A slice with cheese and pepperoni may sate a teenager in middle America, but this is Miami: We want pies with some pizzazz.
New York and Chicago may be more notable pizza meccas, but nowhere else offers Cuban and oxtail pizzas like the Magic City.
In the following list, you can find your pizzas vegan and gluten-free, in sushi or taco variety, celestial, or even psychedelic.
10. Magical Mystery Tour at Mellow Mushroom
Forget the peace train. The stoner-themed pizza chain Mellow Mushroom has brought the Magical Mystery Tour to Miami. It offers all kinds of interesting varieties, such as the Thai Dye with curry chicken, but don't pass up the mushroom pies, like the Holy Shiitake. The one that combines shrooms with extra greenery is the Magical Mystery Tour ($12.99 for a small), a pesto-sauced pie on pesto basted crust with button and portobello mushrooms, feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, and jalapeños.
9. Margherita Gluten-Free at Harry's Pizzeria
There are several ways to go at Harry's Pizzeria: the braised fennel, the rock shrimp, or the short rib pizza. But the best thing about Harry's is that it offers gluten-free pies to our G-free and celiac friends. The crust may be a bit thinner and paler than the regular variety, but the flavor remains. Forget gluten-free bread that tastes like cardboard. You get the quality gourmet pizza you have come to love for only $2 more.
8. Star Luca at Visa-O1
If you think pizza is only about round pies and triangle slices, think again. The most stellar pizza in Miami is the Star Luca ($14.90) at Visa-O1, hidden just off Lincoln Road. This superior star-shaped pie has ricotta stuffed into the points and spicy pepperoni, mozzarella, and San Marzano sauce atop it.
7. Cuban Pizza at Montes de Oca
"Cuban pizza isn't the pinnacle of the island's culinary offerings... Instead, it is a symbol of the struggle and hardships endured by tens of thousands of families that fled after the 1959 revolution," says New Times restaurant critic, Zachary Fagenson. But this pizza is distinctly Miami. Montes de Oca has five eateries across the area. The real differentiator lies in the dough, which has much more than flour and water; it is basically cuban bread with milk, oil, sugar, and salt in the mix.
6. Pizza al Taglio at Pizzarium
If you want a slice of pizza downtown, think outside the triangle. Pizzarium sells pizza al taglio, a rectangular Roman pie that's sold by the slice. Step into the arena and tackle the funghetto ($6.84 for a slice), which is as fun as it sounds with porcini mushrooms, garlic, and black truffle cream. The pizza is thick, bubbly, and chewy and will make you feel like a Roman god.
5. Hawaiian Vegan Pizza at Lemoni Pizza and Kitchen
Hawaiian pizza still takes a while to wrap your head around -- ham and pineapple on a pizza? Take that and veganize it. Lemoni's version has a strong point of view and flavor profile with pineapple, jalapeños, "ham" tofu, tomato garlic sauce, vegan mozzarella cheese, and parsley. New Times vegan writer Hannah Sentenac says, "Biting into the first piece, I was floored. The deliciously chewy crust, creamy mozzarella, tangy pineapple, and fiery jalapeños were an unparalleled flavor combo. I hadn't had Hawaiian pizza in ages. I was missing out."
4. Taco Pizza at Café Babbo
Just when you think you've seen it all in food mashups, along comes the taco pizza. Café Babbo in Wynwood serves this Frankenstein food that fuses a folded focaccia crust with arugula, ricotta, lettuce, guacamole, and chicken or shrimp. It's specially offered Tuesdays with two Coronas for $18 during the café's Taco Tuesday, or simply request the concoction other days of the week.
3. Tuna Pizza at Morimoto South Beach
From tacos to tuna. The pie that Iron Chef veteran Masaharu Morimoto serves uses the term "pizza" loosely but delivers the goods with raw tuna, anchovy aioli, and jalapeño rings layered atop a crisped flour tortilla. It has the crunch, the savory, the spicy, and the fishy. It's a classical Morimoto dish that has just recently graced the shores of South Beach.
2. Nutella Pizza at Lucali
Lucali serves some fantastic savory pies, but its dessert pizza is mind-blowing. Perhaps you're accustomed to a crust with flour dust, marinara, globs of mozzarella, and basil leaves. Now envision powdered sugar instead of flour, ricotta instead of mozz, and fresh mint leaves instead of basil. And the sweet sauce is that winning combination of chocolate and hazelnut: Nutella. You gotta try the Nutella pie ($15).
1. Oxtail Pizza at Proof Pizza & Pasta
Do you love a good pizza birth story? Chef Justin Flit came up with the idea for the top-selling pie while prepping for a pre-opening party. He had a black-garlic purée lying around and thought it could work as a pizza base, so he paired it with thyme-infused oxtail, a cost-saving alternative to short rib, and used caramelized yellow onions for some sweetness as the final touch. That is how your new favorite pizza ($14) was born. It encapsulates the plethora of flavors and textures that makes a pizza truly pops.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst
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