If ever you’re in the mood to wait 2 hours for pizza and a totally pretentious wait staff, then mosey on over to Gjelina in Venice. Apparently their chef was featured in Vogue as a taste maker for offering an exciting menu and (supposedly) insane pizzas, or so said our food-loving house guest Tina. Get in the car, we’re going to Venice.
There isn’t a sign for the place, the hoards of hipsters outside the building tipped us off. 55 minutes? No problem, typical for a good Sunday brunch. Between our suggested ‘check ins’ with the hostess (’20 minutes more’ she’d say each time), we checked out countless boutiques and shops, witnessed a reality show being staged inside a marijuana dispensary (they tell everyone what to say ahead of time, I feel so robbed), we eventually grabbed a glass of wine when we were finally allowed to finish out our wait by the bar. Yes, you have to wait to wait inside.
Success! We sit. I find a pizza of interest and ask our waiter what I thought was a simple question.
Me: I want the smoked mozzarella but what’s Bottarga?
Cool Guy Waiter: It’s caviar
Me: Can I please get it without caviar?
Annoyed and starving Me: Really? You can’t just make it without putting it on there? I’m a vegetarian.
Wow, this is fun. Our Greek fries from the neighboring food truck we split as an app during our wait was twice as fulfilling and gave me no shit whatsoever. We waited too long and felt too invested to bail. At the very least, I got some great food snaps (for which I had to get permission.)
Now I don’t mind waiting for food, Mike and I happily waited for 4 (!) hours to eat the most divine pizza I’ve ever tasted at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix before Chef Chris Bianco retired. He made every single pizza by hand for 15 years. If he didn’t work, the place didn’t open. It’s always voted the #1 best pizza on the planet without an ounce of attitude, a tiny menu, and no frills. It’s heaven and worth a visit. Gjelina is also worth a visit. The pizzas were good – the toppings are quality and the crust was chewy and fresh. If you aren’t a vegetarian and don’t have a ton of dietary requirements that force you to order modified dishes (since they don’t allow modifications at all), you’ll love the creative menu and locally sourced ingredients.
Even shaky reviews suggest a visit because it’s a cool experience with some great food and unique menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner. I’d suggest checking out the menu in advance and prepare for some walking around while you wait.