Tuesday December 19, 2006

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica

We’ve all heard or been in a million “best pizza in Miami” arguments, right? Forget it. Usually those are talking about New York style pizza, a thin-crust round piece of dough with a little tomato sauce, cheese, and maybe pepperoni. The not-so-secret is that pizza like this is so easy to get right that hundreds of places make it really, really well, which can be shocking if you’re only used to Hut/Domino/Caesar crap. Everyone’s attached to some little joint somewhere (in Miami they’re usually called “Steve’s,” for some reason), all of which make great pizza, I’m sure.

Pizza Rustica is something else. Big rectangular pieces (they slice them into six pieces so you can pick it up!) of Roman-style pizza smothered with any of a dozen+ very specific combination of toppings. They use a particular type of oven. They import their flour from Italy, for chrissakes. Cute girls will pop your slice into the oven for a few minutes and set you up with a coke or a beer (on tap, but nothing good) if you’re eating there. I think all the “slices” are $4, but all it takes is one and you’re stuffed. I don’t normally tip when I’m ordering from a counter like this, but here I always do; come on, they’re running around that hot oven all day, right? Plus, it rounds it up to $5 (no messing around with tax), and so the best $5 meal in town.

Pizza Rustica

Here’s a slice of the eponymous Rustica (bad photo, sorry). Prosciutto, tomatoes regular and sun-dried, black olives, artichoke hearts, and whole basil leaves. Serious business. On a second visit, or for vegetarians, might I recommend the potato pizza — it sounds weird but trust me; the potato is sliced very thin, and paired with a few other specific ingredients, and it works. All the varieties are like this — very specific combinations of a bunch of ingredients. Caprese salad pizza? Chicken Fiorentina pizza? You get the idea. They’ll also custom make (round) pizzas with any combination of 35(!) ingredients. Forget the silly arguments: this is the best pizza in town by a long shot.

There are three locations on the Beach: the one on the corner of 9th and Washington is the original, though the other two have a little more seating inside. There’s also one in Ft. Lauderdale which I’ve never eaten at. Google maps does a good job of finding them.

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  1. mkh    Tue Dec 19, 09:04 AM #  

    But do they import their flour?

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been hearing about this place for ages. I’ll have to check it out.

  2. j-j    Tue Dec 19, 09:09 AM #  

    Dude, thank you for the lunch tip. Living on the Beach I do forget how trully great Piza Rustica really is. I feel sorry for anyone that hasn’t had this Piza. Delish!

  3. Alex    Tue Dec 19, 09:11 AM #  

    Count me as a fan of the thin crust pizza and you are sadly mistaken in thinking it’s easy to make, most places overcook it to crispness. I like Pizza Rustica a lot though. My fav is the Campagnuola. The sausages are amazing and they don’t skimp on it. The potato is great as well.

    Uh oh, watch out for the malapropism police.

  4. dreaming    Tue Dec 19, 09:40 AM #  

    yr right. rustica is the best, especially on overpriced lincoln road where its a beacon of sanity. theres also a pizza rustica on 8th street near downtown. ive always wondered if it was related. im betting not.

  5. R.    Tue Dec 19, 10:08 AM #  

    Pizza Rustica is best pound for pound and gets extra credit for doing it cheap in South Beach.

    But taste-wise, I’d say the best I’ve had is The Big Tomato. There’s one on Pinecrest right at US-1 between 124th and 128th.

    There used to be one in South Miami, right around the chicken kitchen. I’m not sure if it just relocated or closed down altogether.

  6. Best Pizza    Tue Dec 19, 10:25 AM #  

    Rustica is almost in its own category for local pizza places. I love packing into that spot (the one on Washington, it’s smaller), and my mouth starts watering. It’s a great deal as well, and when you’re on the beach and want something fast, you CANNOT BEAT pizza rustica, people. It’s got some culture, some good people watching and it’s fast as hell. And you can dine outside. Divine.

