Vide Napole e'po umore translates to "See Naples and then die." At Stanzione 87, this is the language. If you've been to Naples and had true Neapolitan pizza, you can die happy. Or at least owner Franco Stanzione believes so. The good news for locals is we don't have to go all the way to Naples to eat Neapolitan pizza, although wouldn't it be nice?
Stanzione 87 opened Saturday as Miami's first truly "authentic" Neapolitan pizza shop. That label means Franco has been certified by the Italian government and must adhere to guidelines set by the Neapolitan pizza gods. We got to attend a friends-and-family gathering to help the restaurant smooth out the kinks before opening and comment on the genuine pies.
A small eatery, Stanzione 87 seats about 40 people. Marble tabletops act as the perfect counter for pizza pies, which are the focus of the menu. There are also a few crostini, a nice selection of salads, and a dessert as big as the moon. From the pizza bar, patrons can watch coffee being made while pizzas are slid in and out of the blue brick oven. The pizza-makers put on a show as they work behind a glass wall, forming and throwing dough in the air.
Next to the quote that Franco lives by, which is written in blue-lit lettering on the back wall, is a chalkboard wall that depicts the number 87 and, around it, the menu. Servers and bussers dash around, acclimating themselves to the space, the food, and the customers. Those customers are here for Franco and Ashley -- and the food.
A charming and ambitious pair, Franco and Ashley flit from table to table, suggesting the special limone pizza and demanding that the Margherita be tried at least once. We follow orders because we've been invited, and when invited to an Italian home, you do not question -- you simply eat. And also because we trust them to guide us in the right direction.
Pizzas come sliced, although true Neapolitan pizza is not supposed to; it is supposed to be eaten with a fork and knife. Ashley and Franco have decided for now to slice their pizzas to accommodate patrons. But the perfect relationship between Stanzione 87 and a hungry customer is one in which the guest requests the pizza not to be sliced.
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Our pizza was not sliced, and we had no issues eating it. As a matter of fact, we had three pizzas for two people, although one per person should be enough. Pizzas are also minimally topped. A balance exists among the sauce, cheese, and crust, which is fluffy, like a cloud of dough.
Welcome to Neapolitan pizza heaven.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha.