Takeout Test: Pizza takeout and delivery in Miami
Pizza has been the star food of the pandemic for several reasons. Pizza restaurants were already set up for delivery, they are generally affordable, and diners view pizza as comfort food.
Now more than ever, Miami attracts its fair share of pizzerias, ranging from the traditional Neapolitan to New York-style to the inventive gourmet.
Between football games and coronavirus-induced isolation, chances are you want to stay home sweaty with pizza. So new times anonymously sampled three of Miami’s hottest pizzas to see how they fared from the oven to home.
Below, listed in alphabetical order, are our findings.
Bonci Pizza (232 NW 24th St., Miami; 786-522-2135; bonciusa.com), originally from Rome, was praised by Anthony Bourdain during a 2011 episode of The stopover. Owner Gabriele Bonci expanded his Roman empire, opening a pizzeria in Chicago a few years ago before adding a place in Wynwood in November.
Bonci makes interesting Roman pizzas, including spicy shrimp and eggplant, and salmon burrata, on a dough that takes 72 hours to rise. Enter and choose from a daily rotation; the staff cut the slices with scissors and charge you by the pound.
Delivery, however, is another story.
Flavors are limited to the standards — four meat, three vegetarian, and three vegan — and you can only order in pairs of slices that read like a sporty cheer: two ($7.50-$13), four ($15- $26) or eight ($30). -52$). This hurts the wallet very quickly. On the plus side, the “Slice” app lets you specify both when and how you want your pizza: “End here to have it delivered hot ready to enjoy” or “End at house so that it is nice and warm when you want it”.
It would be great if this worked, but it all happened 15 minutes earlier with the same cobblestone crust texture and Miami winter weather in the same pizza box (vegans take note). Every slice, from the vegan mushroom to the all beef meatball version, tasted stale. The most intriguing, the lemon ricotta zucchini pizza, was the blandest.
David Foulquier closed his eponymous downtown restaurant to open Eleventh Street Pizza (1035 N. Miami Avenue, Miami; 786-536-2749; eleventhstreetpizza.com) last February, with his brother Joshua and Danielle Hultman as partners.
Pizza combinations range from classic to contemporary, made with organic Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes and a sourdough crust from a seven-year-old “mother”. The 16-inch New York-style pies and a Sicilian square (16 slices) are pricey ($24-$42), but they’re also sturdy enough to survive both delivery and reheating with a resounding crunch. You can also order the sicilian by the slice, which is large enough to share for two.
There’s not a lot of variety – five round options and four Sicilian options – but the pepperoni version, topped with Calabrian chili paste and tempered with honey, is a clear winner. The same goes for a vegan pie, “la Provençale”, which reinterprets ratatouille with confit garlic, roasted red onions, zucchini, basil and pepperoncini. For the basics, you can order the “Carmine Cheese”, but the more adventurous should try the “Brooklyn Cheese”, an upside-down version where the sauce sits on top of the cheese. An endearing note: A complication developed in our Uber delivery. Rather than ignore it, the restaurant contacted both the app and the customer to propose a solution.
Sagra Pizza Bar (11052 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami; 305-384-4759; sagrapizzabar.com) also opened during the pandemic. Sagra offers Roman pies, baked outdoors for two to three minutes at 700 degrees in an imported wood-fired Valoriani oven.
The 15 affordable, personal-sized options (all $12) range from a savory meatball and fior di latte to a Miami Cuban pizza topped with prosciutto cotto, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and of mustard.
Even via delivery, the pizzas are pretty wraps, with whole clams still in the shell adorning the vongole and grilled shrimp, spicy artichoke and arugula an eye-catching contrast. The problem is the scab, which turns into a misshapen sponge in the cardboard box.
Reheating these pies is also a major issue, as the crust passes through the oven racks, allowing the fillings to fall down the sides. This is the kind of pizza you should eat on the spot minutes after baking, not 30-45 minutes later, unless you like scooping clams from the bottom of your oven.