip). It isn’t that Italians are more predisposed to celiac disease (still around 1% like the rest of the world), but food is such an important aspect of their culture and family that Italians have made some delicious gluten-free pizzas, pastas, etc. so that all can partake. According to an NPR article I read, the Italian government even gives vouchers to citizens with celiac so they can eat more expensive gluten-free food (up to 140 euros a month) and it’s claimed that every town or city in Italy has at least one gluten-free restaurant. Pretty insane!
The thing that caught my attention the most on the menu was the Vesuvio, which is their stuffed pizza. It has tons of stuff in it- inside is fresh ricotta, homemade mozzarella, salami, and prosciutto cotto and on top is tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, olives, mushrooms, artichokes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. I thought it was likely this couldn’t be made gluten-free, but you never know. I was right about the Vesuvio not being able to be made with gluten-free crust, but there were plenty of other options to choose from. A lot of them sounded delicious and were much more unique than a lot of pizza places (also more authentic seeming). This was one of the more harder decisions to make at a pizza place. I chose the Prosciutto e Rucola, which was a white pizza with mozarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, basil, parmigiano reggiano, and extra virgin olive oil. My friend went for one of their vegan pizzas (you can’t blame this meat eater for not remembering the exact one right?).
My gluten-free pizza came out and it was definitely a treat. It was a thin crust that was light and flaky, but it wasn’t extra charred or too dry. I think it found the perfect balance for a thin crust of well-done, but not overly so. I also was glad I did one of the white pizzas on the thin crust, because it gave a lighter feel than a red sauce. The toppings were also generous, but not too much to be heavy. To be honest I probably would have eaten a whole pizza regardless (leftovers are overrated right?), but it was nice that I didn’t feel sick from a whole heavy pizza afterwards. The ingredients were also of a high quality, including the prosciutto di parma, which reminded me kind of a thinly sliced porketta I’ve had before. My friend really enjoyed her vegan pizza, even though she had ordered it kind of begrudgingly (to avoid eating dairy). She thought it was practically as good as a regular pizza with cheese (I’ll take her word for it…).
Afterwards I was pretty stuffed from my pizza, but dessert seemed to be calling my name. I asked if it was possible to have their Nutella pizza made on gluten-free crust. The waitress answered yes, which was a bit of a surprise. I thought for a second and decided I didn’t need that big of a dessert (or the $6 upcharge on the gluten-free crust). Instead I went for their flourless chcocolate cake with a side of dolce di leche gelato (a little weird to spell it that way when I am so used to the Spanish version of dulce de leche in Miami). Both the flourless chocolate cake and the gelato were good, but I’ve decided that I really don’t need to order flourless chocolate cakes. It used to be a special treat, but now gluten-free desserts are more common and I don’t love straight chocolate that much…
I certainly could see why Verde was reviewed as the best gluten-free crust in Miami given the flaky and light crust that I experienced (with some delicious toppings). I feel that Verde’s commitment to following the Neapolitan pizza making standards and only using quality ingredients will lead to a great product for regular gluten eaters as well. Only downside was the price for a pizza was a bit steep (high teens and low $20s for regular pizzas, plus that $6 charge for gluten-free crust). You’re paying for the quality though, which is important to a lot of people. Gluten-frees or vegans craving Neopolitan pizza (or just a good gluten-free crust) check out Verde on the border of Fells and Canton. Since a lot of visitors check out Fells, it’s not that far of a detour at all (I actually walked around Fells after my meal to burn off all those calories).
Verde- 641 South Montford Avenue Baltimore, Maryland, 21224