El Tamarindo Coal Fired Pizza Hallandale Beach, FL
Recently, while attending the Boca Raton Wine and Food Festival, I had the pleasure of tasting some of the samplings that El Tamarindo Coal Fired Pizza was offering. The food tasted delicious, but the manager Mike's attitude made the food taste even better. After speaking to him for a while, it became obvious that he puts his heart and soul into the food they create. I couldn't help but notice him in a dance competition later on in the night, this is a guy who knows how to market, and knows how to make people want to come try his restaurant.
El Tamarindo has a few locations now in South Florida. There is one in Deerfield Beach now as well. They took over the spot that used to be Ruby's Pizza on 10th street. My wife and I happened to be in Hallandale Beach and we decided to try El Tamarindo Coal Fired Pizza. I want to thank my friend Staci G for trying to get me to eat at El Tamarindo for years. She always said it was one of her favorites, and I was hopeful it would become one of mine too.
Immediately upon parking in this unremarkable plaza, I became hesitant that maybe this was the wrong place. El Tamarindo Coal Fired Pizza was in the western corner of this somewhat rundown shopping plaza, right next to a laundry mat that didn't exactly have the nicest looking bunch in it. This unassuming location could fool the best of us, but I went into the place anyways. Once inside El Tamarindo, it was adorable. This pizzeria reminded me of a Denino's Pizza style place or Eddie's Thin Crust Pizza. A bar to sit at, and tables to the side.
Mike, the manager instantly recognized us from the event, and came over to give us a warm hello, wearing the same hipster glasses he wore the night we first met him at the wine festival. He started to tell us about the menu and a little history on the place, which was interesting. One thing Mike said to us was that the pizza is Gluten Free, but I am not sure that this could be confirmed. If you happen to eat Gluten Free you might want to double and triple check with them that this is the case, since I am certainly not going to vouch for this. We ordered a plain pie and couldn't wait to taste it.
Mike told us he would put the pizza pie in their coal ovens but wanted us to sample some of their other specialties first. How could we say no to such a generous offer. After bringing over what seemed like every appetizer and specialty drink on the menu like Passion Fruit Cocktail, Tamarindo Cocktails, I was almost too full for the pizza. Each and every item he brought to our table was fantastic. Seriously, I couldn't find fault with any of them. It doesn't seem like you can go wrong with anything on their menu. Ok maybe their meatballs weren't exactly the taste I enjoy. They would be the one item I would order next time.
When the pizza came out I couldn't wait to dig in. Aesthetically, this pizza wasn't gorgeous. It had some clunks of tomato sauce splattered throughout, and had quite a texturized look to it. But since I have learned that first impressions aren't always right, I grabbed a slice and took my first bite.
This pizza tasted great. The sauce was sweet (although chunky, so I wiped some of it off), and it was sparatically applied over an amazing tasting mozzarella cheese which was cooked over a coal fired crust that tasted like it came from a 50+ year old oven (even though this wasn't the case. The oven was already at this location if I heard Mike, when they bought it). The taste of the crust made me once again rethink if this pizza was Gluten Free since it had a nice taste to it. So once again, please be careful and make sure you are positive there is no Gluten in their flour before you eat here.
All-in-all this experience was fantastic. I would definitely go back to El Tamarindo and listen to Staci in a much quicker fashion going forward when it comes to pizza. Mike and his team truly care about the pizza they serve you, and it shows in their customer service. They even ended my dining experience with this dessert on the house.....thanks guys! The highlight of the dining experience came when a patron walked up to the counter and said "this pizza is so good I want to punch myself in the face".
There has been some debate as to whether or not I got paid for this review, or got the pizza for free. I 100% paid for the pizza that I ate!
El Tamarindo Coal Fired Pizza in Hallandale Beach gets 7 out of 8 slices.