Category Archives: Miami

La Centrale Pizza Brickell City Center Miami


La Centrale Pizza Brickell City Center Miami was not a place I ventured out to try. We had some friends that came down to visit and we took the new Brightline Train to see what it was like. Since this isn’t I won’t get too much into the experience but let’s just say, it is extremely expensive to do it first class, and I wouldn’t advise the upgrade.

Once we got off the Brightline in Miami we walked a bit through quite a downtrodden area and decided to get an Uber and go to Brickell City Center since my wife enjoyed it the last time she went there. By the time we arrived, we were all hungry. We went to the La Centrale food hall. La Centrale is comprised of 14 different Italian eateries and cafes. It spans three levels and you can choose from grab-and-go food counters to casual dining to markets to upscale sit-down restaurants. Think of it as an Italian Food Hall. Since I noticed they had a pizzeria, I naturally gravitated towards that counter.

I ordered the Margherita pie without basil and began my wait. Although La Centrale Pizza was busy this day, I still found room to watch the pizziola make my pie. He treated it like it was the only pizza he was making that day. I was impressed with his patience and care with each pie he placed into the wood fired oven. When my pie came out I took it to the table to meet my friends. Upon opening the pie, I noticed some of the cheese hadn’t cooked through but the crust was sort of well done. This is usually a sign the ovens aren’t even, but most pizza makers will rotate the pie (as this one did) to avoid this from happening. It was weird that it still came out uneven.


La Centrale Pizza Brickell City Center Miami

La Centrale Pizza

My first bite revealed a delicious pie with fresh and quality ingredients. The cheese was a bit too thick for my tastes, but it tasted good on top of the sweet sauce. My absolute favorite part of the pizza at La Centrale Pizza in Brickell City Center was the crust. This crust tasted outrageous. It had a hint of char, and a taste of a smoked piece of dough.

La Centrale in Miami is definitely a place I would frequent again. It might even be good enough for me to return sooner than later. This time I will not take the Brightline though!

La Centrale Pizza in Brickell City Center Miami gets 6 out of 8 slices.

Upland Pizza Miami Beach

Upland Pizza Miami Beach

Upland Pizza Miami Beach Is A Thumbs Up

I really don’t know why I keep coming down to Miami, but I do. I especially like coming down and not telling the Pizza Expert I was here until after I have left. All if the best restaurants and pizza joints are in… drum roll please… brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrump!!! Newwwwww York. So what do I do? Wind up going to the NY-Miami connections. Like… hmmmm, Lucali (did that one) and now, in keeping with finding these little NYC-MIA (New York Missing In Action) gems, I wind up at Upland on 1st and Collins, just on the opposite corner of Prime Fish.

upland pizza

It’s here you will find yourself inside a nice comfortable black tiled and wood trimmed dining room to an open kitchen with a wood fired authentic pizza oven. Dubbed a Californian eatery, I’ll dispense with the nuances in branding and stick to “it’s an Italian restaurant.”

Just inside the Upland’s entrance, the wall behind the hostess is lined with decorative canning jars of preserved lemons from Northern California, yet another reminder that the best lemons and limoncello come from the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi, and islands of Procida, Ischia, and Capri. Italy, yeah. Same place as neapolitan style pizza.

So, of course, the Mad Greek argued with the hosted and demanded these lemons come from Italy.

Upland Pizza Miami Beach

The Upland menu is an eclectic little menu with extremely tasty Italian fare like wood-fired prawns, pappardelle with spicy sausage ragù, a delucious buccatini and coal-roasted short rib, bucatini cacio e pepe (delicious), but only four choices for a nice neapolitan pizza.

So, when in Rome… get the margherita stracciatella di bufala with roasted heirloom tomatoes, garlic and basil (cooked crispy well done)

On first bite you will notice the texture is firm and the bite is crisp with a slight flop at the tip. Every bite to the crust is perfect. Possibly the most balanced neapolitan pizza I’ve ever tasted and in Miami of all places.

And each and every bite had the unmistakable flavor combination accented by the stracciatella di bufala. For all you rookies out there like “The Pizza Expert”, stracciatella di bufala is a stringy, sweet type of gourmet Italian cheese that comes from from the very rich milk of water buffaloes.

I found the taste to be wonderfully complex for a very simple and straight forward margherita abeetza di napoli. Even a wisp of crushed red pepper took away from the carefully and wonderfully balanced taste of this truly fine pizza at Upland.

I withhold my rating on this one as a departure from the norm and ask The Pizza Expert to follow up with a coordinated review and rating of a pizza which belongs in the Worst Pizza Hall of Fame as simply one of the best.

(Pizza Expert says 7/8 slices for Upland Pizza Miami Beach)

Pizza Johny’s Miami

Pizza Johny's Miami

We had some friends from Modesto, California visiting with us. He was recently on Triple D and wanted to go see his friend at Latin House Burger Joint in Miami that he appeared on TV with. We headed down to this part of Miami that I thought was Kendall but was told it was just Miami proper. So we pulled into this unassuming shopping plaza on the North side of Sunset Drive, not too far from Florida International University, to get some burgers. Once we pulled in I noticed there was a pizzeria in the plaza named Johny’s Pizza. Nope, not Johnny’s Pizza as most people would spell it.

pizza johnys a taste of new york

My family and friends went into Latin House and I made a beeline to Pizza Johny’s. The pizzeria wasn’t anything to write home about. It didn’t appear entirely clean but smelled good regardless. For an off hour, Pizza Johny’s was doing a nice business. The seating in this establishment is minimal but that doesn’t seem to stop folks from taking food out from there. I glanced up at the menu, which was expansive. They had everything you would expect from a “New York Style Pizzeria”. Italian Ices, Strombolis, Calzones and even had pinwheels. Unfortunately they did not have Sicilian slices at this time, so I ordered just one regular slice to try and looked around a bit.

