A few weeks ago it was my manager’s work “anniversary” and I had scheduled a lunch for our team to celebrate. It ended up being rescheduled twice, but yesterday the Outlook O-vite actually happened (although one team member was still missing). My manager suggested Lemoni Cafe or Lemoni Pizza and Kitchen. I was totally down for that since I had wanted to visit Lemoni Pizza for a while.
I had vaguely heard or seen that Lemoni Pizza had gluten-free crust a little ways back, but it wasn’t until Lemoni Pizza was ordered for a work meeting that it became more on my radar. The pizza for the work meeting wasn’t gluten-free, but it had really interesting cheese. Hard to explain without a pic, but it looked like really crispy and cheesy cheese. I hoped the cheese came out like that on the gluten-free crust. From then on I put Lemoni Pizza more towards the top of my to-do list.
Lemoni Pizza and Kitchen is in the same building as Lemoni Cafe. Lemoni Pizza is an off-shot of the Cafe. Lemoni Cafe seems to have a lot of Mediterranean influences on its menu (the chef was born in France of Moroccan decent) with lots of sandwiches and salads and paninis. Lemoni Pizza and Cafe is more Italian with pizza and pasta, but still has some Mediterranean influences. It also has a focus on health-conscious food, which is why it has a lot of vegan and gluten-free options.
I certainly was going for a pizza. It was just deciding which one. I settled on either the Benedicto (pepperoni) or the Baires (ham, green olives, roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and oregano). Pepperoni is my go-to, but I decided to branch out a little bit and the Baires just sounded delicious with all the combo of flavors. One co-worker got a regular Benedicto pizza, while my manager went for a cup of gazpacho and the eggplant Bruchetta.
The pizza came out and I do have to say it photographed very well for Instagram! It was just out of the oven and a little hot, but I was also starving. I took off a little chunk of just the crust for a quick bite while I waited for the cheese and sauce to cool. I was pleasantly surprised with the crust. It kind of reminds me of a Udi’s crust- a thin crust, but still with a little bit more dough. It was well-done (in terms of baked-ness), but not charred and smoky. I used to think that to get a gluten-free thin-crust to the right consistency (and to prevent the crust from collapsing under the toppings) you need to make it overdone (like the charred version at say Spris). Lemoni’s proved the opposite of this. It reminded me of a thicker flatbread. I also couldn’t shake the connection to a cracker. Maybe because of how crispy and crunchy it was. It kind of reminded me of the thick gluten-free crackers (along with a touch of the sweetness that comes with gluten-free crackers and crusts). A flatbread cracker crust is the best description I can come up with, but not with the dry connotation of a cracker (just crunchy and crispy).
The toppings were definitely good quality and I was happy with my flavor choice (also gave myself a pat on the bag for this formerly picky eater choosing to get something with some veggies on it). The cheese wasn’t the crispy kind that I saw at the work meeting, but my co-worker’s Benedicto regular pizza wasn’t like that either. Maybe that meeting’s pizza had just been cooked longer. My co-worker thought his Benedicto pizza was very good (and he’s a New Yorker, which says something).
The northern part of the city of Miami has quite a number of gluten-free pizza options (Spris, Harry’s Pizza, Ironside, and now Lemoni). All are more the thin-crust styles, but if you’re looking for a slightly thicker crust I think Lemoni has the thickest. Harry’s has some more unique toppings, but Lemoni has a few interesting ones too. Ironside is some of the most authentic pizza I’ve come across, but Lemoni might be the way to go with a more flatbread kind of crust. Despite all these options Lemoni is a worthy contender. I’ll have trouble picking between Harry’s, Lemoni, and Ironside and might just have to pick a name out of a hat and then rotate between them.
The restaurant itself is quaint and a nice European bistro atmosphere that feels a little bit removed from Miami. Both it and Mandolin Aegean Bistro are great places on 2nd Ave in the Design District for some good food and a bit of an escape. It’s a good option for those looking for a variety of Italian-influenced food (pizza, pasta, appetizers). For gluten-frees, the crust is definitely a contender. I will be back (probably to try the Benedicto/pepperoni pizza)! I just need to be careful I don’t remember too often that they can deliver to my office…
Lemoni Pizza and Kitchen- 4600 N.E 2nd Ave. Miami FL 33137 (small parking lot in the back)