If your thing is pizza, meat, and veganism, you’ll want to check out Plant Based Pizzeria in Virginia-Highland. Open since January, the tiny venue is open for take-out only. While the exterior is completely nondescript, the interior is like AstroTurf meets arty graffiti and great music.
The pizzas are made with spelt flour, which is significantly more nutritious than white flour, but don’t go thinking it’s gluten-free. There is that option, but it’s going to add $5 to the cost, which is already kind of high at $20 for most of the 12-inch pies. I’ve only tried one, the Georgia Peach, which features a lot of vegan Beyond Sausage, vegan mozzarella, roasted basil sauce, and small cubes of roasted peaches. Honestly, I wasn’t blown away. Besides the trendy Impossible Burger, I don’t find most vegetarian meat and cheese substitutes palatable. If I were a vegan accustomed to these impersonators, maybe I’d feel differently. I admit that I’m not especially fond of spelt flour. My pizza’s dough was thick and kind of crumbly.
I don’t typically want meat on a conventional pizza. (My thing is usually the Margherita). My plan at Plant Based Pizzeria was to build a pie with “real” vegetables only, but that’s hard to do here. There is one all-vegetable-composed pie, the Vegan Deluxe, but it also features the weird vegan mozzarella. I do like the restaurant’s roasted basil sauce. You can also order a burger or calzone here. By the way, both the Decatur and Old Fourth Ward locations of Ammazza pizzerias are now serving vegetarian options.
Speaking of gluten…sometimes, you don’t know what’s in your own backyard. That’s the case with two-year-old Mediterranea, a Grant Park restaurant I only recently discovered. I’ve had one dinner and a brunch there, and I love the place, as much for the pleasant vibe as the food. The restaurant, which includes a bakery, is literally 100-percent gluten-free. I promise that you won’t even notice. Dinner here is on the costly side, but lunch and brunch are moderately priced. So far, the best thing I’ve sampled at dinner has been gigantic shrimp tossed with rice-like orzo pasta, escarole, golden raisins, pine nuts, and feta cheese. This is from Calabria in Italy, where one of the owners was born. I also liked my brunch of two small salmon croquettes, served with a crowded plate full of olives, a hard-boiled egg, nuts, labneh cheese, dried fruits, and apple relish. It also includes one of the best dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) I’ve eaten in years. The true homage to Our Lady of Gluten is the bakery. I ate what looked like a cube of cake but was called a scone. There are several varieties and I picked one made was cherries and pecans.
I’m waiting impatiently for the new location of Food Terminal to open on Marietta Street in West Midtown. Meanwhile, I’m still a regular at the restaurant’s always-crowded Buford Highway location, which I visited last Friday. The restaurant’s emphasis is on Malaysian street food, which is a hybrid of numerous Asian countries. The Terminal’s menu is in the form of a gigantic magazine with so many choices, I always end up asking the server for suggestions. The best dish among six that two friends and I ordered was a small plate of long, gummy noodles topped with shiitake mushrooms and ground chicken awash with slightly spicy oil. I also liked a plate of Nyonya shrimp, a fusion of Chinese and Malaysian spices that creates a moderately spicy, sour taste. The huge shrimp were served over vegetable noodles.
Plant Based Pizzeria
730 Barnett St.
332 Ormond St.
5000 Buford Highway, Suite B201