Saturday February 4, 2006



There is the potential here for good pizza: Piola is a swank-looking little place around the corner from Lincoln Rd., with roots in Italy [caution: a Flash monstrosity lurks behind that link]. Their ingredients are fresh and high-quality. Unfortunately, the execution leaves something to be desired.

We stopped by the other day for a quick bite. Our pizza came out, uncut into slices. We asked our waiter (who had been friendly and helpful up until that point) for a pizza cutter, and proceeded to get into almost like an argument with him: him insisting the pizza was cut (it wasn’t: there was maybe a faint indication of an attempt at one lengthwise cut, but, I swear, that’s it). Well, we didn’t get the pizza cutter, and had to manage cutting it with utensils. The pie itself was good enough, but sloppily assembled: big fields of dry crust around the outside, a single huge sheet of extremely salty prosciutto covering about half the pie (are all cutting implements banned from the premises?), the rest sprinkled with chopped tomato.

Also: can we talk? In the days when soda fountains are the standard in everything from hamburger shacks to gourmet restaurants, what self-respecting pizza place brings you a can when you order a coke? And where do they get the cajones to charge $2 for it? Oh, and after we finished, the waiter cleared the plates, and let us sit there for a completely absurd amount of time . . . he must have walked by our table 8 times, ignoring us completely. We finally slapped down some money and walked out. Ma sei pazzo? Get me the hell back to Pizza Rustica.

comments powered by Disqus
  1. merry    Mon Feb 6, 03:21 PM #  

    Funny, I remember having the same conversation with my waiter the last time I went to Piola re: the pizza cutter. Not a very friendly place – I haven’t returned.

    A similar style of pizza on the beach is Spree – they are right down from Pizza Rustica and the service is much friendlier, execution better in my opinion. :)

  2. alesh    Mon Feb 6, 03:29 PM #  

    Which Pizza Rustica; there are three?

  3. Sol & Sal    Mon Feb 6, 04:24 PM #  

    Pardon the prejudice, but you can’t get good pizza anywhere in Florida. It’s not here. You can get good pizza in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. You can get a completely different but exceptionally good pizza in Chicago. But that’s all, and that’s the sad truth.

    There’s stuff that’s okay down here which looks like pizza, but it’s a pale shadow of the real thing.

  4. una brava ragazza    Mon Feb 6, 06:10 PM #  

    Yes, exactly—the folks at Piola are inept little twits who inexplicably hoard their pizza slicers and churn out soggy pies with the enticing aspect of pressed kleenex. (not to put too fine a point on it or anything.)

    But get over it and amble two miles south to FLB, at the corner of 5th/washington. After enduring quite a lot of cruddy pizza down here, Fratelli la Bufala gets it right, or close enough. They’ve got the right oven, they have a full time pizziaolo (believe his name is armando). The result is crispy, not too cheesy, dressed with high-quality ingredients, and basically the same price as the Piola/Spris/Rosinella trio of crapitude. Bonus points for pleasant service, good bread, chalk portraits of buffalo and friendly little dining room.

    I can’t vouch for the water buffalo entrees, and the hyped house-made fresh mozzarella is just okay. But the contorni (roman-style cooked marinated veggies) are excellent, and the spaghetti with zucchini pesto and fresh ricotta makes my husband lick the plate. Which is more than you needed to know about my marital life, but there you go.

  5. Kathleen    Mon Feb 6, 06:28 PM #  

    La Gastronomia in the Gables has awesome, true Italian-style pizza, as does a new place, Prezzemolo, on Le Jeune near Gables High.

  6. alesh    Mon Feb 6, 07:03 PM #  

    Sol~ That’s the biggest bunch of crap I’ve ever heard (and I hear it pretty regularly). There may be a case to be made for Philly cheese steak sandwiches (or not), but there are any number of pizza places in miami with pie that can hold its own against NY pizza; there’s the unpretentious (like Steve’s (the on by the new Home Depot on Biscayne)), the slightly hoity-toity (like some of the ones mentioned here), and of course Rustica, some sort of weird Italian countryside Roman-style thing (they import their flower from Italy, natch).

    Go sell the “NY has the only acceptable pizza/bagels/hot-dogs/delis/parties/girls etc” crap somewhere else – we’re all stocked up here.

  7. Salomon    Mon Feb 6, 07:21 PM #  

    Everyone is forgetting about Casolas pizza; probably the best pizza in Miami. The only downside is that they dont take credit cards, and I hate them for this.

    Plus, it sounds like people are starting to plug their own restaurants.

  8. merry    Mon Feb 6, 07:56 PM #  

    Hee. Sorry, I often forget that there are three Rusticas on the beach. I’m talking about the one on Lincoln across from Nexxt Cafe.

    I think the key here is that there are three different types of pizza being discussed here. Piola/Spris (not spree, sorry) is the very thin crust “uppity” italian pizza. Pizza Rustica is deep dish thick crust, and Casolas is traditional NY type pizza (and I think they have it down, but they aren’t as good as John’s of Bleecker Street in Manhattan). All have their merits, but it depends on what kind of pizza you are in the mood for. :)

    I’ve never had a problem with the waitstaff at Spris, but can’t say the same about Rosinella. I’m going to check out FLB as soon as I can, though.

  9. Mediocrity    Tue Feb 28, 11:53 AM #  

    I’ve found that in South Florida, the ingredients used to make things like pizza are mediocre. Then, as to cover up the mediocrity of the meal, the chefs just dump a lot of salt on everything – gross! I just try not to go out to eat anymore, ever!

  10. Manola B    Tue Feb 28, 12:31 PM #  

    What a shame, I used to like Piola because they served Prosecco by the glass.

    Has anyone been consistently disappointed by Pizza Rustica delivery? I have … and it’s a shame too.