Miami's Ten Best Pizzas

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There are two kinds of pizza lovers in this town: traditionalists and radicals.

Traditionalists want extra cheese, but never fontina or Gorgonzola. Did you just ask them to pay 15 bucks for a 12-inch pie? They probably threw some figs and prosciutto in your face. They like pepperoni. A lot.

Radicals prefer runny eggs on their arugula-topped pies. They crave house-smoked bacon and funky cheeses. And they have no problem paying more cash for all of that added funk.

What follows are the top ten pizza joints in Miami -- a list that features Roman pizza al taglio, pizza napolitana, NY-style pizza, and, of course, pizzas swimming in delectable pools of grease.

10. Joey's

Joey's isn't quite as good as it used to be. The Wynwood restaurant's pies tasted better a few years ago, when the neighborhood was developing and Joey's was the sole restaurant around. Today, you've got to know your pies. Try the dolce e piccante (figs, Gorgonzola, and hot peppers) or the marinara ($9.50) -- a cheese-less variety smothered in tomato sauce, anchovies, capers, and olives. Both are a fine way to start a night in the arts district.

9. Pizzarium

Pizzarium sells pizza al taglio, a rectangular Roman pie that's sold by the slice. The best variety is the funghetto ($5.98 slice; $37.99 tray), a blend of porcini mushrooms, garlic, and black truffle cream. Crusts are about a half-inch thick with bubbly, chewy exteriors. At this downtown spot, pizzas are pre-cut and pre-baked. When you go, make sure to ask for a fresh tray or slice.

8. Thea Pizzeria

Allapattah's Thea Pizzeria is a lovely restaurant in an unlikely setting. There's an easy explanation for that: Thea Goldman is an ex-partner of Joey's -- a restaurant that was also a trailblazer in an evolving neighborhood. Although their crusts taste similar, I like Thea's pies better. The artichoke pizza ($13) features pureed artichokes with arugula and grana padano over a thin, blistered crust. Thea's cacio e pepe focaccia -- scattered with copious pecorino -- ($10) is a salty explosion of cheese. They're all solid pies, and a great option for lunch.

7. Spris

Do you miss Mai Tardi, the outdoor Design District pizzeria that closed last year? Well, Spris also comes from the Graspa Group -- the same folks behind Salumeria 104, Tiramesu, and Soyka. Spris on Lincoln Road bakes round pies with slim crusts. It boasts a crazy variety of Italian-inspired pizzas: traditional, no sauce, no cheese, no gluten, and whole wheat. Some pies are too ambitious -- with chicken breast and thinly sliced beef. Stick to the classics: margherita ($9.75), four cheese ($13), and prosciutto crudo. It's a great excuse to visit one of Miami's few pedestrian-friendly streets.

6. Andiamo Brick Oven Pizza

Andiamo offers almost thirty varieties of pies, but I always order the same thing: the New Yorker with extra fresh garlic. The 10-inch pizza ($11.25) isn't anything too wild. It pairs a thick tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, and extra virgin olive oil -- all layered atop a slim yet puffy crust. Mozzarella pies often lack depth of flavor, which is provided by aged cheeses. This pie has both parmesan and mozzarella. And that makes it a winner.

5. Steve's Pizza

Say what you will about Steve's Pizza in North Miami: it's decor is too dingy, its NY-style pies are too greasy, its sauce is too sweet. Whatever. This place is a freaking enclave, a late-night mainstay that provides colossal slices for just $2.75. So what if those foldable slices don't fit on your flimsy paper plate? And who cares that there's graffiti all over the place? These pies are huge orbs of plain goodness -- all rimmed by pale, lean, classic crusts.

4. Frankie's Pizza

There's no ritzy atmosphere at this takeaway joint on Bird Road. But there certainly is longevity. Frankie's has been selling delivery and take-out pizza for nearly 55 years. Their success can be attributed to their chewy, bread-like rectangular slices, which boast a ton of cheese and a bit of crunch. It's kind of like Rome's pizza al taglio, except things are slightly more straightforward here. Order the tomato and cheese for just $1.40. Add-on five toppings (like jalapeños!) and it'll pump up the price to only $2.10.

3. Kings County Pizza

This shop proffers the best affordable NY-style pizzas in town. (The garlic knots are ridiculously good, too.) You can try the Sicilian, a square pie with mozzarella and tomato sauce on a doughy crust, or the Grandma, a square pie on a thin crust. When you go to Kings though, you really should get a taste of Brooklyn's finest. The Neapolitan ($9.95 medium) is the real deal: melted mozzarella, delectable sauce, and a crisp crust with little charred bubbles of goodness.

2. Harry's Pizzeria

There are several ways to go about Harry's Pizzeria, Michael Schwartz's casual restaurant in the Design District. But there's really only one way to do it right. Start with a local beer and some polenta fries. Next, go for the braised fennel pie ($14) -- a medley of sweet fennel, caramelized onions, and trugole cheese. The specials are always fun, featuring quirky toppings such as porchetta, herbs, and roasted oranges. Now in its second year, Harry's makes dough that's gotten even better over time. Today, it boasts a thin and sturdy center with a chewy rim. That -- along with its creative toppings -- makes it one of the best pies around.

1. Lucali

Lucali is perhaps the most expensive pizzeria in Miami. And I understand: Paying eight bucks extra for artichokes on a $24 24-inch pie is borderline insane. It offends some New Yorkers, the ones who grew up paying one or two bucks for a solid, classic slice. But this Brooklyn import has mastered the art of the pie. Lucali's pizzas have a perfect dough. It's soft enough to fold but durable enough to crunch. The crust puffs up with charred bubbles and an all-around greyish hue. Have you tried the sauce? It's the best tomato sauce I've ever had in Miami -- let alone anywhere else. And how about their Nutella pie? It's pretty fantastic.

And let's be serious: Nutella wins every time.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.

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