we are self-proclaimed vegan pizza addicts, and our favorite place to get it at the moment is pizza guru in santa barbara. we love pizza guru so much, in fact, that in january we made the 90 mile drive up the coast just to eat dinner there and celebrate vegan pizza day. thankfully, we found a great table in the corner, made ourselves comfy, and spent a few hours leisurely dining.
considering it was a holiday and all, we decided to go all out. garlic bread, pizza, calzones, and of course, lots of alcohol. we stared with a huge plate of daiya covered bread (pictured above) and a pitcher of firestone union jack (pictured below). the bread was nothing short of phenomenal—moist, spongy, and packed with garlic flavor. just be sure to specify that you want it made vegan, because by default it comes with dairy cheese.
firestone walker on draught never disappoints, and it was perfect for soaking up all the greasy bread. i love that this place does beer by the pitcher…it’s not something i get to enjoy with vegan pizza very often.
next up, THE PIZZA:
good god, this was the most fantastic pizza i’ve ever tasted.Tags: beer, calzone, pizza, santa barbara
a friend recently told me that santa barbara has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world…which is why it’s pretty surprising that they have not one vegan establishment. luckily though, they do have spiritland bistro, a healthy-style organic restaurant with very vegan-friendly cuisine.
for ages spiritland was only open for dinner, but they’ve recently added a lunch menu that’s served daily from 11:30 to 2pm. we checked it out on a recent trip up north, and were quite pleased with our simple yet delicious meals…Tags: healthy, santa barbara
it’s no secret that we like to head up to santa barbara every now and then just to grab some vegan pizza. we’ve taken a few trips up north for that reason—we have pizza for dinner, spend the night in a hotel, and before returning home, grab a couple sandwiches from lazy acres and head out for a winery picnic.
our favorite winery in the area to set up for lunch would have to be fess parker, just north of santa barbara in the san ynez valley. it’s a beautiful place with tasty wine and lots of outdoor space to sit and chill. in fact, we aren’t the only vegan bloggers who who like to picnic there—check out c’est la vegan’s post from last summer!
anyways, let’s talk about the food…Tags: sandwiches, santa barbara
thankfully…they have re-opened as of today, and our friend melisser from the urban housewife was even there to try the pizza on their first day back in business.
she sent us this picture, and said the pizza was delicious. whew, glad to hear they are back in action. pizza guru also posted the following message on their facebook page this morning…
let’s hope they stay open for good this time, and that all the shady issues are behind them. i don’t know about you, but i am booking a trip to santa barbara to eat at pizza guru ASAP. don’t take the fact that there is pizza this awesome just a couple hours away for granted. GO, while you still can!
pizza guruTags: drugs, pizza, santa barbara
3534 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
UPDATE 6/19/20: pizza guru has re-opened as of today!
scandal after the jump…Tags: drugs, news, pizza, santa barbara
on top of having amazing food, pizza guru has a relaxing coffee shop/bar-type atmosphere and is the perfect place to hold fort for a few hours. a couple weekends ago, we did just that. we arrived at around 5pm, and the place was empty. we secured a huge, comfy corner table and ordered a pitcher of firestone dba to start with. (that’s right, this place is so rad, it serves good beer by the pitcher!)
after what amounted to a pretty good drinking sesh on its own, we decided go share an appetizer. pizza guru was offering a hummus and bread plate on special, and when i inquired, they assured me it could easily be made vegan.Tags: pizza, santa barbara
Why did I just put my house on the market and quit my job? Why am I now sitting here looking into employment opportunities and real estate prices in another city? I can tell you it’s not because of this article which names Santa Barbara as the 6th best “Medium and Small Metro Area” in the USA, or the fact that a few minutes drive from said metro area are some of the oldest and finest wineries in North America.
It’s not even because my comedic hero John Cleese lives there. Nah. The reason I’m tempted to up roots and hitchhike north is because Santa Barbara has the very best pizza I’ve ever eaten. AND, I’m not just talking about since becoming vegan – I’m talking about the best pizza ever. In the world. Of all time. For me, at least.
Situated about three miles north of Downtown Santa Barbara, on State St., Pizza Guru looks more like a coffee shop than a pizza parlor. Subdued lighting, dark antique tables, gilt-edged mirrors, potted plants and a chalk board in the bathroom (more on that later) give a very homely feeling to this up-market organic pizzeria. Inside you’ll find friendly staff, low-key locals and an absolutely HUGE selection of vegan crusts, sauces and toppings lovingly prepared by a small team of hard working people dedicated to giving you the very best pizza experience.
As all of us pizza lovers know, a perfect pie has four perfect things blended in perfect harmony, which at Pizza Guru they really do, er, perfect:
The Crust: Hand tossed, yet consistently textured. This crust is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and has a perfect amount of oil so that after the first bite or two you have an awesome mouth texture without feeling over-greased or over dried. Crusts come in Signature (white, which we had), Whole Wheat and Gluten-free (something very rare for a commercial pizzeria).
The Sauce: We opted for Vegan Garlic White Sauce, which was so much more than a blob of garlic infused olive oil: It was creamy, yet light, leading to a healthy-tasting vibe with more of a flavor of garlic than overpowering raw garlic. The special Marinara is also vegan, so there are two choices of sauces with three pizza crusts leading to six vegan variations. And that’s before the cheese and toppings.
The Cheese: Nowadays, there’s only one vegan cheese that works on pizza: Daiya Italian Blend. Pizza Guru do a great job using just the right amount, and cooking it perfectly. As we all know, over-cooked Daiya (or, indeed, over-cooked cheese of any persuasion) really isn’t that good any more than under-cooked cheese is. Pizza Guru do Daiya just right. You seriously won’t get a better rendition of Daiya anywhere else.
The Toppings: In addition to 14 vegetable toppings (from the basic onions to the avant garde “Mushroom Blend”), Pizza Guru has three vegan protein offerings: Toasted Tofu, Pepperoni and Canadian Bacon. We opted for a bunch of vegetables: Mushroom Blend (diced mushrooms, leading to more of a mushroom flavor than chunky mushrooms to chew on: a good thing), tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos and the vegan pepperoni.
For vegan pizza converts (such as myself), this pie had a strikingly similar consistency to a Pizza Hut deep dish pizza, but without the overbearing oily taste (and, of course, the non-vegan ingredients). At the same time hearty and tasty but not too filling to make one feel bloated, Pizza Guru really strikes a very careful balance and delivers, both metaphorically, and also to a five mile delivery radius, on a wonderfully unique, yet strangely familiar vegan pizza offering.
Next time you’re in Santa Barbara whether it’s after an afternoon of wine tasting, or on a day trip from wherever you are (only 90 minutes from LA, don’t forget), Pizza Guru is either a must-visit destination or the only ‘phone number you need to know for delivery to your hotel room.
If you dine in, though, there’s a good selection of tap beers and locally produced wines (some organic) so you can get your fill of alcohol too. There are also a few bars on that block including “Don’s Cocktails” a hard-hitting urban dive bar/drinking den with a difference you’ll have to visit to find out.
So, after re-living my visit to Pizza Guru just now I recalled my offer on an apartment, begged my boss for my job back and decided it was easier to drive up north a few times a year than actually move to Santa Barbara. Also, John Cleese is older than my mother (that’s saying something) so I’m not sure I’m ready for the sedentary life of retirement just yet.
Oh, and chalk-boards in restrooms are BEGGING to be drawn on. So shoot us 🙂
Pizza GuruTags: pizza, santa barbara
3534 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105