The Best Pizza in Coral Gables
Let’s face it. Pizza is the food of happiness, loved by consumers of all ages. According to food surveys, on any given day at least one in 10 Americans eats a slice of pizza – or more. And it comes in an endless array of styles: Thin crust, Chicago deep dish, Neapolitan, fresh or frozen, with or without toppings, etc. It can be a quick slice or a sit down pie, eaten with knife and fork or with bare hands.
When it was first invented in the 6th century AD, the “bizzo” or “pizzo” (a word used by the invading Lombards, meaning “mouthful”) was just flat bread with cheese, herbs and oils. It wasn’t until the Conquistadors brought back tomatoes from the New World that tomato sauce joined the mix, and it wasn’t until U.S. soldiers came back from Italy in World War II that it became truly popular here.
But what makes a great pizza? Partly it’s a matter of taste. Do you prefer the soft crust of the pizzas from Naples or the thick crust of the pizzas from Sicily? Do you want to keep it simple and pure with just tomatoes and cheese, or do you want a variety of ingredients, creating variations like Hawaiian pizza (with ham & pineapple) or Pizza Rustica (with potato)? We set out to sample every independent pizza parlor in the city, and came up with this selection of the top half dozen. Buon appetito!
Terre Del Sapore
246 Giralda Ave.
This new addition to the Gables has captured our hearts and our stomachs. For our money, it’s the best in town – Neapolitan-style pizza, but with a super thin crust and moist, melty cheese and tomato sauce that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy afterwards. With a lunch special consisting of a pizza or pasta, a side salad and a drink (includes beer and wine) for $13, this will quickly become your new favorite lunch spot. With brick walls and a raw, open ceiling, the interior feels rustic countryside. Owner Angelo Angiollieri is obsessed with quality ingredients, including minimally-processed flour from Italy, and you can taste it.
1403 Sunset Dr.
Owner Artan Kapxhiu, born in Albania but raised in Italy, says his skills as a pizza maker come from “22 years of experience.” Before he opened Forno’s (Italian for oven) he catered with a mobile pizza oven. Two years ago he opened this charming neighborhood spot that also serves pasta and wine. But people come for the pizza, cooked in a wood-burning oven. The crust is crisp, the dough made fresh daily. A margherita goes for $12, but you can escalate all the way to the top: the $20 pistachio, mortadella ham, cherry tomato and shaved Grana Padano cheese pizza.
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
2626 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
We almost left this out as a chain, but it’s a South Florida chain, so we made an exception. Anthony’s prides itself on its coal-fired flavor, which gives it a taste similar to what you get when you cook a burger on a coal grill. And their pies are akin to a traditional New York pizza: big and round, with cheese and tomato baked firmly into place, for $13 to $20. It’s also a full-blown restaurant, with waitresses, chicken wings, meatballs, pork ribs (all coal fired!) etc. And they don’t scrimp on toppings; ask for mushrooms or onions and they layer the surface.
141 Aragon Ave.
Unless you pay attention, you’ll miss this tiny place across from the Colonnades. But it has a great vibe, including the wall-mounted shell of a red Fiat – the nickname for which in Italy is “pummarola,” slang for “little tomato.” Here they serve real Napoletana pizza, which manager/partner Larry Mele says must be “soggy and soft,” cooked only with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with milk from Italian water buffalo. Now five years old, Pummarola has expanded to locations from the Falls to Barcelona. Here, their one-person pizzas – cooked on a lava stone – still start at $7.95.
279 Miracle Mile
This year-old spot on Miracle Mile is the pizza equivalent of Subway. It’s fast food at a reasonable price with an amazing selection of toppings. For $7 you get an oblong cheese and tomato “pie” which is simply run under a heating coil on a small conveyor belt. For $9 you can add as many toppings as you like, and there are dozens – spinach, goat cheese, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, cooked onions, raw onions, blue cheese, pineapple, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, green peppers, Canadian bacon, ham, chicken, pepperoni, etc. They will even crack an egg on your pizza, cooked under the heating coil.
Joe’s Old School Pizza
1232 S. Dixie Highway
Finally, a place where you can get pizza by the slice. And at $3.25 a slice, it’s most likely the cheapest meal you will ever eat in Coral Gables. Since a slice is so affordable, you can go crazy with toppings like pepperoni, sausage, pineapples or veggies at 50 cents a pop. Joe’s has a special every day where you can get two slices of pizza and a drink for $6, which may be the best deal in the history of cheap deals. They claim to be “award-winning New York style pizza,” and the New Yorkers on our staff approve.