Chefs' Picks: Miami Pizza
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.
Miami may not be a traditional pizza town, but with a constant influx of former New Yorkers and European expats joining the ranks of enterprising locals, the Magic City has seriously elevated its pies. Here, five local chefs share their favorite places for pizza in South Florida.
After a night of turning out pan-Asian dishes at KOMODO in downtown Miami, Chef Oscar Toro often seeks out a slice. "While Asian cuisine is my favorite, sometimes I just need a slice of good New York-style pizza,” says Toro. He is partial to Pizza Bar for its late-night hours (the spot is open until 5 a.m.) and numerous menu options. “They have huge thin crust slices and so many different varieties that there is always something to fulfill my craving. Added bonus: Their garlic knots and chicken wings are great, too."
The Miami outpost of a Brooklyn original has made a dazzling impression on many a culinary-minded member of the Magic City, including Chef Michael Lewis. "Lucali in Sunset Harbour is my favorite after-work spot,” says Lewis, who heads here after a day of dishing out wood-fired creations at the Asian-inspired restaurant KYU. For Lewis, Lucali’s allure stretches beyond the pizza. “The pies are consistently really good, but beyond that, the whole vibe in there is relaxed, friendly and welcoming.”
Another Lucali aficionado is Chef Sunny Oh, who is no stranger to the pizza-making process itself. Though he’s now chef and partner at Sushi Garage and Juvia Miami, Oh spent time at the start of his career creating gourmet pies. Years later, his affinity for pizza was stoked anew after Oh became a parent. “When my daughter started to get older, I found myself eating more [pizza]. Nowadays, I like all types, but my two favorite are artisanal and classic New York-style,” Oh says. In addition to Lucali, Oh is partial to Steve’s Pizza, where he opts for sausage on a classic New York-style slice. He’s also a fan of Mister 01 (formerly named Visa-01), which is tucked away in a discreet office building in Miami Beach.
The stellar artisanal pies turned out at Mister O1 have also made a devotee out of Executive Chef Dario Bellofiore, who works just down the road from the pizzeria at Quattro Gastronomia Italiana. He can’t resist the siren call of Mister 01’s authentic Neapolitan pizza. “Owner and pizza maker, Renato [Viola] from Naples, Italy has received many awards for his thin-crust pizzas,” Bellofiore says. “I feel like I am back in Italy whenever I go there.”
When Executive Chef Clark Bowen isn’t busy making decadent burgers and modern French specialties at db Bistro Moderne Miami, he seeks out a simple pizza served at a laidback neighborhood joint. "My favorite local pie is from Andiamo Pizza in Midtown Miami,” says Bowen. “It’s brick-oven pizza with a thin, crispy crust. It’s always fresh and they offer unique toppings.” And for those who want to soak up that famous Miami sunshine while eating a slice, Bowen recommends Andiamo’s outdoor dining area.