Friday, April 11, 2014

Side Trip: Giorgio on Pine Review (Philadelphia)

Although I am based in Orlando nowadays, I like to spotlight my gluten free finds when I travel out of the Central Florida area. Although they may seem out of the way at times, I believe the more that is written and shared about gluten free restaurants and travel, the more we all benefit. 

While most of my out-of-town posts are compilations of multiple reviews at once, Giorgio on Pine in Philadelphia deserves a post all to its own for its notable focus on being gluten free friendly. In fact, there's not gluten containing bread in the kitchen (there is glutenous pasta though). 

Giorgio's came highly recommended to me by Michael from Gluten Free Philly. He and I met at the Gluten-Free Living Conference Expo, and knowing that I'd be in Philly a week later, I was sure to pick his brain as to the best place to find a gluten free pizza in the city. For me, finding great gluten free pizza is a must wherever I go. On his suggestion, I did my own research and was completely sold on the restaurant.

Located on Pine Street, Giorgio's sits off the hustle and bustle of Broad Street, a main street in the city. The neighborhood is quiet and residential which was charming, and a plus since we didn't have to dodge traffic or crowds. I was disappointed to find that the entrance to the restaurant was elevated off the street with no apparent accessible alternative. However, with some quick thinking, my mom and I were able to finagle ourselves into the restaurant with some help from the wait staff. Making a reservation for 5pm after reading some reviews in which people were having to wait a long time, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the only one there. It turned out great in the end because we could really talk to the friendly wait staff and Giorgio himself.


Linguine w/ clams served with Schar spaghetti.
The cheese on top is not dairy free.
What's so great about Giorgio's is their vast knowledge of and adherence to gluten free protocols. Switching to a predominately gluten free kitchen three years ago, they have seen their attendance rise over 40% from the influx of gluten free seeking customers. In reviewing their menu, all gluten free dishes are marked (GF) and a special section of the menu outlines the gluten free pasta and pizza options. Every appetizer and entree are gluten free (I did not ask about dairy free entrees, as I was sold on the pizza). The pasta dishes are made with Schar's noodles and the gluten free crusts come from Still Riding, a bakery specializing in gluten free crusts. When asking about non-dairy items, they were just as knowledgeable, and willing to double check everything to ensure that my meal was safe. One more menu item to note would be that they offer two gluten free desserts (I cannot recall what they were), but the both contain dairy, so I passed them up.


Starting the meal off with an unexpected surprise, a beautiful gluten free baguette was served with fresh olive oil. Not believing my eyes or taste buds, I double checked its gluten and dairy free status, and sure enough, the bread was to be believed. With a faint rosemary taste and a texture spot on with gluten baguettes, I relished my first tasting of the soft, white bread since going gluten free. Although there have been substitutes along the way, the bread knocked its competitors out of the park. It comes straight from a dedicated gluten free bakery called Taffet's which also calls Philly home. (I'm planning a separate visit there Saturday so stay tuned for my review later this weekend.)


Although tempted by the pasta dishes, my heart was decidedly for their pizza. I opted for the mixed vegetable pizza because it offered the most toppings. The vegetables change seasonally, and my pizza's array of vegetables included peas, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and bell pepper. Although I was hesitant about some of the vegetables, I decided to go for it and try something new. I'm so glad I did because the end product was beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. The veggies were deliciously fresh and added interesting textures and flavor to the pizza. The crust, a favorite of mine from visiting other restaurants that served up Still Riding's crust, was delicious and perfectly absorbed the right amount of sauce. Although a little soggy in the middle, the crust was chewy underneath the toppings and nice and crispy on the bottom which really brought out the taste and replicated the glutenous pizzas I remember from my pre-GF days. My favorite part was eating the ends of the crust which were nice and crispy.

All in all, the restaurant left me full and happy. Knowing that I would be taken care of by a knowledgeable, dedicated staff really put me at ease and allowed me to really relax and enjoy the experience. It was such a treat and a perfect way to begin my Philadelphia adventure.


The Basics:

Address: 1328 Pine St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
Website: giorgioonpine.com
Cuisine: Italian entrees, pizza, pasta, appetizers
Ideal For: Lunch or dinner
Price: Less than $25 per person 
Accessibility: The front entrance is not ADA accessible. There are no alternative entrances. Once inside, the restaurant was small, but accessible, but I did not take note of restroom accessibility.
Special Features: They offer delivery to local addresses through Grub Hub
Giorgio on Pine on Urbanspoon


Disclaimer: Restaurant reviews are based upon the information I have at the time of the review and do not reflect changes in supplier or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

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