This may be an unpopular opinion, but gluten is good. It's the glue that holds food together. Some people have celiac disease and must avoid gluten, others have an intolerance and some simply choose to forgo it.
Unfortunately, a lot of the gluten-free alternatives out there aren’t good. Once sought after gluten-full dishes now under the label of gluten-free or gluten-smart often crumble in your hands – or taste like a mattress.
But not to worry, we’ve gone through the very arduous task of sampling gluten-free dough all across the city. Our first stop? The house party favourite and joy in a personal-sized box: pizza. Here’s our list of the best gluten-free 'za in Toronto. You’re welcome.
642 King St W
This King West restaurant hasn’t even been open for a year and is already making a name for itself when it comes to a gluten-free crust that’s edible and delicious. It has a rise on it, which is unusual for gluten-free, and a chewy texture similar to regular pizza dough. In fact, we couldn’t tell the difference.
A mix of tapioca starch and rice flour is rolled out then put in a separate oven to crisp up the delicate dough.
The gourmet pizzas are strewn with toppings that would make the jaws of most Neapolitan Pizzaiolos drop all the way back to Italy. The Goldmember is a fan favourite, but the Yaletown, a Californian-Mexican inspired pizza with ahi tuna and avocado was a surprising stand-out.
Chef Rocco Agostino spent years developing his gluten-free pizza dough recipe because he refused to compromise taste. So he worked at it until he created a product he was proud of. Not all heroes wear capes, okay?
The result is a soft, chewy and slightly charred pie that mimics the original. It even puffs around the edges. By using rice and buckwheat flours, Rocco has created a crust so tasty it’ll make you want to order gluten-free just for the hell of it.
The pizza options at Pizzeria Libretto range from classic margherita to the outlandish duck confit pizza. Well done, Rocco, well done.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
A little more on the traditional side, this pizzeria is the closest you'll get to that famous Neapolitan crust without booking a ticket to Naples. The gluten-free dough is made out of high-quality, gluten-free flour from Italy – their 900 degree pizza oven and tomatoes are also imported from Italy.
Gluten-free flour is hand mixed then cold fermented for 24 hours before getting rolled out at a separate gluten-free station. The finished crust is thin, bubbly and slightly charred, with all the same great taste and texture as true Neapolitans. We devoured the abruzzo – essentially, their "meat lovers" pizza.
611 College St
Going against all traditions is Virtuous Pie, a completely plant-based, fast-casual restaurant specializing in hand-crafted pizza and ice cream. Their gluten-free crust is made by Canadian company Nextjen and you can find all the ingredients here.
Their menu is full of creative, plant-based options full of flavour and a little fun. We had the street corn pizza, influenced by the Mexican snack, with creamy paprika butter and house-made cheese. The finished pie is more on the crunchy, thin crust side, but it's not dense at all.
If you're looking for gluten-free dough on the go, Pi Co. Pizza is the perfect combination of quick-serve meets high-quality. Their handmade "Gluten-Freeza" is made fresh daily and has a great chewy and doughey quality to it.
You can choose from chef inspired, craft pizzas like the Yorkville Special with premium ingredients. Or go the build-your-own route and choose from a variety of sauces, cheese and unlimited toppings. There are nine locations in the downtown core, so not only is gluten-free pizza more delicious than ever, it's also more accessible.
Il Fornello was the first restaurant to bring wood-oven baked pizza to Ontario and was part of the gluten-free movement before it was trendy. Their gluten-free crust is more on the crunchy side, but it's good to experiment with different textures.
The gourmet pizza toppings really set their pies apart, ingredients are bursting with fresh flavour and most are sourced locally. One of our favourite pizzas (and apparently Meghan Markle's too) is the fig pizza – if it's good enough for a Royal, it's good enough for...anyone.
*Please note, that while each restaurant on this list has gluten-free dough and takes the utmost care when it comes to food allergies and dietary restrictions, they do not have gluten-free kitchens, thus there’s always a risk of cross-contamination.