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Vegan Friendly: Officine Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station

Kelly Bone

The Short and Skinny

Double gilded ovens roar with the rising crust of Neapolitan pizza in Liberty Station.

The Vibe

The acclaim founder Matteo Cattaneo earned at the opening of his original South Park location is amplified in this collaboration with Mario Cassineri. The looming, warehouse-like space hold two gold tiled ovens, a bar sparkling with classic cocktails, and open shelves displaying the imported goods waiting to be incorporated with local produce.

A large covered patio beacons with golden awnings and a clear view into the flames licking the lips of traditional Neapolitan pizzas.

Subway tiles speckled with gold mount the pizza station, bar, and kitchen as the dining room wraps around the corner into a temple to Fiat (yes, the automobile) complete with a larger than life portrait of the car company’s founder, Giovanni Agnelli, and an actual car.

Around back, a cozy patio overlooks a playground where parents and their kids can spend the happiest of happy hours.

Officine Buona Forchetta

The Food

Marinara is a classic benchmark of Italian pizza—it is also inherently vegan.

Without the dopamine hit of meat and cheese, the clarity of risen dough and Frutto della Terra tomatoes, preserved at their summer peak, lays unashamedly bare on the table. A landscape of chopped garlic, whole leaf basil, and the supple shine of grape tomatoes glissen under a dusting of oregano.

Nestled on a base of sweet acidity and delicate fermentation the pizza needs nothing more.

Officine Buona Forchetta offers two styles of pizza crust: A thin crispy crust popular in the cosmopolitan hustle of Rome and a char-spotted puffy Neapolitan (or 78% vs 68% hydration to our baker friends).

There are 4 dedicated vegetarian/vegan options on Officine Buona Forchetta’s menu for which Daiya Mozzerella can be selected at no extra charge.

The Donnatella, comes strewn with pulpy eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper over a marinara base, while the hearty Guido offers potatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Beyond pizza, there are unmarked vegan options spread through the menu. From the ever popular roasted long stem artichokes, to curls of spaghetti dripping in marinara.

A few salads can be modified vegan (aka, hold the cheese) and then modified further by plating directly on a slice of pizza if taste discerns.

The cocktail menu is filled with boozy classics such a the Liberty Manhattan—where American bourbon meets Italian vermouth—served straight up in a martini glass with a cherry anchor.

What to Order

To experience the quality of Officine Buona Forchetta’s craft, the Marinara ($8)—topped with crushed tomato, basil, oregano, garlic, and chopped grape tomato—is a must.

The earthy blend of eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper holds it own under a light drift of vegan cheese on the Donatella ($15) pizza.

Long stem Artichokes ($11) imported from Ladispoli (a coastal city just north of Rome) rise from a pool of extra virgin olive oil, herbs and plenty of salt. Save the bread for this dish to soak up all that seasoned oil.

Homemade Sorbets ($8) and a shot of Lemoncello ($7) close out the filling meal with light sun ripened sweetness.

Pro Tip: Bring friends and order at least two pizzas—one with each style of crust—to discover your favorite.

Officine Buona Forchetta

2865 Sims Road, Liberty Station

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11:30am-3pm and 5-9:30pm

Friday, 11:30am-3pm and 5-10:30pm

Saturday, 11:30am-10:30pm

Sunday, 11:30am-9pm

Kelly Bone
Kelly Bone is a vegan food writer, photographer, and pizza nerd. She has served as a food judge at various US festivals and is part of the Vegan in San Diego team providing resources and hosting charitable vegan events in San Diego. You can follow her work on Instagram at @KellyBone or on her blog The Veg Foodie.
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