    On the greasy, delivery tip, I like Mario the Baker. Do not fuck with Dominos, Papa Johns or the Hut. Words to live by.

  7. Miami Transit Man    Tue Dec 19, 10:49 AM #  

    Speaking of good Pizza…Prezzemolo Closed recently. It was on Lejeune just west of US-1…

  8. alesh    Tue Dec 19, 11:03 AM #  

    Ha! For once everyone agrees with me.

    touche, mkh. fixed, you malapropist you ;)

    Alex~ Maybe it’s not ‘easy to make,’ but yes, plenty of places do it right, as can anyone with a pizza stone and a little practice.

    MTM~ not Prezzemolo!!

  9. Rick    Tue Dec 19, 11:32 AM #  

    There is nothing like grabbing a slice from the PR on Lincoln Road, sitting at one of the outside tables and noshing on it while taking in the passing sights. One of the little pleasures in life.


  10. Duran    Tue Dec 19, 11:41 AM #  

    There is one in the Grove (is it still open?) as well. When I use to live on the Beach with my sister a few years ago, we were so broke all we ate was a slice a pizza and a medium coke from Pizza Rustica and shared it between the two of us. Their and Andiamos’ pizza is, hands down, the best pizza in town.

  11. Manola Blablablanik    Tue Dec 19, 12:09 PM #  

    PR is the greatest thing since sliced bread! :-)

    Alesh, the potato pizza comes with fresh rosemary and kalamata olives. It is incredibly aromatic.

    The key to PR is not only the oven and the imported flour, but the fact that they use FRESH ingredients quite generously. The tomato basil pizza, simple and delicious, is also aromatic. The fresh herbs are never overcooked and everything seems to be blended perfectly so that each individual flavor stands out.

    The arugula pizza is also incredible. It’s like having a salad on top of a pizza.

    For delivery, PR can’t be beat. I don’t eat pizza too often but have sometimes had friends over and we’ve ordered. For about $10, a medium size pizza (you can get half of one style and half of another) is a great deal. I’ve compared the “medium” of PR to that of other places and it just doesn’t compare. Three people can eat plentifully.

    One time, I ordered a pizza (about three years ago) and the crust came burnt. I called the store and they gave me a free one next time. No paper voucher or anything. The owner simply remembered. That’s the only time I’ve ever had a problem with that place.

  12. mkh    Tue Dec 19, 12:31 PM #  

    I’ll agree with “Best Pizza” on Mario’s, too. Now that they have a Downtown Miami location, the two-slices-and-a-coke $5 deal is the best deal around.

  13. Lesley    Tue Dec 19, 12:59 PM #  

    No way! the BEST PIZZA , hands down, straight from Brooklyn, is the new pizza place on the same block as The Room, south of fifth. TO DIE FOR. trust me!

  14. Johnny R    Tue Dec 19, 01:13 PM #  

    I would have to agree that Pizza Rustica is by far the best pizza in Miami. I have sinced moved to New York City and I have yet to find a better Chicken BBQ pizza. Its great, plus its the best food to help you get over a nasty hang over while on Sobe :)

  15. I was there    Tue Dec 19, 02:17 PM #  

    Pizza Rustica is very good, I agree.
    Casola’s off of US 1 near the Grove is pretty interesting…you get a $3 slice that is the size of three regular slices anywhere else. It’s tasty, too.
    Steve’s Pizza on Biscayne in North Miami is a landmark, and Piccolo Pizza on 123rd Street off Biscayne is great too.
    Thanks for the Pizza Post.
    An unrelated item….go to Jimmy’s on NE 125th Street near 6th Avenue. Order anything on the menu, it’s all good and admire the monkey paintings done by one of the waitess’. It’s a Landmark. If your lucky you may spot Bunny Yeager sitting in the next booth.

  16. mkh    Tue Dec 19, 02:41 PM #  

    Bunny Yeager hangs out in my neighborhood? Cool!

