The Best Vegan Pizza in San José
Welcome back to another blog post! Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Adam, the face behind Marinara Pizzeria. Marinara Pizzeria is a 100% vegan express restaurant where you can order vegan pizza via Uber Eats, Hugo App or Glovo for delivery or pick up.
Adam, originally from New Jersey, started visiting Costa Rica in 2015 and has since launched this entrepreneurial endeavor while residing in the country full time. He hopes to one day expand the operation from an express kitchen to a full blown restaurant with seating and an attached vegan clothing boutique.
The menu, which focuses mainly on vegan and gluten free pizza options, also features air fried buffalo cauliflower wings and vegan mac and cheese. Both of those can be added on top of your pizza for the ultimate vegan comfort food experience.
The menu is based on the concept of eating a whole foods plant based diet, while still being able to enjoy the typical pizza that we all know and love. For the base of your pizza you can choose between traditional masa, cauliflower crust, broccoli crust, or even choose to add some Cost Rican flair with a plantain crust. All of the pizza bases are gluten free apart from the traditional masa. From there, you can choose your sauce, various toppings, and add house-made coconut based cheese to create the pizza of your dreams. If you really want to doctor it up you can add falafel or other vegan meat options as well.
I was lucky enough for Adam to give me a special look behind the scenes and I got to try the pizza straight out of the oven. I must say for such a small space, Pizza Marinara pushes out an incredible, high quality product. It is just a two person operation including Adam, the owner and the head chef he endearingly calls Doña Krista. How amazing is it that you can support a small vegan businesses just by ordering pizza? The ingredients are fresh and the food is made with love.
My review? The menu and food here is amazing. There isn’t another restaurant in San José that is doing 100% vegan pizzas as well as Marinara Pizzeria. There are some restaurants that may have vegan pizza as an option but they don’t quite measure up. I sincerely hope they open up an official store front soon so we can enjoy the full restaurant experience. However, this comfort food is the perfect addition to a night in!
A Letter from the Owner
“Hi, my name is Adam Stone and I am the founder of Marinara Pizzeria in San José, Costa Rica. I have been vegan since 2013 and it is by far the best decision I have ever made in my life. There is no easier way to care for the animals, our health, and the environment than a vegan diet; so why not make the biggest impact possible? Often times, people say, the only thing that is stopping them from going vegan is their love of cheese and pizza, that is why Marinara Pizzeria was started.
Marinara, the original pizza before the Margherita, was not served with cheese and by default, was therefore vegan. At Marinara, it is our goal to “Make Pizza Vegan Again.” Our oven is Italian, we use Italian tomatoes in our sauce, and use the freshest local ingredients we can find. One thing that is very important to us is to make most of our ingredients from scratch to set us apart and allow us to serve foods that are not overly processed and packaged. For that reason, we don’t include vegan meats in any of our recipes, but we have them available as an addition for those who are so inclined.
Our philosophy is that pizza doesn’t have to be unhealthy and it certainly doesn’t have to contain animal cruelty to be authentic. Our cheese, is homemade using a coconut milk base. Aside from our pesto based pizza, we get the most compliments on our vegan cheese. We also take pride in our veggie crust options. Cauliflower crust pizza has really taken off in the US and we have since developed our own recipe which we are now serving here in Costa Rica. Many cauliflower crust pizzas contain egg or cheese in the base, so it was obviously important for us to make a vegan version. Instead, we use a blend of nuts and seeds to bind our dough. We also make our cauliflower crust keto diet friendly and gluten free, this way regardless of your diet or lifestyle you can still have a plant-based alternative available. We have recently added a broccoli crust and offer plantain crust as well, so there no shortage of gluten free crust options. At some point, we would love to become totally gluten free once we find a traditional pizza crust recipe we like so celiacs can enjoy the food without fear of cross contamination.
Although the food is vegan, we want everyone to enjoy the food without even realizing that it’s vegan. At the end of the day, if you’re not a health oriented person, an animal rights activist or an environmentalist, vegan food needs to be as good or better than its conventional alternative to encourage everyone to make the decision to eat plant-based. Our goal to have options for everyone.
Now that you know more about the restaurant, I will dive deeper into the entrepreneurial aspect of starting Marinara Pizzeria. One reason Marinara has been able to take off so quickly is social media. I personally go by the handle @thecostavegan on Instagram. I started posting as @thecostavegan because many people would ask how or what I eat, so I just started documenting it. I wanted to show people it’s not hard to be vegan and in today’s world you can be vegan anywhere, anytime. I like to tell people, I let my plate do the talking and if you like what I’m eating, let’s talk more. As I developed a following, the account become a form of activism and also a great networking tool. I especially enjoy supporting other businesses with vegan options.
If it wasn’t for Instagram, Marinara Pizzeria wouldn’t be the reality it is today. It was through the @thecostavegan blog, that our chef’s son, a member of the Costa Rican vegan community contacted me with the idea of opening a vegan pizzeria. I liked the idea as an activism project and a way to give back to a country that I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and living in. We’ve been very lucky the Costa Rican vegan community has embraced our project. I’m also very grateful to have met some incredible new people and entrepreneurs through Marinara, that are now some very dear friends.
For me there is no competition, veganism is a community. It’s so important to support vegan causes and businesses. The more we all support each other the more impact we can make, to expand compassionate offerings, all while helping the planet and the animals. The more vegan business there are, the more awareness there will be around the movement, inspiring more people to start living vegan.
I encourage anyone with an idea or the urge to start their own project to do so and I promise I’ll be the first one to support it. Just because I have Marinara, does not mean I will not continue to dine out, order from, and support other businesses. However, it’s been so exciting to add my own vegan offering and join the vegan entrepreneurial community.”
I hope you enjoyed this post. Are any of my readers thinking of becoming a vegan entrepreneur?
Wander often & Wonder always,