Thursday, October 7, 2010


For someone who isn't a gluten-free vegetarian, ambling into a standard-issue pizzeria isn't anything to write home about. But for those of us who want and/or need to know exactly what ingredients are in every item we consume, sitting in a regular pizza place, nothing fancy, with a bunch of neighborhood folks is, well, nothing short of fabulous.
Bobby G's in Berkeley is spacious, casual and friendly. A bar at one end and several large TVs keep everyone who cares about such thing up to date on sports scores. No one rushes you out, New York style. In fact several patrons were deep into their newspapers and seemed to have been there for a while. If you're traveling and need a place to check your guidebook, make some phone calls or just catch your breath, this is the place to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

The pizza crust at Bobby G's, from the remarkable Mariposa Bakery in Oakland, is neither sweet nor flat, two problems often seen with gluten-free crusts. If you like the puffy-edged, chewy old-fashioned type--thin in the middle, with a profile that says pizza and not flatbread, you'll be glad to know this is exactly what Bobby G's serves.

You can't ask for better toppings, either: a rich tomato sauce with no raw edge to it on the Veggie, with plenty of peppers, mushrooms and olives, creamy whole-milk mozzarella and fresh basil. The sharpness of the Mediterranean was refreshing, with its feta, chopped red onions, Kalamata olives and baby spinach in addition to the mozzarella. (Skip the radishes that found their way into it, though.)

Although there is a surcharge on the price of the small glutenous pizza, when you order gluten-free, this pizza is by no means small. Good value. Comfortable surroundings. Fresh ingredients. Thumbs up.

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