  17. Alex    Tue Dec 19, 02:43 PM #  

    And a 800-degrees pizza oven Alesh. Making pizza in your regular kitchen oven just doesn’t cut it.

    Steve’s pizza is good, but not exceptional. It’s the only decent pizza joint in that neighborhood, so it gets a ton of business.

    For crust, Rosinella. For toppings, Andiamo.

    There’s a place in Ft. Lauderdale, in US 1, I think it’s called Anthony’s? Amazing. They burn the edges just so.

  18. alesh    Tue Dec 19, 03:13 PM #  

    Steve’s! That’s what I meant, not David’s. Duh on me.

  19. Duran    Tue Dec 19, 03:24 PM #  

    I forgot about Steve’s Pizza, that place is awesome. They are more like New York style though and it doesn’t go for the fancy gourmet style of Andiamos or the South Beach Mediterranean-style of Pizza Rustica, Steve’s is just plain good old pizza.

  20. Lesley    Tue Dec 19, 03:51 PM #  

    I’m telling you all! Try the place next to The Room. You won’t be disappointed. It makes the other places seem like soggy imitations!

  21. cohen    Tue Dec 19, 04:08 PM #  

    steves is number 1…..

  22. mkh    Tue Dec 19, 04:46 PM #  

    Steve’s is good, too, particularly their Italian sausage and fresh tomato pie.

    Damn, I know what I’m having for dinner tonight.

  23. Dan    Tue Dec 19, 05:20 PM #  

    The greatest pizza south of the Miami-Dade/Broward line, bar none. In an inter-county pizza war, though, I think Anthony’s Coal-Fired could definitely take the Pepsi challenge against Pizza Rustica. (I believe this is the place Alex refers to, above).

    PR would probably come out on top, but Anthony’s is very tough to beat. Recently went from a single store to three, with plans to open several more. Be on the lookout down south.

  24. Alex    Tue Dec 19, 06:29 PM #  

    Yep, that’s the one.

  25. FER    Tue Dec 19, 09:29 PM #  

    Rustica is overrated. I like eating pizza, not toppings.
    Lesley, even though it seems you are somehow associated with the pizza place you keep yapping about, how does it compare to Casola’s?

  26. Steve    Wed Dec 20, 09:41 AM #  

    Take it from this Steve who has nothing to do with the numerous pizza establishments of the same name: Pizza Rustica makes a good, well, that’s where I draw a blank. It’s good but it just isn’t pizza. I’ve yet to find good pizza anywhere in the United States south of Passyunk Avenue in South Philly, unless you count Uno’s which is the Chicago-based franchise with an altogether different style of pie (deep dish). And I eat pizza like a fly eats dung.

    This stuff we call pizza around here can be tasty, but it just isn’t pizza. Any more than Mama Foo’s eggrolls are real Chinese, or Paris Hilton’s boob are real tits.

  27. Lesley    Wed Dec 20, 11:01 AM #  

    I have nothing to do with the pizza place. It’s in my ‘hood and I am obsessed with it! I don’t even know the name! As for comparison to Casola’s, I’d have to do a taste test, as I don’t think I’ve had it. Let’s trade . You try this place and I’ll try Casola’s. I’m all about pizza and open to anything that’s good! Don’t get me wrong, I love Rustica. But this place is real , NY style pizza.

  28. FER    Thu Dec 21, 12:06 AM #  

    I will try this place soon. I hope it’s as good as you make it out to be. Hopefully it’s better than that shit hole Gino’s.

  29. Lesley    Thu Dec 21, 10:25 AM #  

    Iw, Gino’s is sludge!! No comparison!!

  30. FER    Tue Dec 26, 05:07 PM #  

    Lesley Ive been to Primo (?) pizza twice and both time’s it’s been closed. Cant say they picked a good location.

  31. Lesley    Thu Dec 28, 03:16 PM #  

    Oh no! That sucks. I had a few of those experiences too, but recently they seemed to have been keeping steady hours. Or so I thought…so much for good pizza.