Healthy, Tasty Choices Abound at zpizza

Features Inside Feature

July 26, 2015

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

With a host of gluten-free and vegetarian pizzas gracing its extensive menu, zpizza continues to embody the mantra coined by founder Sid Fanarof: “The best-tasting food starts with ingredients that are naturally better for you.”

Following a concept devised nearly 30 years ago in Laguna Beach, Calif., zpizza serves up mouthwatering cuisine that’s flavorful, but also features healthy recipes composed of fresh, natural ingredients. Take, for instance, zpizza’s Napoli ($13.95 for small, add $3 for gluten-free crust), which showcases a house-made roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, Parmesan and fresh basil. Berkeley Vegan ($13.95 for small, $25.95 for large, $28.95 for extra large) exemplifies zpizza’s tasty-yet-healthy approach, as house-made marinara sauce, “daiya” vegan cheese, “gardein” vegan sausage, roasted zucchini, Roma tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions and bell peppers converge to offer a bounty of flavors in each bite.

“Once you try our pizza, you won’t want to go back to the other guys,” says co-owner Cesar Llarenas, who operates Oahu’s two zpizza locations — Ward Center and Kailua — along with his wife Karen. The parlor utilizes a brick oven heated to 600 degrees to cook each pizza to perfection with a signature crispy crust.

First introduced to Hawaii nearly seven years ago, zpizza has shown local diners that its cuisine both tastes great and offers a healthy spin on Italian fare via the use of certified organic tomato sauce, non-GMO flour and RBGH-free part-skim mozzarella cheese from grass-fed cows in Wisconsin. The establishment also features nitrate-, preservative- and msg-free pepperoni and hormone-free chicken breast in addition to a host of other flavorful toppings, including shiitake mushrooms, arugula and truffle oil — just to name a few.

Customers may build their own made-to-order pizza pie at zpizza with a host of options, including regular, wheat and gluten-free (no wheat used) crust from dough made fresh daily. Guests also may choose from a trove of fixings, such as basil pesto, barbecue, chipotle pesto, marinara, roasted garlic, Thai peanut or tomato sauces and a choice of the aforementioned “daiya” vegan, feta, gorgonzola, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone and ricotta cheeses.

“We think — and have heard so from customers — that we have the best gluten-free pizza in town and take pride in that,” Karen explains. “A lot of families, especially with children who are gluten intolerant, come here specifically to enjoy our gluten-free selections. You can build your own pizza or choose from our great creations.”

At zpizza, patrons also will find a collection of rustic flatbreads. Pear & Gorgonzola ($13.95) is available with a regular or wheat crust, and is crafted with mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses, sliced pears and fresh thyme. An array of salads also represents a portion of the eclectic menu, including Arugula ($9.25) and its masterful combination of house-made roasted candied walnuts and zesty balsamic vinaigrette.

Succulent zWings ($9.95 for eight pieces) steal the show on the “shareables” section of the menu. The juicy, hormone-free, range-raised chicken wings are cooked to order and tossed in one’s choice of tangy Buffalo, sweet barbecue, pesto, chipotle pesto or Thai peanut sauces.

Diners at zpizza are treated to ample complimentary parking at both the Ward and Kailua locations, and are reminded of the weekly “Military Monday” and “Senior Tuesday” promotions, during which those with military ID and patrons ages 55-and-over receive 10 percent off Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

A convenient catering menu also is available for those hosting or attending special events or business functions (please provide at least two days’ notice when ordering), as guests may select from pastas, sandwich trays, salads and, of course, pizza. Customers also are encouraged to call ahead or order online via zpizza.com.


Ward Centre, Auahi Street Shops
1200 Ala Moana Blvd.
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday) and 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)

151 Hekili St.
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday) and 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)


Note: Lunch special combos are available daily and include mix-and-match options of pizza by the slice, side salad and half sandwich ($8.25 for any two, $11.25 for any three).

Kailua, HI 96734

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best