Pizza Johnny's Miami

I am wondering if they were about to renovate the place and that is why it looked a little dated. If you google Pizza Johny’s you will get this website… and that says they are under construction, but maybe it is the website that is under construction. Inside they have a sign by the pizza makers counter that shows their website as that doesn’t work at all. Seems like they are having an identity crisis. The phone number listed on the one website is even different from the other.

Johny's Pizza Miami

I know, I know, you don’t care about the website or how it could be the worst and longest domain name ever. You care about the pizza, so I will just get into my review of Pizza Johny’s Miami. The slice came out extraordinarily hot, even though I told him I didn’t need it cooked much. It had some burnt cheese on the tip but it was a decent size slice. After letting it cool down for a minute or so I took my first bite. As I lifted the slice from the plate I was impressed with how thin and crisp the slice was. It folded in half nicely and I started to have the feeling I was about to actually have one of those surprisingly good slices that you find by accident from time to time when you aren’t even looking.

best pizza south miami

This slice was actually really good. The sweet sauce was covered by a generous amount of quality tasting cheese. The crust was actually tasty and although I dislike when pizzerias use the term “New York Style”, this place was comparable to some of the Long Island pizza joints I grew up eating and enjoying. Too bad I do not live around this part of Miami, as I could see myself making this one of my regular spots. Next time I will try their Sicilian and make sure they do all pies correctly.

Pizza Johny’s in Miami gets 6 out of 8 slices. But they get a D on their spelling test.

Stanzione 87 Pizza in Miami


Took a ride down to Miami to try out a pizzeria that many readers have bragged about called Stanzione 87. Not sure what the name meant but after some google searches once I arrived, it appears the name means Stanzione 87. Sorry to make you think that I knew what it meant, but I still don’t. Maybe I will call the owner to find out.

Stanzione 87 wasn’t too busy on the day we went, I believe it was due to the construction, but that didn’t matter. I would have tried it regardless of how popular it was.


Blocks Pizza Deli Miami Beach, South Beach

A loyal reader recently typed an email to me suggesting I try one of his favorite places to grab pizza in South Beach. The place he mentioned was Blocks Pizza which is located on Washington Ave. I had the opportunity to be down in that area and decided to walk from my hotel over to Blocks and see if it was any good.

Blocks was nothing fancy inside but it had an open and clean feel to it. Not many tables, but an easy to see pizza counter with a door open to the of the kitchen so you can see what sort of goes on there. The different oils they had on the counter intrigued me but I didn’t want to ruin the first tasting by adding anything additional.


Joey’s Pizza Wynwood, Miami


About a couple of years ago I ventured into the Wynwood section of Miami to try out a pizza that some described as legendary for Miami. After driving around trying to find Joey’s Pizza, I felt extremely unsafe and kept on driving. Wynwood at that time was definitely not a place you wanted to wander around at night.

Fast forward several years and WOW! Wynwood is like the new trendy, happening place. We went down to a tech event at a place called The Lab and afterwards went for a walk in this artsy district. Although I am super impressed with the turnaround, I cannot say I would feel totally safe walking alone in the middle of the night there yet. Since we wandered by Joey’s Pizza when heading to the Wood Tavern, it was mandatory for me to stop and check out the pizza finally.


Spritz Pizza Coral Gables, Miami


We found ourselves down in Coral Gables the other night, well actually we started off at Merrick Park, but slowly made our way up to one of my favorite sections of Miami soon after. We all seemed to want different places to eat and nobody would compromise as to which place we should choose. That is when it hit me! Spris Pizza has a location in Coral Gables and I really haven’t had a bad experience at this specific location.

As we drove up Ponce De Leon and began looking for a parking spot, I noticed there was no place called Spris Pizza anymore and instead was a place that looked similar called Spritz Pizza. It seemed too similar in name to not be related to the old place so we parked and headed on in. I was hopeful the old owner Julio still was in charge of the place.


Lucali Pizza in South Beach, Miami


Back in 2010 I named a small place in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn named Lucali as one of the 10 best pizzerias in the county. You can read about the list here. I haven’t been back up those ways for a while, so I wasn’t sure how the place was doing. After hearing the owner was stabbed I thought that they perhaps would close. This wasn’t the case. Lucali was actually busy scoping out a new location in the quickly hip Sunset Harbor area of Miami Beach.

Lucali in Miami beach seats plenty more than that of the original one in Brooklyn which contains about 10 tables, if I recall correctly. After finding parking in the municipal garage next door, I made my way down, walked around the block and walked inside an overly dim pizzeria.


Mario The Baker Pizza North Miami


Was hanging at a buddy’s place the other day when him and his co-worker decided they were hungry. Since they weren’t able to go out and spend time dining in a restaurant, we decided to go pick up pizza at a nearby Mario The Baker. There are several Mario The Baker pizzerias in Miami, this one was located in North Miami.

I wasn’t expecting much of the pizza since most of the other Mario The Baker pizza shops were just average. Add the fact it was going to be brought in, and stuffed into a cardboard box, and I was even less enthusiastic. Oh well, I was hungry so when it came, I was excited all the same.