Restaurant Review – Simela Pizzeria and Focacceria

UPDATE MAY 2013

I would not recommend visiting Simela anymore as their standards have dropped significantly.  I ate a pizza there recently and had a fairly severe gluten reaction, most likely due to significant cross contamination.

In addition to this their service is below standard with long waiting times for food.

Update Summer 2014 – They are now working to improve their service and reduce cross contamination, although I’ve not been back to verify for myself.

I was in New York late last year and what struck me most about the place was the abundance of restaurants and bakeries that didn’t just know about glutenfrei-ness, but that they actually made gluten-less items.  The ones I looked forward to the most were the pizzerias.  As in, actual pizzas, made by someone else (ie. actually good and containing flavour, I’m somewhat inept at the making of pizzas myself), cooked properly and all gloriously absent of gluten.

So, when I heard that we have an actual pizzeria in Berlin that can do gluten free, I almost popped.

The place itself is pretty small, there are only 3 tables/high benches on the left, each seating four people and then a few spots against the wall on the right.  Basically, if you want to sit down and eat, its best to reserve a place.  The menu is all above the little serving booth, written in chalk.

Probably the first time I’ve actually seen a glutenfrei written on a menu like this and not just as a side option scribbled below the description of a regular meal.  They are a little more pricey (an extra €4 above the wheat based one) but, as you can see from the lack of pre-defined pizzas, its a very much think of what you want on your pizza and they make it.  The staff themselves are very friendly and very happy to suggest good ideas for pizza toppings before disappearing away to create a little magic in the back.

The pizza itself was rather delicious and in my opinion far above what I had in New York, it just had a little more flavour to it and I preferred the base being lighter and crispier.

In conclusion, yes, its pricey.  But its good.  Go (but reserve/let them know you’re coming and wanting of gluten-less pizza).

Click the banner below to see all the details of this restaurant on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.
Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany
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16 thoughts on “Restaurant Review – Simela Pizzeria and Focacceria

  1. Wow, thanks for that! Am definitely going to check that place out. 🙂

    Btw, just came across your blog and am v taken with it. I had no idea!

  2. This is a very nice place to eat and the food is very good.
    Our daughter hast got celiac disease and is very sensitive to cross contamination – a thing the (very nice) staff obviously has not heard about. They use the same tools to serve the gluten free and the regular pizzas. Too bad – not recommended for people who are very sensitive to cross contamination.
    From watching our daughter’s stomach and stool we could tell that this place is not for her.

  3. 😦 I was so happy when I began to read but if they really use the same oven and tools they shouldn’t call their pizza glutenfree, because it isn’t! Too bad.

  4. Anyone has tried Due Forni ? in Schönhause Alle 12 . They have some Gluten free options. Apparently they were aware of cross contamination, they told me they cook the Glutenfree Pasta in a different boiling pot and everything else is Glutenfree. …

  5. I was overjoyed at the idea to actually eat a real pizza after 10 years when I went to that place. The description fits, the place is small and to balance on the outdoor high chairs and eat a – rather large – pizza at the same time is a challenge. I didn’t know about them using the same tools at the time, but since I don’t usually react with very heavy symptoms to gluten I wouldn’t suffer from that (which does, of course, NOT mean my my small intestine wouldn’t). Mos important detail imhO – they make the dough with buckwheat mostly or solely. Not everybody likes buckwheat. I happen to, but I prefer it in pancakes, bread or cake. All in all, I liked the feeling of eating a pizza in a restaurant, but the deep-frozen one by ds I can get at my local .-real-market definitely tastes better and – I’d never thought I’d say that about glutenfree food – is comparably cheap (moneywise).

  6. Da ich mich glutenfrei ernähren muß, war für mich vorm Berlin-Marathon Ende September die größte Sorge, wo kann ich ohne Risiko essen gehen… und da stellte sich das “Simela” als Volltreffer heraus.
    Ich war einfach nur begeistert, neben glutenfreier Pizza auch sehr sehr leckere glutenfrei Pasta essen zu können.
    Und selbst mein Mann, eher skeptisch gegenüber Bio und Vollwert eingestellt, war von der Dinkel-Pizza total begeistert, die er auf Empfehlung von Niko, dem Chef gegessen hat.
    Uns hat es super gefallen. Unser Fazit: Klein aber fein und vor allem sehr lecker! Lohnt sich in jedem Fall mit oder ohne Glutenunverträglichkeit. Die Adresse sollte man sich merken!
    Werden gerne wieder kommen, wenn wir in Berlin sind.
    Gruß vom Niederrhein!
    Roland & Claudia

  7. They scrub down the surfaces now (2012/10/25) and wrap the bamboo board with aluminum foil – guess they got the cross-contamination memo.
    You are absolutely right, this pizza is far and away better than the gluten-free offerings in NYC. Perhaps it is all the love the chef puts into this meal. Such lovely people and delicious food! I made my fellow diner get his own gluten-full slices because I wanted 3/4 of this very large, very delicious pie.
    Your blog is such a service. Thank you!

  8. Hello, I’m a gluten free traveler from Sydney Australia. Thank you so much for this blog!!! I’ve been in Berlin for a week now and had been finding it really difficult to find restaurants that sell gf products all week!! I ended up at simelas last night for dinner on your recommendation and was so so so happy that I didn’t have to worry about the gluten free-ness of my amazing pizza! Your blog is really amazingly helpful so on behalf of all confused and hungry coeliacs traveling round berlin I say a huuuuge thank you!!

  9. We were really looking forward to visiting this restaurant but, unfortunately, we didn’t have such a positive visit as others’. The first, not gluten-free pizza, took around three quarters of an hour to arrive and we expected the second, gluten-free, to be shortly after. However, another three quarters of an hour later there was still no sign so I went to see what the problem was. I arrived at the kitchen area simultaneously as another customer, who had also been waiting an hour and a half. We were reassured by the waiter the food would be five minutes with an excuse that the cook was new. Twenty minutes later the cook approached with a delicious looking pizza but we quickly discovered it was not gluten-free. By this point we had been in the restaurant over two hours and this error was just too much; we left in disgust. This is our last night in Berlin and it is a disappointing note to end on. What should have been an enjoyable meal ended up with my husband having a bag of crisps on the way back to our hotel.

  10. Hey!

    Why are you sure this was a crossed contamination and not another normal stomach reaction (as normal people have too)? I was there a couple of times and always was a delicious pizza and everything ok with me (I’m really sensitive). It’s because of this I would like to know if you could see any evidence of it :/

    Of course, I’ll think twice now before come back again…

    1. I’d eaten there a few times before and had no issue, but the last time I went there was some confusion with the staff and the orders. They may have been training a new member of staff, but either way I had a reaction to the food. It may have just been an isolated incident though. I’ve not had a message from anybody else who has suffered a problem there.

      1. Few days ago I met somebody who was working in the kitchen and, sadly, I can confirm that is high crossed contamination there… He told me that they have to stop all the stuff the were doing before and clean 100 % to start baking the gluten free pizza, and the most of the time they don’t do it. So, going there is like playing with your health, on my opinion…

        I’m writting on my blog that I can’t recommend going there … 😦

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